I was a fan of Beautiful Broken Things, but i absolutely LOVED this one, even more. Proving that the debut novel was not a fluke, Sara Barnard has retI was a fan of Beautiful Broken Things, but i absolutely LOVED this one, even more. Proving that the debut novel was not a fluke, Sara Barnard has returned with an enchanting book about anxiety, first loves, family, friendship and high school. The characters of Rhys and Steffi were just lovely, and it took less than a chapter for me to be hooked on their stories.
Yes, this is a love story, but for those readers who wondered why the romance angle needed to be added, I can say that it is not gratuitous romance. There is a beautiful theme in this book, as Steffi's friends and family wonder if her relationship with Rhys makes her already socially isolated world even smaller, as she steers further away from speaking and dives into sign language with Rhys, but as her best friend comments, "he makes your world bigger". Rhys was a compliment to Steffi in many ways, and he shared a communication barrier with her, bonding them together, but also tearing them apart at times.
Steffi's voice throughout the book was fantastic, depsite the lack of speech she was funny, sarcastic and honest, and her depictions of living with anxiety were realistic and deftly handled by Barnard, who once again dealt with all the big issues with sensitivity and heart.
There are a lot of issues thrown into one small book here: racism, disability, bullying, anxiety, divorce, death, sex, academic pressure, and more. But at no time did it feel like too much, and the result was a book full of warmth and heart, with sweet characters you find yourself rooting for throughout each page.
In my opinion, this is a must read for fans of contemporary YA, and Sara Barnard is an author to watch. I'm already looking forward to her next book. ...more
I Like to think I discovered Kat Spears, when a lonely ARC of Sway landed on my desk. I devoured it, and then told everyone that they needed to put doI Like to think I discovered Kat Spears, when a lonely ARC of Sway landed on my desk. I devoured it, and then told everyone that they needed to put down whatever else they were reading and read Sway. So when I heard about Breakaway, I thought "there's no way this author can produce two books of that quality in two years", but I was wrong. Breakaway is an excellent follow up novel, and Kat Spears has once again shown herself as being a peer (dare I say rival) to much better-known authors such as John Green.
Breakaway, like Sway, had a male protagonist that teenage girls would fall in love with if he came out of the pages. There's just something about a slightly damaged hero, and Jaz had the perfect mix of self loathing and heart that made him not only extremely likeable, but so real. Without the swagger of Kat's previous hero, but still with the hint of bad boy and the ability to be protective of and repulsive to his love interest, Raine.
At its heart, this is a story about friendship between young men, and the tenacity of it. The four misfits in this book are so different, and yet there is that mateship (sorry, Im an aussie, for us that best describes it) that means they are there for each other in the tough times. The beauty of Breakaway though, is that there is something for everyone in here, romance, death, love, family, suicide, drugs, soccer (sorry, Football), friendship, abandonment and hope. Yet they all balance so well, that none of them overtake the story, and when you finish, you feel that you have just met and lost some wonderful characters.
There was at times a real John Hughes feel to this book, one of the characters will forever in my mind be James Spader from Pretty In Pink, while the friendship between Chick and Jaz made me think of The Outsiders.
This is yet another wonderful novel for adults young and old to enjoy, and Kat Spears is most definitely an author to keep an eye on. #quietYA may well have been created for books, and authors, such as this. ...more
I dont know many authors who manage to see into the darkness of adolescent girls as well as Courtney Summers. If you haven't read one her books beforeI dont know many authors who manage to see into the darkness of adolescent girls as well as Courtney Summers. If you haven't read one her books before, prepare to be emotionally tackled by her writing, her characters and her plots. All the Rage was one of those books that leaves you out of breath, because you realise you have been reading it with a clenched jaw and balled fists. Romy will break your heart, pure and simple. But you will cheer at her fortitude, her ability to survive, and her ability to forgive. The brilliance of any of Courtney Summers' novels is their ties to reality. This book could be ripped out of any number of headlines, and yet it is unique, because we rarely have such insight from the victim. Themes of sexual assault, victim shaming, and chronic bullying may be off-putting for some readers, but give it a chance, within the first paragraph you will fall in love with Summers' writing, and within pages you will be cheering for Romy. This is one of those books that you finish in the early hours of the morning and pace restlessly while the world waits to wake up, because you just need to tell everyone how amazing it was. Given the world teenagers are inhabiting nowadays, this is also an important book, a lesson in survival, and a reminder that the people you trust will not always have your back. I think everyone should read this, regardless of age, or gender. It is just that good. ...more
Entertaining YA novel, but being 40, you can take my word that anyone who grew up in the nineties will get something from this novel. peppered with poEntertaining YA novel, but being 40, you can take my word that anyone who grew up in the nineties will get something from this novel. peppered with popular culture references, the birds eye view of two slightly awkward, slightly damaged young adults falling in love is a sweet, romantic escapist read, and - as much as I hate to say it because it is so very overused these days - john green fans will enjoy. It reminded me more of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but it was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. ...more
Yet another superbly entertaining read from Liane, not since Harper Valley PTA has someone captured so perfectly the politics and pedantry of the schoYet another superbly entertaining read from Liane, not since Harper Valley PTA has someone captured so perfectly the politics and pedantry of the school mothers group. Every character in this novel is beautifully crafted, and even though I had an inkling of the twist at the end, by that point in the book I was so engrossed I could not put it down. I can not recommend this enough. Fans of the author will certainly not be disappointed and new readers will become instant fans....more
WHen people talk about legal thrillers, Grisham is usually the name to come to mind. but with a novel of this quality, David Ellis should soon be breaWHen people talk about legal thrillers, Grisham is usually the name to come to mind. but with a novel of this quality, David Ellis should soon be breaking through that barrier and becoming a household name. A likeable yet flawed character, Jason Kolarich and his cohorts have become firm favourites of mine, and the labyrinth of twists and turns in this make it a compelling and hard to put down read. The Wrong Man was also excellent, and was my first foray into Ellis, but this one was even more slick, more polished, the plot tighter and the tension higher. highly recommended. ...more
I have never read anything by this author, but if this novel is anything to go by, you should read everything she writes, including her grocery list.I have never read anything by this author, but if this novel is anything to go by, you should read everything she writes, including her grocery list. A fantastic YA read, dealing with important and relevant issues such as bullying, loneliness and suicide, but not allowing these issues to become the whole story. Yes, Elise attempted suicide, but she is such an amazingly likeable, real and relatable character that you don't dwell on this, even when it is mentioned. this is a beautifully told coming of age story, as an outcast and misfit finds the strength to follow a path that allows her to feel included and fit in. it deals with first friendships, first loves, dysfunctional relationships, and it is all told in an incredibly witty and self deprecating voice. I wanted some well deserved payback at the end of the novel, but the fact that the author went the other way was a good message to send. Comparisons are being made to Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I can see them, but this novel stands on its own perfectly well. HIGHLY recommended for anyone, young or old, who has ever felt that they didn't quite understand the unwritten rules of fitting in. ...more
I keep calling this a debut, because we haven't had the rest of Corleone's books in Australia before. What an accomplished thriller this was, a compleI keep calling this a debut, because we haven't had the rest of Corleone's books in Australia before. What an accomplished thriller this was, a completely fast paced roller coaster ride of a novel. Simon Fisk is a likeable character, your standard damaged protagonist, but what he does is quite original, as a freelance consultant who rescues children of custodial kidnappings. The international settings made this more than the average action novel, and at times the book gave me a sense of déjà vu, thinking of the Da Vinci Code and the way the pair of heroes raced across Europe in a few short chapters. A similar setting here, but a much more credible storyline, and a much better twist. This book easily gives Lee Child a run for his money, and is perfect for fans of the thinking man's thriller. I am looking forward to the next Simon Fisk novels, thanks to Macmillan for the advance reading copy. in short: The movie Taken meets The Bourne Identity. Highly recommended. ...more
I'm loving the new trend in YA veering away from paranormal teen fiction and steering firmly into NORMAL teen fiction. no vampires, werewolves etc inI'm loving the new trend in YA veering away from paranormal teen fiction and steering firmly into NORMAL teen fiction. no vampires, werewolves etc in this one, and with writing like this, warm, richly drawn characters and wonderful storytelling why would you need to add anything otherworldly. the world Fiona Wood has created in her second novel is one you can dive into at any age and be transported back to your high school days, because the relationships are perfectly depicted, from the grief of losing someone to the toxic friendships everyone forms at some point. Fiona has cleverly taken the classroom outdoors, into the wilderness, and without the technologies, and this makes Wildlife a timeless novel. It is all about the characters, from the wonderful Sybilla to the magnificent Lou, I dare everyone who reads this not to cheer for Lou, who in her self imposed role as spectator, sees the truth in everything. wildlife is one of the best of a crop of new YA novels making the scene, fans of John Green should thoroughly enjoy it, and I can not wait to see what the immensely talented Fiona Wood dishes up next. Thanks to the team at Pan Macmillan for the chance to read an early copy. ...more
I work in publishing, so I'm supposed to appreciate more literary works than this, but to be honest, this series has become my guilty pleasure. It isI work in publishing, so I'm supposed to appreciate more literary works than this, but to be honest, this series has become my guilty pleasure. It is so much fun, sarcastic, lighthearted paranormal romance with some mysteries thrown in there. kind of a cross between Charlaine Harris and Janet Evanovich. I stumbled across book one on amazon and ordered it up, along with book two. but upon receiving an iPad, I had to succumb to the instant gratification and see if Charley (the grim reaper) and Reyes (the son of satan) could finally make it work. I love the chapter headings, quotes from t shirts etc, and the whole tone of the books makes this ideal bed reading. Probably wont ever win the Booker prize, but is a hell of a lot more entertaining than any book that ever has. looking forward to book five. ...more
everything else is in French, but never fear, this book will be out in English in march 2013, and everyone who loves a great thriller should put thiseverything else is in French, but never fear, this book will be out in English in march 2013, and everyone who loves a great thriller should put this on their wish list. it's hard to review this without giving away the plot, and to give anything away is to spoil the book, which is full of so many twists and turns that you are left stunned but utterly impressed after finishing it. Alex is a crime novel at heart, but the protagonist Alex is anything but a typical victim. Comparisons are being made to Lisbeth Salander, and I can see that, because she is a strong female character who is highly capable. The plot is fantastic, split into three parts you have a kidnapping, an escape and the final part of the book that answers every question that the first two parts raise. A perfect hero in the detective, who has his own demons to face as he searches for Alex. And the perfect victim who is not at all what she seems. I have compared this book to the film of the Usual Suspects, in the way that the story is so beautifully tied up in the last chapter that you look back over the rest of the novel and just think 'wow'. I want to read it again, to view everything with a different set of eyes now that I know the twist. This is the first of Lemaitre's novels to be translated, and I for one can not wait for the rest, I may have to learn French. If you are a fan of European crime, or in fact any thriller that keeps you guessing and turning the pages rapidly, this is the book for you. Look for this in Australian bookshops in March. I can not rate it's highly enough. ...more
Just a sneaky comment, I have just finished the sequel, due in March, and it is FANTASTIC, as good as if not better than the first. I love this seriesJust a sneaky comment, I have just finished the sequel, due in March, and it is FANTASTIC, as good as if not better than the first. I love this series. Scout is a great character, and they are calling this series the Australian Evanovich, which is spot on, but if you are a fan of Marian Keyes quirky family tales with the Walsh Sisters, I think you will also love these books. magpie Groff does a great job of weaving three tales into the one book, and veering between them at just the right time to keep the pace of the book cracking along. if you are looking for the perfect lighthearted read, but with a good old fashioned mystery, this is the series. An ideal book for a long plane trip, for the beach, or just to curl up to with a glass of wine. I highly recommend this book and its sequel, and I can not wait for the next Scout Davis book to land on my desk. ...more