As soon as I read the summary of this and that my Goodreads friend, Wendy Darling, enjoyed this novel I knew I would love it and that I had to read it. Partials is YA sci-fi at its best and I must confess I wouldn’t normally read a lot of sci-fi. In a post-apocalyptic society where live babies die shortly after birth due to a virus from the previous war between humans and Partials (genetically engineered part-humans), sixteen year old Kira knows that when her best friend Meredith falls pregnant, she has to try and save the baby somehow. Kira decides to capture a Partial and study one, after all, they’re supposed to the cause of the virus; what better to cure it? From there, she learns some terrifying truths about Partials, the Virus origins and the society she lives in.
The world Wells creates is incredibly well-written and felt chillingly real too. I also loved the scientific aspect of the novel in the sense of trying to find a cure for the virus. The science details felt realistic but also wasn’t too excessive or overbearing that I felt alienated either.
Kira was a strong heroine and I really admired her for wanting to protect her friend so much; it definitely made her the sort of person I wanted to be friends with in real life. Kira did feel a little older than her age, however considering the society in which she lived, I think that this is to be expected.
Samm, the captured Partial, was a brilliant character and I loved the chemistry between him and Kira. It’s definitely something I hope is developed in Book 2. Wells did a brilliant job of showing both Samm’s differences as a Partial and making him utterly human at the same time. Considering current advances in technology, maybe one day something like Samm will exist – certainly that’s what I love about this genre- and Wells puts forward the mistreatment of Samm by others so well it scared me.
Dystopia fans will also find a lot to love with this novel, as despite it’s sci-fi grounding, the society in which Kira lives felt very dystopian and the final quarter of the book really stepped everything up in this sense.
The book ends on a cliffhanger and left me desperate for the next novel. In the last third of the book, there was an important revelation that I didn’t see coming at all. In hindsight, I feel like I should have, but it says something about Wells’ writing that this took me by complete surprise when normally I find twists quite predictable and can work out the ending ahead of time.
This novel is highly recommended by me to all YA fans, particularly those who enjoy dystopia but are getting a little tired of it as the sci-fi element is utterly rejuvenating. I received an advance copy for free through Harper Collin’s Children’s Books UK and would like to really thank them for sending me this. I adored this book and as ever, my review is not affected by the means of receiving Partials! Partials is available to buy now! (less)
I know you’ve been waiting three months for this apology, but I have to start by saying that this isn’t an apology. I’m not sorry. I’m not. (1,...moreJuliet,
I know you’ve been waiting three months for this apology, but I have to start by saying that this isn’t an apology. I’m not sorry. I’m not. (1, Heart Shaped-Bruise, Byrne)
I approached this book with a little bit of concern; for a start I talked to Tanya on twitter and she is a wonderful person and I was dreading reading her debut and not liking it and having to tell her that, but it did sound amazing. The press release also compared it to one my favourite all-time novels, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, which set my expectations exceptionally high. As you know, high expectations can easily lead to disappointment though.
I was not disappointed in the slightest however. In fact, in the end I had to try and hold in my inner-fangirl and a long post about why this book and author is amazing. Whether I succeeded or not, I’ll leave up to you!
Heart-Shaped Bruise (HSB) tells Emily Koll’s story; she begins the novel in a psychiatric ward of a young offenders’ institution awaiting trial for an as yet unknown crime. Having listened to Tanya Byrne at the fabulous Creative Voices events at Foyles last week, she explained that Emily in fact has Borderline personality disorder, but has not been told this yet and that is why she behaves how she does.
The reason, we are told, for whatever leads Emily to await trial is to do with when Emily’s dad kills Juliet’s parents and she stabs him, everything is thrown into turmoil for both characters. Emily is shocked to learn her dad is a gangster, a murderer, and Juliet is placed in witness protection. When we’re young, we believe our parents are like superheroes and like Emily, I can remember the first times I realised my parents were human or they disappointed me. Granted it wasn’t quite so extreme, or illegal, for me, but that sense of betrayal and loss of innocence is one of those horrific things that happens before your grow up generally. Therefore, I could see why she blamed Juliet, as a catalyst, for everything. Naturally, I don’t condone stalking someone in witness protection and befriending them though which is what Emily does.
Both characters take on new identities within the novel which I found really interesting. As a teenager, I constantly attempted to reinvent myself, but the many incarnations of Lucy were still Lucy. Having to utterly change myself, my name, my look, everything? I don’t know if I could have done it or how I would have felt.
There is wonderful skill in Byrne’s characterisation; Emily pulls you right in and even though you know she’s done something wrong, you feel a great deal of emotion, even sympathy towards her. When you feel sympathy and like the villain of the novel, you know the author is doing their job really well and to be honest, this is a genuinely gorgeous book which has left me desperate to see what Tanya Byrne will do next. If this is her debut, what about her second or third novel?
The prose is beautiful and very quotable in places, a quality which I adored. I absolutely devoured my copy and read it in a matter of hours as I couldn’t put t down. This is definitely able to crossover into the adult market, in fact the hardback is the adult cover and the paperback will be the YA, but I don’t think it matters. This is a novel teenagers will get swept away by, this is also a novel I think adults will be swept away by. The main point here is obviously the sweeping.
There is a sort of romance and very slight love triangle, but it is written in such a way it doesn’t really feel like a triangle. I would say that this is because
I can’t spoil the end for you, but I hated it. I understood it, but I hated the decisions made by certain characters, but I was not a happy bunny.
If you loved The Perks of Being A Wallflower, are a contemporary YA fan, I cannot recommend this book highly enough to you. It already is in my top books of the year, and in one of my all time favourites perhaps already too.
Heart Shaped Bruise is Tanya Byrne’s debut novel and out now. I received a free proof of this novel in exchange for the above honest review.
Often, I feel there is a gender divide in YA with books either aimed at girls (the majority) or a few action/sci-fi for the boys. Michael Grant's new...moreOften, I feel there is a gender divide in YA with books either aimed at girls (the majority) or a few action/sci-fi for the boys. Michael Grant's new YA series BZRK though proves YA doesn't need this as it has an appeal for both sexes. It is an action filled, complicated and thrilling novel that left me anticipating the next addition and feeling like I'd been on an insane journey.
Writing a review for BZRK has been challenging as there is so much I don't want to spoil for you and it is such a different book. It's plot feels original, exciting and intelligent and I found it an unpatronising read that never talked down to the reader. Summing up my own feelings about it was difficult as the book was a roller coaster read; an enjoyable roller coaster too!
BZRK's central concept lies in nanotechnology and there are gamer like wars "down in the meat" where losing means losing your mind. I will admit that for the first few chapters I loved reading the book but I wasn't entirely sure what was going. I could tell you the events and plot but asking me to sum it up or work out how it tied together seemed impossible at first. It didn't stay like that though and Grant's writing was strong enough that even when I was unsure I still needed to carry on, not out of obligation but captivation.
This novel proposes a lot of big questions; is it right to make humans perfect? Do the ends justify the means? How much is freedom truly worth? And while these may seem very much dependent on a sci-fi concept, they raise a lot of questions about our world today in my opinion. The Armstrong Twins seem to have a benevolent purpose but are also the villains and evil.
I loved how the BZRK team picked their names; they chose people famous for their madness, partly as insanity could be their eventual fate if they lose, and this little detail really interested me and evoked the characters and team well.
The book is a little gory, as I hear Grant's books can be, and there are some scenes that are violent but for me it wasn't excessive to the point I was alienated from the book.
Grant's characters are interested. I loved Sadie and Noah and how they developed throughout the novel. They were strong and resilient and resourceful teenagers that never felt like they were acting too old or young. The flirtation between them was also well-written from both perspectives and I liked that Grant wrote the female perspective so well into this novel.
If you are a fan of action packed reads and want to read something thrilling and exciting then this is definitely the book for you. It is an almost cinematic novel that takes you to a different existence, even if it is based in our world, that is utterly terrifying. If you are a newbie to Michael Grant's novels as well then I recommend checking out this series now as it begins as well as his famous GONE series.
I received this book for free from Egmont/ Electric Monkey and am very thankful for their generosity here. My review has not been affected by this.(less)
Katy Rivers' life finally seems to be picking up. She's dating Merlin, her school's resident artist hottie and has a great group of friends. However,...moreKaty Rivers' life finally seems to be picking up. She's dating Merlin, her school's resident artist hottie and has a great group of friends. However, when she sees a strange girl while on the bus with piercing green eyes, things begin to unravel. Add in a mysterious green pendant she receives from her indirectly and Katy starts to wonder if this new girl, Genevive, is entirely human and if she wants to take over Katy's life.
As Genevive worms her way into Katy's life through her friends, mother and even her boyfriend while appearing perfectly sweet to them, and saying she will is Katy's worst nightmare to her in private. Katy finds herself in a battle for her friends and trying to prove that this girl is not all she seems.
What I most loved about this novel is that it consistently blurs that line between reality and fiction. Katy is convinced there is something otherly about Genevieve, but her best friend Luke is certain she is bestowing supernatural qualities on someone completely normal. This created real psychological tension as you were never sure who exactly was right. In a world of paranormal young adult, this uncertainty was welcome to me.
My favourite character was definitely Luke. I felt his friendship with Katy was really sweet and I loved the subtle growing attraction that developed in the novel. There is a small age-difference between the two, but to be honest I know a lot of people who have dated and been good friends with the same disparity so I didn't find it a big deal. I loved that Luke was the person who believed and supported her throughout the novel and I just wanted to be friends with him from the moment he entered the novel. Katy and him had a natural chemistry and very believable friendship that was my personal favourite feature of Poison Heart.
I also loved how much Katy developed and changed in the novel, becoming much more independent and assertive by the end. Her metamorphosis was very believably written and happened subtly throughout the novel.
In terms of the mystery aspect, I guessed some of it but certain aspects did come as a surprise for me. The tension and suspense is well written and to that end, I think you will either love or hate the ending because of that. I would recommend this novel to fans of suspense novels and YA, as well as those who want a fresh twist on paranormal novels.
S B Hayes evokes a compelling psychological thriller with just a hint of the paranormal and is a welcome addition to the British YA scene. Poison Heart is due out today in the UK, published by Quercus. I received the book from the publishers for free (thank you!) and am very happy I got a chance to read and review this novel. My review is not affected by how I received the book in the slightest.(less)
Sam Hawksmoor's debut was a complete surprise for me. From it's summary I expected it to be more about supernatural and witchcraft elements, but this...moreSam Hawksmoor's debut was a complete surprise for me. From it's summary I expected it to be more about supernatural and witchcraft elements, but this is in fact more along the lines of YA science fiction. That said the sci-fi element is not dominant and even as someone who doesn't read sci-fi avidly, I was still engaged with the plot and really liked the book so don't be put off!
34 children have recently gone missing in Genie's small town. She is next. Genie starts out in the novel imprisoned by her mother who believes she is possessed by the devil thanks to a local sinister reverend. When she is saved by Rian, her boyfriend and they try to escape and end up seeking shelter with reclusive Marshall. One of the most compelling things for me about this novel was Hawksmoor's characterisation and the fact that no character was one thing or the other. Marshall is a kind man and incredibly helpful for example, but he's also a scientist and sometimes this clouds his judgement and thought processes.
This book, for me, was about how dangerous it can be as a teenager and how badly they can be exploited by those pretending to help. The scenes with Father chilled me to the bone and the set-up was worryingly plausible. Hawksmoor has created a truly terrifying nemesis in Rev. Schneider, who I initially thought would be forgotten about when I began the novel but is a central focus for the plot.
Genie and Rian also embodied that wonderful, consuming first love you might be lucky enough to experience as a teenager, or certainly daydream about. I genuinely cared about their relationship as I read the book. Their sacrifices for each other and respect of one another was really great to read and I was particularly happy to see Rian treated Genie equally, unlike in some YA books I have read.
The final quarter of The Repossession is action packed and tense and the book does leave you on quite a cliffhanger. I think you will either love or hate this, personally I do want to know what comes next for the characters so I will definitely be checking out the Hunting, its sequel, when it is released!
This is a highly unusual read that defies you original conceptions of what it will be. I thoroughly enjoyed the scientific elements Hawksmoor introduced simply and without patronising a reader. I received Repossession from Hodder Children's Book for free and am very thankful for the opportunity. My tone or opinion on this book have not been affected by receiving the book for free or via the publisher.(less)
Hollow Pike is James Dawson's debut novel and is a welcome addition to the British young adult movement. It tells the story of Lis, who has moved in w...moreHollow Pike is James Dawson's debut novel and is a welcome addition to the British young adult movement. It tells the story of Lis, who has moved in with her sister and her husband in Yorkshire after being hounded out of her school by bullies.
When she is bullied again by the class tormentor, Laura, Lis bonds with the school outcasts; Kitty, Delilah and jack and they scheme to teach her a lesson. After a practical joke however, Laura is killed.
Now, Lis and her friends need to solve the murder because they were also in the woods that night and may be in danger themselves.
The novel is set in a small town filled withlore and legends of witchcraft and Dawson brilliantly sets up the suspense here. For me, I never doubted Hollow Pike and its superstitious residents and minor characters like Mrs Gilespie create this atmosphere.
James Dawson has been a teacher and worked within diversity and bullying and this shows in his writing. His depiction of bullying in schools is brutally honest, as are the teachers' reactions - I am pretty sure in middle school I p had the exact same conversation as Lis with Mr Grey when he learns of her bullying - and this makes the novel more authentic and creates a plot and characters that feel so real and honest, I think teenagers will find something to relate to within this novel and love it.
Dawson's use of sexuality and the relationship between Kitty and Delilah is another testament to his writing. While some depictions of anything other than heterosexuality seem to ignore the concept or existence of bisexuality - yes, Glee, I'm looking at you, Kurt - Dawson's characters are cautious and working out who they are, whether they like boys, girls or both and it is written very well.
I loved the romantic development between Lis and Danny and thought it was a great portrayal of a teenage romance and that all encompassing first love and the doubts you're good enough.
This is not a particularly supernatural book, it is more a novel about the fear of an act than the act itself - the Crucible by Arthur Miller is offered as comparison frequently throughout the novel. For me, Dawson's strengths were his depictions of bullying, family, friendship and romance. I really look forward to more of his writing in the future.
I received my copy for free through Orion/ Indigo and am grateful for this. I was even more excited when I realised it was a signed copy and would like to thank Orion for sending me this. The tone of my review or content has not been influenced by any of the above.(less)
This review was originally posted at link: ChooseYA
The Look is one of those books that will either work well, or not work at all. Combining something...moreThis review was originally posted at link: ChooseYA
The Look is one of those books that will either work well, or not work at all. Combining something many teenage girls dream about like modelling with a nightmare of cancer is a risk. So full credit to Sophia Bennett for pulling it off.
When Ted (Edwina) Trout is spotted by a modelling agency, she is certain it is a joke. Her sister, Ava, is the beautiful one after all. However, after her sister's shock diagnosis of cancer and with Ava's encouragement (and at time's orders) she decides to try modelling to bring in a little extra money and also relate more to her sister, who has always been the fashion aficionado of the two. When,
This book was not what I expected at all. I loved the relationship between Ava and Ted the most; they really had this wonderful closeness and rivalry and felt like real siblings. Both of them are created so naturally and well-written that the scenario of becoming a model felt more grounded than mere wish-fulfilment. In both instances, Bennett steers her novel clear of saccharine and unrealistic feelings, but doesn't avoid the more unsettling aspects either. It is not an 'edgy' or 'gritty' read though, but neither it is 100% froth.
The Look, for me, was not so much about dealing with a sibling's cancer, or becoming a model, but about sisters and their unconditional love for one another. That said, obviously both of the above are significant themes and focuses of the novel.
The modelling world was well-written and really interested me- both in terms of its extravagant aspects and the the pressure and problems Ted was presented with. I adored that even with these difficulties, Ted was able to assert herself as a character and became more and more confident throughout the novel.
I loved the subtle romances in the Look too; they never took away from the main focus of the book and they also felt very real and teenage. Ava's boyfriend in particular was a character I really warmed to, as was Ted's quasi-romantic interest.
Overall, I would recommend this book to fans of British YA, contemporary YA and novels about sisterly bonds, as well as those interested in modelling. Also although you should never judge a book by it's cover, I have to mention how lovely the cover is. The edges of the pages are pink and it's just a really cute looking novel.
I received this book for free from Chicken House UK and am very grateful for the opportunity to read and review it. As always my review has not been affected by how I received the book!(less)
Beautiful novel that totally reinvigorated my love of YA. It actually made me cry, something that a book hasn't done to me since I was about 6. Full r...moreBeautiful novel that totally reinvigorated my love of YA. It actually made me cry, something that a book hasn't done to me since I was about 6. Full review of adoration and envy of Morgan Matson to come. (less)