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You Only Live Once

(Gracie Dart #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  53 reviews
The start of a hilarious new teen series for fans of Geek Girl.

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she's got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she's dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she's been wasti
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 23rd 2018 by Hot Key Books
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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 ·  120 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

Sixteen-year-old Grace Dart is a bit of a hypochondriac, she also likes to be in control of every aspect of her life always needing to know what is happening next. She is one of life’s planners.

That is until Grace is stuck in that time zone between sitting her GCSEs and awaiting her results. The wait is excruciating for her and after a near death experience (Okay not quite so near death), Grace makes a realisation, ‘You Only Live Once’.

With thi
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Hot Key Books via Readers First in exchange for an honest review.

🌟 🌟 🌟.5

This is a book I want to give to 16-year-olds who have made themselves ill over stress and school work like it’s the end of their life and not just a stepping stone to the next stages. Gracie Dart is a relatable and funny character and her journey of self-discovery and growing up is one I think young women need.

Vallance perfectly captured the mindset of a post-GCSE student and the sense of
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Gracie Dart is a model student. She studies hard, colour coded all her notes and timetables and even turns down school trips if they aren’t going to further her education.
But when she’s finished her GCSEs and had her brush with death, which in actual fact was a simple cold sore and fake-tan mishap, she decides to live her life by the motto: you only live once.

We follow Gracie as she tries to live up to this, becoming a ‘yes woman’ as she refuses to turn down any opportunity thrown her way. How
Lauren James
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtqia, ukya

Funny, heart-warming, with just the right amount of bite, Gracie Dart is the gay successor to Georgia Nicolson that we’ve all been waiting for.
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
5 Words: Friendship, family, life, experience, humour.

Review of You Only Live Once by Jess Vallance originally posted at Tea Party Princess.

I'm a huge Jess Vallance fan so I already had Expectations when it came to this book. And they were definitely exceeded by the time I finished this book.

Getting my hands on this book was a bit of a YOLO moment. I was at YALC and it was getting late on the Sunday, I'd just pushed Birdy by Jess Vallance into Charoltte's hands saying "it's DARK" when I spotted
Sep 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the concept of the story in You Only Live Once - trying to make the most of life and being spontaneous. However, Grace is not my favourite character! I like her some of the time - like the part with her Nan. But her obsession with social media approval and ditching her friends just to hang out with people she has deemed to be cool for whatever reason means she gets mixed up with some people who aren’t great and doing some incredibly uncool things. And she just explains it all away. She ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
The first thing I would note about this book is that it is definitely aimed at the younger bracket of young adult readers, it is a teen novel following the adventures and misadventures of a sixteen year old girl. 
I didn't connect instantly with the character as I found her personality to be very contradicting. She was naive yet independent, inexperienced yet courageous.
As the character developed I laughed alongside her and enjoyed reading about the challenges she faced in her summer holidays. Fr
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
This book has been touted as one for fans of Geek Girl and I can see why.

It is light and funny, but also has a depth to it which will appeal to some of our Year 7/8 girls who like a bit of chick lit.

Gracie has just finished her exams and she is determined to shake off her Good Girl persona and go out and live her life. When she performs a drastic self-diagnosis on herself and takes herself to hospital she realises that she needs to live more spontaneously.

In the process of taking this new approa
Marie Andrews
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-lgbtq
This book is such a funny and lighthearted read and I predict it's going to be huge. It definitely gives a Georgia Nicolson/Harriet Manners sort of vibe - 2018 edition. Gracie Dart is an adorable and loveable character, as are the sides characters like Sarah and Til (Can I be friends with them all, please and thank you?!). This book covers issues such as sexuality, relationships, friendships, self identity as well as the usual dilemmas which come with family and school. You Only Live Once is a f ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
You Only Live Once is such a fantastic "coming of age" story that had me laughing out loud one minute and choked with tears the next.

While what happens in the second half of the book is definitely on the more unusual side of things, it is a pretty good representation of how it feels to be a teen waiting on exam results and not knowing where your life may lead.

I'll definitely be picking up a copy of the next book when it's out.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for providing me with a free copy to review
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This is the story of Grace as she's done with school and her GCSE's but when she thought she was dying of a tropical disease—found out it was a false alarm, she started to realise that she hasn't been living the life the way she really wanted to. She didn't take any chances, didn't seize any opportunity and instead holed herself up at home, studying.

I honestly can't relate to the character at all which I think is one of the major reasons that I couldn't really get into the story. Sure, I was fo
Ghostly  Writer
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
This was quite an engaging read! I will add the second novel in the series to my to-read list.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a certified fan of Jess Vallance's social media presence, and incidentally also her previous YA novels, I was MOST EXCITED and also INTRIGUED when this new series was announced. Turns out it's sharp, funny, surprisingly deep?! and satisfyingly gay. It made me literally lol on multiple occasions. Highly recommended!
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

I hadn't heard about this book until it's sequel was uploaded to NetGalley, but I thought with the comparison to Geek Girl, it might be something I enjoy, so I requested book 1 too. Yes, I did enjoy it, but it wasn't anything much, and there were times when I really couldn't believe how immature Gracie was, for someone who has just finished her GCSEs. She cares too much for her status, and blows off her norm
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Reading copy received for free, this does not affect my opinion.) A new book written by Vallance? AND it’s about the pressure of performing well? No doubt in my mind that I had to read it. There is so much pressure on teens and twenty-somethings today, that I loved the premise of the book from the very beginning. It was so entertaining and inspiring to read the main character’s struggles to find a life where she lives for the moment. She wasn’t always the most likable of characters, but I am lo ...more
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a series by Jess Vallance about a girl called Gracie who has finished taking her GCSE exams and has just come home from holiday with her family.
Gracie is studious, organised and sensible so she freaks out when she thinks she has been struck down with a tropical disease obviously picked up in Spain. Gracie goes to the A & E to be told that her skin is tinged yellow because of tinted moisturiser and the rash on her face is just a cold sore.
Gracie is in the park after her
Leanne Wain
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! It was just what I needed to get out of my reading slump. Seriously funny, the exciting beginnings of a cute F/F romance that feels like any other teen YA romance, a likable protagonist with Lessons to Learn that does a bunch of dumb things and becomes a better person.

Gracie Dart is one of the best characters I have encountered in YA for ages. She was a model student at a bit of a crossroads in her life. She had always assumed she'd ace her A Levels, go to one of the good Unis
Sabrina (sabrinareads_)
This book is totally aimed to students who have just finished school and trying to figure out what are the things that they want to do in life. By reading the synopsis, I can guarantee that the main character is going to have one helluva journey.

I truly enjoyed the concept of the book — trying to make the most out of life and being spontaneous. Gracie Dart is truly an excellent student, she scores well in her exams and turns down school trips just to be able to study at home. After finishing GCS
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
You Only Live Once is the first book in Jess Vallance’s series Gracie Dart; the second, To Be Perfectly Honest, was published this February. This contemporary YA novel was extremely hilarious and had me laughing the whole way through.

Gracie Dart has always been an incredibly hard working student: her room is covered in her revision notes. However, now her GCSEs are behind her and she has begun to wonder what the point of it all was. Now she thinks she’s dying of a tropical illness and begins to
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Grace Dart is 16 and a bit of a hypochondriac - after a week in Southern Spain she is convinced that she has some rare tropical disease (ah the curse of googling symptoms!) and she admits to having her local doctor's surgery on speed dial. What we also need to know about Grace is that she is all about the future - everything is geared to that magical point in the future when she will have the perfect job and the perfect life to go with it. So you can imagine how cheated she feels when
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
First of all, thank you Pansing for sending me this book in return for an honest review.

This book follows a girl named Grace Dart. She's paranoid, very uptight and she was kinda weird too at the starting of the book. Also, she always has plans and always ace in her exams and in life. But this all changed when she thought she had some sort of fatal disease which turned out to be nothing serious. Nevertheless, she starts to rethink about all the time she was studying and worrying over the future t
1.5 stars.

This book isn't bad, it's just a mess. I mean, maybe that's your cup of tea but it really isn't mine. I didn't hate the way this book was written, it's okay, but there were few other things that I liked about it.

I read the back of this book and thought it would be my new favourite because I get where she's coming from, I'm often consumed with the fear that I'm wasting my life, but, unlike Grace, I do absolutely nothing about it. However, it just did not live up to my expectations.

Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
You Only Live Once follows the story of Gracie who has just finished her GCSEs and after returning from holiday and the stress of it all she believes she has a tropical illness. After discovering it's not so she decides she is going to make the most of her life and live more rather than spending all her time studying. From the blurb I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the book as it didn't give a lot away and after reading the book I can understand why. I think the book did a good job of tackin ...more
Christina Reid
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
I am usually suspicious when a book is marketed as being perfect for fans of another book (particularly if it's the 'next' Harry Potter or Hunger Games), but in this case I think the marketing is accurate - if you loved Geek Girl, you'll also love this!
Gracie has spent her whole life doing the best she can to prepare for the future, overcoming every obstacle with planning, preparation and hard work. Yet, she starts to look at life in a different way when she believes that she has caught
Jess Munnery
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is such an important book for some people to read when they're the same as Grace in this book. So many questions are answered.
When you finish GCSEs and are faced with so many more years of exams to come (that is what society pushes us to do), all the 'What's the point?' questions are answered in this book. Here is why you SHOULD care about this detail and here's why you don't have to about others. I think it can be interpreted differently too depending on what your own choices were at this
Amy (Golden Books Girl)
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the first of this new YA contemporary series, we are introduced to Gracie Dart, who decides that she needs to stop hiding in her house studying and instead go out and have interesting experiences after a (not quite, but perceived) life-threatening situation. Gracie is a great protagonist, as her narration is often hilarious and she`s so likeable that I was totally rooting for her all the way through even though she didn`t always make the best of decisions, and does some questionable things. O ...more
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlotte (The Writers' Crown)
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is such an important book! Not only does it address the very real current situation of the stress high school kids go through now, but the relationships are wonderfully portrayed, our main character is a lesbian, and it shows all the options young people can go through these days regarding their future. I really wish I had this book when I was 16!

First of all, this was a hilarious book. I was laughing out loud most of the time. I also got pretty teary. It’s very relatable, even as a univers
Oct 06, 2020 added it
The book is incredibly written and I love it!
The website is a hilarious example website! I would love to get the physical book as I love the plot and would read and re-read again and again!
I would seriously recommend it to teen or young adult fans of Geek Girl or The Princess Diaries. I love books and have a select few favourites that I keep rereading...this is one of them!
I loved all the quirky bits and the authors writing style was very unique! It is a searing no with a bea
Alex Hale
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of this book before I saw that they were giving away ARC’s at YALC, but when I did hear about it, I knew it was one I wanted to read. I always love a good, funny contemporary, so I was really happy to get a copy at YALC.

The main character, Gracie, was so over dramatic about everything, but I didn’t find it annoying. It was actually done in a really funny way. I also found some of the situations she got into really funny. I also felt like she learnt some important stuff by the e
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