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Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

The Upside of UnrequitedThe Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a fun read and Molly was such a fun character! While she didn’t have a lot of confidence in some areas (kissing boys), she still seem to be confident in knowing who she was – a girl who was crafty, loved Pinterest and loved her family.
Her twin sister Cassie was also a great character and I would have liked to hear more from her…. watching her relationship develop with Mina was great but a bit more detail from the inside of that relationship would have been awesome!
The family relationships were a strong theme and Molly & Cassie’s mums were super cool and the story ending with a wedding was exactly the perfect ending.
If you want a book that covers first love, first kisses, family, friends with a bit of craft and humour thrown in – this book is for you.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Children’s for the ARC via NetGalley.

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The Inexplicable Logic of My LifeThe Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh wow! Reading this was like being on a rollercoaster of emotions. Such beautiful writing that had me connected and a part of the story and loving the characters, and then all of sudden having that feeling of a block of cement in my stomach while my heart broke a little with the tragedies that were unfolding.
I absolutely loved Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ and I had high expectations of this one. And while the writing was beautiful, it did take me a little while to get right into the story and realise what it was all about.
Sally (Salvador) was a strong character who just about always did the right thing and because of this, it was a little heartbreaking to see him struggle with his identity and where he fit in.
Samantha and Frito, Sally’s two friends were fantastic characters, each having their own demons to battle but in the end, this group of three friends had such a strong relationship it was hard to think of anything stopping them.
And the basis of their strong relationship was Sally’s father, Vicente. Yes, he wasn’t perfect but he came damn near close to being. How could anyone not be positively impacted by him.
Overall, this was a perfect read, it left me feeling differently about the world and also left me feeling love and hope.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for the ARC via NetGalley

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A List of CagesA List of Cages by Robin Roe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a two sitting read – I just couldn’t put it down. Julian and Adam were both equally interesting characters who I wanted to know more and more about. Julian, who broke my heart many times in many ways….struggling to get through life and dealing with the shit that he had no control over. And Adam, a seemingly happy-go-lucky guy who didn’t have many concerns and was just a flat out nice guy who everyone loved. Together they made a great pair. Adam’s friends were great secondary characters who I felt myself fitting into when they had lunch in the cafeteria or danced at a party. The story development went along at a good pace and I was full of hope for Julian….hope that he would get away from the evil that was surrounding him. And then part two happened. I was not expecting that and I held my breath for so many pages, turning and turning them trying to get to a good place.
The last part of the story saw Adam reach his breaking point and his group of friends trying to adjust to not having him around in his usual way.
The story affected me deeply, it is a 4 1/2 star read which will stay with me for a long time.
Thanks to Disney Book Group/Disney-Hyperion for the ARC via Netgalley.

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The Edge of EverythingThe Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A snarky teenage girl, adorable younger brother who sometimes can’t leave the house, 2 awesome dogs, lots of snow……. and a few murders, a version of hell called the Lowlands and bounty hunters who come to claim souls….. I would not have thought I would be saying I really enjoyed this one!
It was so easy to read and the range of characters was the thing I loved most. The relationship between Zoe and her younger brother Jonah was so good….. it had the perfect mixture of how much he annoyed her through to how much she loved and would do anything for him.
I also loved the relationship between X and Banger and Ripper, I think I enjoyed the story most when it was coming from the Lowlands…… it was an interesting world and something I haven’t read before.
One thing that I found I wasn’t that interested in was, Caving. It was part of the story, something that Zoe did and the thing that her father died doing….. but I just found that I wasn’t interested in reading about this at all so I did skip through a little bit.
I will definitely be buying a copy of this when it comes out so I can re-read, and am really looking forward to book two…..
Thanks to Bloomsbury USA via Netgalley for this copy.

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The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***Loved Loved Loved.***
As with many people, I loved Nicola Yoon’s first book Everything Everything and had very high expectations for The Sun is also a Star. I am happy to say those expectations were exceeded. After I started this story it didn’t take me very long to realise that I had fallen in love with both characters, and the story, and was reading something that I suspected would end up on my best books list! Natasha, who started the day with a final attempt at finding a way for her family to not have to be deported back to Jamaica that night and Daniel, who was on the way to his father’s shop and contemplating if he could crush his parent’s hopes by not going to college to become the expected ‘reliable, stable and successful Korean doctor,’ but instead to follow his dreams of being a poet.
They somehow run into each other and the rest of the day is spent following them around and discovering if two people really can fall in love in one day.
The writing was fantastic and for the few hours that I was reading this, I felt like I was right there in the story with Natasha and Daniel. These two characters certainly clicked and had the perfect amount of sass and cheekiness, combined with kindness and hope. (Have I mentioned I fell in love with both of them!)
The extra little thing that I absolutely adored about the story was all of the short reflections of the minor interactions with other characters, whether it was Irene the security guard, or the lawyer. Natasha’s dad or Daniel’s dad. Simply including a paragraph or two from their point of view had such a great impact. I also loved the two endings…. when I reread, which I definitely will be doing many times, I can choose which ending to read depending on my mood!
I recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a story about love – falling in love, love for your family, love for your dreams.

There were many beautiful words and sentences in this story that made my heart crinkle with love and happiness….here are two examples:
‘he kisses the corner of my palm again, and I sigh. Touching him is order and chaos, like being assembled and disassembled at the same time.’

‘He thinks my hair smells like spring rain. I’m really trying to remain stoic and unaffected. I remind myself that I don’t like poetry. I don’t even like people who like poetry. but I’m not dead inside either.’

Review copy received from Penguin Random House UK Children’s via Netgalley.

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Words in Deep BlueWords in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book reminded me of how much I love books, how much I love stories, how much I love words and how much I love book shops. It also reminded me of how awesome it is to connect people with their next favourite book (I love working in a library too!!)
Apart from reminding me of all of these things, I was brought into the world of Rachel who I absolutely adored and just wanted to give a really big hug to – so many times. Leaving her mum to go live with her aunt in the city where she grew up sounds like a good idea until she realises that she has been given a job in the local bookstore which is owned by the boy she once declared her love to – and never got a response. She is brave and kind and funny and she held onto her grief and kept it all to herself, until she couldn’t.
Henry, said boy whose family owns the bookstore is at many times, a total idiot (once you have read the book you will know exactly what I am talking about!) and I was scratching my head and talking to the book saying, “Henry you are so smart…. why are you being such an idiot…..” But he is also a loveable, goofy, book boy. He feels things deeply and is the best person to be on the sometimes never-ending feeling hunt for the right copy of The Walcott Poems. I know he will find it one day, he is not the type to give up.
And George, Henry’s amazing sister George. So tough and confident and snarky and yet so soft, innocent and breakable all at the same time.
Henry about George, ‘Sometimes I think she likes post-apocalyptic fiction so much because she’s genuinely happy at the thought that the world might end.’
I think it was George who finally broke my heart as I was reading.
I loved the Letter Library and am determined to find a way to develop one in my local library and I feel very good about being a reader who likes to underline passages and sentences and I can’t wait to start writing notes in books, leaving a piece of myself in them (I will try not to do this in library books though!)
This book was a whole lot of awesome. Family, friends, grief…. love and books. When I had finished reading and had wiped away the last tears and smiled at the memories, I immediately looked up TS Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations, and then read The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock – what a great way to end.

* 8 August – first comments: Undoubtedly my favourite book of the year. My heart broke more than once and the words were those which I wanted to wrap my arms around and keep close.
Review to come soon.

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Holding Up the UniverseHolding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was busting out of my skin to read this book as I absolutely loved All the Bright Places and while it didn’t give me all of the feelings that ATBP did (like my heart had been ripped out and chewed up and I didn’t stop crying for hours), I really enjoyed it.
I really liked Libby and connected with her hopes and fears. I didn’t feel sorry for her at all, and I think that is what I liked so much about her – she knew who she was and what she wanted and had so much guts to confront all of the assholes that she had to deal with, she didn’t feel sorry for herself and deserves respect and admiration.
I liked Jack also, but didn’t really connect with him. It was interesting reading about someone with face blindness and how he coped with it, the strategies that he had development just to get through each day and what he thought he had to do to fit in.
Overall I enjoyed this story which highlights the age-old fact that it is what is on the inside that counts, that being kind is like magic to some people and that there are loads of assholes in the world.

Thanks to Penguin UK and Netgalley for a copy of this book.

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