Double Book Review: The Bone Sparrow AND They Both Die At The End >3

I’ve read two amazing books this month so far, both of which I found incredibly powerful in very different ways. Both are books that are definitely up the top of my Favourite Reads For This Year, as well as being added to my ongoing Favourite Books of All Time, all of which I have rated 5 stars on Goodreads. I loved both of these books so much, so I thought I may as well do a Double Review post rather than write about them separately.  So, without any more rambling….

 

They Both Die At The End

by Adam Silvera

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I’ve likely said this before, but to my eyes Adam Silvera is a storytelling genius. I fell hard for his moving and unique knack of writing diverse YA stories when I read More Happy Than Not, and this book love continued when I read History Is All You Left Me, and has now strengthened even more after finish the superb They Both Die At The End.

First of all, the overall concept of a Death-Cast in They Both Die At The End is just brilliant and makes for one of the most unique reads I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The whole idea of living in a world in which you, your friends or your family, not to mention thousands of strangers, might get a midnight alert rom Death-Cast telling you you’re going to die within the next 24 hours is frightening. It’s meant to act as giving the Deckers (the people who’re going to die, whether from natural causes or accidents) a last chance to live. Before they die, they can go to their own funerals, submit epitaphs and visit Make-a-Moment venues or Travel Centres designed specifically for those who’ve never had the chance to cross travelling off their bucket lists. Adam Silvera does a wonderful job at bringing this concept to life, and of course bringing with it the reminder that we should all live our days like it’s our last.

Mateo and Rufus are the main characters we see this world through, and I loved them both. They’re told they’re going to die on the same day, and they decide to meet through the Last Friend app, to be there for each other during their last day on earth. They take that risk of opening up to a stranger due to different life circumstances I won’t disclose, and in the course of the day they develop a believable and beautiful friendship. As I said, I loved both characters and I was incredibly moved throughout, especially at the end of the book. It’s not very often that a book makes me so heartbroken that I cry.  I did  when I finished this book, though, and I think that was partly because I never wanted it to end. Any of it.

This is a powerful and beautiful book about two people finding each other in their last chance to live. It’s about the people they were and who they become together. It’s about the people they’ll leave behind and what they’ll leave behind when they’re gone. I really loved it and I hope you do too if you ever pick it up.

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The Bone Sparrow

by Zana Fraillon

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The Bone Sparrow is a book I believe everyone who can read should read, no matter what age. I don’t want to downgrade it by simply saying it’s an “important book”, because though it certainly is, it’s much more than just important. It’s about the incredibly unfair fact that humans are treated as criminals for trying to live. It’s about families desperate to leave their dangerous home countries to find somewhere safe to live, but no such place exists for them. It’s about people being told they don’t belong anywhere on earth. It’s about human cruelty. It’s about having hope in a life where hope is very hard to find. It’s about stories and imagination. It’s about the small kindnesses of humans that make all the difference. It’s about courage. It’s about friendship and family. It’s about everything that should be more important than white people’s snobbish ownership over a country like Australia or the UK or the USA.

Growing up in Australia, I have always been so disgusted by Stop The Boat Campaigns and the fact that thousands of refugees are imprisoned in disgusting environments on Manus Island, to name one of the Detention Centres on the border of Australia. To this day, I cannot understand how there are so many people around the world that are forgotten, that cannot be freed, that are so beyond unfairly treated it blows my mind. Too much of the Western World is evil and the severe mistreatment of  refugees is one of the most evil things, as any one with a heart would know.

I admire Zana Fraillon so much for writing this novel. She has managed to write a novel about such serious and heartbreaking subject matter with a brightness and a hope I never would’ve expected. Subhi is the light of this novel. He is so hopeful that he, his sister Queeny and his Ma will one day find their way out of the Detention Centre he was born in and has lived in all his life (10 or so years). They are Rohingya refugees, the mostly Muslim minority in Myanmar that are being killed by the military/Barmar today, as part of the military crackdown crisis. Subhi is waiting for his Ba to come to them like he promised before he was born, and while he waits he tells himself and his best friend Eli stories and lives in a world of hope despite his disgraceful living circumstances. When he meets Jimmie, a girl from Outside, he learns more about what he’s missing out on and the powers of friendship and courage.

This is just a beautiful, vivid novel. I don’t want to give the plot or anything else away, but it’s another book that made me cry several times. It’s just so wonderful, I can’t even. Just read it, please, and see what I’m talking about. This novel should be read in schools like yesterday, maybe it is, I don’t know. While Fraillon’s characters and depiction of the Detention Centre are fictional, they are based on real things that are happening today. Things that we forget about in our safe little bubbles. These people like Subhi and his family shouldn’t be forgotten. Not ever. Even if there’s nothing those of us who care can do, we can at least listen and remember and send our thoughts their way.

 

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September Wrap Up and October, November & December TBR

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September 

This will be my last Wrap Up/TBR post for quite a long time, because in a few weeks I’m leaving the UK and flying to Beijing to begin a 10 month+  travelling trip of a lifetime with my boyfriend!!! SO EXCITED!!!

September’s been a great month for reading and in general. My boyfriend and I have been super lazy for most of it, enjoying some time at home before we move out at the end of the month. I’ve also read quite a few awesome books, some of which are definitely my favourite reads of the year.

AND I reached my Reaching Challenge goal of 50 books! And then surpassed it by 2 books (well, almost! I’m currently reading book no.2, heh :D). So now I’m hoping I might get to 60 books by the end of the year.

 

 Books I Read

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I was so excited when this was released because I love Patrick Ness. He’s such an inspiring person and writer. When I found out Release was partly a homage to Mrs. Dalloway, I was even more excited. I love the idea of a book set in one day, and Ness does a wonderful job portraying Adam in that one day. I loved Adam’s story. It was rich in detail and relatable to anyone who just wants to be loved unconditionally. It was heartbreaking and hilarious and just a beautiful read. The problem with this novel, however, is that alongside Adam’s story, there’s also this strange mystical story involving a ghost, a deer and a Queen. I didn’t understand or enjoy those parts. While I respect Ness for trying something different, it just didn’t work for me. But, seriously, read this book for Adam’s story (it’s A+) and who knows, maybe the other part will affect you in a different way.

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Eliza and Her Monsters is incredible. I’ve never read anything like it. Francesca Zappia is one of the most unique YA writers, in my opinion. Eliza is a wonderful character. Her webcomic Monstrous Sea actually sounds amazing and I wish it was a real thing. I loved so much reading about her joy in creating it, as well as her struggles with it and, in relation, herself. Her relationship with her family, her online friends and Wallace were incredible and complex. I’m not even sure how to write about this book in a way that tells you just how incredible it is. So just read it!!

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This is the third and final of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s YA standalones and I definitely enjoyed it, though it was very similar to the other two. My favourite thing about it was its links to The Cemetery of Forgotten Books world.

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Dreamology was good, but it’s not amazing. It had some moments that had me in stitches and some moments that made me smile. It had some moments that made me roll my eyes and get frustrated. It was entertaining and crazy (as a novel about a dream boy coming to life should be) and quite clever in it’s own way. It’s not the most memorable novel or one I’ll ever gush over. But it was entertaining and I really liked Alice and Max and Oliver. This is a good book for reading over a weekend and one to make you laugh, but at the end of the day it won’t be a novel I remember.

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This book was really interesting. I’d actually completely forgotten it was a verse novel when I opened it, but I’ve always enjoyed verse so I wasn’t disappointed. It’s very different to any other YA novel I’ve read. It’s unexpected. It’s like a little window looking into the souls of two characters. A small glimpse into their minds. Jess and Nicu are both great characters. I especially enjoyed Nicu’s perspectives of England/Western ways of life, as he was Romanian and new to the country. I can see that a lot of people might not enjoy this novel. It doesn’t have an incredibly meaty plot and you have to work hard to figure out what it’s really trying to say. For me, it was a insightful look at the lives of two teens and how they changed each other for the time they knew each other. And I think that’s pretty lovely and true to life.

c502df45b27c73ed0a932dbde2835271This book really does creep up on you. At first it just seems like a nice little YA novel about a main character, Suzette, her friends and family. But, as the novel delves further into the plot and into the lives of the characters, you realise how much more this novel is. It’s about so much, it’s about depression and sexuality and racism and a whole number of relevant issues. It’s diverse, but it doesn’t try hard to be. Which is so important in a YA novel. It’s heartbreaking and honest. I loved Suzette (Little) and I loved Lionel (Lion) and there were so many other great characters, though there is one character I didn’t really warm to  (her name starts with R).  It felt like a story about a real teenage girl struggling with her sexuality, finding her place and trying her hardest to keep her brother safe. A really great and touching story.

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I hadn’t planned on reading The Wind Through The Keyhole this month (I’d actually completely forgotten we owned it) but I’m so glad I did. It was so nice to step back into The Dark Tower universe again. I loved each of the three stories in this book within a book. The first a little snippet back with Roland and the gang, another the mystery of the skin-man set in Roland’s past and the third a story his mother used to tell him about a brave boy named Tim titled The Wind Through The Keyhole. It was such a good read, I really enjoyed it.

Aristotle-and-Dante-Discover-the-Secrets-of-the-UniverseRead my review of this incredible book here. Ari & Dante is now one of my all-time favourites. I loved it.

 

Currently Reading 

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I am absolutely loving this book so far. It’s beautiful. Really vivid and gorgeous writing and a story I love to sink into, one that’s rich with a balance of heartbreak and hope. When I’m finished, I’ll definitely write a proper review for this!

 

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I have a lot of books I’d like to read over the remainder of the year, though it’s so hard to know how much time/energy I’ll actually have for reading when we start our travels. Whatever the case, these are the novels I’d love to read at some point and hopefully I read some of them. I also have another list of books I would like to read but don’t own yet (so probably not until next year), which you can see here if you’re curious.

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And the rest of the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom Series…..

 

So, there you have it! I’m going to miss making these posts! What do you think of my reads/TBR? 🙂 🙂

 

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe

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I just put down Aristotle & Dante after reading the last page and am I speechless. I have absolutely no clue how I haven’t read this beautiful book before now. It’s a book that’s always been in the back of my radar, one I always meant to read but was never at the top of my list. Well, it should’ve been. Why did it take me so long?? Whatever the case, I’ve  finally read it and I loved every minute of doing so.

Aristotle & Dante is unlike any book you will ever read. I promise you that. It’s wonderful, it really is. Ari is a complex character that you just root for the whole way through. Dante is extraordinary. Their friendship and the lessons they learn together are so precious. Both Ari’s and Dante’s parents are wonderful. All the characters will make you feel everything, from heartbreak to happiness.

This is a story about loneliness and searching for answers. It’s about not knowing who you are and having to work hard to find out. It’s about letting what’s inside you come out, letting yourself talk to the people who want to listen. It’s about the best and the worst parts of the world. It’s about how important every human and animal on earth is. It’s about the fragility of everything. And it’s about having the strength not to run away. from what you’re afraid of.

And it’s about so much more than all that. I can’t even.

I absolutely loved reading this book and applaud Benjamin Alire Saenz on his profound way of portraying life through the eyes of a teenage boy struggling with his own existence in the universe.

If you’ve put of reading this book like I did, don’t any longer. It’s incredible and I promise you that you will love it. I’m rubbish at writing a good review that doesn’t blab away the whole story, but I hope if you read this that you at least consider picking this book up. You won’t regret it 🙂

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EDIT: Just discovered there will be a sequel called There Will Be Other Summers AND I AM BEYOND EXCITED!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My TBR For The Near Future

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This Week’s Topic: 

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

As an Australian, my “fall” (a term I’ve never used) is always at a different time to pretty much the rest of the planet, so for this week’s TTT I chose to make a list of books I’d love to read soon during my travels in China, Southeast Asia and Australia! These are all books I haven’t purchased on my kindle (my go-to for books only because I am travel-bound at the moment and cannot buy many hardcopies/suffer from understocked UK libraries) but ones I’d definitely love to read asap!

 

1)

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

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I love some John Green novels and I’m a bit meh on others, but I’m still really looking forward to reading this, and I have to say it sounds like it could be a really great story! Hopefully Aza will be an amazing female character we’ll all fall in love with.

 

2)

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

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I love Emma Mills’ books (This Adventure Ends in particular), so I’m excited for this one. And it’s got a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at its core, so what could be better?

 

3)

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga 

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I really liked Jasmine Warga’s debut novel, My Heart and Other Black Holes, so only natural that I’m keen to read this one. I don’t know much about it, but I expect some great things from it 🙂 Plus, the cover is so good!

 

4)

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life  by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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I’m currently/finally read Ari & Dante and I’m only a quarter of my way in and I love it already. So I’m beyond excited to check out this one and I’m sure it’ll be right up my street 🙂

 

5

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

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I came across this in the kindle store and the synopsis just grabbed my attention as it sounds quirky, angsty and fun all at the same time, so I think it’ll be a nice read.

 

6)

A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove

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Nate has problems with ghosts and the fact that he’s accidentally falling in love with his best friend. Just the ghost thing got me interested, but can’t help but love a good friendship to love (hopefully) story!

7)

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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I’m not keen on the title (hahaha) but this sounds like it could be a really good read involving creative writing (which I always love to see as a main topic in books) and what looks like a forbidden love between two boys.

 

8)

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery, especially when it has direct references to The Breakfast Club? Gimme.

 

9)

Madness by Zac Brewer

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This sounds really intriguing and dark. What do you expect from a book about two teens suffering from depression? I have a feeling this book will be powerful and unpredictable and I’m hoping it won’t fall into any tropes that some YA novels do.

 

10)

The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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This sci-fi novel has some really good reviews, lots of people seem to love it so I’m keen to give it a go. Something a little different and away from my normal YA 😛

What do you think of my TTT this week? And what delightful books were on yours? 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved When I Was A Young Teen

top-ten-tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

 

This Week’s Topic: Throwback Freebie 

I’m a little late posting this, but really wanted to join in this week as I really love the topic! I remember really getting into reading in my early years of High School (as we call it in Australia) and I especially remember these 10 books as the ones I was reading when I was around 12-14 years old 🙂

 

1)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling 

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I can remember when I was in Year 7 being so excited about the fifth HP book being released and all of my friends were, too. I had the book pre-ordered and my Mum took me to pick it up the day it came out. And though it was the biggest book of the series, I demolished it in a weekend. Of course, the last two Harry Potter books are also obviously included here, I was just a little bit older when they came out (but still just as a excited like a kid on Christmas). And I’d already read the first 4 before High School, as they were pretty much all I wanted to read until then!

 

2)

Narnia by C.S Lewis

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I used to love reading Narnia and remember being so happy when my uncle bought me the whole series for Christmas the year before I started High School. I still think the opening sentence of this particular instalment is one of the funniest openings I’ve ever read: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

 

3)

Deadly and Wicked by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman

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I had the box set of both Deadly and Wicked and at the time I absolutely loved them. They were hilarious and just something fun haha!

 

4)

Shadowland by Meg Cabot

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I read quite a lot of Meg Cabot books when I was younger, and I remember this one quite, though I couldn’t tell you how many of the series after the first book I actually read :P.

5)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

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This is still one of my favourite books. I read it on holiday in New Zealand when I was 14 and it’s always stuck with me. Such a great read!

 

6)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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Me and one of my best friends loved these books and used to read them together all the time. A very iconic series at the time and I’m proud to say I’ve read every single instalment.

 

7)

Love and Other Four Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler

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I also loved her other book, The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things. Kinda started my obsession with YA Contemporary “Chicklit” books haha.

 

8)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Which brings me to this series… which I did indeed love at the time, though I think when I read the final book I was a little bit over it 😛

 

9)

Holes by Louis Sacher

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This is a great book, I still think that today. I loved it when I first read it so much that I re-read it a few years later and it was even better :).

 

10)

Deadly, Unna? by Phillip Gwynne

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As an Australian teen with a Dad who loved AFL (Aus footbool) and a Mum who knew a lot about Indigenous Australian history, this book was a really great and interesting read for me. Really inspiring.

 

So, there you have it! Have you also read any of these? 🙂

Book Review: The Hate U Give

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I have so much respect for Angie Thomas and the strength it must have taken to write this book. The Hate U Give is the most important and relevant book I’ve read this year, and I’m so pleased it’s getting such well-deserved praise and hype. As a white person, I’m so happy that I read it because it gave me really important insight into something I only knew so much about.

The story revolves around Starr Carter, a teenager who lives in Garden Heights (a black neighbourhood in which poverty, crime and gangs are high) and goes to a predominately white-kid school. Starr witnesses her friend Khalil being fatally shot by a policeman, he was unarmed and didn’t do anything wrong. Soon after her neighbourhood is overwhelmed by riots and violence, in which she and her family get caught up. The novel is an enthralling mix of anger, love and fighting for justice. Starr has to decide if she can speak up for Khalil’s life, the life so unfairly taken from him. She was a really interesting character, especially in the way she presented herself differently in the eyes of either her white friends or “Ghetto” neighbourhood and family, and in how she dealt with witnessing her best friends death. Angie Thomas presents fascinating and honest insights into what it’s like to grow up as an African American in similar neighbourhoods to Garden Heights, common white perspectives and, most of all, the justice any of us should want for lives taken so wrongly, wastefully and unnecessarily.

I will tell anyone and everyone to read this book. Whether you’re black, white, yellow. We’re all human and we must fight what’s happening in this world, this world that should have “progressed” more than it has. Black Lives Matter. Every single life matters, but too often, as Angie Thomas writes, people including Emmett Till, Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin (it kills me how many more people there are) are thrown aside like they don’t matter at all. This is why we have to continue to do the right thing and to speak up against those who are way behind where the rest of us are. Even if that’s just reading this book and talking about it.

 

July Wrap-Up and August TBR

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July

July has been a great month! My boyfriend and I got couple tattoos (they look amazing!) and my Grandma arrived from Australia to visit me and her family that still live over here. It was so nice to see her and can’t wait til she’s back with us in August. It’s also been a great month of reading for me 😀 😀 As you’ll see below…

 

Books I Read

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So, the second book in Justin Cronin’s epic Vampire saga. Much like with the first book, it took me awhile to warm up. But, around a quarter or so in, I was pretty hooked again. My problem was that I wanted to read about the characters I already knew, rather than a new group of them, so I was a little stumped at first. BUT, and this is the important thing about this series, YOU HAVE TO KEEP READING. If you’re ever like me when you read these books, maybe feeling a little bored with some characters or whatever, just keep going! It all makes sense in the end and all falls into place so amazingly. The Twelve keeps you on your toes to the point you really have no idea what’s coming next. It’s exciting, raw and yep, a little bit terrifying. Brilliant read.

 

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I had absolutely no idea what I expected from the third and final book of The Passage series, I only knew that I’d sat next to my boyfriend while he was reading it and it made him so psyched, he couldn’t put it down. I read it shortly after finishing The Twelve and it took me a little less time to read than the others. I think it might be my favourite of the trilogy, though I can’t really pinpoint why. It really just bought the whole story into a whole, everything came together in a way that was unexpected, brave and clever. There’s a whole segment in this book that I didn’t expect to like as it was focused on a character we hadn’t really met yet (NO SPOILERS), but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I just loved seeing how everything panned out for the characters I’d gotten to know over the last few weeks. I can’t really fault this book as a finale, it’s pretty spectacular. Definitely think you should read this series if you’re at all interested in an enthralling story, raw characters and of course, vampires. And not one’s that sparkle or are much like anything you’ve probably seen before. I recommend this series to all :).

 

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The best thing this coming-out novel had going for it was humour. It made me laugh almost on every page. Noah is one funny guy! In some ways, I feel like the book was a bit too far away from my age group (though I can’t really be considered a Young Adult myself anyway anymore, even if I feel like I haven’t changed much since I was one), because some of it was a bit immature/dumb. But I guess that was part of the charm and part of Noah’s discovery of himself. I did really enjoy it overall. Noah’s Grandma is the best character beside Noah himself, and well, his relationship with Harry is pretty darn adorkable. A nice, easy little read :).

 

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Now, this was exactly the kind of feel-good YA contemporary I’ve been looking for. It made me gush and laugh and even get a bit weepy inside. Bailey is a great character. I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t say much else because I don’t want to spoil it, but if you’re looking for a fun book to read, this one’s it.

 

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I am a massive fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, so decided to read one of his three young adult novels, the first one he ever published. I enjoyed The Prince of Mist enough to want to check out the other ones, but I think the translation of this particular story got a little lost at times, so I couldn’t connect to it at times. It seemed the language was often over simplified. But, still, Zafon is a fantastic storyteller and he always manages to surprise me with his fantastic mysteries, so I can’t really fault him too much.

 

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I bought this on a whim for 99p on my kindle and soon after I noticed there’s a lot of hate on this book on Goodreads. Which, now that I’ve read it, I can understand but some of it I don’t agree with. People were slamming the main character, Molly, for never learning from her mistakes, but I feel like she had to make those mistakes to learn. Molly wasn’t very in touch with herself, which made it seem like she never knew what she was doing, but there are times that we are all like that. It’s very human to be that way, to have no idea who you are and to make mistakes and to hurt people when you’re simply feeling too much. I think Molly is an interesting, flawed character. I actually liked that this book’s not your normal Contemporary teen romance story. It also contains a good lesson about double standards, so props for that.

 

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Hands down one of the most raw and honest novels about sexuality and belonging I’ve ever read. I adored it. It actually made me cry. I want to write a proper review for this book because I think it deserves it, so hopefully I get some time to. Seth King isn’t always the perfect writer. There were times I thought Cole’s monologues rambled a bit and that feelings and ideas were often repeated. But King knows exactly how to get his points across and how to make you feel, deep in your heart. This is so worth the read and such an important story, telling to the world as it is today, the world that many of us don’t see. Read it.

 

 

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August

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