YALC, YALC, YALC

Now that my YALC hangover has subsided, and life outside is a little quieter I have a spare moment to share with you all my time at YALC.

If you aren’t sure as to what YALC is, earlier this year I discussed the books that I wished to read before the convention, and went through and explained what the convention is all about, how it came about, and who was attending this year – that post can be found here.

Due wp-image-1824043240to work commitments, I had to travel from Newcastle to London over night Saturday 29th July to attend the Young Adult Literature Convention, and good god, what a journey that was. I am so grateful to have had a travel buddy in the form of Rebecca from This Booky Place – the journey was definitely made easier with by having her around.

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Honestly, I was incredibly worried that I would be too tired to really enjoy YALC, and that I wouldn’t be able to do everything that I wanted to do, but I feel as if I did well in almost everything that I wanted.

I attended signings for some of my favourite authours – Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan, Sara Barnard and Patrick Ness – which was all very exciting, however I felt as if a hardly spoke to the authors during the signing because I was so nervous. I think I only managed to whisper a few words to both Sarah Crossan and Sara Barnard. But I did manage to talk to Brian Conaghan about the awkward spelling of my name – so thats something. But I have already made myself a promise to be less of an awkward little mouse next year.

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As well as the signings, I also attended several panels and talks throughout the day. Including Writing and Social Change, chaired by Non Pratt, Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan, chaired by Phill Earle, Life Advice (which was hilarious, and brilliant) chaired by Chelsey Pippin and Patrick Ness, chaired by Juno Dawson. Now, anyone who attended Patrick Ness’ panel is most likely to agree, that paring Ness and Dawson together was a bloody brilliant idea – and for me, this panel was the highlight of my weekend. It was something I needed, without knowing I really needed it? So yes, I am so glad that I could attend Sunday for that.

I promised myself that I would be sensible when it came to buying books, and picking up arcs – I mean, I really did not feel like lugging a hideous number of books over 200 miles. But, I still came home with 12 books – and that was after tragically loosing a book somewhere between London Victoria and Newcastle. But thats a whole different post.

However, throughout all of the madness that was my first YALC experience I got to hang out with some delightful bookish friends, talk about books, live books and breathe them, and it was fantastic.

I am so excited to book my ticket for next year, and this time get to spend the whole weekend with my friends, living, breathing and loving books.

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REVIEW | Troublemakers by Catherine Barter

Title: Troublemakerstroublemakers

Author: Catherine Barter

Publisher: Anderson Press

Publication Date: June 1st 2017

Genre: YA

Pages: 384 pages

Extract: In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened.

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.

Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.


Troublemakers, is a well written coming of age story – discussing topics such as politics, grief and non-nuclear families. It follows Alena – a teenage girl being brought up by her older brother and his same sex partner in a time where there is fear in the air. Alena want’s to learn more about her past, and her short life with her mum but there are secrets that need to be uncovered to learn the truth.


I fell in love with Nick and Danny almost instantly, they are the protagonists – Alena’s – acting guardians who are desperate to try and get things right. And although we do witness countless arguments between Nick and Danny when things get tough for the pair, we can see that they are so in love with one-another. And I just rooted for their relationship throughout the entire novel.

He can’t see anything good without thinking he’ll lose it.

Alena, on the other hand was a character I didn’t connect with right away. And sometimes so of the things she said or done made me cringe a little. But Alena was aware of the times she was being unreasonable, or over stepped the mark a little and to me, that made Alena real and it really allowed me to connect with her as we progressed throughout the novel.

Additionally, I loved the way in which Alena, Tegan and Ollie communicated, and conversed. It was how real teenagers would communicate and it never felt forced, or as if the author – Catherine Barter – was unaware of teenagers today.

What I loved most about this story was, that despite the side story following the attacks carried out by the East End Bomber – a terrorist planting bombs in supermarkets around Alena’s home town – there was no big plot twist ending, no death of a relative, nothing tragic of the sort, but instead we are with Alena when she learns the truth about the earliest years of her life and her time with her mother. I definitely feel that this could of been a little bit of an anticlimax but for me, personally I loved this. It was so well written, and it was something I really wanted without my realising what I wanted. I sometimes feel that big plot twist endings can be forced, and rushed into – that there is no build up but with this ending I realised that we have been slowly learning about Alena, and that we want nothing more than for her to learn the truth.

With everything that is going on in the world the novel was released at a time where certain aspects of this story are all to real, but I did still enjoy it. At first I really wasn’t so sure, and thought that it would be a little too much given the current state of the world however, I think it was well written which helped erase my fears.


★★★★✰

I would rate Troublemakers 4 out 5, as although the novel was a little slow at the start, I began to really love the novel as it progressed. And the characters are fantastic.


Have you read Troublemakers by Catherine Barter? If so, why don’t you share with me your thoughts?

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My Favourite..

A few days ago one of my closest friends, and fellow bloggers – Bradley – from Bradley’s Book Nook shared his favourite novels, quotes and characters with us, and I absolutely loved his post so I thought I would share with you a few of my own bookish favourites.

You can also read Bradley’s post here!


Young Adult Novel

Looking for Alaska by John Green – and I know I have mentioned this novel a few times, however this story will always be my favourite YA novel. lfa

I actually first read Looking for Alaska when I was about 15, roughly 4 years after the novel was first published but it’s a novel that I have read over, and over, and over yet the story still always seems new to me with every read. And with every reread I will take something different away from the novel, and I will have a new favourite chapter, and a new favourite character – for me, every reread is like reading the novel for the very first time.

And I just adore Pudge and Alaska and Colonel and Takumi and the Eagle and Lara, okay?


Children’s Series

 

Honestly, this was a very easy choice for me with Enid Blytons The Famous Five being my all time favourite children’s series of all time.

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First published in 1942 – 75 years ago this September – these books have been with me since I was born. And the set I first read belonged to my Grandparents, and served me well growing up.

The Famous Five novels follow Julian, Dick, Anne, and cousin George (Georgia) and her forever faithful dog – Timmy – on 21 adventures that most children only wish that they could have.

These novels are just so fantastically written, even at 22 years of age I can still enjoy them and appreciate them as I once did.


Quote

I have a few favourite quotes, for a few different reasons but this one from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling is my favourite.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

It is a quote that I’ve kept close, especially when times are tough. It reminds me that even though it seem’s as if bad luck follows me, there will always be something good there waiting for me to realise this world isn’t all bad. And considering everything that has been going on over the last few months, it couldn’t be more fitting.


Poem

I haven’t read poetry in quite sometime but there is one that really sticks in my mind from when I was at school, and I can actually still recite it without much struggle.

Tyger, Tyger by William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears

And water’d heaven with their tears:

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Read it out loud, and tell me that it doesn’t sound fantastic when you read it? Please?


I hope you have enjoyed reading about a few of my favourite bookish things, and I would love to hear if we share any favourites or if you disagree?

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3 Bookish Wishes

We all wish for something, whether we are wishing for matching front covers, squeals to our favourite novels or for characters to fall in love, a wish is never far from our lips. And when it comes to bookish wishes, I have plenty.

If I just so happened to stumble upon a genie, I think that my first bookish wish would be to have my own personal library, much like Belle’s from Beauty and the Beast. Just imagine sitting by the fire, all cosy and snug with your favourite novel. And when that book comes to an end, you would always have something to pick up next, with shelves from floor to ceiling you would always have plenty of choice.

My second wish would be that no damage could ever come to the books that my friends or I own. That would mean no more damaged spines, or bent corners, or crinkled covers. My books would stay in immaculate condition, just like new.

Honestly, I thought about my third and final wish long and hard, and I think that I would wish for the ability to be able to actually transport myself in and out of the world of whatever book I am reading at that time, and become a character of my choice from said novel. It would be so amazing, and magical to be able to place myself inside of books. I would maybe even like to become my own character within the book, and tell my own story. Just imagine?


What would be your 3 bookish wishes? Are there any authors that you would like to invite to tea, or any literary worlds that you would like to delve in to?

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Confessions of a Reader

Looking back towards the end of last year I blogged about 7 of my biggest confessions as a reader, and rereading them has made me think of a few more confessions.

  1. I sometimes fold the corners of books, only tiny little folds but yes I sometimes fold them.
  2. When picking up books in a charity shop, I will occasionally pick up a book if the cover is completely undamaged. The book could be one that I already own, or one I haven’t even heard of. I just feel as if I can’t let it go.
  3. I never, ever stick to a TBR. I don’t even know I create them.
  4. I will use anything and everything as a bookmark, once I even found myself using the packaging from a pair of socks. Yep.
  5. Although I like order, my books shelves are a complete mess, and I hate it.
  6. I don’t enjoy reading books in a series, and I will get frustrated if I have to wait for the next instalment. I’m awful.
  7. Honestly, I think I only read about 40% of the books I buy a year, and that is shocking.

Reading back these confessions make me cringe a little. Please put me out of my misery and share with me some of your bookworm confessions, I would love to hear them!

And if you missed the first set of bookish confessions, you can check them out here!

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REVIEW | The Flight of the Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Title: The Flight of a Starlingtheflightofthestarling

Author: Lisa Heathfield

Publisher: Egmont Publishing

Publication Date: 29th June 2017

Genre: YA

Pages: 320 pages

Extract: Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.

Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?


Flight of the Starling is a beautifully written novel, following the lives of a traveling circus staring Lo and Rita, two close sisters. The novel is split into two perspectives with Lo, and Rita each contributing their own story to the novel. Although we learn more about Lo than Rita through this. When their circus rolls into a new town, and the girls – alongside Spider and Ash – go exploring, and Lo finds herself falling in love with Dean, a Flattie (or a person with non-circus blood). No good can come of this relationship, and typically things take a turn for the worst when Lo’s father finds out.

A story of forbidden romances, secrets and hurt.


I instantly fell in love with both Lo, and Rita, the relationship they have and their love for their circus family. I adore reading about close families in novels, as I am close to mine. And it is not very often you read of sibling friendships.

But, I also found it difficult to connect with the other characters within the novel, and I believe that this was partially to do with how the novel was told solely through Rita and Lo’s perspective, therefore not sharing all that much information about the other characters. However, of what I learnt about Dean, I did love. He was dedicated in supporting his mum to have a better life than what she currently had, and he wasn’t bitter about not knowing his father, and although I’d understand if he did display hurt, it was nice to see that he didn’t.

If you’re a giant, when we move on, it’ll only take a few steps if you want to come and see me.

The Flight of the Starling was the first novel by Lisa Heathfield that I have picked up, and I quite quickly fell in love with her writing style. I was easily able to imagine the world in which she was trying to create, and I could see the characters clearly in my head, making the novel enjoyable from the off. It was also an easy read, with Heathfield using language that was descriptive, and fitting for the story without it being over complicated. It flows really well, and it’s clear. And I know I’ve said this but it’s just bloody lovely to read.

Towards the end of the novel there is a big plot twist filled with drama, and hurt and it brought me to tears. But I felt that the twist in the tale came all too quick and all too sudden to keep me interested. It shocked me, and left me feeling very emotional but unfortunately, as I didn’t feel as if there was much build up, or much indication to what was about to happen, I felt it didn’t really fit, and it made the whole ending feel sudden and rushed.  I just felt it didn’t work, for me anyway.

Open your eyes. I want you to see the stars.

Overall though, I did rather enjoy this novel from the get-go. I enjoyed learning about the circus life, and the changelings, I loved all the little interactions Lo and Rita had, and I loved their little quirks – like leaving their footprint in each, and every place that their circus landed. I even loved learning about the Ladder Witch, and other stories from the girls childhood, but unfortuntely the ending did spoil my overall enjoyment of the novel.

However, I am oh so very impressed with Heathfield’s writing style that I might just have to pick up another one of her novels – Paper Butterflies or Seed.


★★★✰✰

I would rate The Flight of the Starling just 3 stars overall, although it was a solid contender for a 4.5 before we reached the last portion of the novel.


Have you read The Flight of the Starling? I would love to hear your thoughts, and if we share similar ones.

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Warning, this novel contains themes of suicide


 

The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

I found this tag on My Little Book Blog – and although it was originally posted back in 2016 I quite liked some of the questions, and it will give a little information in to what kind of reader that I am.

As there are 50 questions I will try to keep my answers short too, so if you want further information then you can just comment below.

Alright, here it goes..

1. What was the last book you read?

The Flight of the Starling by Lisa Heathfield

2. Was it a good one?

Yes, so good – I laughed and I cried and I smiled and I loved it

3. What made it good?

Heathfield’s writing style is just bloody fantastic  – you can read my full review later this week

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

Yes yes yes, most definitely. In fact, I recommend it to all that are currently reading this

5. How often do you read?

I try to read a little bit every day but if I get in a real bad reading slump then I might not finish a book in months, or even pick one up

6. Do you like to read?

Of course

7.What was the last bad book you read?

Ayden’s Choice by Sam Felix

8. What made you dislike it?

I just didn’t enjoy it, I struggled to connect with the characters which made it more difficult to read

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

I used to, but not any more – I think I will stick to being a reader. I have written short stories, and pieces of poetry but I have never shared them with anyone

10. Has any book every influenced you greatly?

Yes, Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig and When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi are both that really made me sit down and change the way I view certain aspects in my life, and it changed my view point on past experiences also

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Yes, well I did, especially when I was about 16/17 and a huge Gleek, although I have not read any recently

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Yes, and unfortunately it is still out there on the big world wide web – I’m not the best author

13. What’s your favorite book?

A lot of people don’t really get this when I say this but Looking for Alaska by John Green is my favourite book, by far. It’s also a book that I can read over, and over again

14. What’s your least favorite book?

Ugh, the Host by Stephanie Meyer – it was another book that I really just couldn’t get into no matter how hard I tried. And because I kept trying to read it, I began to really dislike it to the point where I am yet to finish it

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

I do prefer physical books but I love using my little kindle – it has become my best friend over recent months

16. When did you learn to read?

I was quite young, I know I could read a fair bit before starting reception

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

I used to love reading anything by Roald Dahl, or the Biff and Chip series’

18. What is your favorite book series?

Either Harry Potter or Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children or the Mortal Instruments series

19. Who is your favorite author?

Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl

20. What is your favorite genre?

I read a hell of a lot of YA, so I guess I’d have to say YA but I am partial to crime and mystery too

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

Gah, this is difficult – urm Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter novels

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Of course, if the book is well written then that is exactly what it should do

23. Which book do you wish had a sequel?

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, I absolutely loved this book but I also want more

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

I can’t think of one at the minute, but I tend to only read stand alone novels, with a few exceptions of course

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

It can take anywhere from an hour or two to a month

26. Do you like when books become movies?

It all depends on the casting for me

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

City of Bones, from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare – it has so much potential but it was just lost

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

the Harry Potter series, although I wish there were aspects of the books that were included in the movies

29. Do you read newspapers?

Only sometimes

30: Do you read magazines?

Occasionally

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Magazines, although I don’t typically read either of them all that often

32. Do you read while in bed?

All of the time

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

Sometimes haha

34. Do you read while in the car?

Weirdly, I can only read my kindle when in the car/bus/train, as reading a paper book makes me feel a little travel sick

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Yes, every time

36. Are you a fast reader?

Yes, well I can be but it all depends on the book

37. Are you a slow reader?

Not really, but if I am not 100% into a book then I will read it a lot slower than if I totally loved it

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

Either all tucked up in bed, or Marden Quarry – it’s so peaceful

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

No, not really. Especially if I am enjoying the book

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

No, I usually have music playing in the background. I hate being in complete silence

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

My Granda, for sure. He used to read to me on a regular basis

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I haven’t picked out my next read yet, but it has to be something from my YALC TBR

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

I think I was about 7 or 8, I was reading ahead of my age during my school years

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Again, Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

John Green, Juno Dawson, Sara Barnard or E. Lockhart – the list goes on

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

J.K Rowling for sure, or Cassandra Claire

47.What book have you reread the most?

Looking for Alaska by John Green

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

You know, anything by Charles Dickens, or the Bronte sisters

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

When I was at school, we did not read books with diverse characters so I think that any non-problematic books with diverse protagonists would be ideal for schools

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

Honestly, I don’t know

And there we have it, all 50 questions answered.

I’d now like to tag Zoe, Liv, Rebecca, Bradley, Sarah and Sophie, as well as every one who has read this. Let me know if you’ve decided to answer the tag over on your blog

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the Second Hand Challenge

I spotted this post whilst trawling the internet looking for inspiration and thought this was brilliant, I regularly shop at my local charity shop for books and was so excited to actually do the second hand challenge.

The idea behind the second hand challenge is to take £10 and head to your local charity store and see how many books you can buy for £10. You can choose to follow your TBR or do what I decided to do and pick up any books that take took fancy. And that all that there is to it!

So here is my haul from the Second Hand Challenge:


And This Is True by Emily Mackie

Nevis Gow is fifteen. For eleven years he has lived in a van with his father Marshall, travelling the country. They don t need people or school or jobs. All they need is each other. But Nevis doesn’t just love his father, he’s in love with him too.andthisistrue

Until one day Marshall crashes the van and everything changes. Stranded on a remote Highland farm amid a family overshadowed by grief, Marshall tries to steer them back to normality while Nevis fights to keep things the way they were. Soon, though, he comes to realise that nothing about his lost life in the van was quite as it seemed.

In Nevis’s meticulously detailed record of events, lines blur between love and obsession, reality and wish-fulfilment, dreams and memory. Shocking, funny and poignant, this is the first novel by a young writer of remarkable talent.


The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette De Bodard

A superb murder mystery, on an epic scale, set against the fall out – literally – of a war in Heaven.

Paris has survived the Great Magicians War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.thehouseofshatteredwings

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…


The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whothewhitetigerse great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.

The White Tiger recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation—and a startling, provocative debut.


The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

shockofthefallThere are books you can’t stop reading, which keep you up all night.

There are books which let us into the hidden parts of life and make them vividly real.

There are books which, because of the sheer skill with which every word is chosen, linger in your mind for days.

The Shock of the Fall is all of these books.

The Shock of the Fall is an extraordinary portrait of one man’s descent into mental illness. It is a brave and groundbreaking novel from one of the most exciting new voices in fiction.


Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years oldstillalice.jpg, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life–and her relationship with her family and the world–forever.

At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Judith Guest’s Ordinary People


The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Meet Pat.

Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physicalsilverliningsly fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”


My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has just moved to the Lake District with his Dad and his mysisterteenage sister, Jasmine for a ‘Fresh New Start’. Five years ago his sister’s twin, Rose, was blown up by a terrorist bomb. His parents are wrecked by their grief, Jasmine turns to piercing, pink hair and stops eating. The family falls apart. But Jamie hasn’t cried in all that time.

To him Rose is just a distant memory. Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and in keeping his new friend Sunya a secret from his dad. And in his deep longing and unshakeable belief that his Mum will come back to the family she walked out on months ago.

When he sees a TV advert for a talent show, he feels certain that this will change everything and bring them all back together once and for all.


Lord of the Flies by William Golding

When a plane crashes on a remote island, a small group of schoolboys are the sole lordoffliessurvivors. From the prophetic Simon and virtuous Ralph to the lovable Piggy and brutish Jack, each of the boys attempts to establish control as the reality – and brutal savagery – of their situation sets in.

The boys’ struggle to find a way of existing in a community with no fixed boundaries invites readers to evaluate the concepts involved in social and political constructs and moral frameworks. Ideas of community, leadership, and the rule of law are called into question as the reader has to consider who has a right to power, why, and what the consequences of the acquisition of power may be. Often compared to Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies also represents a coming-of-age story of innocence lost.


Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathon Swiftguliver

Shipwrecked and cast adrift, Lemuel Gulliver wakes to find himself on Lilliput, an island inhabited by little people, whose height makes their quarrels over fashion and fame seem ridiculous.

His subsequent encounters – with the crude giants of Brobdingnag, the philosophical Houyhnhnms and the brutish Yahoos – give Gulliver new, bitter insights into human behaviour. Swift’s savage satire view mankind in a distorted hall of mirrors as a diminished, magnified and finally bestial species, presenting us with an uncompromising reflection of ourselves.


 

And there we have it, and I managed to buy all 9 books for under the £10 budget – in fact I bought them all for just under £8.. How amazing right?

Let me know if you have taken part in the £10 charity shop challenge and what books you have bought, or if you are planning to take part in it.

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Review | A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Title: A Quiet Kind of Thundera-quite-kind-of-thunder-by-sara-barnard

Author: Sara Barnard
Summary: Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.


Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

I picked up my copy of this novel back in January when it was first released, I initially picked it up because I thought the cover was absolutely gorgeous – and if you have read my post Confessions of a Reader, well you will know that I do indeed judge a book by its cover. It’s a bad habit, ok. I just loved the combination of pink and gold, and thought it looked just too beautiful not to pick up.

It did take me almost 5 months to pick it up, and actually read it. But once I realised that Sara Barnard would be attending YALC later this year I thought now is the time to read it.

I went into the novel with no previous novel of the story itself other than the information on the blurb, so I went in with a clear mind.

After the first few pages I began to worry a little that this novel would be like so many other pieces of YA literature in the sense that, boy meets girl, they fall in love and all of the problems that either of them have faced are instantly gone because “love cures all”. But I am so goddamn pleased that it didn’t fall into the trope, of that “love can cure a cure all”, because it’s problematic and untrue. I am speaking through personal experience here. Barnard has clearly researched the topics very well, and has even gone as far as calling out the problematic tropes surrounding mental health, disability and racism.

‘I don’t want a boy to be the reason I get better, what would that say about me if it is?’

And then I fell in love with both Stefi, and Rhys almost instantaneously. And it’s not often that I feel such a strong connection that soon into a novel. Both characters were lovable together, and alone. Their relationship was beautiful too, and it was something that I loved to watch blossom. It was great to see a lead male character show real emotion and worry, it’s something that is not often portrayed well in YA literature, although there are more and more authors tackling issues like that. He was also a sweet guy without the whole young love cliche. I fell in love with Stefi too, and Sara Barnard’s portrayal of Stefi’s anxiety was well done. It was truthful and true. I felt everything that Stefi was feeling and more. Barnard’s way of writing is just bloody lovely, and it really helped me to connect with Stefi and Rhys, and even Tem.

Stefis best friend, Tem is the daughter of a refugee, and plays an active roll throughout the novel. As Stefi’s best friend she has been there through it all with her, from being toddlers right up until sixth form where Tem chooses to go to college without her best friend. Tem is also a POC, and Barnard chooses to include an example of racism within the novel which not only shows the difficulties faced by Tem, but it also reflects on how Stefi’s selective mutism has affected her life through by not being able to stand up for herself or others in situations like those highlighted.

“Panic attacks are a lot like being drunk in some ways, you lose self-control. You cry for seemingly no reason. You deal with the hangover long into the next day.”

I read through this book in just two sittings, as it is an easy read with the use of lists, IM’s, text messages and British Sign Language which I thought was a brilliant touch. Not only am I being entertained by the story itself, I am also learning some BSL. And I believe that really adds to the story. I think the use of IM’s and text messages, as well as the mention of Facebook helps too, as it reminds the reader that this book’s main characters are teenagers, and it is set in the 21st century. In turn, this also makes it more relateable. I know I’ve been there, being sent a friend request from someone you barely know but what to get to know better. You can almost feel the nerves and excitement that Stefi feels too.

Overall, I bloody loved this book. It made me feel so many emotions, all at once. I was happy, and excited, nervous and scared. I honestly felt like a teenager again. I was on this journey with Stefi and Rhys, and Sara Barnard captures the journey perfectly.

I’d give this book a 5 out 5, I honestly loved it so, so much.

Have you read A Quiet Kind of Thunder, what were you thought’s on the novel?

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The Truth About Growing Up

Since turning 22 back in October, I’ve come to realise that it is not all that it shapes up to be. Looking back to when I was 18 I thought that turning 22 meant that I would older and more mature. I thought I would know exactly what I wanted to do with my life career wise and I would be ready to settle down with a partner. But as I edge close and closer to turning 23 I can’t help but realise how wrong I was.
Okay, so as a 22 year old living in my own rented property and working full time it might look like that I have my life together but I don’t.  Under all those smoke and mirrors is a scared 22 year old who still does not know which direction they would like their life to go in. My job isn’t secure, in fact as it is a zero hours contract I could be jobless any day. And although my flat is quaint and homely to me, it’s not somewhere where I want to spend the next 10 years. I imagine myself in a house with a few bedrooms, a garden, a dining area. That is what I want.

“Where’d the days go, when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn’t stress at all just a run and a jump into a harmless fall”

Things will go wrong, like your boiler leaking water and causing utter mayhem, or accidentally launching yourself down a flight of stairs and fracturing your ankle meaning that you have to miss work for x amount of weeks. Both of these things have happened to me recently, and I have had to deal with them both. The former meant that I was without proper hot water for a few days – and then after being fixed, the boiler will break down again causing you to be without water for a further 5 days. And well, the latter meant that I was a little bit on the poorer side. It meant that I had to be sensible, and manage my money like an adult would – and not a university student who just loves to blow their money (unfortunately I struggle to loose the student mindset). However, when things do go disastrous, I know I can still run to my mum for advice. And that is okay. 

We are continuously learning as we grown into young adults, and we will always need guidance. But we want to seem like we are managing, and that we can cope with all that life throws at us but it doesn’t have to be like that.

I guess what I am trying to say is that when we are growing up we seem to wish our life away, at 5 wishing we were 10, at 10 wishing we were 18, at 18 wishing we were 21 and so on. But in reality we need to treasure our childhood, treasure our time growing up and make the most of every second because we don’t want to be hitting our 50’s and regretting not living because we were too busy wishing our life away.

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