Hi everybody! Happy weekend!
I read some fantastic books this month, so let`s get started with the reviews 🙂
The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis
This book tells the story of thirteen-year-old Amelie, who lives with cystic fibrosis and loves to bake more than anything else in the world. Amelie`s voice in the first-person narrative really drew me in, and I had huge sympathy for her throughout the book, even though I thought a lot of her decisions were quite selfish. I thought this book dealt with Amelie`s condition well and I found it very educational as I hadn’t really known a lot about cystic fibrosis or how it affects the lives of young people before I started this. Another thing I enjoyed about this book was that it contained recipes throughout. However, as a blogger myself, I found Amelie`s pretty much overnight blogging success quite unrealistic, and I would have preferred a more concrete ending as the book was quite short and the ending was very abrupt. 3.5/5
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
After having this recommended to me by several people since it came out, I finally picked it up this month and I wasn’t disappointed. This book tells the story of 12-year-old Alex, a young boy whose main life ambition is to send a rocket to space, as he goes on a road trip to find his missing dad and ends up finding a whole lot more than that. Even though I found the writing style of Alex`s recordings for aliens difficult to get into at first, I absolutely loved it by the end as it was so immersive. I also adored the characters of this book as even minor characters who only appeared in a few scenes felt fleshed out and developed, but my favourite had to be main character Alex, who is one of the most endearing and loveable protagonists I`ve ever had the pleasure of spending a book with. I cried more than once while reading this book as Alex felt so real and so special, and I desperately wanted to climb in and give him a hug on more than one occasion. Finally, I really liked that this was a road trip book, as I don’t recall ever reading this in middle grade before, and if I have I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much as I did this. In short, this was a unique, special book that I`d highly recommend to fans of books such as Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg-Sloan. 4/5
The Pearl in the Attic by Karen McCombie
In this novel, Karen McCombie tells the story of Scarlett as her estranged gran is taken into hospital and Scarlett and her mum begin to reconnect with her. Part of this is Scarlett and her new sort-of-cousin Zephyr discovering chapters of her gran`s novel about a girl named Ruby, which she soon realises isn’t actually fictional, and becoming desperate to unravel the story of the real Ruby. I really liked Scarlett`s point of view and her way of looking at life as she reminded me a little of Ally from McCombie`s bestselling Ally`s World books. It was also interesting to see extracts from Scarlett`s gran`s book and uncover more of Ruby`s life along with Scarlett, and the descriptive language used in these sections was just gorgeous (and in the initial scenes describing the bakery Ruby worked in, mouth-watering.). The book also touches on and sensitively handles a variety of family issues and dealing with a possible dementia diagnosis, and it had such a lovely feel good ending that I was left wholly satisfied with the story and with a smile on my face. 4/5
Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
In this gorgeous contemporary YA, Cecilia Vinesse tells the story of Sophia, who only has a week left before she moves away from Tokyo, possibly forever. This week also marks the arrival home of Jamie, an old friend of Sophia`s who she had a terrible argument with just before he left for boarding school several years prior to the start of the book. I adored Sophia and Jamie`s relationship more and more as the book progressed as it felt nuanced and developed in a way I haven’t seen a lot of before. Another part of the book I enjoyed was that it was beautifully written with a lot of unique figurative language, which helped me visualise the characters (all of whom I liked, except for Sophia`s friends Mika and David, who never felt like true friends to me) and the world. Speaking of the world, my absolute favourite part of this book was that I got to discover and explore Tokyo and it`s culture, which is always something that I love in books, and it`s mainly for the foreign setting/romance aspect that I would recommend this to fans of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I personally would have preferred the ending to go a different way, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole and I will definitely pick up whatever the author writes next. 4.5/5.
Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
As a huge Non Pratt fan, I`m always worried that I won`t enjoy her new book as much as I love her others, but I needn`t have worried about Truth or Dare. It told the story of Claire and Sef, two people who couldn’t be much more different, who came together to raise money for the care of Sef`s brother Kam, who recently suffered a brain injury, by filming truths and dares together for YouTube. The book is told in quite a unique style as you read half of the book from just Claire`s perspective, and then turn the book over to see Sef`s side of the story, which I have never seen before. Claire and Sef both felt flawed and realistic, and I thought they worked well as a couple. Non Pratt also continued her tradition of having secondary characters that I like almost as much as I do the main ones, and I absolutely love that a lot of them also have well-resolved arcs. The book was also incredibly diverse as it featured a lot of variety in the race and sexualities of the characters, and I liked the exploration of the topic of social media pressures and problems. All in all, this was a great read that kept me turning the pages at rapid speed, and Non Pratt is an author I`d definitely recommend to fans of Holly Bourne`s books and UKYA contemporary in general. 4.5/5
St Grizzle`s School for Girls, Ghosts and Runaway Ghosts by Karen McCombie
In the 2nd book in her new series for younger readers, Karen McCombie continues the story of Dani, who has been sent to a madcap boarding school, as she tries to direct a tourist video for the town and deal with her lovely but overbearing gran`s arrival at the school. This was a perfect light, quick read for me, so I think it would be great for children starting to read independently. I also enjoyed the fact that we got to know some of Dani`s new schoolmates better as I love the secondary characters this and the setting of the school in general (although I`m not sure I`d like it as much if I went there!). I think my favourite part of the books must be Becka Moor`s illustrations as they add a lot of humour to the already hilarious text, and even though I`m quite a lot older than the target audience I found myself giggling more than once. I`m already looking forward to the next in the series, which if the sneak peek is anything to go by, will be amazing. 4.5/5
This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton
In her debut novel, Rebecca Denton tells the story of Amelie, a girl who desperately wants to be a singer-songwriter and looks down on manufactured boyband the Keep, until she meets them and gets sucked into their addictive world. My favourite thing about this book was the characters as even though there were lots they all felt necessary to the plot and I found some of the dialogue throughout hilarious. Amelie especially was a fantastic main character, and there was something about her that made her both likeable and unique from other YA protagonists I`ve read about recently, and I really liked her romance in the book and the way it ended up. Finally, I also enjoyed the 3rd person narrative which allows the reader to explore all the characters` thoughts and feelings, and I will definitely be picking up a copy of This Secret Beat as soon as I can next February. 5/5
Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
In her enchanting debut novel, Jess Butterworth tells the story of Tash and Sam, two children who must escape from Tibet to India in order to reach the Dalai Lama and save Tash`s parents rebels who have been arrested by the Chinese soldiers. I loved the rich, descriptive language of this book which was so vivid that I felt like I was on Tash and Sam`s journey with them, and I found their friendship both endearing and quite realistic, and enjoyed them as characters in general. I found the setting of Tibet fascinating as I`d never read a book set there before and I found it interesting to learn of the political problems there, but also a few things about the culture. The other thing that is definitely worth a mention is that the animal companions in this book, two yaks called Eve and Bones, are now on my list of favourite book animals ever as they were both loyal to Tash and Sam and very sweet and humorous. This is undoubtedly the best debut I`ve read in 2017, and this book is perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell. 5/5
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
In this book, accurately described by many as Pretty Little Liars meets the Breakfast Club, we are told the story of what happens when a brain, a jock, a princess, an outcast and a criminal walk into detention, and only four walk out when one is murdered. As a huge fan of both Pretty Little Liars and the Breakfast Club, I had huge expectations for this book, and if anything it exceeded them. The characters in this book, although flawed, were genuinely likeable and I thought each of their perspectives were so distinct and well written that you could instantly tell who was speaking without checking. This book also had one of the best twists I`ve ever read, which I wouldn’t have ever seen coming. I can`t recommend this book enough to anyone who wants a clever mystery that also touches on important contemporary issues such as coming out, controlling relationships, alcohol/drug abuse and school pressures. 5/5
Have you read any of these? I’d love to know what you thought if you have, or whether you might want to read them after reading this post, so please do leave a comment below or tweet me @GoldenBooksGirl.
See you soon with a new post!