January YA Reviews

Hello everybody!

Welcome to my young adult portion of reviews for the month of January. If you want to read the MG post, you can find it here. Onto the books!

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton

I`ve wanted to read this book from Keris Stainton`s back catalogue for years, so after receiving it for Christmas it seemed only fitting to make it among my 1st reads of 2018. It`s the story of Jessie as she goes to visit her rather estranged mum in New York, and Finn, a New Yorker grappling with friendship issues and his family`s expectations of him. The not knowing how their paths would cross was super interesting, and I liked them a lot together when they eventually did. The book, while in 3rd person, still feels like a dual narrative as we flip between perspectives of each character, and I was pleased that I enjoyed both equally. I loved Jessie as a character, and I thought her friend Emma was really funny. My final favourite thing about the book was, of course, experiencing New York. Even though I have never been, I think it looks incredible, and this made me feel as though I was there. Jessie Hearts NYC has a delightful romcom feel to it that I loved seeing those are my favourite sort of films a lot of the time and I`m excited to discover L.A in a hopefully similar way in the sequel. 4.5/5

Team Awkward by Katy Birchall

This month, I finally got round to finishing the It Girl trilogy, and I didn`t regret it at all. The 2nd book sees Anna navigate not only her newfound fame but also the trials of sport day. This provides much of the humour of the story, along with high-maintenance dog Dog, and let me tell you, the humour is exceptional. I was audibly snorting more than once, and I really did love being in Anna`s world a lot. I think the characters are wonderful, and I also enjoyed new addition James. The email exchanges between the female members of Anna`s family were hilarious in places, as are their conversations in general. If you need a book to bring a smile to your face, this series is guaranteed to do the trick if your sense of humour is in any way similar to mine. 4.5/5

Don`t Tell the Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

I read this straight after Team Awkward, and it was just as much of a delight. In this final instalment, Anna heads off to Rome on a school trip as her father`s wedding to superstar Helena Montaine. This book was just as funny as the others (I won`t spoil my highlights for you, but they involve Dog, and the other was certainly unexpected, but a welcome addition). I loved the scenes in Rome where we learnt about the city especially, as well as the other snippets of knowledge included. The characters continued to be exceptionally funny, and I loved them all (even Anna`s rivals grew on me!), and I was so happy with the way their story ended (particularly who Anna ended up with…). I can`t wait to start Katy`s new series, hopefully much sooner than I got to this one! 4.5/5

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

I didn`t hate this, but it definitely didn`t meet the huge hype surrounding it for me. It`s the story of Juliet and Declan, and the unlikely anonymous romance that starts between them after Declan finds a letter he shouldn`t in a graveyard. I found this quite slow paced and repetitive in places, and I wasn`t really a big fan of the letters/emails we see at the beginning of each chapter to the point where I just skipped most of them. I also wasn`t especially invested in either main character, though I did adore side character Rev, and I thought Declan`s supervisor at community service was a wonderful mentor type figure. Another redeeming feature of the book was that it took a few turns I didn`t expect, and I thought the ending was nice. I`m not yet sure if I`ll read More than We Can Tell, but I am intrigued to learn more about Rev if I do as his story was only slightly touched on in this book. 3.5/5

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu (recieved from publisher in exchange for an honest reviiew)

As someone who`s never really interacted with any superhero stories before, how much I enjoyed this was a fun surprise. It`s the story of young Bruce Wayne after he is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, home to Gotham City`s most dangerous criminals and becomes entangled in the case of Madeleine Wallace. I liked Bruce as a protagonist, but it was Madeleine as a character who interested me the most. She was so duplicitous yet somehow feels genuine in place, and it was a rollercoaster of not knowing whether I could trust her or not. The plot in general kept me guessing all the way through and I loved how many twists the ending took (and if there is ever a sequel, I will most certainly be reading). My only complaint was that the book lagged in pace in places, but whether you love Batman or barely knew his name like me, I`d recommend this. 4/5

Under Rose Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

I had no expectations of this going in, and I cannot express how blown away I was by the story of Norah, who has agoraphobia as she meets charming new neighbour Luke and life begins to change a little. I was really happy that the romance didn`t suddenly cure Norah; but instead was just a feature alongside the main plot of her living with her condition, and I also liked that a lot of the book focused on Luke changing his expectations so he can be with Norah (if you can`t tell, I love Luke. He is one of my favourite romantic interests EVER). Even though some scenes were incredibly emotional and raw and difficult, I was surprised to find that this book was really funny in places, as Norah`s narrative voice is so witty, and incredibly clever. Norah is such a complex protagonist that I was absolutely behind, and as mentioned a lot of scenes where her illnesses affect her were tough reading. I also didn’t expect to be quite so gripped by this. I read it in about one sitting as I was so desperate to learn how Norah`s story would end, and the climax was intense. The ending was lovely, and I highly recommend picking this up. 5/5

Lorali by Laura Dockrill

I love a good mermaid story, and Lorali was certainly that. It`s about what happens when teenage boy Rory discovers a naked girl on the beach on his birthday, and soon learns there`s a lot more to her than meets the eye. I wasn `t sure of what to expect going in, but it wasn`t what I got. Equal parts humour, tension and drama, I was swept away by this story and thought the different narratives of Rory, the Sea (who was ironically quite dry-witted) and Lorali were very clever, and though I was initially confused they started threading together quickly. The worldbuilding was also complex, and I was impressed at how much detail Dockrill packed in, and the characters were similarly well layered. The events of the climax made me gasp aloud (and I knew what was coming as I`d accidentally spoiled myself by buying the sequel when I was about hallway through as I knew I wanted to read it…) as they were so unexpected, and I`m interested to see how Aurabel continues this story. 4.5/5

Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

In her 2nd novella for Barrington Stoke, Non Pratt tells the story of Jade, who begins to notice how often she`s second best to her best friend Becky after a catty comment from ex Rob. She gets very involved in a new class about politics and becomes determined to finally beat Becky in the school election, no matter the cost. This was a unqiue concept I can`t recall seeing before, and I read this in one sitting as not only was it short and easier to read due to Barrington Stoke`s design modifications for dyslexic or reluctant readers, but also as I was intrigued to see how things would play out. Non`s school scenes felt realistic; more so than many I read, and her dialogue is sharp and superb. A particular favourite in this story was the Fantastic Mr. Fox comment, and I thought Becky`s sister Stef was amazing, and I adpred the humour she added. I`m excited to see what Non`s next novel will be already! 4.5/5

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any on your TBR?

Amy xxx


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

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