Hello everybody! Today, I’m incredibly excited to be sharing my review for Gemma’s Not Sure as part of the blog tour. Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the 3rd Seth Seppi mystery, the Cut Throat Cafe, with her guest post about why children love crime fiction. Onto the post!
Continue reading “The Vanishing Trick Blog Tour: Author Interview with Jenni Spangler”
Hello everybody! Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Milton the Megastar, by reviewing the book. Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the FCBGCBA blog tour for the third year in a row, this time with my post focusing on Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal. Onto the post!
About the book:
A YA coming-of-age road trip novel about obsession, self-discovery, female power, and the people we meet along the way – by Costa Award shortlisted author Kit de Waal. The perfect read for anyone who’s ever wondered where they came from and where they might be going next.
In her first YA novel, Costa-shortlisted Kit de Waal responds to classic Moby Dick by tearing the power away from obsessive Captain Ahab and giving it to a teenage girl.
Dinah’s whole world is upside down, dead things and angry men and cuts all over her head that are beginning to sting….
Seventeen-year-old Dinah needs to leave her home, the weird commune where she grew up. She needs a whole new identity, starting with how she looks, starting with shaving off her hair, her ‘crowning glory’. She has to do it quickly, because she has to go now.
Dinah was going to go alone and hitch a ride down south. Except, she ends up being persuaded to illegally drive a VW campervan for hundreds of miles, accompanied by a grumpy man with one leg. This wasn’t the plan.
But while she’s driving, Dinah will be forced to confront everything that led her here, everything that will finally show her which direction to turn…
Discussion Questions about the Book:
• Kit de Waal wrote Becoming Dinah as a response to Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick.
• If you’ve read Moby Dick, what would you say are the key similarities and differences between the two books?
• There are no female central characters in Moby Dick. What do you think is gained by switching the perspective to that of a young woman?
• What is the purpose of the opening scene? What impact did it have on you? • How do you feel about the character of Ahab?
• How much sympathy do you have for him?
• Why do you think Dinah chose to rename herself Ishmael? What is the effect of alternating the chapter titles between the two names?
• How do you think Dinah’s upbringing at the New Bedford Fellowship affects her choices throughout the story?
• How much of Dinah’s decision to run away do you think is linked to Queenie and how much to do with the breakdown of her family?
• What do you think your own response would be under a similar set of circumstances?
• What do you think comes next for Dinah?
How Kit feels about her nomination:
“It’s such a privilege to be shortlisted for this award knowing that it’s voted for by real readers, by children who have fallen in love with the book. It means a great deal to have your seal of approval. And Dinah is overjoyed that you’ve taken her into your hearts.’
Check out the website here so you can vote: http://fcbg.org.uk/childrens-book-award/
Thank you so much for reading! Are you planning to read this? Which book are you planning to vote for, or which would you vote for? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be interviewing Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai as part of the blog tour for their debut, The House on Hoarder Hill. Onto the post! Continue reading “Blog Tour: Author Interview with Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai”
Hello everybody! Today, I’m so excited to be part of the blog tour for Anna Hoghton’s wonderful debut, the Mask of Aribella. Onto the post, which is is written by Anna and is about one of the most wonderful parts of this book!
As you’ll see from the acknowledgments section of ‘The Mask of Aribella’, friends are extremely important to me. I couldn’t have made it through a lot of the hurdles in my life without them. Just as with my main character, Aribella, my friends have given me the strength to believe in myself and keep on fighting, even when the world seemed dark.
It took me a while to find friends who I could trust with my whole heart. When I was growing up, I remember spending a lot of time trying to fit in with certain people and feeling upset when I didn’t quite make the mould. I met a fair few bullies along the way and, as vulnerability is seen as weakness when you are a teenager, I often felt isolated. It took me a good few years to re-find confidence after those early experiences, and I revisited those old feelings whilst writing this book. I think that, even if you weren’t bullied growing up, everyone knows how it is to feel left out and like you don’t quite fit in anywhere.
At the start of the book, although brave and kind, Aribella lacks in confidence and is desperate to just disappear into the background. However, she sticks out because she’s different – just how different, she’s about to find out. But she soon learns that being different isn’t a weakness but strength, and that the secret of being a misfit is that ‘you’re never the only one’. Indeed, personally I credit all the times I felt like an outsider when I was younger as the spark that lit me up for everything I’ve managed to do and be as an adult. My logic became very much: if you won’t let me sit at your table, then I will build my own. And, when you start thinking and living like that, you meet other table builders, who invariably turn out to be the most interesting, wonderful and fantastic friends than you ever could have hoped for. Children’s books helped teach me that the best friendships are often the unlikely ones, the ones that spring up from nowhere, between people who, perhaps at first, appear entirely unsuitable for one another, like Charlotte and Wilbur, Frodo and Sam, Lyra and Will, and even Harry, Ron and Hermione, who start off at odds. Sometimes these friends seem to come from entirely different worlds at first. My best friend is my husband, Chris, he’s from California and has always been the Will to my Lyra. But these friendships between people who celebrate their differences rather than try to be the same are the sorts that grab hold and don’t let go; that can be counted on and trusted in completely.
These are indeed the sorts of friendships that Aribella finds. Among her friends there is Seffie, a wild-hearted, impulsive and mischievous girl, who is loosely based on my oldest friend, Katie – who was always a little wild and fierce in the best possible way. Fin is earnest and book-loving, as the best people I’ve met often are. And then there is Theo, whose loyalty knows no bounds and who will courageously look out for Aribella and others, even if it means putting himself in danger. I’ve been lucky enough to have now met many Seffies, Fins and Theos in my life and to get to call a great deal of them my friends. Making true friends came from leaving my comfort zone, giving up on trying to be like the people around me and, instead, showing the world my true self. It also, importantly, came from being a good friend in return and Aribella, though she makes mistakes, ultimately proves herself to be loyal and there for her friends until the end.
‘The Mask of Aribella’ is full of superpowers but the most important one of all isn’t talking to animals, walking through walls, or making flames come out of your fingertips; it is the power of friendship and this is the magic that helps Aribella find the courage to believe in herself and fight the darkness that is unmasked in the final chapters. Just like all our true friendships help us find our own strength, no matter what we face.
The Mask of Aribella by Anna Hoghton is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)
Are you planning to read this book? Who are your favourite friendships in fiction? I’d love to hear in the comments!