Category: book review

The Graveyard Book Review

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Author: Neil Gaiman

Rating: 5/5

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Okay wow. I was not expected such an emotional rollercoaster from this spoopy middle grade! I loved every moment, and why oh why hasn’t Tim Burton made this into a movie yet?!

Let’s first talk about Bod. Lil’ Nobody Owens. What a fabulous name??? I’m living for his character arc and his relationships and his morals and his outlook on life. You’d think growing up in a graveyard would break a person – well not Bod! He has this beautiful desire to learn and to adapt, and he values friendship and knowledge more than any possession.

The layout of The Graveyard Book is pretty masterful to be honest. It’s amazing that Gaiman can carry an overall plot through 16 years as well as have multiple sub-plots and including entire story arcs in single chapters. I can’t get over how well-crafted this book is! 

Overall, a fabulous and sweet Halloween read – definitely one to go for between a lot of hardcore horror.

PS that’s my dog in the pic xD

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I’m a bad feminist for having waited so long to read Gay’s insightful, funny, provocative, true-to-life, and sad essays (especially in light of our current political times). So many things that Gay writes were predictions of a future all of us hoped would never come, and it’s depressing to read her commentary so many years later, when some of her comments along the lines of “we’re past that now” have become outdated. Highly recommend this read for all, be they feminists, aspiring feminists, or just wanting to know what a feminist has to say.

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by …

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I thought I was a bit Sherlock Holmesed-out on all of the “new takes” on the old story, but this was a unique way of getting at the story, and it is delightful. Cavallaro has incorporated the mythology of Holmes and made it into something new; the mystery itself is strong, but the same quick wit and smart sleuthing you’d expect from Holmes is found here, too, in a way that readers of both YA and mystery will find appealing. The friendship between Charlotte and Jaime is finely tuned, with relatable feelings and frustrations included.

I’m excited to see where this trilogy goes, and I look forward to the next installment. 

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ur…

A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Surprisingly, I’d missed A Wizard of Earthsea in my fantasy-addled youth. It’s a straightforward adventure quest, notable because it was one of the first written for YA (if not *the* first, if memory serves), and it is clear that it was the blueprint on which so many YA fantasy stories built upon. As a fantasy and YA lover, I appreciated seeing the birthplace of so many of my favorite books. I’ll be seeking out the rest of the series, which I am more than sure holds up to all of the praise.

The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey

The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey

I was not blown away by The Silver Gate, although I did like that one of the main characters has a disability, which prompts the action of the story. If not for that, I feel that this is a YA fantasy story that would be at the bottom of the pile of some more compelling YA reads.

Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney

This book is a fun YA read, focusing on two sisters who are fairly different, but love one another fiercely, and what happens when they attend school with the Prince of England. I liked that Courtney kept the perspective limited to one character, and to the character I thought I wouldn’t jive with, as I identified more with the other sister, but that speaks to the story that I found myself rooting for this sister. If you’re a fan of YA with a bit of humor and a romantic tilt, you’ll enjoy this read.

The Darkest Part Of The Forest Books Review

Author: Holly Black

Rating: 5/5

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Definitely a new favourite!! Oh my god this book is a craft of creative and literary genius! I want to crawl inside the author’s mind because only the most beautiful brain could create this deft and whimsical story. 

The Darkest Part Of The Forest showcases a take on faeries unlike any other I’ve seen. In a town called Fairfold, the citizens are aware that creatures haunt their forests…but there isn’t much to be done about it. The fae take their children and murder their tourists, and in the woods there is a faerie boy who lies in an eternal sleep within a glass casket. Siblings Hazel and Ben are mortals of Fairfold, dreamers and wanderers who yearn for the adventure of the fae and they end up whisked into this treacherous quest that threatens the lives of everyone they hold dear. In this novel, faeries are illustrated as shockingly beautiful and with many species – but they all have mischief in common. The addictive wonder of the fae is what’s so captivating about this book, and you can see why the characters submit to their allure. The descriptions of characters and settings are lush and visual; I would love a colouring book based on this story!

The characters are just as 3-dimensional as the visuals. Hazel is fascinating in her stubborn and veiled nature, both a contrast and a compliment to Ben’s vulnerability and compassion. Severin, oh my god don’t get me started…another new favourite. There’s something so captivating about the way he talks and acts, and his character arc is stunning!

The relationships in this book are absolutely on point. Both Hazel and Ben have the most raw and real views on love. But what I value most in The Darkest Part Of The Forest is the highlight on sibling relationships. Hazel and Ben have the most complex partnership – their unconditional love, reliance on each other and desire to keep secrets are both poisonous and beautiful. However, the romantic relationships are also stunning! Ben’s final relationship has the most amazing progression and I adored it, and Hazel’s is slow burning and sumptuous.

I’m sorry this review has just been me blabbing about everything I loved in this book and I know it’s a bit repetitive… But I really don’t care. Go and read this book.

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

Hopkins continues to deliver compelling storylines in Tilt, which follows the children of the parents first introduced in Triangles.Hopkins’s work is important for everyone and anyone to read, especially anyone who has deal with or is dealing with substance abuse, sexual violence, suicide, or death of a family member or friend. She’s not afraid to take on tough stuff.

I Was Born For This Book Review

Author: Alice Oseman

Rating: 4.5/5

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Such an interesting read! I picked up this book based on the plot: it follows our two main characters, Angel and Jimmy. Angel’s life revolves around a band called The Ark who have become her life. They have given her all of her internet friends, a purpose in life, and hope that love exists. Jimmy is the lead singer; he has severe anxiety and paranoia and is deeply insecure in his profession. He loves music, but hates fame. The story revolves around their own growth and change, as well as how their paths meet.

As a huge member of the bandom, it was fascinating and shocking to see the effect that fans have on their idols. It’s opened my eyes to the pressure of being so depended on by millions of people who don’t even know who you really are. But, as someone who has been kept alive by the music of twenty one pilots, Pierce The Veil and the like, it breaks my heart that some musicians are overcome by fear and hatred of their fandom. I never thought about how stressful it must be, having all these strangers fawn mindlessly over them (or the strangers’ image of them, which is worse). For that reason, I’m thankful that this book has given me the chance to be more mindful of my irrevocable adoration of bands and their members.

Saying that, it was also scary how much of myself I saw in Angel. She puts The Ark before everything else in her life and, as someone who would willingly die for Brendon Urie, I can now see how distressing that is. There are fans who are nothing except the people they idolise, and I now see that I can be a fan without selling my soul.

Disclaimer: I FULLY respect anyone who’s life revolves around a band/tv show/celebrity if it gives you happiness. My opinions are only as a response to my own personality, and the fact that it was beginning to cause me unhappiness.

Subject matter aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this novel. It had the perfect conversationalist tone for a YA contemporary without being cheesy or cliched. There was a lot of emotional impact, especially in the scenes in which Jimmy had a panic attack, as well as the shock of the finale. The pacing was perfect, even though what I thought was going to be the main event happened quite far into the book (it worked brilliantly). 

Also, amazing diversity! A male main character with anxiety, a Muslim main character, a trans main character, a gay main character and a bisexual main character!!

The only reason this isn’t 5 stars is because I hated one of the characters with a deep-seated, fiery passion. But that’s okay, since I knew he was supposed to be the object of readers’ hatred anyway.

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

If I remember correctly, I came to this book because it was advertised somewhere as a worthy contender to Emily St. Mandel’s Station Eleven(a.k.a. one of the most incredible novels ever written.), so the expectations were never a fair shake to this book. I found the writing to be fairly straightforward, without much lyricism, and the whole endeavor of reading it was a little bit frustrating. Any reader who is paying attention knows where the story is going, but it takes until the last third of the book to get there, with no payoff. If you’re looking for good post-apocalyptic literature, I can name five off the top of my head that I’d recommend over this one.