This book seems very similar to one I just read recently. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot. It's set on an island where our female protagonist meets Lucas, a unique boy who is a newcomer to the island and lives by himself away from anyone.
The plot kept me on edge, there were a number of unsavoury characters who threaten violence and want nothing better than to see Lucas discredited and exiled (for no other reason than because he's different from them). I found it quite realistic how close-minded their attitudes were.
Cait (the main protagonist) and her family were very well-written, I felt. Especially her dad. Her brother and best friend are mixed in with a bad crowd and there's mention of drugs, drink, smoking, sex...
Hell, even her dad smokes pot and he's probably one of the few good people in the book! (I wonder if this is a recurring thin with Kevin Brooks' books? His other books were filled with drugs and smoking as well)
The inevitable conclusion is really powerfully-written too. You can see it coming, but it was done very well and it kept me on edge nonetheless.
Also, I should probably mention that this is a book where the main character's dad is a police officer. It's relevant to the plot and I don't see that very often, especially in YA books.
DNF. It was an interesting book, but I couldn't continue more than halfway. A certain kind of romance, where Love and Death have chosen two human beings in...well, their game of Love and Death.
I thought it was a very interesting concept in that these two people - Henry and Flora - were chosen from birth and Love and Death would conspire to make them fall in love with each other. (Or not, as in the case of Death.) I like the mythological aspect too, you know like Hades and Persephone.
I enjoyed Henry's character very much, he seems like someone with a great character. Flora...felt a bit bland to me? I didn't feel much character out of her at all. She got a bit better as time progressed, but for a while I just didn't care about her.
Now, Love and Death are these two spirits who are seeking to make these two teenagers fall in love - or prevent them from doing so. And they're not allowed to interfere directly.
Except that they DO interfere. The spirit of Death goes around killing people. I'm not even kidding. She (Death is female in this reincarnation) goes and destroys an aircraft and 35 people on there are killed. The way it's written makes it seem like an accident, but they later confirm that she was responsible.
As for Love (who is male in this reincarnation) - he shapeshifts into another character and makes sweet gay love with one of the other male characters who is close to Henry.
And then he later tries to kill a man who is close to Flora - just because he's "in the way" of Henry and Flora's potential relationship. Because his power is to do with Love, he does this by causing another man to be obsessed with a girl, to the point that the man will want to murder this other guy and...
And because of that three people are dead. I swear I'm not even making this up.
Like what the hell?? If you're not going to interfere with the relationship then don't bloody interfere. This just makes it feel for awkward reading. Have Love and Time been killing people for centuries, for no other reason because they like having a betting game with each other?
When Death actually decided to suck away another girl's life-force and impersonate her...just to try and get close to Henry...I mean what. If you're going to do that, do some kind of brainwashing trick maybe? It wouldn't be so awkward then...
Well anyway. I thought Henry and Flora's relationship (so far) is pretty shitty. It doesn't feel realistic, what if Henry feeling immediately drawn to Flora for...no reason. And then he comes to listen to her sing every night. It might have worked if she was written a little better, but it didn't seem to fit at all.
For a while, I thought this book was set in present day. Then they started talking about being caned at school and getting married young, and I thought okay it's set in the 50s.
Turns out it's set in the 30s? Around the time of the war? It honestly didn't feel like it at all. Henry talked like a boy in the 50s (which I can forgive) but Flora talked like a girl in present day. It's like she time-travelled or something. Maybe it's just the dialect or something, I don't know. I just didn't feel it.
Well, I made it about halfway before deciding it was practically useless to continue. I'm sure someone else will like it. I cared about Henry (before he went non-sensically gaga for Flora) and more about Ethan really and that's about it.
So, a story about a girl who is a cancer patient, meets another guy her age in the cancer ward, falls in love with him, recovers from her cancer, family drama, etc. You know, this sounds pretty familiar and I haven't even read a single John Green book in my life.
I'm tempted to say that the romance was a bit crap. Which it was. But the protagonist is a 14-year old girl who is suffering from cancer and Jackson (the boy in her ward) is a source of optimism for her, someone to help her get through the hard times.
Yes, I enjoyed that part and there's no reason why they had to kiss each other really. I mean, he appears in like the first chapter. It's barely been explained fully about her cancer treatment and already the love interest pops up.
Despite a deep and serious topic, I just feel that this wasn't very realistic. It wasn't very descriptive, it was a bit simplistic, and also very short. The main character was very vague about what type of cancer she had. Barely anything was explained about her symptoms? She throws up and gets very tired but that could easily be attributed to the chemo treatment.
Oh, and she's recovered from cancer barely halfway through the book. Goes back to school and everything. The rest of the book is about her thinking about the boy she met and how she feels they never got to say goodbye. Her recovery from that aspect, so to speak.
I mean...it is touching, their relationship, but it didn't really impress me. I don't feel there was much knowledge of cancer applied here beyond the obvious. And that's coming from me, someone who knows nothing about cancer - after reading this book, I still knew nothing about cancer really except that you can lose your hair and go bald and get sick from the chemo treatment. Didn't help really.
So overall I can't really give this a high rating. The ending is quite bittersweet but ultimately it's about recovery again, which is something I've read in about 30 books so far.
I enjoyed this book. Great style of writing, the characters were very relatable and you cared about what's going on. At first I thought it was a boy-meets-girl kind of thing, but it's more like a missing-person's murder mystery. Very intriguing and had me hooked very early on.
It's interesting because one of the characters is a thug-type who goes around with a knife threatening people, and turns out he didn't have anything to do with it, lol. What I don't understand is Raymond?
Basically, Raymond (possibly my favourite character in this book, he's very different) goes missing. He's not the main person to go missing. Stella's the one who goes missing that everyone's looking for. But the protagonist really cares more about Raymond and apparently his disappearance is completely unrelated...to anything at all.
And we get to the end, having solved the mystery of the murder of one missing person. Nothing is said about what happened to Raymond. He just disappeared for no reason.
So it's a pretty unsatisfying end because throughout the book the main character is all like "Where's Raymond?? I HAVE to find Raymond!" and he never turns up, there's no explanation.
Apart from that it was very well written so I can give it a marginally good rating.
Holy crap oh my god just finished this book and blown away by that ending.
This is the sequel to Unspoken. I was really happy to see it in my library - I so rarely see sequels to books that I've actually read! And after that cliffhanger in that first book? How can you not read more.
I was excited to see Kami and the gang back. I love their characters, I really do. The plot became more developed, and then you realise why Jared was acting the way he was, Lillian actually does some decent stuff for once and helps out against the sorcerers...
And kissing. A LOT of kissing. So many kissing scenes between Kami and Jared. I might have preferred they remain as friends really.
Though I was rooting for Kami x Ash at one point...but I also feel sorry for Ash for not getting the person he really wants. And I was heartbroken at what happened in that last couple of chapters!! I KNEW that would happen to Jared.
Just oh my gosh emotional rollercoaster in the last ten minutes.
Of course it's not over. Ends on another cliffhanger. Though for some reason I'm more concerned about the link between Kami and Ash! Ash was just a more decent person than Jared most of the time and I started to like him more. And then...and then Jared starts to come back to reality again. After he finishes whining about his life.
I just loved this book and can't wait to read the next one, if I ever get to see it.
Gangs! Gangs and more gangs! How many YA books have I read which are about gang violence now? Too many.
So it's interesting why I find this book to be nonetheless noteworthy. The characters are quite unique in my opinion and have very realistic backgrounds, there seem to be more ethnic minorities as far as I can tell (is the main character literally the only white person? it seems that way) and it relaly did paint a good picture of the London riots.
I really enjoyed this book and didn't think I would to begin with. Yes, it's about gangs. I might have mentioned that already.
Little Pea (yes, that's his name!) really grew on me. Half the time you think he's a back-stabbing traitorous little swine who constantly double-crosses the people who try to help him, because he sees himself as a lost case...well, you know what happens. If you've read the book that is.
I also found it intriguing how the main character was very into filmography and camera work - in that she films everything, she takes down everything on camera. Including some of the more violent aspects of the riot which could get her into trouble.
There are no "perfect" families in this book. Practically every character has a broken family. The only character who has a good family suffers as a result. No one gets out unscarred, and not everyone gets out alive.
I did enjoy this but I could tell what was going to happen to Tokes eventually. I'm glad we got this kind of ending, too. It's a bit open-ended, it's a little sad, but I'm happy about reading this book.
I couldn't get very far into this book. The concept is actually quite interesting. Jessica googles her name and finds that there is another Jessica, very similar to her. They make plans to meet up, and...
...and she is SWEPT into the other Jessica's reality! A parallel world, thich looks as if she's gone back in time since everyone is horse-drawn carriages and they're using shillings for currency, the people wear hats and scarves or whatever it is.
Interestingly however, the year is still 2008 in this reality. There are black and white TVs. And someone has a computer, which I didn't quite understand. It's basically an alternate reality and she has to survive to find out her bearings.
That's about as far as I got. Unfortunately for her, everyone thinks she is the real Jessica and so all the men act like she's a prostitute (since she's dressed in modern clothes rather than covering up 500%), everyone belittles her, there's on equal opportunities here, everything is awful and...
Yeah, I'm not really enjoying reading a book where everything about her new world is constantly unpleasant. The world was interesting, I guess? But I just wanted her to get back to her own world as soon as possible. I take it that isn't going to happen.
There is a mystery here but I didn't really care about it, I just wanted her to get out of this horrible place where they work her half to death, barely feed her, and treat her like dirt. It just doesn't make for enjoyable reading. I don't recall liking a single one of the other characters.
In a word, DNF. It doesn't seem to be a bad book but it didn't sit well with me.
Thi book was overall well-written, but I have to say it made me uncomfortable. By which I mean that you can tell that it's not going to end well, that a ton of bad things are going to happen to the characters, and which just made me very anxious since half the time everything was spiralling into Doom.
I don't see many YA books where it's a male protagonist falling in love with a girl (whereas it's usually the other way round). The twist? Candy is a teen prostitute. She's on heroin. She's with...some very very bad people.
And our 15-year old, naive, innocent teenage boy falls in love with her. After meeting her twice.
I mean it's a chance encounter, right, during which Joe is threatened by Candy's pimp (who is a really dangerous guy who threatens to kill him if he ever sees him again). You'd think he'd take the hint and just stay out of this deadly territory.
But no, for some reason Candy has seen fit to actually give him her mobile number, thus dragging him deeper in. Which of course he does. And it gets really dangerous.
I'm not saying I don't sympathise with Candy's situation. But the book is making out that it's like "do anything for love", whereas it's not really love when you met someone TWICE, and besides...this is really dangerous. It's drugs and prosititution.
Our protag even goes into London to search for her house. He's that much in love with her (despite constantly saying they're "just friends" - oh come on, they were making out against the wall of London Zoo!).
And then he says stuff like "oh she can probably just give up heroin" because he's really naive and doesn't understand these things.
I didn't really get the ending though. He meets with Candy again one last time, then she's released from rehab...and he doesn't see her again? No happy ending?
So...what actually happened to Candy in the end? It's up in the air. It's not very satisfactory.
I have to say that despite the book being extremely predictable at every corner, it does tackle some intense topics and did keep me on the edge of my seat. By which I mean I was on the edge of my seat because I knew everything was going downhill and please could the author just get it over with and put me out of my misery.
I did like the book, but...it just made me anxious and just really scared for what was going to happen to the characters, and to me that isn't an enjoyable reading experience.
I guess you can call it a romance. Kind of.
Towards the end it was less romance and more in the lines of "hostage situation + drug withdrawal + CANDY KILLS EVERYONE" although part of that is exaggerated on my part.
This is quite a unique book to me, and not one that I would expect Tim Bowler to write. In my experience, his books tend to be about bullying or gangs or people being bullied BY gangs, or running away from gangs and...You get the picture. Mainly gang-related stuff.
Whereas this story was about an isolated community, about grief and loss (and NOT the countless amounts of YA novels where some lost love commits suicide and then the protag has to recover from it over a long period of time, that's really getting monotonous). The main character was quite well-written and I enjoyed quite a lot of the other characters too.
In a way this story was about life and death. I do think Hetty was crazy to do what she did though. She's a 15-year old girl and she takes it upon herself to takes this dying woman home, by sneaking onto the village's only ship to make a long voyage which almost kills her in the process? I...how...?
Anyway, Hetty is a very strong character and showed a lot of bravery and strong mentality throughout the story. She never stopped giving up and was very resilient and I liked that about her. Her grandma was also a great character and reminded me of a few of my relatives. Also, for some reason I really liked Mackie especially, always standing up for Hetty, and i almost wish he had a bigger part to play in this book.
I can't really think of anything to improve upon in this book, except that the ending where Hetty says she wants to stay at Haga seems *slightly* rushed. She makes it to this next island and makes the decision she wants to stay here forever? As does her grandma? Well, okay.
Overall this was a very enjoyable read, although it doesn't come through until possibly halfway through the book.
I've been away from this site for a while but I'm back to write my reviews of the books I'm reading. Starting now!
DNF. I tried, but the characters were all incredibly boring and everything was so generic. It's not that bad I guess but the plot took forever for anything to happen. I gave up after about 70 pages. Also, the main character won't stop going on about beetles.
I loved the characters in this book! Everyone was smart, hot, quirky, funny and all around awesome. Loved it. Kami was a great main character, and I enjoyed all of her friends except perhaps Angela since she didn't have much effect on me. All in all a great read.
I liked the dynamic between Kami and Jared. The concept of your imaginary friend actually becoming real was a unique one to me, although the way this was dealt with was in a magical or supernatural sense.
Talking of magic, I don't think the description of magic in the book was that great. Not enough focus or explanation about it, really. People are like "oh there's some kind of luminous phenomenon coming out of the water" and that's literally all you get out of it. I would have liked a bit more on that.
The whole atmosphere sounded very Buffy or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, althoug the plot itself wasn't exactly unique. Nice plot twist at the end too.
And the ending was really, really sudden. I was like whoa wait no you can NOT do that. However, it set itself up for a sequel which I'm looking forward to read, although I don't think it's in my library.
About time we had a strong confident Asian female as our lead protagonist, I don't see many YA books that bother to do something like that. Her dad was awesome too.
Well, I've finally gotten round to reading this. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but having finished this it just confirms to me that Malorie Blackman is a superb writer who is good at everything except plots.
The concept of a world with racism REVERSED - as in, black people being superior, white people being inferior - is really good. I really loved that and how this author handled that. Everything there was spot-on.
However, every single chapter was very, very painful and difficult to read. To the point that it actually wasn't enjoyable for me at all. To make matters worse, the characters actually tried to take actions which would make it even WORSE! I almost threw the book down severla times, I was just thinking why on earth would they act that way? Why??
Why did Selphy think it would be a good idea to invite Callum to her birthday party? Why did she think it would be a good idea, holy shit, to show her mum that Callum was under her bed and that they'd been sleeping together? Seriously?! She's a smart girl, how could she possibly be so stupid? I'm just glad she didn't do either of those two things!
To be honest, the entire relationship between Callum and Selphy was like something out of Romeo and Juliet. There's even a recurring scene where he climbs into her back garden! Frequently! They weren't exactly original characters, either.
Anyway, fortunately the book picked up after halfway with the bombings and the murder trial. However, the outcome was EXACTLY like out of To Kill A Mockingbird and even the character death is in exactly the same fashion. Seriously. I just started rolling my eyes at it.
There's another character death earlier on. The character says, "I'm just going outside for a walk", and at that point I said out loud "So she's going to kill herself or something?" Five minutes later I'm thinking....wow, I was only joking about that. Like it officially crossed the line into parody.
It was just so predictable in all these different plotlines. I expected both characters to kill themselves in a Romeo and Juliet setting, just like it ends. It isn't quite like that though, so I guess it isn't completely copied.
Throughout the book I was constantly hoping that these two characters would split up and stop making the reading experience worse. Everytime they kept trying to get closer to each other...even though it was such a bad idea. And the ending felt a bit abrupt and then the book just ends there, which is really misleading. Like it doesn't change anything?
I really liked Selphy in the beginning, but she does so many stupid decisions throughout the book that by the end I'm just wondering what on earth she was thinking. It's like "Oh, I know I'm forbidden to even see Callum or associate with him, but he climbed over the wall and got into my bedroom and we had sex and now we fell asleep and it's midday now and my mum is right outside but IT WOULD BE TOTALLY A GOOD IDEA TO SHOW CALLUM TO HER" like oh my god what the hell
I cannot see myself reading this book again. I can vaguely recommend it because of the setting and the writing itself is great, with a lot of parallels between racism in the real world. I can commend it for that, but everything else?
I didn't think there could be a next book. Whatever it is, I'm not going to read it. I think after getting through this (I skimmed the last few bits because the author decided to flesh out as much pain and angst as possible, even though there was absolutely no relief from this at any time), I might read Malorie Blackman's Boys Don't Cry. But any of her other novels, I don't expect too much from.
So, this is a book about bullying and abuse. It's interesting in that we get to see not only the victim being bullied, but also the bully's point of view and why they are behaving the way they are. I haven't actually seen this in any other kind of book, really. It's usually not touched upon.
So, on one hand we have Jess. Overweight, not very popular, gets constantly tormented, has very little friends, very low self-esteem...yeah. Done countless times before.
On the other hand we have Kez. Popular, bitchy, bullies Jess day-in, day-out. Has an abusive father who is often drunk, suffers domestic abuse along with her mother which is illustrated pretty well, and it explains why she's the way she is. It does NOT, however, excuse her behaviour.
Because this book made me feel sick inside whilst reading it. Why? It's not a bad book. No, it's because of the nature of the bullying. It's not pretty. It's physical, verbal, psychological, hateful, and downright sickening what Kez does to Jess. It happens throughout the book, from start to finish. We see Kez's reasons for doing so - yes, she is letting out all her frustration on Jess, as an easy target, but...seriously? It's going too far.
Kez is one of the most despicable and deplorable characters I have read about in a book. Yes, you are meant to hate her. But for some reason, you're also meant to feel sorry for her? Well, I don't. I feel no sympathy towards this monster of a character who humiliates and bullies her victim in public, threatens to kill her, physically hits her, even goes so far as to cause her to self-harm...
The author's note at the end says that "Bullies are victims too". It still doesn't excuse Kez's behaviour because what she does to Jess is just so sadistic and awful.
To be honest, I stopped reading seriously halfway through the book. I couldn't keep reading all these awful things happening to Jess and nothing being done about it (yep, all the teachers look the other way, of course!).
Later on, I decided I might as well read the rest. I was on my lunch break and I had nothing better to do with my life except sleep. I skimmed the rest and was shocked to discover that it actually became even more horrendous than I could imagine. There might have been some kind of shitty redemption at the end?...I wasn't really paying attention.
I don't think anything was resolved either about anyone's dysfunctional families, or anything whatsoever. I mean it's not badly-written but I just could not enjoy it. 2.5/5