Book Review | Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Trigger warnings: transphobia, cyberbullying

Transgender, gay teen Felix Love has never been in love, and he is aware of the irony. When someone begins posting his old, pre-transition pictures, and sending him transphobic messages on Instagram, Felix devises a plan of revenge. Along the way, he learns about one of the most important relationships in his life: the one with himself.

Felix Ever After is a YA book that should be on every library’s shelves. At the fundamental core of the novel, we have a teenager who is learning about themselves, and how to navigate the world around them.

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Book Review: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

IMG_6416When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting case. That is, until Hazel discovers the body of their science mistress, Miss Bell – and when they return five minutes later, the body is gone. Now the girls have to solve a murder and prove a murder happened in the first place, before the killer strikes again. Will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test? – adapted from back of book

Wow. Wooooooow. This is the probably the first true 5 stars I’ve given this year, because you know what? I couldn’t find a flaw with this book.

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Book Review: Shattered by Teri Terry

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Ignore how weird my thumb looks… Dx

Kyla was Slated: her mind was wiped clean by the government. When forbidden memories of a violent past began to surface, so did doubts: could she trust those to care for, like Ben? Helped by friends in MIA, she goes undercover, searching for her past and evading authorities who want her dead. But the truth Kyla seeks is more shocking than she imagined as the Slated trilogy concludes. – from back of book, modified.

 

Okay. O-kay. So this is a review of the last in the Slated trilogy and is the only review I’ve done of them, for two reasons. 1) I’m lazy and procrastinate book reviews all the time and didn’t get around to it. 2) These are easy books to forget! I got lost in character names and the plot. So when it’d been a couple of months, I knew I’d only be able to do a vague review, so I just didn’t do one. But not this time! Mwhahaha.

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Book Review: The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss

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Actual rating: 4.5

To Pearl, there is nothing sweet about her baby sister Rose who caused her mother’s premature death and turned her world upside down. To Pearl? Rose is an imposter. Rose is The Rat.

Well. This was a book I did not expect.

It was a lovely, coming-of-age story dealing with the death of a loved one and going through the grieving process. This book is one that will break you. I was in tears by the end of it (which was a tad embarrassing in a public café but I don’t think anyone noticed), both happy and sad.

Because, yes, this book is also ridiculously funny. It’s not exactly to be expected – a book about death that’s funny? Yes, believe it not. The writing style was just fabulous and I honestly did not want to put it down.

The Year of The Rat isn’t just about death and grief, though. It’s also got beautiful family relationships like between Pearl’s dad(s) and her grandmother, and, yes, her sister Rose. And friendship! Although Pearl has “a thing” for the grandson next door, that’s almost brushed over in this book and it focusses on Pearl’s friendship with Molly. Molly didn’t appear in the book that much, which saddened me, although she was almost constantly referenced. She seemed really fun.

This lost a measly half a star (but it was rounded up for the rating so all is good) because I felt Pearl was a little too harsh. Like, I get that she was grieving, I really do (I’ve lost people too) but she was just too icy and I felt like I really didn’t like her at some points. I also thought she was actually going to kill Rose at one point too and that genuinely scared me. And I don’t like scary books. But nevertheless, Pearl was okay. I just didn’t particularly like her.

This book, though, is honestly brilliant and I would highly recommend it. I was also so so pleased when I discovered my copy had EXTRA CONTENT! – an interview with the author, reading group questions and an extra short story to mention a few! 😀


 

TITLE: The Year of The Rat
AUTHOR: Clare Furniss
GENRE: YA
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Simon & Schuster // 2015 (orig. 2014)
NUMBER OF PAGES: 306 (on GoodReads it says 352 because EXTRA CONTENT AS HAS BEEN ALREADY EXCITEDLY DISCUSSED)
ISBN: 9781471145919
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Present for Christmas- thanks Santa
RATING: 4.5/5

Book Reviews: Dark Touch Series by Amy Meredith

I thought I’d do a review of 4 books in 1 post! So this series is called the Dark Touch series and its by author Amy Mereith. Set in Deepdene, a town on the American east coast, the series follows three teenagers, Eve, Jess and Luke, as they battle demons and Eve learns of her new powers of the Deepdene Witch.

If you don’t want to read all of the reviews below, here’s a quick one. I gave each book three stars (but I enjoyed The Hunt and Fever the most) because although they were interesting and entertaining, they weren’t the best things I’ve ever read and some things did annoy me, like the constant name-dropping of products like iPhones etc. It was humorous in places, sad in places, scary in places. I quite liked them, though, and read all four in a day each. They’re not long reads, and perfect for 11+ year old girls (well, that’s who they’re clearly aimed at!). Recommended.

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Book Discussion: Character Extremes

bd;character extremesIn the book I’m reading at the moment (Shadows: A Dark Touch Novel by Amy Meredith) the two main characters, at least to start with, were such Mary Sues. They love shopping. They’re pretty. They’re popular. They’re talented. They’re fancied by most of the opposite sex. They have a lovely group of friends. Oh, and they’re the protagonist of a book. WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT?

Oh, and most readers hate them. Go figure.

And then you get the entirely opposite of a Mary Sue (aka the inventively named “Anti-Sue”). They’re disliked by other characters. They may be abused. They might kill people. They’re dangerous. They’re probably unattractive, like a creepy Disney character. They don’t really have any talents except ‘negative’ ones. And, obviously, they’re the antagonist of the book.

But… most readers adore them. Go figure. Again. I hope you’re good at maths.

Why do readers prefer the damaged, easily hate-able antagonist, and yet despise the person we’d probably all like being? Are they a reflection of our inner thoughts? Is the Mary-Sue deemed too unrealistic? Why, then, is the Anti-Sue also incredibly unrealistic, but more loved? Why am I questioning this? Is it because I’m doubting myself? (I’d love a best friend like the two female main characters in the book I’m currently reading.) Is it because I’m tired, and as this is a “book discussion” post I am completely turning it over to you? (Don’t answer the last one.) What do you think, readers? 

Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

TITLE: Ways To Live Forever
AUTHOR: Sally Nicholls
PUBLISHER: Marion Lloyd Books (Scholastic)
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2008
NUMBER OF PAGES: 200
PRICE: £4.99
ISBN: 9781407107080
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from a school fete
RATING: 4.5/5


Sam is eleven. He loves facts. He wants to know about airships and space and what it’s like to smoke a cigarette and go for a drink in the pub. He wants to know because he has leukaemia, and he’s dying. Sam especially needs the answers to the questions no one wants to hear.

I picked this up on a whim because I thought I’d heard of it before but then I put it on my shelf for a rainy day. Today wasn’t a rainy day, but I simply decided to read it and I only put it down to toast some crumpets. I read the entire thing in about two hours, and was fighting back tears from about the middle of it (okay, so I was feeling pretty tearful anyway but y’know).

This debut (!!) novel is made great by the protagonist: Sam, adorable, witty, curious Sam who wants to know answers and makes lists and is portrayed very realistically by not wanting to hang out with his aunts and uncles in the last few weeks he has to live.

The other supporting characters handle Sam’s sickness in various ways, and I think that this is very good, as it’s very realistic and provokes a variety of reactions from the audience. For example, his best friend Felix is very matter-of-fact about it, and as he is also dying this provokes empathy, whereas Sam’s dad walks away when the topic of conversation comes up.

The story ends how you expect it to: the protagonist dies (okay and this isn’t a spoiler because the first bit is, “By the time you read this, I’ll probably be dead.”). The ending is actually done very well and ties in with other bits of the story.

Yes, this story did make me cry and it did make me think. It’s amazing how Nicholls managed to make a book about an 11 year old dying humorous and optimistic too. I’d definitely recommend it. I’m not even entirely sure who it’s intended for, but I think any age could read it.