The List by Siobhan Vivian

Hey everyone! So exams are finally over and I can get back to updating frequently. Also I’d like to catch up on all the blog posts I’ve missed so stay tuned for lots of updates!

Before I begin the review I have a confession to make, I quite frequently tend to buy books based on their cover. I simply can’t say no to a book with a lovely cover, despite the fact that I’m always telling myself not to judge a book by it’s a cover. This was the case for the List by Siobhan Vivian which I couldn’t resist buying because of the lovely cover.

The story is about a high school where every year there is a list which declares the ugliest and prettiest girl in each year. The novel then follows the lives of the girls featured on this list, which brings me to my main problem with this book: the multiple points of views. If you have followed this blog for a while you probably already know that I’m not a big fan of books with multiple points of view. Normally if a book has more than two points of view I lose interest, so the fact that this book had not one, not two but eight points of view really annoyed me. I can barely keep track of one character, how am I supposed to keep track of eight?!

Honestly half the time I wasn’t even sure if the character I was reading about was on the pretty or the ugly list, and quite honestly I didn’t particularly care (in my defence eight characters are a lot to keep track of). I did however enjoy reading Bridgette, Candace and Dan’s POV. But they were all high school stereotypes, the ‘smart’ one, the ‘jock’ and so on…

I think if the story had focused on two of the main characters (maybe just the two seniors?) then I would have enjoyed it much more, but there were too many things going on at the same time and it was hard to keep track of what was going on.

I also disliked how open ended the end was, the book ends after the homecoming dance, where traditionally the girl who has been nominated the ‘prettiest’ senior is homecoming queen. But does anyone actually solve their problems in this book? Does Bridgette get her act together and start eating? Does Abby realise that grades are more important than looks? I personally thought that there were way too many unanswered questions at the end of the book and we didn’t get any closure.

Also at the end of the book it is revealed who wrote the list, and while this was a surprising twist I felt like it came out of nowhere, I would’ve preferred it if we had a few hints so we could guess who it was throughout the novel…

Overall I’d give this 2/5 but if you like a cute and fluffy YA contemporary then this book may be for you! If you aren’t a fan of cliff hangers and books with no closure then you may want to give this one a miss…

Character Spotlight: Jellia

Character Spotlight: Jellia Jamb from the Dorothy Must Die series.

Spoilers ahead for Dorothy must die, you have been warned… But if you haven’t already read it, go and read it! It’s currently free on Kindle and iBooks this week!

Jellia was a character I didn’t particularly warm to, at least not straight away. Her overly chirpy nature seemed suspicious to me, and I was right to be suspicious after we discover that she is Amy’s handler (a.k.a. spy for the Order).

  1. If one thing could be said about Jellia it is that she plays her part well, she is a spy for the Order, and no-one not even Amy suspects her.
  2. She convinces Dorothy to take Amy on as her personal maid for the day.
  3. She also keeps an eye out for Amy when she is promoted as Dorothy’s lady in waiting. When Amy nearly hits Dorothy’s ear with her brush, she flinches and drops the nail polish on the carpet. Dorothy then commands her to catch the rat and she has to keep her rat in her pockets as punishment. In a way Jellia is covering for Amy, as Amy (Astrid) distracted her.
  4. When Amy is being interrogated by the Tin Woodman, Jellia interrupts the Tin Woodman and convinces him to stop the interrogation so that they can continue with their chores.
  5. She also warns Amy that everyone’s rooms would be searched so that Amy had a chance to hide Star.
  6. Towards the end when she is accused for setting the Greenhouse on fire (a crime which Amy committed). She decided to plead guilty even though this means that she is taken away by the Scarecrow to be experimented on.
  7. However before she is taking away she speaks out against Dorothy, and tries to encourage all the guests at the ball to stand up and fight Dorothy.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Hey, everyone, first of all sorry for the lack of updates last week. Now that lectures have finished I’m planning to catch up during those well-earned revision breaks. So, what better way to kick of your Tuesday (or Wednesday) with a review of Rainbow Rowell’s newest book: Carry On.

For those of you have been reading this blog for some time, you probably already know that I loved both Fangirl and Eleanor and Park (as well as her World Book Day novella: Kindred Spirits). However I was disappointed when I read Landline, and I was worried that this would happen when I read Carry On.

Carry On is set in the World of Mages which is a fictional world that Cath writes fanfiction about, initially when I read Fangirl I skipped most of Cath’s fanfiction excerpts, so I was ensure what I was going to make about a book about Simon and Baz. Although the end result was I loved it, and now I feel the pressing need to reread Fangirl just for Cath’s fanfiction about Simon and Baz!

When I first started this book it took me a while to get into; although this was partly due to the fact that I had lectures, assignments and exams to revise and prepare for. But this weekend I picked up Carry On and surprised myself by reading around 70% of the book (needless to say I got little revision done over the weekend).

The first few hundred pages of this book are a bit slow, (which was probably why it took me so long to get into this book). However this is probably due to the fact that we’re just being introduced to the World of Mages.

This book is inspired by Harry Potter (or at least the Simon Snow series in Fangirl mirrors the popularity of Harry Potter). Yes, there are wizards/ magicians in this novel, and there is a magical boarding school with a ‘chosen one’ but that’s where the similarities end. While Simon and Penny bear some resemblance to Hermione and Harry they are both highly likeable characters in their own right, and I for one really enjoyed reading about Simon, Baz and Penny.

The friendship between Simon, Penelope and Baz was one of my favourite parts of the novel. On one hand you have Penelope and Simon who have been best friends since they were eleven, and on the other hand you have Penelope and Baz who manage to work together (and bond over their love of magic) despite the fact that they originally hate each other. Don’t even get me started Baz and Simon, I loved them both.

One thing that slightly annoyed me about this book was the multiple POVs, I’m not a big fan of multiple POVs, and I felt that especially during the climax there were too many different points of view going on which meant that I got slightly confused at some points. I think I would’ve preferred it if it was just Simon, Baz and Penny’s POV.

Overall I’d give this book around 4.5/5 stars, I was originally going to give it four stars for the slow beginning. However after falling in love with the World of Mages; Baz, Penelope and Simon halfway through the book I decided to give it 4.5 stars. Also some of the spells were so funny, and I found myself laughing at loud at some of the names! I loved the fact that common phrases were used for the spells.

Side note: if you haven’t already read Fangirl then you don’t have to read it before reading this one, Fangirl is just Cath’s interpretation of what should happen in her fanfiction ‘Carry On, Simon.’ Whereas ‘Carry On’ is a separate stand-alone novel.

Final words: Rainbow Rowell please carry on with another Carry On story!

And that’s it for me! Hope you enjoyed this review and now I need to go back to the boring life of a Computer Science student.