Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison.

A socially awkward love story.

2017 started with a bang when the first book I decided to read was ‘Lobsters’ by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison. Even though I’d read this book in 2016 I enjoyed this just as much the second time around, (although I can’t help wishing that I’d discovered this a few years earlier).

The novel is written from two points of view; Sam and Hannah (similarly to Eleanor and Park in Eleanor and Park), and they both eventually fall in love with each other after a series of mishaps and misfortune. This novel takes place before both Sam and Hannah leave for university and both of them plan to lose their virginity during that summer.

I loved the fact that this book was split into two perspectives, it was really enjoyable reading what was going through both Sam and Hannah’s heads during the course of the novel. The dual perspective also helps give you an understanding of what they do in the novel.

This book is UKYA (which basically translates to YA novels set in the UK), and Sam and Hannah have just finished sixth form (i.e. Senior Year), this book deals with harsh realities such as the wait for results and the fear of not getting into the top university. Both Sam and Hannah spend a lot of the book worrying over results (which I can definitely relate to), and both worry that they’ve messed up in an exam which I’m sure a lot of readers in the UK can relate to.

Another reason why I loved this book was because it was so easy to relate to the characters, I found myself relating to Hannah, and I loved her character development during the novel. At the start of the novel she does everything to please Stella, however, as the novel continues she begins to stand up for herself more.

I really enjoyed reading the interactions between Sam and Hannah, such as the conversation about hot Ribena and the discussion about to greet people (a high-five is definitely the best way to greet someone!) The humour was great and well timed and I found out laughing out loud during the novel.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, I’d recommend this book to anyone reading YA. However if you are 18 and heading to university later this year then this book is definitely for you, since the main characters are 18 and enjoying their last summer before university.

I’d give this book 5/5 stars, and I can’t wait to read ‘Never Evers’ (which is on my TBR list) and ‘Freshers’ which is coming out during 2017 and is about teenagers during their first two months of university.

If you are looking for a socially awkward love story then this is the book for you!

Interesting fact: Lobsters don’t mate for life but bald eagles do, so instead of looking for your lobster you should really be looking for your bald eagle!

Six’s Legacy by Pittacus Lore

Six’s Legacy by Pittacus Lore.

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve had a good week, this week I’ve been reading one of the novellas based on the ‘I am The Number Four’ series; ‘Six’s Legacy’. Although I neither liked nor disliked ‘I am The Number Four’, I couldn’t resist reading a novella dedicated to my favourite character in the novel; Six. (Especially since it was in Oxfam bookshop).

The novel is primarily about Six and her backstory which was previously unknown to us (apart from the fact that she and her cepan were captured by the mogadorians). So it was refreshing to read about her and learn about her backstory.

I especially enjoyed reading about how she managed to convince her cepan to reply to the blog post written by Two, which eventually lead to the demise of number Two. It was also exciting to read about how she escaped the mogadorians using her first legacy; invisibility (which is by far the best legacy in my opinion).

Overall I would rate it 3.5/5 stars, I enjoyed reading about Six and Katarina, I only wish that this was a full length novel. If you’ve devoured the Legacy series and want to find out more about Six then this is the book for you. However if you were satisfied with Six’ backstory in the Power of Six then this book just illustrates her backstory in more detail.

I also thought that this novella gave Six’s character a lot more depth and you could see how her character evolved throughout the novella to become the person she was in ‘I am The Number Four.’ If you love Six’s character in ‘I am The Number Four’ you’ll love (or grow to love) her even more in this novella.

Although this novel is a prequel to I am The Number Four. I would recommend reading that before as it serves as an introduction to Lorien, the Legacies and the Mogadorians. Also, can we all just admit that Six has the best legacy so far?

Overall an excellent addition to the Lorien Legacies series and I can’t wait to read the other novellas based on the series.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard was a book I picked up from WH Smith partly because I was transfixed by the cover and partly because it was cheaper than the original price due to it being the part of the Zoella book club.

Before even starting this book I guessed it was your stereotypical YA read (i.e. just another YA contemporary with romance being the main focus). However when I was proven wrong I couldn’t have been more pleased. Instead of the plot being romance driven, the driving force in this book is the friendship between Suzanne, Rosie and Caddy which was a refreshing change from your average YA contemporary.

Although I disliked the narrator; Caddy at the beginning of the novel. Although this was down to the fact that she spends the first few pages feeling sorry for herself because nothing interesting happens to her and she compares herself to her best friend Rosie (whose dad walked out on her) and her sister Tarin (who is bipolar). How is what happened to them a significant life event?  Also, she gets really jealous of Suzanne, who is Rosie’s new friend, and she seems very bitter about Rosie’s new found friendship. However as the novel wore on I could see her character evolving.

However despite Caddy being slightly jealous and bitter at the start of the novel, this is what makes her seem like a ‘real’ teenager, she is a character who has flaws. The fears she has in the book? We’ve probably all experienced them at some point. However as the novel progresses like any other teenager her character develops.

Suzanne is one of the other protagonists in the novel. However the friendship between Suzanne and Caddy gets off to the rocky start, when Caddy is paranoid that Suzanne will steal her best friend. However she is quickly proven wrong when Suzanne makes every effort to become friends with Caddy as well. Over the course of the novel we learn more about Suzanne’s past (which is beautifully written) and how Caddy is determined to help her even if it means risking her education and friendship with Rosie.

Overall I would give this book 4/5 stars, I liked the fact that this novel driven by the friendship between the three protagonists. If you are looking for a book that features an honest portrayal of friendship then this book is the book for you! And I think that Sara Barnard is definitely an author to watch out for in the future!

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I am Number Four was a book that I decided to read quite by chance when I picked up the first two  books in a charity shop for 50p, (I also managed to find the third book in the trilogy) and although I enjoyed the book I had a lot of mixed feelings about it. Although I found the premise of the book interesting I also found myself skimming through the action parts of the book (partly because I’d read it before and partly because I wasn’t all that interested).

The novel follows sixteen year old John Smith (who isn’t the Doctor in disguise) who comes from the planet Lorien, and he along with nine others need to develop their legacies (a.k.a. their superpowers) and save their race. However The Mogadorians are on a mission to kill them, the catch? They can only kill them in order, and our protagonist; Four is their next target.

I enjoyed the premise of this novel (even if the plot is a bit overdone), however I found myself losing interest during parts of the novel (especially during the action scenes which I skimmed through). Most of the action scenes seemed to follow a similar pattern; Six, Henri and Four would be fighting against loads of Mogadorians, Four would think he was going to die and Six would ultimately end up saving the day… again.

Four was a character that I neither seemed to like nor dislike, his reckless attitude reminded me of a stereotypical Gryffindor with the constant need to always put his life on the line. Which brings me to my next point; the insta-love between him and Sarah. I don’t mind romance it books; as long as it’s written well, but I found the relationship between John and Sarah pretty unbelievable. Just after a few months of knowing each other John keeps saying he ‘loves’ Sarah, no, just no okay?

Sarah was a character that I’d probably like if she wasn’t such a cliché, she was the most popular girl in school and has been in a relationship with the most popular boy in the school, and her only purpose in her book is to serve as a love interest to Four (who I’m pretty sure has feelings for Six). If her character had been given more depth I think I would’ve grown to like Sarah.

However I really enjoyed reading about his best friend: Sam and Henri who is his protector (I would happily read a short story about Henri’s life on Lorien). Although a character that really stood out for me was Six; another member of the Garde. In contrast to John she is in fully control of her legacies (she has the power to turn invisible; how cool is that?) and pretty much spends the entire book saving the day. Seriously, if Six hadn’t have been in this book John would probably be dead.

Overall I’d give this book 3/5 stars, while I enjoyed this book it isn’t a book that I’m rushing to read again any time soon. However I am planning to continue the series, and I’m looking forward to reading the short stories about the Fallen Legacies.

What’s a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne

What’s a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne

Ever since finishing the first two books in the Spinster trilogy by Holly Bourne I have been desperately been waiting for the newest and final instalment in the trilogy ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do?’ However when I received a copy, I surprised everyone by not reading it straightaway because I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to the high expectations of the previous two installments; ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ and ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’

However my worries quickly disappeared after I started reading it; the novel follows Lottie who after she is sexually harassed decides to create a Vlog where she points out every bit of sexism she sees. The problem? Her month long project finishes just a week before her Cambridge interview.

Lottie was a character that I both admired and feared (Lottie isn’t the sort of person that I’d want to get on the wrong side of!) She’s ambitious and wants to make a difference and I admired that about her. Throughout the novel she experiences a lot of setbacks during the project such as trolls and an ex-boyfriend, but with the help of her friends she manages to carry on knowing that she’s slowly making an impact.

I really enjoyed this novel and it is probably my favourite out of the Spinster club trilogy, although I loved ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ I did miss reading about Evie, Lottie and all the other characters, so I found it nice to return to college for the final installment. I also enjoyed seeing how all the characters had developed since the first book (especially Evie), which is why I would recommend you to read the entire trilogy as opposed to just this book.

However what makes this book so relatable is that Lottie has realistic worries such as living up to her parents’ expectations and underperforming in college. I found these worries very relatable and I know that a lot of readers like me can relate to them especially if they’ve just been to college or sixth-form. Again, I applaud Holly Bourne for her talent for creating relatable characters.

However if you haven’t read the other books in the series you can still read this book. Although it is recommended that you read the other books in the series first since that way you can also read Evie and Amber’s stories as told in ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ and ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’.

Overall I would rate this book 5/5 stars, I really enjoyed reading about Lottie’s journey and I thought that this was a perfect ending to the Spinster Club trilogy. However there will be another novella ‘And a Happy New Year?’ coming out later this year which will follow the three as they reunite after their first semester of university.

Are you going to hit the switch? Are you going to wait to change things, and accept a few casualties in the meantime? Or are you going to start changing things now?

Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth

Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth was a book that was recommended to me after I asked for UK based YA books (or UKYA as they are more commonly called). So when I got the book out of the library I wasn’t sure what to expect (apart from knowing that it would be set in the UK). However the cover gave me some indication of what the book was about: bullying. The cover is cleverly designed and it creates a ‘seven’ out of Kez’ insults to Jess and this helps the book stand out on a shelf.

The novel is divided into two parts of view; Jess (the victim) and Kez (the bully). Over the course of seven days we get an insight to both Kez and Jess’ lives, both of whom have daily struggles. This is conveyed very well in the novel and it shows both sides of the story very clearly as the novel progresses.

Even though when I was reading this I was a bit disappointed that Jess didn’t stand up for herself, after reading this I realise how strong Jess is especially for her younger sister who she ends up looking after while her mum’s at work.

I can only imagine how strong she is to deal with bullies’ day in day out not wanting to cause any trouble for fear that she’ll get a detention and be unable to pick her sister up. I was glad when she had some friends giving her moral support throughout the novel, Philip was a brilliant character and I was so happy that he stood up for Jess (along with Hannah).

Whilst reading the novel I thought that the novel dealt with the theme of bullying really well and showed how quickly it can get out of hand and what consequences it has on the victim. However I thought the whole bully is the victim was a bit of a cliché and it wasn’t particularly needed in a book with just over 200 pages which resulted in the ending being rushed.

I found the ending rushed and I found that everything got resolved a bit too quickly for my liking. I think the ending was written so that the readers would get some form of a happy ending within those seven days. I personally would have preferred a realistic ending where the bullying stops but they still aren’t best friends.

Another problem that I had with this book were the clichés i.e. we find out the bully (Kez) is in fact being bullied, and the other main character (Jess) considers herself ugly which then prompts her mother to tell her how she isn’t ugly but in fact beautiful (turns out in YA ugly is another word for beautiful). I was half expecting a makeover scene and for Jess to suddenly become popular.

However even though we find out Kez’ reasons behind bullying, I still believe that there is no excuse for bullying, bully is never okay and there is never a reason to bully someone.

Recommendations: I would recommend this novel to the younger end of YA especially those still in secondary school. Rating 3/5

All American Girl: Ready or Not by Meg Cabot

All American Girl: Ready or Not by Meg Cabot

Hello everyone! I hope everyone has a great summer, and I hope that you are all ready to go back to university/ school/ work/ college soon. After reading a number of great books on holiday (namely Solitaire by Alice Oseman and What’s a Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne), I couldn’t help but like my holiday reading ended on a low after reading All American Girl: Ready or Not by Meg Cabot.

I love Meg Cabot books, and if I ever need a light hearted book to read hers I often finding myself choosing one of hers. (I’ll read Les Miserables when I’m not travelling in the early hours of the morning!) I mean who doesn’t love reading books where the main character finds out she’s a princess? However I found myself very disappointed after reading the sequel to All American Girl which seemed to be lacking in any form of plot.

It’s been a while since I read the first book All American Girl but I can remember it; who doesn’t love a book where the protagonist saves the president? However unlike the first novel there wasn’t a plot; the book itself is just about the main character debating on whether to have sex with her boyfriend FOR THE ENTIRE NOVEL. Either that or she’s complaining that she doesn’t get enough attention being the middle child with a popular older sister and genius younger sibling.

Although I was considering throwing this book out the window at some parts (although the fact that I was reading on the Kindle was stopping me). One aspect I really wished we could’ve read more about was Lucy and Harold, I would have loved to see some closure on that aspect on the novel. This was by far my favourite part of the novel and I loved how the popular girl who is used to getting whatever she wants has a crush on the guy who has no interest in her.

Another part I liked is when Lucy, Harold and Katherine stand up for Sam in the cafeteria after Kris calls Sam a slut and I enjoyed seeing Kris get what she deserved, plus it made me like Lucy a bit more as she was putting her reputation on the line to stick up for her sister.

Overall I’d give it 2/5 due to the fact that sex is all Sam talks about (if there had been another storyline going on during the book this would have made it bearable). Although I did like reading about Lucy and Harold. Unlike Meg Cabot’s other books which are generally tween friendly I wouldn’t recommend it to the younger end of YA.

Agent 21: Reloaded by Chris Ryan

Agent 21: Reloaded isn’t the type of book I normally pick up on my visits to my library. But since the YA section in my library isn’t very big, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and get Agent 21.

Whilst reading this book I was reminded of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz that I read when I was younger (although I’m excited for the new book in series to come out next year)! My first realization when reading this book was that I was reading the sequel to Agent 21 (hopefully I can get round to reading Agent 21 in the future) but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

I really liked all the characters in this novel; Zak is the protagonist and he’s a secret agent sent on a deadly mission, however unlike the prior novel this time he is being sent alone. I thought this was interesting, since although I loved the interaction between Rafael, Gabby and Zak, I found his interactions with Bea were some of the best scenes in the book. Bea was possibly one of my favourite characters and she has a tendency to talk too much when she’s nervous, which I can relate to!

Although I loved reading about Zak’s adventures, I did enjoy reading about his cousin and how her life has been turned upside down. I found it easier to relate to Ellie (and I also sometimes struggled to keep up with all the action in Zak’s scenes). Sadly since this book is about Agent 21 the main focus is of course on Zak, with Ellie being a supporting character but I hope we see more of her in the future novels!

I thought it was a really good idea to have the story split into two different missions, because it portrayed how different Zak’s life is compared to Ellie’s, also I really liked reading how each of them coped in life-threatening situations as Zak has obviously been trained whereas Ellie has not.

Overall I’d rate this book 4/5 stars and if you love books with a lot of suspense then this book is definitely for you. Although I’d read the first book before reading the sequel if I was you! However if you cannot get a copy of the first book then as far as sequels go this is a pretty self-contained sequel that doesn’t necessarily require you to read the first book.

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes.

Hey everyone, as you all know by now I cannot resist picking up a book with a pretty cover, and the Queen of Hearts was no exception, the cover is lovely and definitely drew me in.

I really enjoyed this book when reading it (although at the time I was relived to be taking a break from another book I’m reading at the minute) and I enjoyed venturing to Wonderland only this time with Dinah instead of Alice. Prior to reading this novel the only retelling that I’ve read was Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, which left me wanting to read more retellings. However although  I enjoyed this novel I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed by the lack of Wonderland present in Carroll’s original novel.

Even though this novel was set in Wonderland; this isn’t the Wonderland we’ve been acquainted with in Carroll’s novel (which I was initially disappointed by) this Wonderland is darker and more sinister as we venture down the rabbit hole into the life of the Queen of Hearts. If you had told me a few months ago that I’d feel sorry for the Queen of Hearts I would probably have laughed, but that’s exactly what this novel did.

Although I was really impressed by the way that Colleen Oakes wove the original characters into this retelling; from the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat (although in this adaptation they’re all human). However I wish it hadn’t been so obvious which character from the original novel they were supposed to portray (for instance the Chesire Cat inspired cat is called Cheshire). Personally I would’ve enjoyed guessing more before being told, with a few subtle hints along the way.  However I did enjoy all the other references to Carroll’s wonderland novel like the ‘eat me’ on the loaf.

The main character is Dinah; who grows up to be The Queen of Hearts, honestly I found her quite annoying and spoilt (far too often she uses her position as Queen and wealth to get out of sticky situations, I would’ve preferred it if she found another way out instead of just saying; “I’m the Princess, do as I say or I’ll have your head chopped off”). Oh, and of course she naturally has a crush on the other protagonist in the novel because let’s not forget that this is still YA. However I did sympathise with Dinah; it can’t have been easy having a dad that hated you or a step-sibling that was seemingly perfect.

One character I really loathed was the main villain of the story: the King of Hearts (but then you’re supposed to hate the villain aren’t you?). I think the King makes Voldemort look like a softie, but my problem is that I couldn’t sympathize with him, (whereas with Voldemort you understand why he became so evil). Hopefully in a future novel we’ll get some sort of backstory (or even a novella).

His relationship with Dinah reminded me of the King’s relationship with Maxon in The Selection Series (villainous kings seem to be a growing trend in YA fiction).  Why does he hate Dinah so much? Why is he so possessive of the crown?

Overall this novel was good, but there were far too many unanswered questions at the end of the novel for my liking, so I’ll have to keep an eye out for the sequel.

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting by Holly Bourne.

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting was the first book I read by Holly Bourne but it was by no means the last novel I’ve read by her. Although it’s not my favourite book by Holly Bourne, I still thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Bree; the main protagonist novel comes to the conclusion that she’s not interesting at the start of the novel. Throughout the novel she decides to reinvent herself in order to become interesting (and thus a better author). It reminded me of a YA version of the film ‘Mean Girls.’

However unlike Mean Girls, this novel deals with a lot of different issues that teenagers go through, even if they were only mentioned in passing. It’s nice to see a YA novel that acknowledges the difficulties that teenagers face instead of ignoring them.

However unlike Evie, Lottie and Amber from Bourne’s other novels, although I empathized with Bree at the beginning of the novel, as the novel wore on and Bree becomes obsessed with becoming ‘interesting’, I started to lose all sympathy for her. Although I did feel sorry for her during her relationship with Logan and Mr Fellows (both of which were incredibly well written), I felt like she should have been honest with Jasmine and Holdo.

However as the novel progressed despite losing sympathy with Bree, I found myself warming up to Bree especially when she returns to school and stands up for herself. Despite all that happened I found myself agreeing with Bree’s dad (who is absent for the majority of the book) that going back to school was the best option, and when Bree goes back to school it shows the character development that she’s gone through in the novel and  how much stronger she has become.

One character I really enjoyed reading about was Jasmine, at the beginning of the novel she is just your stereotypical popular girl. However when Bree befriends her, we as the readers discover that there is more to her than meets the eye.

I also enjoyed the mother-daughter scenes with Bree and her mother, it’s nice to see a present parent in a YA novel for a change!

Overall I’d give this book 4/5, I really enjoyed this book and the concept, however I found myself struggling to empathize with Bree especially when she became popular and ignored her best friend in favour of the ‘popular’ people.

Side note: How do you not even notice that your blog is incredibly popular?

“Being interesting isn’t important. But being happy is. As well as being a person you’re proud of”