We are all made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

‘We are all made of Molecules’ was one of the books that I wanted to read for a long time but when it came to seeing it in bookstores there was always some other book that I wanted to buy more (*cough* generally books by Holly Bourne or Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison).  I’d heard a lot about it so when I saw it in the library I simply had to borrow it.

And let me tell you, when I started it I couldn’t put it down.

If you’ve ever wanted to read a book where the main characters resemble a teenage Penny and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory then this is the book for you. (Although unlike Penny and Leonard, the main characters are step-siblings so there’s no romance).

The book is written in two perspectives, on one hand you have the Stewart, he’s academically brilliant but socially clueless and on the other hand you have Ashley, the ‘it’ girl. Their worlds collide when Ashley’s mum and Stewart’s dad start living together.

One thing I will say about this book is that it had a lot going on (perhaps too much going on?) Stewart is still dealing with his mother’s death, Ashley is still coming to terms with her dad being gay, Stewart is going to a regular high school after going to a gifted school; and he gets bullied and Ashley gets into a tricky situation with the most popular boy  in a school. Needless to say a lot happens, and while a lot of it is covered well I think there a bit too much going on.

I really liked the idea of having two characters, who are complete opposites. I didn’t particularly care for Ashley’s character (for me she was far too much of a stereotypical it girl). I really liked Stewart’s character, and I liked the fact that despite how small he was, he wasn’t afraid to stand up for Ashley.

After all sometimes it’s far easier to stand up for others than it is for yourself.

I also liked the fact that you had two opposite ends of the spectrum, on the one hand you have Stewart is happy for his dad, but then you have Ashley who is still very bitter about her parents divorce. I also liked the fact that during the novel Ashley was able to move on and accept Stewart and his dad as family.

Overall I’d give this novel 4/5 stars, it was a highly enjoyable read but I found that there was a bit too much going on in some areas.

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Bridesmaid Lotto by Rachel Astor

Do you ever have those days when you just want to read a lighthearted romance? Well I definitely got more than what I bargained for when I was reading ‘Bridesmaid Lotto’, it definitely is a lighthearted read, however whilst I wanted a lighthearted romance I would’ve liked some depth in the actual story. (Although considering it’s labelled as a romance there’s surprisingly little romance in it).

The plot is simple but interesting and intriguing; some celebrity couple is hosting a competition that will give four girls the opportunity of a life time; to be a bridesmaid for this a-list celebrity couple. And the brother of the bride just happens to be a super famous celebrity.

Obviously (because this book is very cliche) our main character doesn’t want to enter the competition but her name is put down anyway by her pushy mother, and she ends up becoming a bridesmaid and falling in love with the super famous celebrity and they live happily every after. The end.

First of all whilst I liked the plot it reminded me a bit too much of ‘The Selection’ series by Keira Cass. However my biggest issue is that I couldn’t really connect to any other the characters, none of them stood out to me.

First off you have the main character Josie; you’re stereotypical main character, who complains about her mother and didn’t want to be in this competition (although she seems to enjoy it for the most part). The stereotypically gay best friend (I kind of pictured Matty as Kurt from Glee), and for the other bridesmaids you had the snobby model who looks down on everyone and the country girl who doesn’t stop talking. (Although I was surprised because I thought Jennifer- one of the other bridesmaids was going to be secretly evil but she wasn’t which was actually kind of disappointing.).

Also, although there were some hurdles in the plot, each hurdle seemed to get resolved way too easily, and it seems like although things look bad for the main character, this only seems to last for a few pages and then gets resolved and later forgotten about. I would’ve liked to read about how the main character Josie felt when the paparazzi invaded her life. I think that would’ve helped me understood her character better.

Don’t even get me started at what happened at the end (which I won’t actually say for fear of spoiling anything). I just think we could’ve had some explanation as why it happened (although I guess that’s how they get people to the next book). Since, honestly it seemed like the author was creating unnecessary tension and it seemed out of character, I would’ve liked some explanation as to why the character did what they did.

Overall I would give this book 2/5 out of five, I enjoyed the plot, but I would’ve liked to have seen more romance which when it was included seemed rushed. Whilst it was a quick, easy and lighthearted read I don’t think I’ll be continuing with the series.

The 12 Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

What’s the best thing to reassuring July? Well obviously a book set during a Christmas! So without further ado here is my review of ‘The 12 Days of Dash and Lily” by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn.

If you have been following this book for a while you’ll know that I often have mixed feelings on books with two authors. On one hand there are some books such as “Lobsters” by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison that I love, whilst other books with two authors I will struggle to get into because I connect better with one character.

I found that both narratives sounded quite similar (there were a couple of times where I had to check the title to see who was narrating the chapter). However I struggled to connect with both the characters (but I think this could have something to do with it being the second book in the series). Pro tip: always start on the first book in the series!

While I understood and sympathised with what Lily was going through, I wish it had been handled differently and I wished that she had realised that running away is not the answer. Sometimes we need other people to help us and we need to let people in. 

Even though I wasn’t overly found of Lily mainly because her whining annoyed me (even though I did feel sorry for her), I liked Dash. And I found it sweet when the two of them made plans for each other (even when they didn’t go too plan)! I think I would’ve preferred it if this book had more of a lighthearted, Christmassy feel to it.

I also thought that there was a lot of uneccessary drama added in to give the book a more lighthearted and Christmassy feel but I felt like this took away from the actual storyline of what Lily was going through. (I also felt like it wasn’t nearly long enough!) 

Overall I’d rate this book 3/5 stars, while I liked the idea of story being set in the 12 days leading up to Christmas, I would’ve the plot to be slightly more Christmassy, since Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! 

(I also failed to realise this was the second book in the series when getting this book from the library, so I’m going to keep an eye out for the first book).

Damage by Eve Ainsworth

Damage by Eve Ainsworth is the second book of hers that I’ve read (the first being Seven Days) so judging by the title and her other novel, I started this book with a small inkling of what to expect. This book is about a girl named Gabi who after dealing with the death of her grandfather turns to self-harm as a way of coping. Like Ainsworth’s other novel, she doesn’t sugar-coat teenage-hood, things don’t instantly get better, but that’s life, and sometimes it takes a while for things to get better.

To date this is the second book that I’ve read on self-harm (the first being ‘The Manifesto on how to be Interesting’ by Holly Bourne), and personally I feel that it’s good that more books are covering the topic of self-harm. So, kudos to Ainsworth for covering such a sensitive topic.

Before I get any further into this review I would strongly caution people against reading this book if they self-harm or if they are in recovery as this book could be slightly triggering.

The book itself, whilst I enjoyed it and appreciate that it’s a difficult topic to write about, was too short and by the end of it I had a lot of unanswered questions, and I would’ve liked to have a deeper insight as to why Gabi self-harmed, and what she and her parents were planning to do to help her at the end of the book. Personally I would’ve preferred if this book had more of a conclusion rather than being open-ended.

Also, another bit of this book that really annoyed me was Gabi’s treatment of her mum, she’s really disrespectful of her mum which really bothered me (and before you all yell at me, I know teenagers can be disrespectful to their parents, but Gabi’s treatment of her mother was horrible), what parent lets her kid get away with yelling and throwing boxes at them? One thing that I would’ve liked to see in the ending was Gabi apologising to her mother, especially when said mother was trying her hardest.

Whilst I thought that Gabi posting on an online forum was a good way to help her cope and talk to people, I felt like it would’ve been worthwhile to include some of the responses in the book. Whilst the responses are mentioned in passing, it would’ve been good to see if the messages helped Gabi. I felt like the idea of including forums but then not showing what impact they had meant that they were under used in the book.

I also wish that this book had been longer, the ending was very open ended and although I think this made sense for the book, I would’ve also liked some closure on some of the things that were only mentioned in passing. I would’ve liked to hear more about Freddie’s family life and Fliss’ backstory however they were only mentioned in passing and by the end of the novel there was no real reason to include it at all.

Final thoughts, overall I would rate this book 3/5 stars, whilst I thought that the subject matter was covered well, I think that due to the length of the book Ainsworth missed the opportunity to include counselling, which in turn would’ve given the readers more closure.

I also thought it was good how they were some links to useful organizations at the back of the book which I will include here:

Young Minds: www.youngminds.org..uk

Harmless: www.harmless.org.uk

The Wish Centre: www.thewishcentre.org.uk

Rethink: www.rethink.org

Mind: www.mind.org.uk