All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Hey everyone, so today I will be reviewing ‘All I Know Now’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher. I don’t normally read autobiographies, but after meeting Carrie Hope Fletcher a couple of months ago I couldn’t resist borrowing ‘All I Know Now’ from the library. Prior to reading this novel the only autobiography I’ve ever read is ‘Jacky Daydream’ and ‘My Secret Diary’ both by Jacqueline Wilson.
Prior to reading this novel, I was expecting it to be a regular autobiography of her experiences growing up, acting on the west end etc,. However an accurate summary for this novel would be ‘How to be a teenager’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Needless to say the caption ‘wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully’ is a pretty accurate subline, and who better to write this novel than Carrie Hope Fletcher everyone’s honorary big sister?
This was a brilliant novel and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her experiences growing up. In her novel Carrie Hope Fletcher is refreshingly honest about her experiences growing up which makes her very relatable. I only hope that in the future she writes another novel focusing on her experiences working in the west-end and performing.
Whilst I enjoyed this novel, this novel is primarily about her experiences of secondary school and this book is tailored for teenagers in secondary school. I only wish that I had read this guide to being a teenager when I was younger! However this book can still be applicable whether you’re going to college/ work/ university/ sixth form school, and you can read it at any age!
Overall I would rate this book 4/5 stars and would recommend this to anyone who’s looking for something new to read and I’d highly recommend that you also check out her YouTube channel ‘It’sWayPastMyBedTime’. If you want an unofficial guide to being a teenager than this is the book for you!
I also look forward to reading her fictional novel that came out recently; ‘All I Know Now,’ which is currently on my ‘to-read’ shelf, she also has a spin-off novella ‘Winters Snow’ that is coming out later this month exclusive to Waterstones.
Also can I just say that I loved the way that this was book was set up like a musical? The book has an overture, and it is split into acts, which I find makes this novel really unique.
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 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
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?
£13 – wearall.com
£13 – overstock.com
£30 – casetify.com
£45 – maccosmetics.com
£21 – saksfifthavenue.com
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