Review: Am I Normal Yet? (Holly Bourne)

20161011_141904Title: Am I Normal Yet?

Author: Holly Bourne

Publisher: Usborne

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary, mental health

Which animal is similar to this book? This book, to me, resembles a generic pig. I realise how harsh this sounds, but hear me out! When someone says the word ‘pig’, most people will immediately think of a traditional pot-bellied pig on a farm in a muddy field. These pigs are messy, love to forage and are obviously only kept for the purpose of meat. Other people will think of the less common (but much more common among celebrities!) teacup pig. These are miniature versions of the standard ‘pig’ and are arguably adorable (yes they fit in a teacup when young, and fit in a mixing bowl when adult!). ‘Pigs’ are versatile; even the pot-bellied pig can be used for meat or pig racing! They’re different and all the different breeds have different characteristics, despite being wildly similar. Am I Normal Yet? is a story about a girl with OCD, yet it still covers topics such as feminism, friendship, family issues, boy problems and bullying. It’s very versatile as pigs are and although the main plot is about mental health, the other storylines are also very strong within that.

The blurb says: Normal at 16 = College, Friends who won’t dump you, Parties? Fun? A boyfriend? All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there’s only one thing left to tick off her list… But relationships can mess with anyone’s head – something Evie’s new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won’t tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?

Okay, this book is amazing. Having OCD myself, reading books which claim to talk about it is always tense and I’m waiting for the cliches or the misinterpretations which come from people who don’t have it themselves. However, this book is so accurate. It’s so obvious from just reading it that Holly Bourne did a lot of research to get this 100%. From the feelings, symptoms, needs even to the ways a therapist would help and the diaries/worksheets they would give someone to help them; it’s all fully accurate.

In that sense, it’s very informative for anyone with a friend who is suffering from OCD but doesn’t quite understand it, but it also gives a lot of information about feminism. There are terms used (like ‘benevolent sexism’) which aren’t commonly used in conversation but are so important and should be talked about more. I just loved it, and when Lottie explains those terms to the other two, I was learning alongside them and I feel like that’s something other girls should be able to experience too.

The characters are lovely and I wish I knew them all in real life because that would just be a dream come true! I also read the acknowledgments and I love that the first dating story in the book is based on a date the author actually went on (I also love that she didn’t change his name and isn’t sorry for it!) because when I was reading that, it seemed like a thing which could happen, but almost seemed too impossible to happen in a normal scenario, as opposed to celebrity lives.

I also love that the story is so funny and witty; despite the seriousness of OCD and the problems Evie is facing, there’s often dry or witty humor as well which makes the plot more light-hearted. Saying that, it did make me emotional and I really did feel sorry for Evie, watching her put herself in situations I know I would hate, and yet I unde20160804_163103rstood why she was doing it, and somehow that made it worse.

I know I’m late to the Spinster Club, but I won’t be leaving any time soon! I can’t wait to read the other books (I already bought them because I knew I’d love them!), but I do think Evie will be my favourite overall… We shall see! I definitely give Am I Normal Yet? a very strong 10 out of 10 paw prints! Everyone should read it!

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10 Reasons My Dog is Melman from Madagascar

So by this point, if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know I love comparing books to animals. But what if I compared film characters to animals? Well, I know a lot of lurchers, and obviously they’re all very different personality-wise, but most do have a lot in common. For me, I think there are two main kinds of lurcher; bull lurcher and your standard lurcher (I know there are others, these are just most relevant to me and to this post, please don’t shout at me…). Bull lurchers are loving, cuddly and boisterous. They love to run, but they have solid heads and solid bodies which they seem to feel no pain in. They’re the tanks of the dog world. Standard lurchers are the skinny ones; the greyhound, saluki or whippet crosses. Those too are loving, but have a tendency to either be snooty or a little bit naughty! They love to run and may even play boisterously, but are still quite different to bull lurchers.
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This is Hunter, my saluki lurcher and he is Melman. Why, you ask? Well I will tell you!

20160723_2153541. His legs are too long for his brain to handle and (especially when he was younger), he would fall over on turns and stumble a lot…he
still has problems with his wrist because he runs too hard on it and then wakes up with it in a lot of pain. He also often squeals when he scratches his ear with his feet… Melman is also clumsy and he lands in a drum kit, slides around everywhere he goes and gets his head stuck in the clock at Grand Central Station.

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2. He thinks he’s hurt himself even when he hasn’t…he will scream like he’s just been shot and limp back to us and if we just massage the offending foot for a minute, he happily runs off again. I believe if he could talk, he would relate to this Melman qufb_img_1474109613014ote: “I’m calling in sick; I found another brown spot on my shoulder…right here!”. And another; “ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow”.

3. He hates being dirty…although I doubt this is because he’s scared of the germs associated with dirt, it still has a good link as at the start of the film, a pair of underpants lands on Melman’s head and he is terrified of them and the germs on them.

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4. He loves attention, even medical attention. He quite enjoys taking tablets as he’s taken painkillers so often so he isn’t phased by it and doesn’t mind it at all! He likes to wear a bandage or wrist support and stopper-pad protectors. Melman doesn’t want to leave the zoo to go after Marty because other zoos wouldn’t be able to cater to his needs of accupuncture, medicines, regular scans and all the many special requirements he has to do with his medical health.
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5. One of his favourite things is sleep! He sleeps at night, he doesn’t like to get up early, he goes to bed quite eagerly at night and he can sleep for the vast majority of the day except for food times. Melman is quite sleepy too, as he says “Sleeping just knocks me out” proving that he can wake up tired, as does Hunter. (PS: baby Hunter is very cute!!)

6. He tendsimag0450 to panic very easily…So he’s quite a calm chap and he won’t really cause any problems at all on walks, but he does have friends he loves to run with. However, if he gets barged or knocked over by other dogs, or if they run dangerously close to him, he will have a little melt down and be subdued for the rest of the walk, usually hidden behind your legs. Unfortunately, poor Melman also panics about nearly everything; he hyperventilates, he hides his head in the sand, he repeats everything he says in a manic way and at one point he even digs his own grave complete with his will.

7. He loves food, a lot! He’s a good lad and at home, he won’t steal an20160916_144348d he hardly even moves to get his own dinner, but pretty much anything you take to him is gone in seconds! On a walk, he’s a pesky little devil as he knows who brings treats on walks, so he knows who to pester and he will stay near them until they feed him! Melman finds a “mint” on the way to saving Marty and although Alex takes it off him, he still sneakily reaches around him so that he can take the “mint” back!

8. He’s a cleve030015bar boy but not in the conventional way of being clever…For example, he isn’t very good at learning ‘tricks’, but he’s a star at agility. He knows how to annoy his brother and how to avoid going on his lead if he’s determined to stay off it (don’t worry though, he comes back once treats are involved!). When they arrive on the island, Melman’s first instinct is that it’s San Diego Zoo, which is a semi-logical assumption, and he even uses intelligent reasoning to back himself up. He says the sands are pale and the rocks are large, but unfortunately he was wrong completely…
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9. He adores to be pampered; he loves fuss, he loves massages and he just loves attention all round. He loves to be brushed and he really likes to be snuggled and tucked under a duvet. To win over the “aliens/freaks”, King Julian pampers the main four and Melman loves it a lot as he has a lot of attention and feels looked after!

10. Finall20151001_164535y, he’s a brave soul when he needs to be; he’s defended his two ‘siblings’ multiple times and he’s also defended friends he doesn’t even live with. He’s also defended me and my little sister when we’ve been out on walks with him, so despite all his fears and nervousness, he can be brave when he feels he needs to protect the ones he loves. Towards the end of the film, it’s actually Melman who scoops up Marty away from the foosa who are attacking him! A surprise rescue from seemingly the world’s most fearful giraffe is very similar to the feelings we get when Hunter defends his family/friends!

Is there an obvious link between your pet and a film/book character? Please do comment and tell me all about your strange pets’ behaviours/likes!

Review: Username Regenerated (Joe Sugg)

20161004_144721Title: Username: Regenerated

Author: Joe Sugg

Publisher: Hodder

Release: Out now!

Genre: Graphic novel, sci-fi

Which animal is similar to this book? This book is equally as beautiful as the first one, so I could just pick another pretty animal and use the same reasons, but actually the second in the Username series is a lot more emotional than the first and so I decided that this time, an elephant fits it better. Elephants are extremely sensitive creatures and are very easily (and very visibly) upset. They will mourn a death in their group for a very long time, they can cry, they will revisit areas deaths occurred in and are also very defensive/protective of their families. They have been known to defend their children until death, but mostly if the other elephants are involved, the attackers will flee. Obviously, I’m not going to give spoilers, but this plot had a lot more feelings and emotional twists in it, so I would compare it to an elephant.

The blurb says: Evie is safe at home, but her heart remains in E.scape, the virtuaal world her father created for her. She’s desperate to return but the app that transports her has corrupted in the great reboot. When besotted geek, Lionel, offers to help, he doesn’t just restore the gateway as she had planned, he opens up a series of revelations that calls into question everything Evie treasures. With a momentous discovery to be unearthed in the virtual realm, and an E.scape fugitive on the loose in reality, can our sidelined schoolgirl save not one world, but two?

Well, Joe Sugg did it again! *slow clapping* I love it, it took me about two days to read and I didn’t want it to end. The characters were developed well and I loved the little flashback at the start which gives insight to Evie’s parents’ lives before the first book is set.

The story follows Evie in the aftermath of the reboot of E.scape in the last book, and is set around her prom night. It involves popular characters from before; Lionel, Unity, Mallory and Jaspar are there, of course. But it also introduces some new characters which it’s hard not to love instantly. I also love how funny and sarcastic a lot of the dialogue is, because it just sounds a lot like things Joe would say in his videos.

My favourite thing about the two books in this series is how fun they are to read. it’s very quick-paced, it’s a good story with emotional points but still manages to be funny and I can hear all the characters’ voices differently when I read it, because all their voices are separate and individual.20160804_163103

I actually prefer this book to Username: Evie, but I gave that 10 out of 10, so they have got to be the same! 10 out of 10 paw prints to you again, Username series!