Review: One Of Us Is Lying (Karen M. McManus)

Title: One Of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M. McManus

Publisher: Penguin

Release: May 2017

Genre: Mystery/Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? This book is 100% an arctic fox. You know them, they’re white, fluffy carnivores. I saw it as soon as I finished it since this book is so beautifully clever. It’s cunning, witty and the plot twists are so well thought-through. It all just works as it’s meant to and in that way, it’s as clever as a fox hunting. It’s also a stunning story (these foxes are the prettiest type) and honestly I couldn’t put the book down, in the same way you can’t take your eyes off something pretty.

The blurb says: Five students walk into detention. Only four leave alone. Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them. 

Okay but this is such a good book. Sometimes I’ll start a book and have to push myself to read more because the start is slow and I’m not very patient, but this book kept me going right ’til the end. Hell, it kept me going past the end! I need to know what happened to them all?! The story was so fast-paced, so interesting and so well-written that it’s impossible to put down and forget about. You have to keep going because, what’s going to happen?? Not many books I’ve read do that this well.

The characters are amazing. I want to date Nate, I want to be friends with Cooper and Bronwyn and I want to be a sister to Addy. I love them all (except the obvious d*ck of a boyfriend) and I wish I went to Bayview High. I worried about them, I wanted them all to be innocent and safe and happy. I wanted the best for them all and when things inevitably weren’t the best for them, I wanted to solve it all for them. So good! The story is told from all four main characters’ points of view and I think that’s great as it gives that extra bond to each of them, as well as more insight into their lives.

I really wish I could re-read this and every time for it to have a different outcome. There are so many ways this could have gone and I want to relive it over and over. You should all read this because it’s just so good! Also, it made me rewatch The Breakfast Club and relive that moment so that gets it extra points already! 10 out of 10 paw prints from us and I hope to read more from Karen M. McManus!

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Review: All About Mia (Lisa Williamson)

27016992_UnknownTitle: All About Mia

Author: Lisa Williamson

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Release: February 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? For me, I would say this book is a chameleon. Chameleons can be extremely colourful and can be multiple different colours through their life, but are all the same animal of course. In the same way, this book covers multiple issues and storylines within the same 363 pages. However, a chameleon can also be plain, and it can blend in with ‘boring’ surroundings by becoming one shade of green or beige etc. I think this book is extremely colourful in the level of depth and various storylines it has, however I think that this level of depth varies person to person. For example, someone who can relate to the pregnancy aspect more would get more from that plot line, but someone who can relate more to the middle-child-loneliness aspect would take more from that.

The blurb says: One family, three sisters. GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.  AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion.  And MIA, the mess in the middle.
 Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

God this book is funny. It’s so very funny and sarcastic that it had me laughing throughout. The story isn’t a particularly humorous one, and it has its problems for the characters, but the irony and the dry humor is just so good that you sort of forget that the characters’ lives are falling apart. I love when a book has you concerned for the characters but also laughing as you go.

I love how individual each character was; I adore Mia. She’s clumsy, she’s not the brightest in the decisions she makes and she’s sarcastic. But she’s real and we’re all a little bit of Mia. I make the worst decisions and I’m also quite sarcastic. I envy her hair and wardrobe but I don’t envy her family. I think anyone with siblings knows how she feels though; it always feels like they’re better than you at something. It doesn’t matter if you’re the eldest, middle or the youngest.

I think the best thing about this book was how genuine the story is. This could happen in a family similar to Mia’s and it would probably end a lot like this one does. It’s realistic to have a jealous, left-out middle child, an uptight, goody eldest child, and a shy, modest youngest child. It would make sense they would all behave just as Grace, Mia and Audrey do, and watching the story unfold was infuriating but it was real. I could see it happening in my own life or in a friend’s life, and that was the best thing about it.

I love how family-oriented it was; there was no dramatic love triangle, n20160804_163103o tragic boy drama and no high school bullying. It was almost exclusively about the family and how they live. There aren’t many books that do this, and do this well. It’s heartwarming, funny and also quite tense at times. A really good, very gripping read. 10 out of 10 paw prints from me!

Review: The One Memory Of Flora Banks (Emily Barr)

file_000-17Title: The One Memory Of Flora Banks

Author: Emily Barr

Publisher: Penguin

Release: 12th January 2017

Genre: Thriller, contemporary, YA

Which animal is similar to this book? Okay I think I’ve already used giant pandas for a comparison with another book, but I’m using them again with this book for a different reason. This book broke my heart and it was tense and emotional throughout the entire story, and I was constantly expecting it all to go wrong. In a similar way, giant pandas were steadily going extinct, mainly because they’re so difficult to care for in captivity, and once their homes had been chopped down, there was no going back…However they do not help themselves to survive; for example, there isn’t a specific breeding season, they’ll only reproduce if they happen across another panda of the opposite sex. This is risky as it’s unlikely they’ll come across another. They’re also clumsy; it’s amazing how many have injured themselves from falling out of trees etc. and this again impacts their ability to reproduce meaning they were gradually dying out. To compare it to Flora, we have to watch pandas slowly kill themselves off purely because they don’t understand that they’re harming themselves which is so similar to reading as Flora puts herself in these situations which the reader likely knows is a mistake but she doesn’t see it because of her amnesia.

The blurb says: Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life. With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Wow. I won’t lie, when I first started reading this, I thought it was too heavy for me and I thought I’d got bored. But once I’d read a little more in, I started to really enjoy it and now I feel connected to Flora because ‘oh my god’ she’s amazing and so so strong. For someone who genuinely can forget when she returns from going to the loo mid-conversation, she’s incredibly strong. I feel like she would be going places in the real world.

Firstly, I loved the way it was written in her voice which was constantly changing. She developed the amnesia at the age of ten, so naturally her voice and her mindset is very immature for her age (seventeen) and being only a year older than her, it was easy for me to see the mistakes she was making and I found myself constantly stressed that she was doing completely the wrong thing. There are times she handled things in such a childish and just plain wrong way, and although I fully understand why she was doing it and where her logic was coming from, I felt very protective of her and just wanted to tell her to stop and think. Every now and then, she’d remember she was seventeen and force herself to think more maturely, and then she’d switch back to the childish thoughts, along with confused thoughts when she often didn’t remember where she was or who she was with. It was incredibly well-written.

The story started off quite normal and quite relaxed (considering the circumstances of the protagonist) but then it quickly became a lot more serious when she jetted off to Svalbard to chase after Drake. It was then that it became a lot more tense and a lot more eerie as she did things she shouldn’t have and was essentially completely alone away from her home and family. The ending was so well put together and tied everything up, but it was still a slightly creepy ending. I did love it though; it was very clever.20160804_163746

If you like thrilling stories, with that element of twists and turns throughout the story, you will love this! It’s so well told, so realistically written and has a good pace. 9 out of 10 paw prints from me!

Review: The Baby (Lisa Drakeford)

file_000-6Title: The Baby

Author: Lisa Drakeford

Publisher: Chicken House

Genre: Contemporary

Release: Out now!

Which animal is similar to this book? For me, this book represents a husky because huskies are quite a common breed (teen pregnancy is common too, I’m not calling the book common!) and there are a lot in the world, of varied levels of obedience training. Teen pregnancy is becoming more and more common and because pregnancy overall is obviously very common, it seems like it’s easy. Some people find it harder than others, some have less support than others and some find it hard to balance a child’s needs with their previous life. This is especially true for teen mothers, which this book is about. Huskies are also incredibly difficult (in general) to train since they’re stubborn and intelligent. Having a baby is often a lot harder than people expect, especially as a teen mother without the support of the father or in some cases, the parents and other family members. It’s much harder to do alone, so that’s why the book is a husky; a common/popular situation but a lot harder than it seems from the outside.

The blurb says: It’s Olivia’s seventeenth birthday party. The last thing she expects to see when she stumbles into the bathroom is her best mate Nicola giving birth on the floor. How could she, when Nicola had no idea this was coming either? She’s so not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – a controlling boyfriend, Jonty, and lonely little sister Alice, for starters. And then there’s their friend Ben, with secrets of his own. The party to end all parties has started something epic…

I really enjoyed this book; I don’t tend to read so many stories like this one but I bought it on a whim, based on just the blurb but I did enjoy it more than I thought I would. Honestly, I thought it’d be kind of a tacky comedy book, but it was quite a bit more serious than that, and although I did enjoy the sarcasm and witty jokes, I also liked how it addressed certain issues.

As it says in the blurb, Olivia’s boyfriend is controlling and violent, which I liked because it gave the book the opportunity to explore that and really go into details with it from different angles. It also Olivia’s sister is also a bit ‘weird’ and she struggles with social interactions and with understanding what’s ‘normal’ and what isn’t, so it was so interesting to read the chapter from her point of view, which leads me to my next point…

Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, which is so interesting to see all the different opinions and aspects of each character’s life and actions which have contributed to the story. I don’t often like books with different perspectives with each chapter, but this is quite a short book, so it really crams in (in a positive way!) the getting-to-know parts so you feel connected to the characters and it’s good to read the different perspectives in each chapter, because of it. For me, I felt that the characters’ voices weren’t quite as defined and different as I would have liked, but there were some 20160802_160912clear differences within their voices which I liked. I also quite liked the way the book was actually written; there were a lot of short/minor sentences which made it feel less formal and more like the voice of people seventeen years old.

Overall, I liked the story, the characters and the way it was written, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, because I still had some questions, but I’m very picky with my endings and I think most people will like it! The Baby gets 8 out of 10 paw prints!

Review: Heartless (Marissa Meyer)

file_000-2Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Macmillan (Mykindabook)

Release: 9th February 2017

Genre: Fairytale prequel/twist (Is that the right thing to say??)

Which animal is similar to this book? The mandarin duck is found in East Asia primarily but most zoos will have them in their bird exhibits because they’re the funniest looking ducks literally ever…They’re so colourful and bright that they almost don’t look real; they’re covered in bold reds, yellows, oranges, blues, greens and vibrant white. Compared to your standard mallard, they’re positively stunning. But they do look absolutely insane and wacky, which is the link between this beautiful creature and this story. It’s set in the wonderland laid out by the original book and the films that followed it so you can imagine just how crazy the environment is, but the story is just so beautifully written that I found myself thinking logical thoughts about the absurd plot lines in the overall story. This book is a mandarin duck because it is just wacky but somehow beautiful in its insanity.

The blurb says: Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen. At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

This was such an emotional roller coaster that I genuinely think I have the right to skip college for a couple of weeks to mourn the end of  the book. If you read this (and you should!), prepare to fall madly in love with each and every character, expect to  feel their pain and their triumphs and eventually expect to have your heart broken. Right from the start, it’s known that she will be crowned the Queen of Hearts because it’s the story before she’s the Queen from the famous stories, and yet I still spent the whole story hoping it wouldn’t happen.

The characters are beautifully written, each in enough depth to feel like you know them well and you will inevitably become attached to them all. I don’t often enjoy such ‘out-there’ books with weird characters and funny lands, but this is possibly my favourite book of ever and it’s not even out yet! You will find yourself rushing to finish it at four in the morning because it’s just impossible to put down and I just loved everything about it.

The story is well-written, the characters are interesting and keep you hooked, but my favourite aspect was how it all links to the original story of Alice in Wonderland. Honestly, I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen the Disney and the Tim Burton films (don’t hate me, I’ve just never got round to it…) but even I know that Marissa Meyer is an absolu20160804_163103te genius in the way she’s written it. I don’t want to give anything away of course, so you’ll have to read it but it’s little things like why the Queen of Hearts’ most famous phrase is “off with their  heads”. I love that it’s an origin story that doesn’t seem like it will end the way we all know it will. Honestly I cannot say enough good things about this book and I desperately need a finished copy because have you seen it?? It’s absolutely gorgeous!

10 out of 10 paw prints, just buy it, okay? I’ve never read anything like it; definitely a book I recommend to everyone. You won’t regret it.

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!

Review: The 100 (Kass Morgan)

20160923_203442Title: The 100

Author: Kass Morgan

Publisher: Hodder

Release: Out now!

Genre: Sci-fi, dystopia

Which animal is similar to this book? For me, this book was a rainbow boa which is a type of snake found in Central/South America. It’s not commonly kept as a pet but some people do (it’s legal, just not very popular due to their costs and they’re also rarely in pet shops/bred in the UK). However, they’re lovely, affectionate snakes and will make fantastic companions to the right people. For me, this book fit that since I very rarely read science fiction, and often find it too complicated or dull to read, but I loved this and it became a book I was quite obsessed with. So, for me, I expected to be scared off by the language and descriptions I find too complicated, but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

The blurb says: No one has set foot on Earth in centuries – until now. Ever since a nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents – considered expendable by society – are being sent on a dangerous mission: to re-colonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life… or it could be a suicide mission. Clarke was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did Wells, the Chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves – but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth. Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it? The story follows the four mentioned in the blurb (Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass) and the book is told from their four perspectives, which made it much more interesting and showed how their lives were linked despite living separately. I also liked the way that the characters’ stories were revealed gradually and told in italics to separate it from the present story-line.

I absolutely love the characters! Clarke is my favourite, because I wish I was as confident as her around blood/injuries, but I appreciate Bellamy’s courage for sneaking onto Earth to look after his sister as in the environment they’re in, that takes real bravery! I also really like the premise of the book as it’s scarily realistic in the future, what with all the countries armed with nuclear weapons ready to be used, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for that to happen in the future.

However, I’m not the brightest bulb in the chandelier and I didn’t think to research it, so I didn’t know it was a series of books, so now I need to buy the others…so if anyone wants to send me the last three, that’d be cool… I didn’t start to watch the series until I finished the first book, and obviously I haven’t read the others, so when the first one ended on a huge cliff-hanger, I was annoyed at myself for not having the rest to instantly read because now, not knowing what happens, will annoy me a lot! So be prepared to 20160802_160912buy them all because I imagine the others end in cliff-hangers too!

All in all, I enjoyed it a lot, which, as I said, is rare because I don’t often like science fiction, but this was a very good book! I would give it 8 paw prints out of 10 and I would also recommend that everyone reads it!

Review: Username: Evie (Joe Sugg)

20160915_125625Title: Username: Evie

Author: Joe Sugg

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release: Out now!

Genre: Graphic novel, sci-fi

Which animal is similar to this book? This book is a graphic novel, so obviously there are a lot of illustrations and they are beautiful. The artwork is extraordinary, so I would compare it to a saluki, which is a breed of dog known to be stunning (and they know it too!).They’re also very intelligent, as is this book since it’s so cleverly done and the dialogue is also very witty and funny. Salukis are also very well-known to be hilarious with a lot of what they do!

The blurb says: Like anyone who feels they don’t fit in, Evie dreams of a place of safety. When times are tough, all she wants is a chance to escape from reality and be herself. But unknown to Evie her beloved Father has been working tirelessly to create a virtual idyll just for her, and life as she knows it is about to be altered forever. Could this be the perfect world Evie has longed for? Or does the hardest journey still lie ahead…

I actually can’t say I ever read graphic novels, just because I don’t ever feel drawn to them, but I’m a Joe Sugg fan so, of course, I bought it, not knowing what to expect. It turns out it’s amazing and I loved it a lot more than I thought I would. Having been bullied as a kid, I can relate to that feeling of wanting somewhere to go to be alone and to feel safe, so the plot really touched me in that sense.

The story follows Evie, a young outcast girl who ends up in a safe world her dad created for her to give her somewhere to escape to. When the world has a negative influence, everything about it changes and suddenly it’s more dangerous than safe and Evie has to find a way out, as well as finding herself in the process. It’s lovely and full of action and I love that it isn’t blatantly aimed towards a certain gender as a lot of graphic novels can be (action directed at boys and magic/witches aimed at girls). Although it is packed full of action, it’s told from a girl’s point of view and for that reason, I think anyone20160804_163103 would enjoy this!

I love that it’s also quite a short read since there aren’t a huge amount of words, but the illustrations are so detailed that you could spend a while looking at them!

I would recommend this to anyone and I can’t wait for the release of Username: Regenerated which comes out this Thursday (22.9.16)! I can’t find any problems with this book, so it gets 10 out of 10 paw prints!

Review: The DUFF (Kody Keplinger)

20160915_124307Title: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

Author: Kody Keplinger

Publisher: Hodder

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? I would say that a dolphin is very similar to this book, because dolphins are extremely intelligent and this book is very witty. They’re also very funny in the things they do, and this book made me laugh (out loud, which is very rare!) so I would go with a dolphin.

The blurb says: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she’s not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – the gloves are off! If there’s a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone’s heart…

This book is a lovely mix between a story of self-confidence, friendship and also romance. It encapsulates high school life well and the voices of the characters are so realistic and easy to relate to. At that age, it’s easy for people to feel not good enough because of the few people that are lucky enough to have perfect skin, or that have enough money to be able to go to a gym and therefore have the perfect body…especially if you feel you have none of that. The book is blunt and talks about how everyone is a DUFF for someone else in some way and that’s fine because it just means you look different and maybe don’t fit the typical beauty standards.

It’s well-written, funny and honest about life at that age. The romance isn’t the main story although it is good to read (I don’t normally enjoy romance/romantic plot lines20160802_160912) and very realistic. I like how the book plays with the ideas of hatred/love being such close feelings which can cross over, because I find that interesting.

Overall, this book deserves 8 out of 10 paw prints as I’ve read it so many times and I loved the film too! I would really recommend it!

Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Louise Gornall)

20160823_161617Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies

Author: Louise Gornall

Publisher: Chicken House

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary, mental health

Which animal is similar to this book? This book is a Scarlet Macaw Parrot in a land of African Grey Parrots. It stands out immensely against all the other books tackling mental health in a way which is meant to be seen as useful or easy to relate to, when there are a lot which will only romanticise it and make it seem appealing. This book shines in comparison to those and just radiates greatness, as do scarlet macaws since they are often perceived as snooty and seem to know they’re the prettiest parrots. However, they’re also one of the most sensitive species of parrots and will often pluck their own feathers (a sign of stress/worry) at just the slightest change in environment. This book resembles that in the way the main character, Norah, is so unstable and easily stressed.

The blurb says: I’m Norah and my life happens within the walls of my house, where I live with my mom, and this evil overlord called Agoraphobia. Everything’s under control. It’s not rosy – I’m not going to win any prizes for Most Exciting Life or anything, but at least I’m safe from the outside world, right? Wrong. This new boy, Luke, just moved in next door, and suddenly staying safe isn’t enough. If I don’t take risks, how will I ever get out – or let anyone in?

I don’t even know where to start reviewing this, I’m sure it’s all been said… This book made me see my own problems in a new way, which are small compared to Norah’s struggles since I don’t have agoraphobia, but it gave me new ideas of coping methods, as well as the promise that there are ways to handle it and eventually recover from it. It shows mental illness in a way which highlights every single negative, even the not so glamorous ones, which can often be overlooked in the media where they’ll show someone with OCD to have to fold paper perfectly in a straight line and that’s it. OCD is more than that and it’s difficult for people who don’t have it to fully understand it and they will often treat it as something that can just be ignored or that you can just ‘get over it’. I love that this book shows Norah’s ways of coping and how they often don’t work, and it shows the different ways her OCD and agoraphobia affect her in her life.

The characters are so likeable, especially Norah; I wish I could be her best friend or sister to be honest! I felt sympathy for her and also felt like if she was real, I would connect with her so well because we have so much in common and there aren’t many book characters I can connect to like that.

This is the kind of book I feel to be truly important and I would suggest that anyone with a mental illness (or anyone who knows someone with one) should read this. I genuinely feel that this book, and others like it, should be on future reading lists for GCSE’s and A Levels because it’s so informative, well-written and overall a good story. Or it should at least be suggested to all people of that age since a lot of people suffering with mental illness will develop it at this age and won’t know how to handle it. A book like this, making them feel more normal, teaching them ways to cope and giving them a better way to understand/explain what they’re feeling would be fantastically useful to them. I know that at that age, when my issues first developed, I felt like a freak but if I’d read a book like this, it probably would’ve changed the way I saw myself and the way I handle20160804_163103d it.

Obviously, I thought this book was amazing, so it gets a solid 10 out of 10 paw prints and I recommend that everyone read this, especially if you suffer from some kind of mental illness because it honestly will help, despite not being a ‘self-help book’.