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!

Advertisements

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: If I Was Your Girl (Meredith Russo)

file_000-11Title: If I Was Your Girl

Author: Meredith Russo

Publisher:  Usborne

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? To me, this book is a bee because I personally don’t know a whole lot about bees, but I do know they’re incredibly important to the environment and that if they die out, our whole eco system is in a lot of trouble. In the same way, I know trans people, I know what it means but I would never say I know much about it all, but I support it of course, and I know that each person is important and it’s incredibly important to talk about it more. On a darker note, thousands of bees die a year, and every year the situation becomes more serious as it becomes more apparent that the bees are dying out. Trans people are at risk due to so many judgmental people and the lack of help it can be hard for them to get, but they are valuable and the more of them that speak out, the better.

The blurb says: Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school. Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with. Amanda has a secret. At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out…

This is the first book I’ve read about being trans and it was the perfect book. As I said, I don’t really know much about it, and it was so interesting to read it from that perspective.I feel like this book is so important and a must-read for anyone whose friend is trans, or for someone who wants to understand it more.

I loved the voices and different characters, I feel like I would love to know Amanda, and I loved the way everything flowed together in the writing; it was witty, honest and lovely. I especially loved the ‘note from the author’ at the end; there’s one for cis readers, and one for trans readers and I felt like that was a lovely, thoughtful touch. The book touches on friend issues, bullying and family issues along with learning how to deal with new experiences.

It really hurt me to see all the thoughts which had been built into her brain from past bullying, thoughts which must be built into the minds of so many trans people and teens in various situations. It really made me think about how many people must live with these thoughts daily, how many people must see a group of lads walking towards them and instinctively expect abuse and how many people must live in fear of girls at school finding their history in case they spread it around their classmates. Despite the fact that I’m cisgender, and despite the fact I can’t relate to the themes in this book a whol20160804_163103e lot, it made me want to change things for the people who suffer, or live in fear, and I think it’ll make a lot of people feel this way.

So if you’re cis and want to learn a bit, or if you’re trans and want support, you should read this because it’s a beautiful, emotional story and it really made me feel things. Definitely 10 out of 10 paw prints from me; there should be so many more books like this.

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: Girl Online (Zoe Sugg)

20160823_160005Title: Girl Online

Author: Zoe Sugg

Publisher: Penguin

Release: Out Now!

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? I believe this book resembles a panda for the reason that they’re cute and playful but also endangered. This book is very fun and amusing at times, but also has quite serious aspects, such as the topic of the main character’s anxiety and issues in social situations. Pandas seem like very low-stress animals since they’re very funny in their behaviours, but also have that serious side of being highly endangered.

The blurb says: Penny has a secret. Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, her crazy family and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah: a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.

This novel is funny as well as interesting and the voice of Penny leaves the reader feeling connected to her. As someone who also suffers with anxiety, and as someone who has watched all of Zoe’s videos on anxiety, it was nice to read about someone who has it to the same level I do and who has found ways to cope with it. It was also nice for the character to be so in control of it that she could do what she wanted to most of the time, and to not let it control her life.

The social structure of the story is realistic and the way it all plays out, although un20160804_163746likely to happen to anyone in my life ever, it does read as plausible and realistic too. It’s easy to read and keeps the reader hooked, making it impossible to put down.

I loved this story, the characters and the voice the characters were given, so I would give this 9 pawprints out of 10!

Review: Sing (Vivi Greene)

20160823_155504Title: Sing

Author: Vivi Greene

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? In my opinion, this book resembles a flamingo. A flamingo among other flamingos will look similar to the others around it as they’re all pink and have long legs and beaks. However, to someone who knows flamingos, or to a flamingo of course, they all look different; one may be a deeper shade of pink, or it may have a paler shade of orange on its legs or a more hooked beak. This book follows the same themes as a lot of YA novels do; romance, friendship, self-discovery etc, but it does it in a new and interesting way, which separates it from the others. Therefore, it’s a flamingo to me, as it has the same positive themes many novels do, but presented in different ways.

The blurb says: The Multiplatinum Biggest Hits and Biggest Heartbreaks of Lily Ross are one and the same. I chose this… I get to make music and sings and live my life in front of millions of people. I don’t get to be normal. I’m just the fool who keeps trying. But this summer is going to be different. 

As a Swiftie, the main character of this book reminds me of Taylor Swift, specifically of the year she decided to ditch songs about guys/romance and wrote songs about friendship and other subjects not often written about in the music industry. The story focuses on this character, Lily Ross, a pop star who’s just getting out of a relationship with another pop star. She decides to go on holiday to a small, remote island with just her friends to distract herself from the stress of her upcoming tour, and the media twisting her breakup.

Overall, the story is fun to read as well as emotional with some humor thrown into the plot too. Despite the fact that the main character is an international pop star, she’s very easy to relate to and also very likeable although some of her actions had me questioning her decision-making skills. It’s very well-written and the characters have good voices which make them seem like people you could really know and be friends with.

Another positive about the book is there is a dog in it! The love interest for Lily h20160804_162555as a dog called Murphy which is great because dogs are great and where are all the dogs in books?

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and it kept me engaged, so I would give it 7 out of 10 pawprints!

Review: Geek Girl series (Holly Smale)

20160804_173138Titles: Geek Girl, Model Misfit, Picture Perfect, All That Glitters, Head Over Heels (also available: All Wrapped Up, Sunny Side Up and Geek Drama)

Author: Holly Smale

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release: All out now!

Genres: Contemporary and comedy.

Which animal is similar to this book? To me, this book resembles a young giraffe. Giraffes are known for their grace and beauty since they’re so elegant in the way they walk and carry themselves. However, young giraffes are neither graceful nor elegant. A young giraffe will continuously trip over and stumble since their legs are obviously so long compared to their body. This book is beautiful and charming, but there are parts of it that make me, as the reader, cringe because I don’t want them to happen to the characters. Just as it would hurt an animal lover to see a young giraffe struggle through the first portion of its life, it hurts to see the characters metaphorically and literally stumble through their lives, affecting themselves in often negative ways. However, it helps to believe that the characters and the plot line will eventually mature into having a beautiful and much happier theme. 

The blurb of the first book says: Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. Cats have 32 muscles in each ear. Bluebirds can’t see the colour blue. The average person laughs 15 times per day. Peanuts are an ingredient of dynamite. But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her. So when she’s given the chance to reinvent herself, Harriet grabs it. Can she transform from geek to chic?

This is a lovely series following the life of geeky Harriet Manners who has always been a victim of bullying, unpopular and obsessed with facts. She has a lack of social skills which is sometimes painful to read, knowing she’s saying/doing the wrong thing in the situation. The friends she has throughout the series are good and a variety of people, with her best friend being Nat, who is interested in fashion. The premise is that Harriet has the chance to become a model as she is spotted at a fashion show unexpectedly. This obviously is a shock and is hard to adapt to since she’s spent her whole life not bothering with her appearance as such, but she slowly learns what it’s all about.

This series is a wonderful read which is not only hilarious, but emotional as it follows Harriet’s life, downfalls and successes. It’s impossible to put down any of the books, and you’ll find yourself emotionally attached to the characters. Another good point about these books is that they don’t end with bad cliffhangers; although there are questions about where the story will go, the ending isn’t left off, so there is closure!

Each of these books is amazing in its own way, Holly Smale is a fantastic writer and captures Harriet’s voice beautifully in a way that makes it easy to picture her and to imagine what she is like. It’s also very easy to see how she gets into the situations she does as one thing leads to another and I feel if I was put into that environment, I would react very similarly to her, so it’s easy to find ways to relate to her, as well as to the other characters.20160804_163103

The Geek Girl series is my all-time favourite series, so it easily gets 10 out of 10 paw prints! Go and read them right now!

Review: Generation Next (Oli White)

20160804_172532Title: Generation Next

Author: Oli White

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Release: Out now!

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? I would say a lion is very similar to Generation Next because the book itself is fun. It’s very funny, easy to relate to (despite the characters being internet sensations, the way they think, act and speak is a good representation of how teenagers would think, act and speak in those situations) and it is also very sarcastic and witty. However, it has a dark side which is where all the drama of the secret texts and anonymous phone calls comes in. There’s a danger within the fun of being famous online, and I think that this means its animal is a lion. Lions are territorial, often seen as being aggressive and will fight to the death if necessary. On the other hand, they’re also very lazy and will roll around playing all day if food isn’t needed. They do some stupid things and can be seen (especially in zoos/safari parks where a variety of toys are available) doing some hilarious activities. If you don’t believe me, just google “funny lion video” and you will be amused for hours, possibly days. Therefore, Generation Next is a lion because it’s fun but also dangerous. 

The blurb says: Things haven’t been easy for Jack recently – life as a teenager has its ups and downs. But when he switches schools and meets a new group of friends – who are every bit as geek as they are chic – his luck seems to be changing. Together they create Generation Next, an incredible new kind of social media platform. What if your instagram account grew by hundreds of thousands of followers overnight, and big companies were fighting to offer you photoshoots? When GenNext suddenly goes viral, Jack and his friends are thrust into a crazy world of fame that is as terrifying as it is awesome. Because somebody out there is determined to trip Jack up at every step. If he doesn’t stop them, soon his new friends – and the girl he might be falling for – will be in danger…

How to best describe this book in few words? Girl Online (Zoe Sugg) meets Gossip Girl (Cecily von Ziegasar).

Generation Next follows the story of Jack Penman, a teenager who has moved school due to severe bullying. It shows his growth in character over the story as he overcomes the bullies from his past. His new group of friends set up a social network platform which is designed with teenagers in mind and goes viral very quickly, forcing them to fame quickly. This book explores the positives and negatives of fame, and of the businesses involved in companies such as in Generation Next.

There’s romance, fun, friendship and danger as well as the mystery of who is behind the threatening behaviours. It’s emotional as well as an easy read and will interest the reader from the start since the story starts off in the middle and backtracks to show how the characters got to this point, which is very engaging. It’s fantastic and reflects the author’s personality well! I also really like the way the characters handle the theme of bullying which appears throughout the story in various ways; I feel it demonstrates a good understanding and is a realistic response.20160802_160912

Overall, I enjoyed this book and it was quite an easy read whilst also leaving me on edge throughout it. It was definitely near impossible to put down, so I give it 8 out of 10 pawprints!