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: 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!

 

My Experience of YALC 2016

My first experience of YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) was two years ago when it was based at Earl’s Court and shared a floor with Comic Con. It’s safe to say that I loved it, although since I had bad social anxiety, it was a little too crowded and crammed together for me.
However, this year, it was so much better because it had its own floor, meaning it could spread out and also have a lot more to it. The area for the panels was so big this year, that the previous system of ticketing panels was deemed unnecessary. There were a lot more stands and stalls, along with an area for workshops and another for learning how to get published from agents. Another big plus was that because it was separated from Comic Con, it was mainly bookish people which was nice because they’re all polite and so kind towards other bookish people which was a big improvement of the squashed-together queues from the previous time I went.

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I was there for the full weekend, and my weekend was fully packed because there was so much I wanted to do! Friday started with the 11am panel, Magical Systems in YA and it was so good! It was funny, interesting and I enjoyed it of course. Next, we rushed off to the ‘humor in YA’ panel, which was obviously hilarious and made me fall in love with all the authors involved even more. Our final panel of the day was My Teen Diary, hosted by the hilarious Juno Dawson and the equally hilarious Lisa Williamson. Naturally, this too was funny and was worth staying until the end for. During the Saturday, we also went to signings for Nat Luurtsema and Harriet Reuter-Hapgood. The highlight of Friday, for me, was meeting Holly Smale as she’s fantastic and my favourite author. I was so nervous waiting in the line though, because I’d cosplayed Harriet Manners (from her Geek Girl series) and was worried it wouldn’t be clear that’s who I was. However, there was no need to be worried as she’s very sweet and seemed genuinely excited about my costume and even asked someone to take a photo of us for herself!

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I returned on Saturday challenging Saturday to rival Friday’s level of excitement for me. We started off with the Resistance and Protest in YA panel, which was so good and also very popular. Next we moved on to the Friendship in YA panel, in which, I realised I love Holly Bourne and her honesty. The last panel we went to that day was the Music in YA panel, which was easily my favourite that day because it was so funny and Non Pratt was the Queen of sarcasm and humour! Throughout Saturday, we also went to signings of Natasha Farrant, Chris Russell, Non Pratt, Keris Stainton, Sophia Bennett, Alice Oseman, and Anna McKerrow. On top of that, we went to the Writing With the Tarot workshop with Anna McKerrow, which was fun and relaxed which is good because I was worried it would be competitive and difficult to do since I don’t know how to read tarot cards. The highlight of Saturday was Keris Stainton remembering us from an event we went to, years ago.

Sunday was tiring because we had to take all our bags to YALC so that we could get the bus home straight after, so the cloakroom was very useful! We first went to listen to the New Voices panel, which was funny and also interesting because they had some good advice to offer about drafting, being published and procrastinating. Next was the Morally Complicatedd YA panel, followed by the Harry Potter Party later in the day. This consisted of a cosplay competition (the prize was presented by Natalia Tena, which was clearly a lovely surprise for the winner!) There was also a competition for the houses to compete in, with games such as a quiz and passing a balloon through the lines without using hands. I left after the cosplay competition because my anxiety made it impossible  to be surrounded by strangers, but the cheers and laughter could be heard from anywhere in YALC. During Sunday, we also went to signings of Claire Hennessy, Catherine Doyle, Juno Dawson, Holly Bourne (since her line was so long the other day), Louise O’Neill and Maggie Stiefvater, whose queue was so long that it was ticketed and ran through the entirety of the Harry Potter Party. There was also a photo booth with props relating to Harry Potter which was fun and quite empty when we went, because everyone was either waiting for Maggie Stiefvater or joining in with the Harry Potter Party.

Overall, I loved YALC 2016; it was fun, interesting, exciting and so far, the highlight of my Summer! I met some of my favourite authors, was inspired to start this blog after seeing how supportive and nice bookish people are and I also picked up a multitude of books at YALC and after YALC from a list I created whilst there. Would I recommend it to other people? Of course! It’s a lovely place to be, whether you go for one day or the full weekend, it’s worth it. 20160802_13320220160801_211845