I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

radio silenceRadio Silence by Alice Oseman (HarperCollins Children's Books, 25 February 2016)

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To appreciate just how blown away I was by RADIO SILENCE, you may need to revisit the review I wrote about a year ago for SOLITAIRE, Oseman’s debut novel. I couldn’t figure out how I felt about that book at all. I wasn’t sure if I actually liked it—I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, I thought it was boring, I thought it was vaguely interesting. It was bizarre. But I did think highly of Oseman’s writing and I was hopeful that one day she might write a book that appealed to me more. And you know what? She did it right away, with her second book. RADIO SILENCE is just the most exhilarating and gripping roller coaster of emotions about a podcast (!!!), and I know exactly how I feel about it: I love it, 100%.

Meet Frances Janvier.

I was going to Cambridge, and I was going to get a good job and earn lots of money, and I was going to be happy.

Frances is in Year 12. She’s Head Girl at school and she does brilliantly in exams. She’s not good at or interested in much else—but she’s secretly a huge fan of this podcast called Universe City. Nobody knows who the anonymous Creator of the podcast is, but Frances posts fanart of the podcast on her Tumblr, and one day, the Creator messages her to ask her if she would like to work with them to produce art for the podcast. Frances is of course overjoyed. But soon she realises that the Creator is actually someone she’s met in real life: Aled Last, the twin brother of Carys Last, a girl Frances used to be friends with before Carys ran away a few years ago. Aled is a high achiever like Frances, a year older than her and headed for an elite university. Frances and Aled become friends very quickly, but when the podcast goes viral, their friendship is tested. After Aled goes off to university, Frances and Aled are even more isolated from each other and Frances doesn’t know what to do when Aled seems to be slipping away. But it all seems to come back to one thing: Carys, and what happened to make her run away.

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I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

read me like a bookRead Me Like A Book by Liz Kessler (Orion Children's Books, 14 May 2015)

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READ ME LIKE A BOOK is a quick, easy read that will leave you smiling.

Ash has just turned 17, and she’s managed to find a new boyfriend, Dylan. Dylan is okay, but Ash finds herself thinking about Miss Murray, her new English teacher, more and more, as her life feels like it’s starting to fall apart: her parents won’t stop fighting, until eventually they decide to break up and her dad moves out, and everything seems to be going wrong with Dylan as well. But Miss Murray is there for her throughout it all, and though Ash has never liked school much before, she now finds herself enjoying English lessons and wanting to do well, to earn Miss Murray’s approval. Ash is slowly starting to realise that what she feels for Miss Murray is something she never expected to feel for a teacher—or a woman, and that her future looks a whole lot different now.

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Brooklyn BurningBrooklyn, Burning by Steven Brezenoff (Carolrhoda Books, 1 September 2011)

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It’s summer in Brooklyn, and summer, for Kid, is the season of freedom and music and love. Last summer, Kid fell in love with Felix. This summer, someone new appears: Scout. Scout arrives in Brooklyn, holding a flyer that Kid and Felix once made and asking for Felix. But Felix is gone. And as the summer goes on and Kid falls in love again, the truth about what happened—with Felix, with the warehouse that for a time was Kid and Felix’s home but has recently been burnt down—gradually comes out.

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I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affects my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All the RageAll the Rage by Courtney Summers (Macmillan Children's Books, 28 January 2016)

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Courtney Summers is incredible. Her writing is incisive, powerful, startling. The only other book I've read of hers is her debut, CRACKED UP TO BE (published in 2008), which I also enjoyed, but her writing has come a long way since then. ALL THE RAGE is sickeningly honest, and that's obviously meant as a compliment to Summers. I don't know how she does it. How she carves the truth onto every page of fiction.

Romy Grey was raped by Kellan Turner, one of the sheriff's sons. No one believes her, because everyone knows she wanted him. She's lost her best friend, Penny, the most popular girl in school. They all bully her now and call her a liar and a slut and worse. She finds a job out of town where no one will know about what happened to her, and it's there that she meets Leon. Leon likes her, and she likes him back, but nothing can be so simple as that anymore, and it's a struggle to keep him separate and distant from everything else in her life. But when Penny goes missing after the biggest party of the year and Romy wakes up on the side of the road with no memory of the night before, things get even more complicated and Romy finds it increasingly difficult to keep her life from unravelling further.

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Cinnamon Toast and the End of the WorldCinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron (Hachette Books, 1 March 2013)

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I can't believe how good this book is–and I can't believe it's this good and yet so few people have read it or even heard of it. It's keenly observed, achingly beautiful, shockingly real. I fell in love with every moment of reading it. It's a coming-of-age, coming out story, and–I don't consider this a spoiler, really, because it's important for me to know these things going in–there's homophobic violence. The gay guy gets beaten up. But it doesn't feel trite in the slightest.

In Riverside, Nova Scotia, Stephen Shulevitz realises he has fallen in love with his best friend, Mark. They're sitting in the basement watching TV together, and there's a moment when he imagines himself kissing Mark–and that's the moment when the world ends. But as the book goes on, you find out that Stephen has had lots of moments like this before. He's known for years that there was something different about himself, and as for Mark–well. Stephen has been best friends with Mark for eight years. And now, they're nearing the end of high school. In a few months, Stephen will be out of here. It turns out a lot can happen in a few months.

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