BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín

The Call: dark, gritty, brutal. Dystopian done proper.

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“Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun.

Could you survive the Call?”

Everyone had been telling me to read The Call FOREVER and I never quite got round to it, but once I had a copy (thanks Waterstones Newcastle) I had to read it then and there, and MY GOD. What a book

The Call is the story of Nessa, a young girl with a disability, who lives in a world where students are taken away and have these so called three minutes to save their lives; to outrun the enemies. The book starts with Nessa hearing about the loss of her brother to The Call and her parents worrying for Nessa, thinking that, due to her disability, there is no way she would survive ‘the call’ if it ever came for her. The story then follows Nessa through schooling in Ireland where they learn to fight, survive and ultimately prepare themselves for ‘the call’. 

There was so much I loved about this book. I went through a massive ‘dystopian phase’ a year or 2 ago and there is so much dystopian fiction out there that gems like this can get totally lost. I am so glad I came across it now, because it blew me away. The story is so dark, so gritty and there’s some pretty grim things that happen in this story but I LOVED IT. Sometimes a bit of dark, gritty fiction is what I need. Alongside the incredible story there were some pretty incredible characters, which for me totally made the book even better. Nessa, the main character in the story, is badass, brave and never makes her disability an excuse. She’s brazen and bold. Her training isn’t easy, but she gives it her all, never giving up when it gets too hard. She deals with some pretty horrible students, watching other students disappear, love and potential loss, all while being a good friend and a fighter. The other students in the book are so effortlessly diverse: in both sexuality and race. I had a particular soft spot for her love interest in the story. I don’t know what it was about him, but he reminded me a bit of Peeta from Hunger Games. 

I can’t recommend this book enough. I regret waiting so long to read it. AND Paedar is LOVELY on Twitter, go follow him. Read this. I would LOVE to chat about it!

My Goodreads review:

Absolutely brilliant. Genuinely grim and gritty. I liked Nessa straight away. So much brutality and darkness, but interesting and unique. Bloody loved it.

Have you read The Call?
What was it that you loved most about it?
Can you recommend any books similar?

Let me know on twitter (@eenalol) or in the comments, I need some more dark dystopian fiction in my life! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Catherine Barter

Troublemakers: politically minded, sibling focused deliciousness

Troublemakers(I took this at 7am, whilst on a residential with my class. Even when we’re away, I’ll read!)

“Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off. Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.”

Troublemakers is the story of Alena, who is figuring the world out. She’s 15, she’s discovering the world as it is, she wants to be part of it, she wants to make her stamp on the world. Her older brother Danny and his partner Nick are her life. She lives with them, Danny took on guardianship of Alena when her mum died. Their relationship (both sibling and parental) intrigued me immensely throughout the story. I love a well written, believable sibling relationship – I have a brilliant relationship with my brother, so seeing other positive brother/sister relationships makes my heart so happy. She has a brilliant relationship with Nick too – he’s a wonderful character, sometimes playing middle man between the warring siblings. There’s parts of this story where my heart was breaking for Danny and Nick. I really liked their relationship. 

I’m not normally one to pick up a political book, but whilst this deals with politics, it’s not in your face. It’s not the only thing about this book. It is a brilliant book in the current climate and it touched on some pretty important things. I won’t spoil it for you but this is a brilliant story. It’s very character centric which I adored. There’s times when you’ll want to punch the characters, hug them, argue with them: books like this are my favourites. I like to feel part of their lives. Not a bystander.

Danny and Alena do not see eye to eye in this. There are so many things they dispute over. One of the main areas of dispute is Alena’s need to hunt out one of her mum’s best friends. Danny HATES this idea. It causes a lot of tension between the siblings. They fall out. They argue. They ignore each other. Alena goes against her brother’s wishes. She rebels. There’s some lovely moments between them where they both soften to each other because they eventually see what the other needs. Danny does things too, gets a job, that Alena doesn’t like either. They both make mistakes; they both rebel against each other to try and find their identity

This book, in the end, filled my heart with joy. 

My Goodreads review reads:

“Fantastic. Absolutely loved it. Totally apt for today’s world. A loving, conflicted sibling relationship. A beautiful relationship. A complicated, yet simple political message. Character centric and I adored it.”

Thank you to Andersen Press for sending me a copy! 

Have you read Troublemakers?
What’s your take on political books?
Do you have a favourite sibling relationship in fiction?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I need more brother/sister fictional relationships in my life!

S x

BOOKBLOG: David Owen

The Fallen Children: haunting, supernatural and compelling

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“Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot. But change is coming…
One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.
As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha’s life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.”

The Fallen Children tells the story of a group of young women who one night end up falling pregnant by some strange alien creatures. Their block of flats and all the inhabitants are somehow all put to sleep by these aliens. The story continues with the tale of how they are suddenly thrust together, knowing how the others feel and what they all think, with these babies growing (at an alarming rate) inside of them. How their bodies change and react, to their babies being born and the impact it has on their lives, the relationships and their mental health. It’s supernatural, a bit dark and tells the tale of complicated families – from all different angles. 

I really liked a lot of the characters in this book. It’s told from many different perspectives which is one of the things I liked most about it. Lots of books tell the story from differing perspectives and get it wrong, this one gets it totally right. There are so many lives affected by these weird pregnancies that it was great to see how each of the characters reacted and what impact it had on each of them. As a collective their dynamic changed drastically from the beginning of the book to the way they interacted by the end. There’s a lovely mix of female characters who are thrown into the mix in this story: teenagers and adults. Their mix of family dynamics is particularly important – you see some very strict households, to some distant dads and sets of loving parents. 

This is certainly a book that I don’t think I’ve come across before and it’s one which I don’t think I’ll come across again. The other special thing about it is that there are 360 different cover colours (the temptation to want all 360 is there… but moneys) and there are even some “golden eggs” – which are white covers with golden eggs, instead of black with coloured eggs. My cover is 108, yay for purple and even number!

Go all of you. Read this. It’s great. 

Have you read The Fallen Children?
What did you think of it?
What colour and number do you have?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter (@eenalol). I would love to see other colours!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Queen Mel

Hello, I’m Steph. I love Melinda Salisbury. Not in a creepy way. I think she’s absolutely wonderful. 

So when I heard The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy was over, I was most saddened. My love affair with this world and these characters had to come to and end after all of the years I had been in love with them. I was sad. Then SURPRISE there was an announcement that there was going to be a NEW short story collection released.

I WAS ELATED.

I love Mel’s writing style. She writes in such an incredible way that you feel you’re there. Her description is exceptional. I could just read it forever. 

There was ONE slight problem. The Heart Collector (which I think is Mel tbh. She has stolen all of our hearts with her exceptional books) was out in May. The month I was not buying any books. But, lol, who was I kidding? I would break my ban for her any day. So I did. PLUS it was released the day I handed my dissertation in… EXCELLENT POST DISSERTATION BOOK.

“A selection of three companion stories to the Sin Eater’s Daughter series.
When rats invade golden Tallith, the king summons a rat catcher from across the seas. But the rat catcher brings with him more than just his trade; a beautiful daughter who will bow to no man. And when Prince Aurek decides he wants her, he triggers a chain of events that will reshape the world for centuries to come…
A boy wakes up in the ruins of a castle, the prone body of a white-haired man on a bier beside him… He is the Bringer, the Heart Collector, cursed to return every one hundred years to seek out the heart that will wake his father forever. And this time the girl he finds might just be the one…
Once upon a time, in a land of gold and glory, a baby boy was born to a beautiful woman, and a wealthy man. His parents called him Mulgreen Grey, and he was destined to live a fairy-tale life; adored, envied, and wanting for nothing. But not every fairytale has a happy ever after…”

The book comes with 3 short stories – The King of Rats, The Heart Collector and Mully No-Hands. 

I consumed this book REALLY quickly (once my kindle was charged… it decided to die on me the first time I tried to read it!). Whether you’re a Melinda Salisbury fan or not, this short story collection is a BRILLIANTLY quick, yet exceptional read. You’re in a world where there are some BAD people. A beautifully written world, with loveable and despise-able characters.

The Heart Collector is a brilliant story about a young man who is cursed in that he has to find young women for his father, to try and satisfy his hunger. The young man is a Bringer. You’re introduced to a naive young man who thinks he’s doing the right thing in the beginning and then through the story you see his ideas change. There is an incredibly strong and brave young woman in the story too – I really liked her. The description in this book was everything I needed. The world, the characters and the action is so beautifully woven that it’s hard not to devour, much like the father in the story. This book has a brutal ending. But brilliant. 

Mully No-Hands is a little different from the other two. It’s a story with a meaning. It’s a story with a main character I really didn’t like. He’s a terrible person. I don’t think he KNOWS he’s a bad person. He’s rich, confident and was brought up to think he was the greatest and when all of that is taken away from him, you see his struggle. You see that life isn’t all about receiving – there has to be some give and take. Mully No-Hands has some questionable morals and his actions definitely need some working out. I quite enjoyed this – I like a story with a moral!

I have reviewed The King of Rats here: BOOK BLOG: The King of Rats.

I really enjoyed The Heart Collector. Whether you’re a Melinda Salisbury faithful, or whether you’re a newbie, I suggest you read this. It’s wonderful.

If you’re interested in my other posts:

BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury

BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2

BLOG TOUR: The Scarecrow Queen

Bookblog: Melinda Salisbury

So tell me, are you a Queen Mel faithful or a newbie? 
Did you enjoy The Heart Collector? 
Which short story was your favourite?

Let me know in the comments, or talk to me on twitter (@eenalol)

S x

May books!

So here we are, May is done and dusted. We’re almost half way through the year! And what a year so far it has been for books. 

May was a pretty good book month for me… somehow I managed to read 10 books! I think half term helped – so far in half term I’ve read 5 books and I’m in the middle of reading number 6 and number 7! But what were those 10 books I hear you cry?

IMG_4879(These are the only 5 I still have physical copies of, the rest I’ve either sent on to pastures new or they were kindle books)

  • The Fallen Children – David Owen
    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Supernatural. 
  • Noah Can’t Even – Simon James Green
    Some great, funny moments in it, properly ridiculous. But in a good way.
  • The Silver Boy – Kristina Ohlsson
    Loved it, great for KS2 kids. Mysterious and a bit creepy.
  • The Memory Book – Lara Avery 
    Bloody brilliant. It took me totally by surprise. I fell for this book totally.
  • Troublemakers – Catherine Barter
    Great book looking at politics and sibling relationships. I loved the characters in this so much.

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  • The Heart Collector – Melinda Salisbury (ebook)
    What can I say? The Queen does it again. The Heart Collector filled the gap that TSED left behind.
  • How To Stop Time – Matt Haig (ebook)
    I loved this book from start to finish. It was unlike anything I’d read before.
  • I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson
    I struggled with this initially and despised one of the characters, but there is a definite turning point in this book that then gripped me.
  • Tim Baker and the Ancient Curse – Stella Tarakson (ebook)
    This was a very quick read. Really funny and kids would love it!
  • All About Mia – Lisa Williamson
    Again this was one that I struggled with initially because the characters are not very likeable, but it’s so worth it in the end. 

If you’re interested in any of these books, here are some reviews:

I will update this list when the reviews are posted!

As you all know May was my month when I couldn’t buy any books (see: You MAY not buy any books) and you will all be proud to know that I only bought 1 book! Blame Melinda Salisbury. But it was so worth it. It was only about £1 so it doesn’t count, right? So yes, I succeeded in my no book buying ban. I’m going to try and keep it up until YALC, because well ALL OF THE BOOKS will be bought at YALC. 

Reading challenge update: 36/52 books read! 

Pretty good going! I’m hoping to get a good bit more reading done in this half term! 

What did you read in May?
Do you have a favourite May read?
Will you be at YALC?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter – I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading!

S x

Favourite YA authors

Hello! It’s Wednesday! You know what that means, guest post Wednesday (I really need to think of a new name for this, that’s better! But hey ho, we’ll go with guest post wednesday for now!) 

Without further ado, I welcome my lovely friend Amy (links at the bottom of the post) who is here to talk about her favourite YA books! You can check out my post on Amy’s blog too in the next few days! I would love to see what you all think about our choices!

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Thanks for having me Steph to discuss my favourite YA books! When we decided to do this, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be. I eventually narrowed my list down and realised the books that have really stayed with me are set in vivid fantasy worlds, with characters that made me care about what happened to them.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman was the book that got me into fantasy. I’ve seen the play, travelled across the country to meet Philip Pullman and read it more times than I can count. There aren’t many books that I was able to read as a child and still get so much out of as an adult. I’m not sure it’s technically a YA book but I’m including it because it has something for everybody.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is my ultimate YA book. I can still remember the first time I read it, how I had no idea what was coming and really loved those characters. Karou and Akiva are my ultimate OTP and Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore is one of those books that engages all of the senses. The descriptions are lyrical and gorgeous, and this is my favourite example of magical realism.

The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith was my favourite book as a teenager. I read it so many times that I almost knew it by heart and I think Julian was my first book crush. I reread it recently and it has definitely stood the test of time.

These are my other favourites: a mixture of high concept fantasy; believable, thought-provoking contemporary and even a little horror.

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
  • Am I normal yet? by Holly Bourne
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
  • Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

If you want to read more of my YA recommendations or chat about books, you can find me on Twitter (@yaundermyskin) and on my blog (www.yaundermyskin.co.uk).

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As you can see a lot of my personal favourites are on Amy’s long list, but to see my list of favourite YA I would love you to go over to my post at YA Under My Skin to find out my choices!

Thanks Amy for your guest post, I loved it! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Penny Joelson

I Have No Secrets: a slow burn, but shines bright by the end.

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“Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can’t tell anyone.

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change…”

I had seen this book floating around on twitter for a while and it appealed to me. I didn’t know much about it at the time which I bought it. The cover was simple and endearing. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in for to be honest. I struggled at first. There were times I wanted to throw this book at my wall and be done with it – it was a very slow burn, but I persevered… I like to think that there aren’t many books I DNF. 

Jemma is a young girl with cerebal palsy and she can not communicate with anyone around her. She is just an observer in life. She finds out people’s secrets; they share things with her because they know she can’t pass them on; she knows things and sees things that possibly wouldn’t be given to her if she were able to communicate. She finds out something terrible – someone commits a murder and she can’t help. It frustrates her to no end. It frustrated me. There were times I just wanted her to be able to communicate somehow. I think this is why eventually the book became a quick burn to me – something changes and this changes the book entirely. 

This book is filled with characters I really liked, and characters I hated. I loved Jemma’s family dynamic. There’s some complicated relationships going on but her family I really liked. It’s a diverse family with some strong personalities. I really liked Sarah. She was everything which is good in the world to me. She looks after Jemma like a friend, sees her as a person. Yes she does some questionable things, but knows that Jemma is important. There is one character who I utterly despised. I don’t often dislike characters that much, but him, I really did. I won’t spoil anything, but if you read it and figure out who then please share your thoughts with me

Have you read I Have No Secrets?
What did you think of the premise and the characters?
How would you feel if you couldn’t communicate?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@eenalol).

S x

BOOKBLOG: Karen Gregory

Countless: heartbreaking, eye-opening and gut-wrenching.

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“When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time…”

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I had heard lovely things from my good friend Rachel about this book and knew that I needed to get my hands on it and get it read and I don’t regret it. It broke my heart but it was incredible.

It’s the story of Hedda, who suffers from an eating disorder which has caused somewhat of a breakdown in her family situation, who finds out she is pregnant. This book talks about the very complicated relationship between sufferer and their body and mind; doing it in such an incredible way. Hedda is a complicated young lady, who suddenly becomes thrust into a life she doesn’t want – she has a reliance on her eating disorder for control – but has to live it regardless. She has to learn to eat, she has to learn how to be a healthy body for the sake of her baby. She struggles and her struggle is so brilliantly written, it seems authentic. You’re also introduced to Robin – Hedda’s neighbour. I have a complicated relationship with Robin. You’ll see why when you read. He’s like that unreliable narrator that people are never sure how to react to. Her relationship with her body, for a time changes for the sake of her baby, but once the baby comes is that the way that it is going to stay?

I was hesitant to read this book at first. Books centred around eating disorders walk a fine line and there are so many which are not written with enough care, that it makes them tough to read. I never felt that through this book. I had enough knowledge about what was going that I didn’t feel like it was about an ED, it was about living and coping and adapting to life with an ED. The one thing that stood out to me was that there was never numbers in this book. There was never the mention of sizes or weights. Just that she was struggling with an eating disorder. 

I won’t spoil this any more than I already have, but the ending absolutely killed me. You’ve read this, watched this incredible young lady struggle with her mind, her body and her emotions for the past 9 months and then she has to then become a mam. She has to become the person this baby relies upon and she finds it hard. Very hard. The last page broke my heart. 

Have you read Countless?
What did you think of it?
Can you recommend any books similar to this?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

S x

Mental Health in YA

Hello Wednesday folks! Sorry this is late, I have had a mega stressful week, however you are in for a treat with this guest blog this week. My gorgeous friend Rachel, over-lady of #SundayYA, #SundayYAthon and 100-or-less has popped along to talk about YA books which discuss one of the most important things to a person – their mental health. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week next week so it was only natural that this fit in perfectly here!!

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Mental Health in YA: Some recommendations

For those of you that don’t know, next week (8th to 14th May) is the Mental Health Awareness Week. Over at #SundayYA I will be hosting a chat on mental health YA with some lovely guest authors, but today I want to share with you some of my favourite YA that talk about and raise awareness of mental health issues.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia follows the story of Alex, a girl diagnosed with schizophrenia, as she tries to figure out the world with her Magic 8-Ball and her trusty camera. She thinks she has it all sorted out but then she meets Miles, and Alex begins to question her reality. As the title suggests, the story is told from first person so it’s pretty hard to tell what is real and what is due to Alex schizophrenia, but all this makes Made You Up a wonderful insight into what it is like to live with psychosis, and how those with a diagnosis can learn to live with it.

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An older YA that deals with mental health, and one that often gets overlooked, is My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. Aysel wants to commit suicide and, in her search for a Suicide Partner, meets Roman. They plot their death together but, in doing so, Aysel realises she has a lot more reasons to live. I thought this would be a very difficult read and at times I was ready to give up on it, but it turned out to be a beautifully hopeful story of rediscovery that I fell in love with.

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A book I have recently read that talking about mental health is Countless by Karen Gregory. Hedda has anorexia (which she refers to throughout her story as a person called Nia), but when she discovers she is pregnant she calls a truce with her eating disorder. As she goes through the pregnancy she learns that some choices are harder than others, and not everything in life can be counted. Countless is a particularly harrowing read, but one that I couldn’t put down. What struck me about this book was that, despite dealing with eating disorders, not once is a number mentioned. I found this to be rather important, as it demonstrates that it is possible to tell a story about mental health that can be realistic without being potentially triggering.

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I couldn’t talk about mental health in YA without mentioning Under Rose-Tainted Skies, an Own Voices novel by Louise Gornall. Norah has agoraphobia and OCD and has accepted that the four walls of her house will be where she spends her life. That is, until Luke turns up on her door and changes everything. He’s patient and understanding, and sees Norah for who she really is. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a truly wonderful read, and one that shows that sometimes, it’s okay to take risks.

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On the topic of OCD, another YA I have loved, and the only one so far I have re-read, is Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. Evie has OCD and believes she is coping with it, but as she starts college and makes new friends she soon begins to spiral out of control. Although Am I Normal Yet? deals with some pretty tough themes, it manages to be light hearted and funny throughout, which made this story really stand out to me and will see me go back to it many times in the future.

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There are a lot of YA books about anxiety, but recently I really enjoyed reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Steffi is a selective mute and struggles to communicate to people outside of her immediate family. Her headteacher introduces her to Rhys, who is deaf, and with her limited understanding of British Sign Language she builds a friendship she can truly be a part of. A Quiet Kind of Thunder really captures what it is to have anxiety, and is written in such a way that, by the time I read the last page, I felt like I was parting ways with a friend.

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Mental health comes in many forms, and a YA read that particularly stands out when I think of neurodiversity is The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas. The State of Grace follows Grace, a narrator with Asperger’s, as she comes to term with a lot of changes in her life whilst trying to fit in with her friends. I found the State of Grace to be not just enjoyable but fascinating to read and, as someone who works with students on the ASD spectrum, a real insight into what it is like to be on the spectrum. I learnt a lot from reading it, and will carry this story with me for a long time to come.

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Of course, there are a lot of amazing YA books out there that talk about mental health, but these are the ones that have particularly stood out for me. Happy reading!

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Thank you so much to Rachel for writing this incredible insightful blog all about different YA books which deal with mental health, in all its variations. 

Rachel’s links (you should follow her, she’s incredible!)

Remember to join in #SundayYA chats on Sundays between 6 and 7 pm!

I have read and reviewed some of these books and the ones which I have not I will be buying AS SOON AS my May book ban is over (you can read all about that here: You MAY not buy any books)

Reviews:

Review of Countless to come, I just recently finished it and my word. I loved every second of it. It absolutely killed me. 

Have you read any of these books?
Which other YA books would you recommend for Mental Health Awareness Week?

S x

BOOKBLOG: Maggie Harcourt

Unconventional: funny, nerdy and witty.

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“Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love..”

Unconventional is one of those books that you come across every now and again that you just read with a smile. I read it quickly and read it with a smile on my face most of the way through. It’s not often that I get to do that (if anyone has recommendations of books that made their hearts happy like this I would love to know them!) so it was refreshingly lovely! 

This book tells the story of Lexi, who works with her dad who runs conventions. It takes you through her life running conventionsthe mishaps, the people, the miscellaneous jobs – and her life dealing with her mum who lives in France and her dad who’s marrying a new womanbalancing college life and working life when suddenly a new boy sneaks along in her life who she initially doesn’t trust but then things change.

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I just have to say how lovely this book was. The whole thing made me happy, I loved the characters. Lexi was just the right balance of nerdy, teenage and dedicated to her job that I really liked. I totally fell for Aidan too. I didn’t trust him at first, your first impression of him is somewhat askew because of how you’re introduced to him… but he definitely grew on me. But then he “does” something shocking. Lexi’s friends were lovely too. They definitely made me laugh on occasion! Teenage friendships when they’re written well are some of my favourites!

Besides making me smile an awful lot, Unconventional made me even more excited for YALC. Bring on July!

Do you have any recommendations of other books that will make me smile?
I need more!!

S x