S4S – YALC books

Hello!

It’s Sunday again! How exciting! This week’s #SixforSunday theme is:

YALC books

Books that make me excited for YALC. Authors I am excited to meet.

  1. Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury (BOOKBLOG: Queen Mel)
  2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)
  3. Ink – Alice Broadway (BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY)
  4. Truth or Dare – Non Pratt
  5. The Call – Paedar O’Guilin (BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín)
  6. Traitor To The Throne – Alwyn Hamilton (BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton 2)

I talk about most of these books ALL of the time, but I can’t wait to see these authors for the first time/for the next time and tell them how much I love their book. I love all of the books. There are so many other books I am excited to YALC for. 

Are you coming to YALC?
What are your favourite YALC books?
Who are you excited to meet?

If you wanna join in use the hashtag #SixforSunday, I would love to see your posts!!

S x

Favourite Protagonists

Hello! Today we have a new guest blog – this time from my lovely friend Jess from Bookends and Endings and she’s telling us all about her favourite main characters! 

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Hi there! I’m Jess from Bookends and Endings, and today I’m sharing my favourite protagonists here on Steph’s blog. Something that can easily make or break a book for me is the main character. It’s all very well for a book to be well written, well plotted, just excellent in general – but if I dislike the protagonist, it’s almost certain that the book won’t be one of my favourites. They don’t have to be likeable necessarily, but they need to be interesting, and I have to be on their side, and want for things to turn out well for them.

First up has to be the protagonist from one of my favourite books of last year: Norah from Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. Norah suffers from agoraphobia, anxiety, and OCD, and lives trapped inside her house, until the arrival of her cute new neighbour helps her to challenge her mental health issues. Norah is a protagonist you just can’t help but love; she’s quite vulnerable, and it definitely brought out a protective side in me as a reader. Her character arc and character voice were so compelling, and she’s a protagonist I’ve been left thinking about long since I finished the book.

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Amani from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is another main character who I simply love. There are lots of things I adore in her, but mainly for me it’s her wit that has kept her in mind for me as a protagonist I can’t get enough of. I don’t want to give any spoilers, hence I can’t say too much about certain aspects of her, but I can say that she’s witty (I honestly sit there laughing and smiling at the book because her humorous comments are too good not to laugh at), she’s brave, and she’s incredibly determined. Funny to read about but also courageous and strong – a wonderful combination!

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The next main character is from a book I’ve seen talked about a lot in the book blogging community, and that is Frances from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. There was so much about Frances which I think just speaks to people, especially in the way she feels stressed by school and has a lot of exam pressure weighing down on her, and this definitely makes her realistic, I feel. She’s also such an easy character to relate to, and so representative of modern teenagers (lots of stuff to do with fandoms and the internet!), so she sticks out to me as an outstanding protagonist.

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Wing, the titular character from Katherine Webber’s debut novel, Wing Jones, is my final choice. I read this book very recently, especially in comparison to these other books, but I just think this shows what a great protagonist she is. She has such a wonderful emotional journey – she displays selflessness, but is also very human in the way she gets frustrated sometimes at those around her. On the whole, a stunning character!

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Thanks to Steph for having me on her blog – I hope you enjoyed this guest post! Who are your favourite protagonists?

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Thank you so much to Jess for sharing her favourite protagonists with us! If you’d like to follow Jess (which you should!), her links are below:

Twitter

WordPress

S x

BOOKBLOG: Kerry Drewery

Cell 7: haunting, thought-provoking, infuriating

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“Should she live or die? You decide 

An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body. Now Justice must prevail. The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call. Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?”

Cell 7 has been sat on my shelf for AGES. Like a year. I got it from UKYACX last year (if you wanna know more see: UKYACX book haul!) and it has sat on my shelf ever since. I just never got round to it! THEN #SundayYA hosted Kerry a few Sundays ago and she was talking about Day 7 (the sequel) and my gorgeous friend Kelly was reading Cell 7… all of the chatter around it MADE me have to read it. There were a few Cell 7 spoilers from the Day 7 chat BUT I still loved every single second of it. 

Cell 7 explores a world in which once a person has done something wrong they have only have potentially 7 days left of their life. Life and death decisions become a reality TV contest. You win or lose based on how many people vote on you living or dying. Martha confesses to killing a well adored celebrity and it is down to the public to decide if she lives or dies. 

Throughout this book there are moments where I wanted to throw it against the wall. There’s characters who just DROVE ME UP THE WALL. I hated them. They stood for the worst things in life. They spouted forth their skewed views on life. Contrasting this though there were characters I really loved. Characters I really wanted to succeed. I liked Martha. I liked Isaac. Her councillor was pretty brazen: she fought for Martha. The judge is an interesting character. 

I really enjoyed (in whatever sadistic way one can) seeing the different cells that Martha had to go through. Watching them change and manipulate her moods was interesting. Knowing that she is getting closer to the end and that death was probably looming. There’s definitely some dark, twisted parts of this book that will make you think.

 I am very much looking forward to reading Day 7 now. 

Have you read Cell 7?
What did you think of the ending?
Do you think our world could end up in the way Cell 7 paints the world?

S x

 

 

S4S – TBR forever

Good morning! It is Sunday once more. How are you all? 

‘What are we talking about this week?’ I hear you say!

This week’s #SixforSunday topic is:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

  1. Chaos Walking trilogy – Patrick Ness 
  2. The Bone Season series – Samantha Shannon
  3. The Grisha trilogy – Leigh Bardugo
  4. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdon – Leigh Bardugo
  5. The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  6. Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

I know. I should get on this. I have a Summer holiday to fill… I know what I’ll be reading!

What books have been on your TBR forever?
Does my list surprise you?
What do you plan on reading in the Summer?

Let me know on twitter, using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I would love to see your lists too!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Will Hill

After The Fire: hard-hitting, moving and tough. But so worth it.

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“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

After The Fire tells the story of Moonbeam, a young girl who lives in a cult, who is taken away by the Outsiders when there is a big fire on the property. It tells her journey from being inside of the cult to being on the outside. You watch her go from a scared, lonely, doubting young lady to someone attempting to be ready for the outside world to hit her. 

The thing I loved most about this book was the interspersion of flashbacks with now. The book is written with Moonbeam’s memories woven into her recovery. Every other chapter is an insight into life inside the cult. From the wicked Father John, to Nate – the lovely, ray of light Nate – and the day to day business of being part of the Legion. These insights into life with the Legion fascinated me. Despicable acts to multiple wives: it is all explored in Moonbeam’s flashbacks. As you go through the book, you learn more about Moonbeam’s life – the loss of her mother, friends and loveable Father. Moonbeam’s journey of faith was an interesting part of this book – you watch her turn from believer to doubter… should she believe the Outsiders are all bad? Or are the worst acts happening in front of her eyes?

The characters, the stories and the journies make this book exceptionally special. It isn’t only Moonbeam who will touch your heart, but you meet Luke – poor Luke, whose whole life is follow Father John and his teachings – and some of the others who are rescued from the cult – shout out to brave Honey. There’s also an FBI agent who as the book went on, I really started to like – as Moonbeam warms to him, as she begins to trust him her revelations about life with the Legion get more intense.  

I would absolutely recommend this to everyone. Please, go on, read it. I was lucky enough to get a proof copy from Usborne.

Have you read After The Fire?
What did you think of Father John?
Can you recommend any other cult books to me?

Let me know in the comments below! I need more books like this! Or tweet me (@eenalol) 

S x

June books

Hello! 

Long time no speak! Sorry about my hiatus last week! I hope you didn’t miss me too much! 

I never got round to doing a June round up… so here we are!

In June I managed to finish my 52 books 52 weeks challenge! How mad! I am now surpassing my challenge… reckon I can read 102? I’ll have to get all my reading done in the summer holidays! September onwards is going to be MANIC for me.

So what did I read in June? (There’s a few books missing!)

  • Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – Julie Israel (BOOKBLOG: Julie Israel)
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit (review to come)
  • After The Fire – Will Hill (review to come!)
  • The Opposite of You – Lou Morgan
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman)
  • The Humans – Matt Smith (review to come!)
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
  • Tilly and the Time Machine – Adrian Edmondson (review to come!)
  • Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery (review to come!)

Not pictured:

  • The Call – Paedar O’Guilin (BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (review to come)
  • The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop (BOOKBLOG: Sylvia Bishop)
  • The Glass Children – Kristina Ohlsson
  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse – Chris Riddell (review to come!)
  • Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap – Justine Windsor (review to come!)

15 books! In one month, that’s pretty good going. I think I have a half term at the start of June to thank. 

I genuinely loved all of the books I read in June for very different reasons. I can not pick a favourite book – they all stand out for different reasons. Tell me what you like and I’ll give you one of these to read! June was a brilliant month for books. Reviews for some to come! Putting my thoughts into words is HARD

What did you read in June?
Do you have a stand out June book?
What are you excited to read in July?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter – you know where to find me! 

S x

 

 

 

BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman

Radio Silence: honest, emotive and necessary

“What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…She has to confess why Carys disappeared…Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.”

People have been shouting about this book forever and during my half term mega read I finally got a chance to read this and… my god I devoured it. I sat one morning and read this within 4 hours

Here you have a book with an incredible characters. You’ve Frances, the geeky, nerdy brainbox of the school who meets Aled, who is one of those special characters who comes along and changes everything. Frances’ admiration for Aled’s podcast soon changes into working together to an eventual falling out and final rescue. No one can predict the way that life goes, in the same way no one can predict the internet and it’s complexities. I loved that this book dealt with a modern age, a modern frienship – looking at a friendship through modern eyes. The ins and outs of texting, DMing, using twitter and all those things that to us are just the norm. It’s an incredible story about the power and the villainy of the internet

Besides all of that this book has some pretty special messages to deliver. There’s a point in the book where something big happens and everything changes for Frances and Aled. What they were is not what they become. But Frances never loses sight of the power of friendship, the sense of love she has for her friend. Despite everything kindness and love wins. Important for always. Kindness should always win and it absolutely does in this book.

Frances struggles a lot with her dedication to her grades and schooling with her contrast with wanting to be herself, the creative person that she is. Through Aled she gets to divulge these creative parts of herself. She gets to be the person she should be. Another message this book shouts loudly is that. Be true to who you are. You’re the best version of you when you’re being the you you’re meant to be. I loved that. Grades aren’t everything. Yes, they’re important but man it’s better to be yourself. People aren’t going to love your GCSE results, they’re going to love you.

I’ve done this book no justice. But it’s incredible. Alice Oseman is an absolute wonderI need you all to read it, yesterday. I regret waiting so long to read it, but I am so glad I have done now. 

My goodreads review reads:

What an incredible story of friendship, honesty, pain and the wonders of the internet! I absolutely adored this. Aled is everything, I want to give him the biggest hug. I love the messages of this books so much: be your true self, grades aren’t everything and kindness. Always kindness.

Have you read Radio Silence?
What was the message you took away from it?
Can you recommend any books similar to it?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter – you know where to find me! 

S x

5 YA Everyone Should Read

Welcome to another wonderful guest post from my wonderful friend Kelly – who is here to talk about YA books that everyone should read. Enjoy! Go follow Kelly, she’s wonderful! 

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5 YA Books Everyone Should Read

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Hi everyone! I’m Kelly from Kelly’s Rambles and I’m here to take over my dear friend Steph’s blog with my guest post. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a secondary school teacher with a huge passion for reading and YA books are where my heart lies. One of my favourite things about reading is sharing my experience, be that with my lovely bookish friends or with my many enthusiastic pupils. I’m not an English teacher (WHAT? I hear you say) but who said that reading must be confined to English teachers? I love to talk about books with the teenagers I teach and I’ve had some of my favourite bookish discussions with them.

The five books I’ve chosen to feature today are all books that I’ve shared with my pupils. They are also all books that I truly believe everyone should read, regardless of age. These books made a change to my life, my emotions, my outlook and my being because they are wonderful and carry such important messages. Without further ado, here are 5 YA books I think EVERYONE should read!

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Goodreads link

I can’t imagine there are many people left out there who haven’t at least heard of this wonderful book, especially since the movie was released (I highly encourage seeing this after reading the book!). Reading A Monster Calls was an experience I will never be able to forget. My heart ached, tears spilled down my face and I felt empty of all emotion by the end – feelings only a truly powerful book can evoke. I love the way this is written and having worked with children who are living through the grieving process I can tell you now how much of an impact this book can have on your life. Grief affects all of us, no matter what stage of our life we are in, and this book will resonate with everyone. Such a poignant, heart breaking yet beautiful book.

 A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Goodreads link

“Reading this book can only be compared to being trapped in a joyous, wonderful, beautiful whirlpool of raw emotion.” The opening line to my exceptionally long review of this book really does say it all. Reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder is such a unique and wonderful experience and it is such a diverse book. Steffi is such a fantastic character, she is a selective mute, she suffers with anxiety but this story is not about those things. This is Steffi’s coming of age story, it is about her first romance, her relationships with those around her and learning to love herself. This book really touched me especially in the way Sara Barnard talks about anxiety. She portrays such a positive message: anxiety is difficult, it is horrible, but it can and will be okay. I am also super in love with the BSL throughout this book. My words cannot do this book justice, especially in such a small paragraph, but please read this. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will hurt your heart, it will warm your heart, but most importantly, it will enlighten you.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

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Goodreads link

When I picked up Wing Jones at the beginning of the year, I was completely clueless as to what would happen next. This book absolutely captivated me, it took an issue that was close to my heart and tackled it head on. It has such raw emotions to it, on so many occasions I wanted to wrap Wing in my arms and tell her it would be okay. Wing Jones is packed full of diversity, it is beautifully written and emotionally driven. Whilst dealing with the consequences of her brother’s drunk driving, Wing embarks on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. To this day I still feel inspired by Wing and her strength and I’m sure that thousands of other readers can take something from Wing and learn. Not only was the issue of racism tackled, but this book also contained a very realistic portrayal of grief, bullying, guilt, self-belief, love. There is something here for everyone to relate to and learn from. On a personal note, I have been completely overwhelmed by Katherine’s kindness and it’s thanks to her that I’ve met one of my best bookish buddies. This book means a lot to me and I’m sure it will mean something to you too.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads link

I absolutely adore reading Alice Oseman’s books and Radio Silence was the first one I picked up. There are so many experiences in here for young people to learn from and relate to but I also think that as an adult looking back this book is still very relatable and teaches valuable life lessons. I love how diverse this book is with characters of different sexualities and races. I loved the relationships in this book and Oseman writes in a way that makes everything feel so real. A great coming of age story full of love, laughter, sadness and teenage angst. There is something in this book for everyone, I highly recommend it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Goodreads link

If at this point in 2017 you haven’t heard about The Hate U Give then you really must have been living under a rock. It was possibly one of the most highly anticipated books of the year and I am not at all surprised why. I struggled for weeks after reading this book to put my words down in a review. Struggled because this book is so powerful and inspiring that I knew I couldn’t do it justice. Angie Thomas tackles racism and police brutality like it’s never been tackled before. This book holds nothing back and will make you check your white privilege if you haven’t already. Reading The Hate U Give is like being on a rollercoaster of emotions that you can’t get off. I felt extreme anger, sadness and hatred and then found myself smiling and laughing a few pages later. Angie Thomas has a powerful voice and isn’t afraid to use it. This book and this wonderful woman are literally changing lives and paving the way to brighter futures for so many young black people who will be nothing but inspired by Angie. This book is life changing and will evoke emotions in you that you didn’t know you possessed. Incredible.

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Phew… I got super emotional just thinking about those books and how much they have affected me personally. These books are excellent examples of why YA books don’t have to be just for teenagers because they can teach so much to adults too. Knowing how hard life can be for teenagers these days I am so grateful that such wonderful books exist to support and inform our young people. I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts on the books above or any recommendations for me! (Find me at Kellys Rambles on twitter)

I’m going to leave you with one of my 2017 highlights: the moment one of my pupils who is a selective mute came to see me after my recommendation of A Quiet Kind of Thunder with a huge smile and tears in her eyes to say the words, ‘I could see myself in Steffi and I’ve never had that before. I love this book, it means so much to me”.

 

BOOKBLOG: Stewart Ross

The Salvation Project: dystopian destinies reached!

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“A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse the disease died before their Salvation Project was complete, and they left the results of their research – the Soterion – in a sealed vault. 122 years have passed. The civilisation of the Long Dead is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by tribes of brutal Zeds. Cyrus, his pregnant copemate Miouda, and his young friend Sammy have escaped from the burning city of Alba. They have rescued a laptop containing the entire contents of the Soterion, including the Salvation Project. On this frail and ancient machine hangs the last and only hope of restoring the civilization of the Long Dead. But the laptop’s batteries are flat, there is no electricity to power it, and it is only a matter of time before the thwarted Zeds set off in pursuit…

A great new dystopian novel, ending the trilogy with a bang! 

These books are full of twists and turns, with plot twists you don’t expect alongside characters who will surprise you along the way. It’s hard not to be surprised by a plot centred around science, challenges and tough choices. There’s times when, as a reader, I thought ‘I don’t want to make that choice’ but the characters have to. It’s their destiny. You want them to reach their destiny however hard or easy that is. Imagine not living past 19 – I would’ve been dead a long time ago, but that is the reality of these characters. The characters, with their bizarre and unusual names, will however worm their way into your heart and take seat there. You’ll feel for them, you’ll want to cheer them on, they’re characters you will learn to love. The ending is great – I didn’t see it coming, it moved me (I mean I cry at EVERYTHING so no one is surprised there!)

If this sounds like your bag of crisps, then go on, treat yourself. Dystopian fiction is one of those I dip into every now and again because I remember how much I love it while I’m there! Stewart Ross has written a great series. Teenagers will love it! It has good pace, enough drama and action to keep you interested! 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35095911-the-salvation-project

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Salvation-Project-Stewart-Ross/dp/0957101929

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Author Information

Stewart was born in Buckinghamshire and educated in Oxford, Berkhamsted, Exeter, Bristol, and Orlando, Florida. He taught at a variety of institutions in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the USA, and Britain before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. With over 300 published titles to his credit, he is now one of Britain’s most popular and versatile authors. His output includes prize-winning books for younger readers, novels, plays, three librettos, a musical, and many widely acclaimed works on history and sport. Several of his books are illustrated with his own photographs.Stewart also lectures in France and the UK, gives talks, runs workshops, and visits schools. He is an occasional journalist and broadcaster. His brother, Charlie Ross, is the celebrated auctioneer. In his spare time Stewart enjoys travel, restaurants, sport, theatre, photography, art and music. He lives near Canterbury with his wife Lucy, and – occasionally – his four children and two grandchildren. Each morning he commutes 10 metres to work in a large hut in the garden.

Website: http://www.stewartross.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Booksmyth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Soterion-Mission-194311443946577/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jstewartross

Thank you so much Faye for inviting me to be part of the blog tour! If you’re interested in the other stops on the blog tour, check out the blogs featured below! There’s lots of fun things going on on the tour!

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S x

 

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