Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon

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Blurb: “My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window and see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black- black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking at stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

*I was sent this book by the publisher but this in no way affects my review*

I first heard about Everything Everything from a video by the wonderful booktuber padfootandprongs07. She’s rarely wrong about books so when penguinrandomhouse sent me a copy I was over the moon! I used to read YA contemporaries more often than I drew breaths but as I grew older, I found myself exploring other areas of the Young Adult world. However, recently the YA contemporaries released so far this year have been so damn good, how could I possibly resist? Especially when the protagonist loves reading? (SCORE!)

The initial plot idea is something I haven’t read before and that makes it really refreshing to read. Also, it’s what drew me into wanting to read the book. Everything Everything tells the story of Maddie: a seventeen year old with a rare illness which means if she leaves the house she could die. The narrative is from Maddie’s point of view and for the first part  of the book, it was a bit weak. I didn’t feel like Maddie was fleshed out enough. This picked up thought when Olly became a more prominent character.

The romance is just what you’d expect: it’s heart-warming, wonderful and left me “awwing” my way through the pages. It shows the positive side of social media building friendships as Instant Messaging becomes one of the only ways Maddie and Olly can communicate. It was lovely watching how comfortable they became with each other.

The writing was elegant, consistent and beautiful. There are so many lines of this book I want to paint on my walls, but if I did that, it would probably be most of the book.

This book is released August/September this year so KEEP AN EYE OUT!

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the book:

“One thing I’m certain of: Wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.” 

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All I Know Now – Carrie Hope Fletcher

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Blurb: “I’m not an expert on ‘life’ (things I am an expert on: cake, Disney, making the perfect cuppa – that’s about it) but I think I do know a bit about what’s worrying you and maybe, with a little bit of luck, some of my stories will make you smile, make you think and, most of all, give you faith that it will all work out all right in the end. Because it will. Promise. All I Know Now is not all that much, but I hope it’s enough to help.”

On a trip to my local Waterstones I came across a table full of piles of All I Know Now a day before release! After asking a bookseller if I could buy it (who then asked the manager just to be sure) , I was handing over money at the till. I was the first person to buy a copy of a newly released book at that store. (LEVEL UP!)

I have been patiently waiting to get my hands on this book and prior to reading it, I read the Daily Mail article in which she was interviewed about her book. One thing she said that really stood out to me was “my bullies were the making of me.” I too, like Carrie, am on the other side of my teenage years (How am I twenty-one?!) and I can relate to this statement so much. While the bullying I experienced was horrific and I still think about it occasionally, it was the “making of me.” I don’t think I would be as nice, kind and willing to go out of my way to help those struggling had I not known what it felt like. (I’m not saying I wouldn’t help people if I hadn’t had these experiences, but I always make sure my peers are happy and doing okay and support them the best I can)

Carrie Hope Fletcher is a fantastic woman who proves that no matter how hard those pesky high school years can get, you can come out the other side relatively unscathed: with a massive youtube following, starring in the arena tour of War Of The Worlds and returning to the West End in her dream role of older Eponine in Les Mis, I think she’s having the last laugh.

This book is a non fiction, self help guide but also a semi-memoir. It tackles a vast range of important topics from: how to act on the internet, to consent, to secrets, appreciating yourself more and learning to admit when you’re wrong. What I loved about this book is that Carrie admits that she isn’t flawless and that, as human beings, there is no such thing as being ‘perfect.’ She backs up every bit of her advice with some element of her past to show that it is possible to make these changes. The important thing is, while she made mistakes, she learned from them and rectified them as much as she could. She talks about dealing with negativity and in her chapter “Handling Haters” she says “Occasionally I’ll favourite the tweet or reply to say it’s a shame they feel that way but, in spite of that, I hope they have a lovely day.” – This is the kind of positive I am going to work on.

She talks about how to be honest without being cruel and I too am guilty of not accepting someone’s kindness. My boyfriend frequently tells me I’m pretty/beautiful/kind/intelligent and I will respond with “you have to say that you’re my boyfriend” to which he will tut and say “one day you’ll believe me.” Well, from now on, I’m going to start working towards that “one day.” The next time he or anyone else compliments me, I’ll say “thank you” or “damn right I am!”

This book has truly changed my outlook on so many things and I hope this helps anyone out there struggling with any of the topics discussed in her book.
(Also the table of contents is displayed as a theatre programme, why WOULDN’T you want this book?!?)

For some samples of the book check out the blog that became the book.

For Carrie’s videos check out her Youtube

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Made For You – Melissa Marr

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Blurb: “When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused – who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends – and themselves alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.”

**This book was sent to me by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.**

I tend to read the odd YA contemporary every so often if it gets a lot of good reviews. However it’s been several years since I’ve consistently read this sub-genre. I’m not sure what I expected from this book as the blurb is pretty self-explanatory but I was blown away.

Characterisation is so important to me in books and in the case of this one, there were multiple perspectives. It was on point: the characters were so well fleshed out and so distinctive that I didn’t need to go back to the start of the chapter to check which character I was following. What really intrigued me about this book is that one of the perspectives is the killer. It put me more on edge following their thought process throughout rather than learning their reasons at the end when their identity is discovered. However, one thing I really didn’t like was Grace’s (Eva’s best friend) chapters. I feel like they didn’t add much to the story except to provide an outside perspective but they still didn’t feel relevant. It felt more like they were filler chapters to break up the immediacy with the killer and Eva’s chapters. The book would have worked better without them.

This book is very dark and creepy so if you’re at the younger end of the YA age range, I’d probably wait to read this as there are disturbing scenes. The intensity build up was perfectly paced and I reached a point where not only was I scared, but I was scared FOR Eva. As a result, I felt so helpless reading this book because I couldn’t do anything except follow what was happening. If only it was possible to climb into books and warn characters!

I loved the writing style too. I felt like I was following a real teenager, not  a bad attempt at one like I’ve read in many YA books before. This book will definitely stay with me for  a long time and I will definitely be checking out more of Melissa Marr’s work!

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Smart – Kim Slater

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Blurb: “I found Jean’s friend dead in the river. His name was Colin Kirk. He was a homeless man, but he still wanted to live.
There’s been a murder, but the police don’t care. It was only a homeless old man after all. Kieran cares. He’s made a promise, and when you say something out loud, that means you’re going to do it for real. He’s going to find out what really happened. To Colin. And to his grandma, who just stopped coming around one day. It’s a good job Kieran’s a master of observation, and knows all the detective tricks of the trade. But being a detective is difficult when you’re Kieran Woods. When you’re amazing at drawing but terrible at fitting in. And when there are dangerous secrets everywhere, not just outside, but under your own roof.”

I end up reading books for a variety of reasons: I like the cover, the blurb draws me in, I’ve read other works by the author, I saw it on a “highly anticipated YA” list or it was recommended. In this case., my boyfriend read this book and really enjoyed it. He also managed to read it in two weeks, which is rare for him so I knew it had to be good. So I picked it up myself.

There is no simple way to say this… I ADORED this book. Kieran, the protagonist, has Downs Syndrome and at first I expected this to overtake everything else in the book and I was really surprised when it was more of a side note. There were some chapters and sections where characters noted he was “different”. Sometimes in awful ways but Kieran never saw himself as a burden.

The story focuses more on Kieran trying to solve the mystery of who murdered the homeless man, Colin, who was found in the river after the police refused to investigate. Alongside this was the theme of family, with a heavy focus on his family situation. (Trigger warning: There are scenes of domestic violence/abuse)

The character development was beautiful. Kieran seemed to blossom more and more with every chapter and no matter what crossed his path, he just became more determined to solve the crime.

The writing style was different to anything I’ve come across before. It was very conversational. For example, when Kieran explained the meaning of certain words I felt like he was actually in front of me talking to me and as a result I felt very attached to his character. I cared so much that whenever he faced adversity from his peers, I wanted to crawl into the book and defend him.

A while ago I had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the East Midlands Book Award shortlist in which Kim Slater made an appearance as this book is one of the nominees.

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The winner will be announced in June and I have a good feeling Kim Slater will be walking away with that award.

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Bookish Questions

I found a list of book-related questions so thought I’d answer them on this blog.

Author You’ve read The Most

I first thought of J.K.Rowling but then realised it’s actually Cassandra Clare as she’s written more books. I’ve read all her shadowhunter chronicles apart from the newest e-book series following Simon.

Best Sequel Ever

Sequels are very hit and miss in my opinion and pretty much everything I’ve been reading lately is a series. The one that really comes to mind is “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.

Currently reading

A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin
The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

Drink of choice while reading

I don’t really drink while I read. I’m afraid of spilling them and damaging my books.But if I’m reading in a coffee shop it’s normally hot chocolate.

E-Reader or Physical Book

I own a kindle and it’s one of the handiest things I own. It makes reading on the go a lot easier as it takes up less space but I adore physical books. The books I buy on my kindle are ones I’m not sure if I’ll like, so they don’t take up space if I end up giving up on them. Or if I’m not too hyped about them. The ones I’m really excited for/ are by authors I love, I get in physical copy.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School

Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s a badass. Younger me would love him. 

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth. Four is my least favourite character from the Divergent series so I was unsure as to whether I would like this, given it was a book of short stories about him. But I trusted Veronica and it was well placed. I actually really enjoyed it and liked learning the writing process behind Four and Divergent which were provided in the introduction. 

Hidden Gem Book

This Book Is Gay by James Dawson. I don’t often read non-fiction. But this Young Adult book is basically a gay to all things gender & Sexuality. It’s really informative and a book I wish had been around when I was a teenager. 

Important Moment In Your reading Life

I have two important moments.

Peter Pan: The first time I read this book I was blown away by the world that had been created and the beauty of the story. I remember thinking “wow I want to write something like that” and thus I became  writer.

City of Bones: This book helped me realise that while I was fluttering around in writing Young Adult, my writing home was Young Adult Fantasy. This book made it clear that’s the genre of writing I want to pursue. 

Just Finished

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Kind of books you won’t read

I tend to avoid non-fiction and the romance books. I’m not opposed to reading adult fiction as I love Giovanna Fletcher & Cecelia Ahern but I don’t actively go to those sections in a bookstore. 

Longest Book You’ve Read

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Major book hangover because of…

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Number of Bookcases You Own

I actually don’t own any bookshelves. I just have piles of books on my floor at the moment because I’ve run out of space. I should really invest in a bookcase.

One Book You’ve read Multiple Times

Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince by J.K.Rowling.
It’s my favourite in the series.

Preferred Place To Read

I like reading in bed or on a sofa. As long as I have a blanket to keep me snug. 

Quote that inspires you/ gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read

“To die will be an awfully big adventure” – J.M.Barrie. (Peter Pan)

Reading Regret

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski. My boyfriend got it me as a birthday present so I felt bad when I really didn’t like it. The only reason I finished reading it was because it counted towards the 2015 reading challenge. 

Series you started and need to finish

The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

Three of your all-time favourite books

Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Unapologetic fangirl/fanboy for:

Harry Potter & Divergent

Very excited for this release more than all the others

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Worst bookish habit

I have a habit of talking to the characters while I’m reading like “YOU IDIOT WHY DID YOU DO THAT? WAS THAT SMART? NO!” I do this even when there are other people in the room. Sometimes it accidently slips out when I’m reading in public.

X marks the spot: Start at the top of the left of your shelf and pick the 27th book

I did this with my piles of books. The result was Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

Latest Bookish Purchase

I’ve bought a few books so far this month:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Hook’s Daughter by Heidi Schulz 

ZZZZZZZZZ-Snatcher book: last book that kept you up WAY late

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Perculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

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