Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

33961524With his debut novel Simon James Green has written one of the funniest books I have ever read. I wouldn’t recommend reading whilst eating (I nearly choked) or whilst drinking (I nearly spat my tea all over the pages and ruined them) or whilst…sitting (I nearly fell off my chair laughing). I may be being too cautious, but the danger is real!

Noah Grimes is painfully awkward, socially uncomfortable, and has an amazing knack for getting himself (or talking himself) into the most ridiculous situations.

Noah’s life is already difficult enough, trying to stop everyone finding out his mum does a Beyonce tribute act, and trying to get Sophie to like him, but his world is turned upside down when his best friend Harry kisses him at a party. What follows is a turbulent journey through Noah’s path of self-discovery.

Noah is an incredibly likable character and is written with a distinctive voice unlike anything I’ve read recently. Funny, charming, emotional, and an outstanding exploration of a young man trying to understand his sexuality whilst also trying to just be as normal as everyone else. I love this book so much, and I really hope we get to read more of Noah’s adventures in future.

Publisher:  Scholastic
Genres: LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Young Adult
Published:  May 4th 2017
I bought my copy of Noah Can’t Even from Wordery

The Sin Eater’s Daughter Trilogy

When a trilogy comes to an end what do you do with your life? Go back to staring at walls and mumbling about how the world is a cold and lonely place, obviously.

Let’s look back to 2015, when I first encountered the world gifted to us by Melinda Salisbury in The Sin Eater’s Daughter. Little did I know what joys I was letting myself in for.

21936988Before I read The Sin Eater’s Daughter I didn’t read much YA, or fantasy, or trilogies – now I’m addicted to all three.

It tells the story of Twylla, the living embodiment of a goddess, betrothed to the prince, and with the ability to kill with a single touch.

What I loved so much about this was all the things I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting Twylla to be as vulnerable and lacking in power over her own life, but still be able to take charge and face up to a world that feared her, with courage and dignity.

My favourite character after Twylla was Lief, her guard. I loved his complexity that was never fully explained but seemed so very human.

I remember where I was when I finished reading the book, because I screamed out loud and ran around telling everyone how amazing it was.

I was expecting a lot from the second book, The Sleeping Prince, and I was not disappointed. Once again the book hit me in unexpected ways. I thought it would continue right where we left off, but instead we get told another person’s story.

27281393Errin is not living so much as surviving. After the death of her father and the disappearance of her brother Lief she finds herself caring for her sick mother and barely managing to keep her head down and unnoticed by those around who who might not have her best interests at heart. When war comes to the village Errin is forced to make difficult decisions and rely on those she isn’t sure she can trust in order to save what is left of her family.

The Sleeping Prince delivers a complex and well developed plot, drawing in multiple layers of folklore and history. Errin’s world is full of uncertainties and her cautious but confident approach to getting what she wants makes her a character that I instantly loved.

By the second half of the book all the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together and draw the first two books closer. I love the way Melinda shows us the interconnected nature of the characters’ lives and how there can still be strength in vulnerability.

31627294By the time book 3 came out I was not emotionally ready for this story to be over.

The Scarecrow Queen takes us into the final battle with Errin and Twylla fighting to save the people they love and themselves from The Sleeping Prince as he attempts to destroy everything around them.

I’m not going to say any more about the book so I don’t give away any spoilers, but if you’ve not read any of them I urge you to get hold of a copy now.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy is a brilliantly written tale. It gives us two young women who find the strength to stop all the forces that are intent on taking away control from their lives. It gives us flawed characters that aren’t romanticised or excused, but are presented to us as real and oh so human. It is a gripping, beautifully imagined, rich fantasy world you won’t want to leave.

To find out more check out Mel’s website, Twitter, and just go and buy the books dammit!

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

25909375Should you believe the hype? Yes, but it’s even better than everyone is telling you.

This is such an unexpected book because like a lot of people you may assume it is mostly about running, but it is so much more than that. In fact, I thought there was barely any running in it at all when you weigh that up with everything else going on in the novel.

This is the story of Wing Jones, her brother, her brothers best friend, but most importantly her amazing grandmothers. Wing thinks that her older brother Marcus is perfect, until one night everything changes.

Wing Jones is a story about one girl finding the strength within herself to rise above some pretty significant difficulties in life and discover a power and determination that no one, not even she, knew she had.

I loved this book for the daring way it chose not to have everything work out perfectly, for the brilliant diverse characters who I hope many young people will read and see themselves in. I loved it for the beautiful lyrical writing, weaving magic and love throughout each sentence. Mostly I loved it for the hope. Wing and her family face social and economic difficulties, but this is never sugar-coated or magically waved away, and that is so vitally important to read in a YA book. Instead Katherine presents us a vision of hope, that through hard work, determination, and the love and support of those around us, things can get better.

I can’t wait to read what Katherine writes next, because if this stunning achievement is her first novel, we’re in for a lifetime of brilliant stories.

 

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

25014114History Is All You Left me is a story that talks about first love, grief, and mental health, in a story so beautifully written it had me crying from the first page until the last.

Written in chapters that alternate between the past and the present, the reader can fall in love with the relationship between Griffin and Theo as they themselves fall into each other, while in the very next chapter we’re brought crashing back down to earth with the devastating grief of the present day.

The portrayal of the grieving process and the different ways in which people deal with death was the most moving part of the story for me. I could identify with Griffin every step of his journey, and felt his devastation, anger, confusion, and hope that love was still alive in some way.

One of the first things that stood out for me was the realistic portrayal of OCD and how it affects every part of someone’s life. It is rare to read about OCD in fiction, nevermind in such a carefully and sensitively handled way.

Another thing I loved was the realistic presentation of sex. To not present it as an unusual thing that two young boys would want to have sex (not only with each other, but with other partners as well) was fantastic to read. The relationships and sex lives of the characters were so well crafted that the characters jumped off the page and became very real and very complicated people as a result.

 

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

33287077Flora Banks suffers from amnesia, but there is one thing she remembers, she kissed a boy on a beach. Now she’s going on go on an adventure to find the boy who’s brought her memory back.

I thought this book was going to be a love story. It isn’t. This is a story about Flora, about her strength, bravery, and determination to be ‘normal’. This is a story about a young woman who desperately wants to remember who she is and what is happening with her life. This is a story about vulnerability and the attempt, against all odds, for Flora to gain control of her life and not let her vulnerability control her.

When I finished this book I felt like I had been completely swept up in a whirlwind of emotion. The story is written superbly so that the reader really feels like they are inside Flora’s head, full of confusion and desperation. The constant repetition of facts is a fantastic tool for drawing us into Flora’s world. The final few chapters show us how unreliable it is to rely on memory, and how even memories we think are true can be manipulated by others.

This novel is a uniquely brilliant and thought-provoking read that you won’t want to put down.

Buy a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

We’re30197201 barely into 2017 and this is an early contender for book of the year. It is simply beautiful.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.

The slowly building friendship that turns into love between Steffi and Rhys takes us on a journey as they both discover more about themselves and the depth of their strength of character. This book is a sensitively handled insight into social anxiety and I was impressed by the way Steffi’s personality developed. Her own lack of confidence, despite evidence to the contrary of what she could achieve, was realistic and cleverly conveyed to the reader as we follow her on her journey.

You should read this book if you want to understand the quiet people in your life, and how they aren’t broken and don’t need fixing, but are able to communicate in their own way and in their own time.

This book is full of hope and love, both romantic as well as friendship and family love, and is the perfect way to start 2017. Utterly and totally mesmerising. A brilliant second novel from Sara Barnard.

 

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

28186273Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

This is a book about love, but about what it means to really be in love with a person and everything they are, not just the idea of what you want them to be.

This book is about grief, about how there is not one way to try and live after you’ve lost someone you thought would always be there.

This book is about the way we build a dream of what our future will be, and how we cope when it doesn’t quite come true.

A brilliantly paced intimate look at love and loss narrated by the instantly relatable and funny Henry. This is a story for anyone who wants to laugh and cry in equal measures and who wants to follow flawed human characters (who don’t always behave in likable ways) as they grow through their responses to adversity.