Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA Releases

Posted January 2, 2017 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: Cell 7
Author: Kerry Drewery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 384

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?

Review: Cell 7 has a brilliant concept and I was drawn in the moment I read the summary. In some ways the summary reminded me a little of When She Woke by Hilary Jordan in terms of someone being in a  televised cell after a crime but Cell 7 stands on its own and is a compelling look at media, reality and crime. I hadn’t read any of Drewery’s books before but knew her from twitter and UKYA Extravaganza as a strong voice in the UKYA world.

Cell 7 begins after a celebrity is murdered and the teenager accused of his murder is processed on Death Is Justice, the TV show that over a week the public watch to vote on whether someone is innocent or guilty with death as the punishment for guilt. In itself, this is a fascinating concept, especially when you consider how prevalent reality TV is now and how TV audiences decide and judge guilt even without voting or causing direct consequence as in Cell 7.

Martha, the main character was well written and a strong narrator. I wanted to find out why she had been found holding a gun over the body.

The reality TV structure worked well and showed how editing and behind the scenes agendas can dictate how a story is told. That said, the ending felt a little weak to me and I think the format would potentially feel a little overdone if continued ad nauseam in the sequel.

While aspects were predictable, overall this was a compulsive page-turner and a terrifying plausible world.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: The Monstrous Child
Author: Francesca Simon
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories
Pages: 320

A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the bets of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.
Francesca's first and wonderful foray into teen.

Review: I heard about the Monstrous Child at a Faber event at the start of 2016 (which now feels much further away than it actually was) and knew I had to read it. All about mythology? Grumpy teenage narrator? Grumpy teenage narrator who runs Hell? Yes, please! Atmospheric, very well crafted and utterly compelling, this is a brilliantly darkly fun and clever read.

Francesca Simon is most popularly know for her Horrid Henry books but according to Goodreads the Monstrous Child is third in her Mortal Gods series; that said the book description says it’s Simon’s first foray in YA so I I hadn’t read this series at all and yet it stood perfectly on its own for me and in fact I’m tempted to say from reading the descriptions on Goodreads it doesn’t really belong in a series.

Hel is exactly as she was pitched to me; an upset, irritable young woman who has not been dealt the easiest hand in life and now is going to make it work for her. The use of mythology works really well and Simon doesn’t avoid some of the more strange or grisly tales from mythology.

If you’re in the mood for a well written novel using Norse Mythology with an utterly flawed and teenage narrator then definitely check out the Monstrous Child.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: The Deviants
Author: C.J. Skuse
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
Pages: 320
three-half-stars

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves
Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

Review: I’ve enjoyed several of C J Skuse’s YA novels so was pleased to see she had a new book coming out. The Deviants feels a little different to her previous books in my opinion, however at it’s roots is clearly CJ Skuse.

The Deviants looks at several big issues; teenage pregnancy, intimacy and several others View Spoiler » without getting preachy or didactic. There is, as you would expect with CJ, a creepy and yet realistic atmosphere to the novel with an increasingly sinister atmosphere

Overall, I enjoyed Deviants and felt the darker atmosphere worked very well. While at the start it felt a little less pacy, it developed quickly and I read the book in a couple of sittings at the most. Ella definitely felt the strongest of the characters and her journey was very interesting as her fears with taking her relationship with Max further were something not really explored in YA and yet something very real.

Dark, twisting and tense, CJ Skuse fans and YA suspense lovers should find a lot to enjoy in The Deviants.

 

Review: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriot

Review: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriot

Review: As soon as I heard about Barefoot on the Wind, I was intrigued. Beauty and the Beast was probably my favourite disney film as a very young child. Seriously, my love of this knew no bounds; I’m talking clothing, seeing the musical in London, singing all the songs, seeing it on ice… No bounds, I tell you, no bounds. As I grew older it became clear there were some parts of the story that were a little less magical. Zoe Marriott explained it really well at the recent Walker Blogger event when she said -and I’m paraphrasing here – it didn’t seem right that the Beast got rewarded for making very little change or compromise while Belle seemed to be the one making those compromises and changes. Barefoot on the Wind has been billed as a feminist Beauty and the Beast and […]

Posted October 24, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Review: Cuckoo drew me in from the concept and I had a strong feeling this would be a great read for me.  Karen David tells the story of Jake,  a teenage actor who used to be on a popular soap, until it got cancelled.  Now he’s setting the story straight over events before the cancellation via a vlog. I liked the format of the novel being told through vlog transcripts and comments.  Keren David utilises a quite restrictive narrative device to great effect. Even in the comments there are small subplots and stories that really add to the book. I devoured Cuckoo and didn’t want to put it down. Jake really came off the page and I felt for his problems. I hadn’t personally seen explored in YA before in this way but Karen David looks at teenage homelessness without judgement. On the surface, Jake is not a character […]

Posted August 24, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicole Doherty

Review: Love and Other Man-Made Disasters by Nicole Doherty

Review: I have always had a soft spot for contemporary YA. It’s probably one of my favourite genres and it’s always been one of my default writing loves as well. While some people may feel the US have the edge on contemporary YA, I think YA based in the UK and Ireland has so much to offer and is seriously underrated.  When I read the summary for Love and Other Man-Made Disasters on Netgalley, I had to read it. The ski resort setting also reminded me a little of the film Chalet Girl which I secretly loved. Juno is a slightly anxious teenager who worries a lot. Now Juno is being forced to go on a skiing holiday with her mum and her mum’s new husband and his twin boys. This is a great, easy to read, enjoyable summer read (despite the chilliness of skiing) and I […]

Posted July 11, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #6: It’s Thriller Time

Mini Reviews #6: It’s Thriller Time

Review: I’m always intrigued by cults and new religious movements so The Special Ones definitely appealed to me when I saw it on Netgalley and sounded like a slightly different YA thriller. The Special Ones is told through Esther’s perspective. Esther is one the four ‘Special Ones’ who live in an isolated house away from the modern world after He has chosen them. Each of them has a skill, expectations and are expected to promote their lives through online chats to their followers. On renewal day, He chooses one of them to be replaced and the cycle continues. Until something happens and things begin to change. I think it’s best not to delve too deeply into the plot intricacies as I don’t want to spoil it. However, what really makes this book work is Esther. Her character comes through well and carries the […]

Posted July 4, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: I adored Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door, and while I liked What I Thought Was True it didn’t quite grab me in the same way, so I was really looking forward to the chance to return to the Garrett family and Tim. My Life Next Door did a wonderful job in introducing a wide range of characters I felt deeply invested in. I really cared about the Garrett family, who felt realistic to me, I rooted for Sam and loved her development throughout the book. There were subplots and characters I cared about, like Nan and Tim. The Boy Most Likely To is definitely not My Life Next Door. It’s a little darker and moodier, not a ‘typical’ contemporary romance novel and this worked for me and felt right for her characters.. For me, The Boy Most Like To was more ‘Tim’s’ […]

Posted June 8, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
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Review: The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi

Review: The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi

Review: I’d heard a lot of positive things about Paolo Bacigalupi’s YA novels however hadn’t had the chance to really delve into his books, so when Hayley at EdPR offered me a review copy of The Doubt Factory I was thrilled. The Doubt Factory tackles a subject I’ve not really seen explored in YA: PR and the power of a cover-up or spin. It specifically looks at companies which are employed by large corporations or powerful people to essentially create doubt; hence the doubt factory. While this may not sound a particularly exciting subject for YA, Bacigalupi frames it like a Hollywood thriller. Alix is a girl who has a seemingly perfect, privileged life: she attends a highly selective private school, her parents are financially solid, she lives in a big house. However when an activist, Moses, comes onto the scene […]

Posted April 18, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Review: These Shallow Graves was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. From the moment I read about it in the Bookseller, to hearing the enthusiasm from Hot Key Books at their 2015 blogger brunch, I knew this would be a book I couldn’t wait for. It has taken me a little time to review it however do not think this is because it’s not met my expectations or I didn’t enjoy it. I did. Jo Montford wants to be a writer, however that isn’t what her family or society expect from her. Everything changes when her father is found dead after supposedly accidentally shooting himself. However, Jo knows her father wouldn’t clean a loaded gun so tries to uncover the truth behind his death and is later joined by keen reporter, Eddie. These Shallow Graves is a brilliant historical […]

Posted March 30, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter

Review: I heard about the Serpent King on twitter (from the lovely Carly at Writing from the Tub whose review is here) and it sounded completely up my street so I was really pleased when I was able to obtain a review copy on Netgalley. I love books set in the Southern US states, there’s something about them and the Southern Gothic movement I find completely fascinating and the summary seemed to suggest a True Detective style atmosphere. The Serpent King is beautifully written and the small Tennessee town Dill, Lydia and Travis live in is bought off the page and feels so real. Dill, Travis and Lydia are defined, compelling and well-drawn out characters each of whom has their own story and arc within the book. Dill in particular really stands out as the main character who loves Lydia but knows […]

Posted March 28, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #5: It’s Getting A Little Creepy

Review: I love a good creepy read and Daughters Unto Devils definitely delivered with its historical setting, mountain location and distinctly sinister plot. After Amanda’s family move to a remote cabin, she hopes she can leave her past behind, including the fever that she’s worried has caused her to lose her mind. Only, the cabin is soaked in blood and there are stories about the area – about murder and unhinged minds. Oh, this book is delightfully creepy and Lukavics writes a sinister, disturbing tale with an intriguingly unreliable and very often unlikeable narrator. The plot develops and becomes even more horror-filled and disturbing by the end and has this feverish quality to it. The horror and gore is not sanitised so I would recommend this to younger readers personally. Books like this aren’t for everyone; that said fans of books with […]

Posted February 10, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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