Category: reviews

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Posted May 23, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer MathieuTitle: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books (Hachette Children's Group)
Publication Date: March 8, 2018
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
four-half-stars

From the author of Zoella Book Club book MOXIE comes a startling book about stereotypes, slut shaming and the battle for popularity.

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?It's true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the 'slut stall' in the girls' bathroom at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable novel, four Healy High students - the party girl, the car accident survivor, the ex best friend and the boy next door - tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

'Should be required reading for anyone in high school' Bustle

Review: I loved Jennifer Mathieu’s UK debut, Moxie, last year so was pleased to see her debut novel, The Truth About Alice being published in the UK. Alice has a lot of rumours circulating about her; starting with how she slept with two guys at a party and send suggestive texts to one of them while he drove leading to a fatal car accident.

What was really interesting about this book was in spite of the title, we don’t hear from Alice until the very end. Instead the story is mostly told by third parties; classmates, acquaintances, the car crash survivor. I thought this worked effectively as the story progressed and we not learnt more about Alice and the people telling the story. There were several characters whose stories became more central to this but in a traditional third perspective narrative this may have been less obvious or more easily lost, or worse still become didactic.

Throughout the book, the reader begins to question the narrative they are being presented with and what they are being told about Alice. Cleverly Mathieu ends up actually developing and learning about Alice through the lies in the same way as if this was meant to be a more traditional narrative. The entire book is about challenging the narrative and challenging preconceptions about people. We’ve all potentially judged someone unfairly and perhaps even contributed to that insidious side of society that shames women for any sign of sensuality or sexuality, or conversely the purported lack of it. Navigating this and simultaneously finding and hopefully claiming your own identity is a central part of many teenage girls and young women’s experiences.

The Truth About Alice shows the way a single rumour spirals until it is out of control. It also shows the way people can cruelly catch on to this sort of bullying and make it snowball further.

Mathieu writes contemporary YA really well and explores feminism and the challenges of being a teenage girl really authentically. I look forward to seeing what Mathieu writes next.

four-half-stars

Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Review: More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Review: I really enjoyed More Than We Can Tell; both Rev and Emma had strong stories and plots and they intertwined well. Emma’s story is timely and a brief look at some of the current problems with sexism within the gaming industry. I found Rev’s story is incredibly poignant as he find his demons coming to the forefront after a letter from his abusive father. Within contemporary YA, there can be some real issues when serious issues and backstories are couple with a romantic plot. In particular, the use of trauma in order to support a romantic story. In More Than We Can Tell, I felt Kemmerer slightly played down the romance plot more than in previous books which I felt was the right decision. There are still, of course, some lovely relationship moments and building but what stood out for […]

Posted May 14, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Review: Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Review: When I first started Cell 7 I wasn’t sure what to expect but quickly realised I was reading something quite intriguing. As the series has developed, I’ve been drawn into the world Drewery has created and was intrigued to see how it would all be closed. There was a slight concern to me that as it feels a little dystopian in the real world right now at times, reading a dystopian book which I naturally expected would in some way be inspired and influenced by what is happening around us could be difficult and potentially change how I read the book and affect my ability to be drawn in or invest in it. There’s nothing worse than something feeling added in and trite. However, while there are a few references to walls (which let’s be honest have been used […]

Posted January 17, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018

Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018

Review: Flick’s family own one of the most prestigious hotels in London, though Flick is more interested in celebrities and celebrity clients than the hotel itself. Flick felt realistic as a character; surrounded by beautiful history and significance but not seeing this at first. In fact, at first she is unknowingly jeopardising some of this, e.g. the selfie stick saga. What I loved in the book was how as it developed, she began to see and understand more about the hotel and how much work was involved in keeping its reputation. I also loved her friendship with Olly and how much she grew as the book progressed. Overall, I really enjoyed this book; it was fun, funny and sweet. Birchall writes with genuine humour and her characters felt genuine. This book also has a fair bit of series potential and I would […]

Posted January 3, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 3 Comments
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Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Review: Greer McDonald is not finding her new school easy. St Aidan The Great boarding school is one of the oldest and most exclusive schools in the country and as a scholarship student she’s struggled to fit into the privileged, elite world it presents. Then an invitation arrives to spend part of half-term with the most influential, important group in S.T.A.G.S,  the Medievals, and Greer thinks things are looking up. The story however begins with Greer looking back on what led to that weekend and calling herself a murderer. I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this book and I wasn’t sure if the book would 100% be for me. That said, I love the boarding school setting (I have ever since I was young and read Enid Blyton books which completely romanticised it – I’m sure I’m […]

Posted November 8, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

Review: I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this was probably one of the most anticipated releases of Summer 2017. After the success of their Christmas and home themed anthology, Little Tiger announced a BAME YA anthology of poetry and prose with some of the country’s best YA voices. I’ve read several YA anthologies this year and I really like the format and introduction to new authors as well as more work from authors I already know. Before I talk about the stories themselves, I think it’s worth saying how vitally important it is to for an anthology like this to be published and also how depressing it is that books like this are unusual. Darren Chetty wrote the foreword and he wrote a brilliant essay within The Good Immigrant about children being able to see themselves, or […]

Posted September 4, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Mini Reviews #7: Recent Reads

It’s been a very busy couple of months so I wanted to tell you all about some recent reads with mini reviews. [ book-info] Review: Adam Silvera is an author I had heard a lot of excellent things about so when Simon and Schuster kindly offered me a review copy of History Is All You Left Me, I was excited to read it. History Is All You Left Me is a beautiful contemporary YA told from the perspective of Griffin. Griffin’s ex-boyfriend and first love, Theo, has died in a drowning accident. I thought this was an interesting premise for a YA novel as while I’ve seen books about people losing their current partners, I haven’t seen that many about losing an ex and the complicated feelings that can stir up. And complicated feelings there are, even without Jackson, Theo’s […]

Posted September 3, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Here I Stand by Amnesty International

Review: Here I Stand by Amnesty International

Review: How do I review a book like Here I Stand? I think anthologies are underrated first of all. I find YA anthologies particularly compelling and, to my delight, recently there are more and more of them being published. This anthology unites numerous poets, writers and even Chelsea Manning to raise awareness about human rights issues facing young people today. There are some very upsetting stories in there; the first story by John Boyne deals with some really serious issues. I realised as I read that this was not going to necessarily be a light read. Literature matters, it’s important and it has power. If you don’t believe me, look at Harry Potter and consider the way a book about magic and boarding school looks at kindness, cruelty, discrimination and many political issues. Furthermore, it’s fascinating to see how fans […]

Posted June 14, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Review: I really enjoyed Sarah Crossan’s verse novel One and I’ve been reading her YA since Breathe. I love the fact Crossan writes in verse; it’s something we don’t see a lot of in YA and for me verse reminds more than any other form of writing of being a teenager. It was how I expressed myself so YA verse novels make perfect sense to me. We Come Apart is co-written with Brian Conaghan, Conaghan won the Costa Children’s Award in 2016 and is an author I am slightly less familiar with, but have been meaning to read for some time and have had Mr Dog Bites on my reading pile for a little while. We Come Apart is a dual-narrative novel telling the stories of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens who are bought together in a community service […]

Posted March 13, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Review: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Review:  Since I started blogging, I keep an eye on The Bookseller book deal announcements to see what’s coming in YA. As soon I heard about Wing Jones I was intrigued and as 2016 developed and more people talked about it, that interest just piqued. Wing Jones is a beautifully written contemporary YA novel that I adored. It tells the story of Wing Jones, who’s always felt more in her football playing brother’s shadows. Then everything changes. Her brother is in an accident and in a coma. The accident killed two people and her beloved brother was drink driving. While dealing with the tragedy, Wing discovers an affinity for running she never knew. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Sometimes when a book is particularly hyped, or one you’ve anticipated keenly it never seems to meet your […]

Posted February 6, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 2 Comments
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