Category: reviews

Blog Tour Review: Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Posted July 12, 2018 by chooseyabooks in blogtour, reviews / 0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Theatrical by Maggie HarcourtTitle: Theatrical
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: June 28, 2018
Pages: 442
five-stars

Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.

Gorgeously fresh, funny and commercial YA romance from the author of Unconventional, and The Last Summer of Us.

Review: Today I’m pleased to be reviewing Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt as part of its blog tour. I really enjoyed Harcourt’s Unconventional last year and I think her books keep getting better.

Theatrical tells the story of Hope, her mum was an opera singer and Hope grew up around the theatre. She doesn’t want to be on the stage herself, she wants to be the person running everything backstage. Hope gains an internship at a local theatre hosting a prestigious new play with celebrity Tommy Knight in the lead role.

I loved this book; I’d been in a bit of a reading rut but this book was just what I needed in order to bring myself back. It was sweet and really pulled me in which hadn’t happened for a while. Hope was a character I was rooting for the whole time and all of the characters felt three-dimensional and had something about them. George, the costume intern was particularly fun and a bit of a scene stealer. I also thought Tommy Knight was a perfect enigmatic, infuriating moody yet complex celebrity actor. The romance with Luke was genuinely sweet.

The dynamic Hope had with her family was interesting and I understood her need to stand and be seen on her own terms and not in the spotlight of her mum. It was also a little frustrating because I wanted Hope to be able to be more open about it, that said I did completely understand why she kept things quiet and I felt that was realistic.

Harcourt made the theatre a leading role in this novel  rather than a mere setting and this is right. Theatres do have character, they have life in them and they breathe in their own way. This book really showed a love and respect for theatre and made this an inspirational place to be. I also loved seeing a focus on stage management rather than acting. People can forget about the staff backstage making the show a success and it was great to see them front and centre with the respect and focus they also deserve.

Theatre is an important art form and for many teenagers a great way to explore a passion for drama, art and find likeminded people. A great show is inspiring and takes the audience away. I was lucky enough to see Hamilton in London this year – that’s another post but it was amazing. As I left the theatre I felt more creative and inspired than I had in weeks. That’s theatre! So what I’m saying is theatre is a great setting for YA.

Theatrical was the perfect read to pick me up; it had a sweet romance, a great leading character who felt alive, humour and drama. Most importantly, it really conveyed and made its love of theatre infectious. Fans of contemporary YA will find so much to enjoy in this book; I highly recommend it. Thank you Stevie at Usborne for sending me a copy for review and also inviting me onto the blog tour!

five-stars

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

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 […]

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