Category: reviews

Review: A Change Is Gonna Come

Posted September 4, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: A Change Is Gonna ComeTitle: A Change Is Gonna Come
Author: Various
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Publication Date: August 10th 2017
Pages: 384
Source: Stripes

Featuring top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.

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 as the case may be currently sadly not, in literature.

I particularly found Nikesh Strukla’s contribution We Who? thought-provoking and depressingly realistic. It stayed with me afterwards and was very powerful. I think with the news in recent weeks and our 2017 world,  it shines an honest light. Tanya Byrne’s Hackney Moon was beautifully written and poignant. I also always enjoy Catherine Johnson’s writing and her addition to the anthology was not an exception to the rule there.

It stayed with me afterwards and was very powerful

A Change Is Gonna Come is not just about the established voices within UKYA though. Stripes held a competition and have published four new BAME authors in the anthology. I look forward to hearing more about these each of these talented authors in the future. Each story showed insight and had a strong, unique voice.

As an aside this anthology is also named after one of my favourite songs; A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke who was a brilliant singer and the song became an anthem in the 1960s civil rights movement (and the song has had a lasting legacy and acclaim since)

This is one of those cases where the hype is worth it; A Change Is Gonna Come has been talked about in the blogosphere for some time and so it should. It offers something for everyone and is  important and meaningful but just asimportantly j

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
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider

Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Various

Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Various

Review: I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a UKYA Christmas anthology by Stripes (Little Tiger) around the theme of home. £1 from each book sale is also donated to Crisis, the charity for homelessness. Notable UKYA writers such as Juno Dawson, Lisa Williamson, Benjamin Zephaniah and Marcus Sedgewick all contributed stories and a competition was held for an unpublished UKYA voice. Tracey Danton won this with her poignant short story, The Letter. I was very keen to read this anthology due to the themes and the fact that there aren’t many UK based YA anthologies and this is something I’d like to see more of as the community has some fantastic authors, many of whom don’t get the acclaim they may warrant. Short stories are also a fantastic way to sample an author and see if their style works for you. There are fourteen […]

Posted January 30, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider