Category: reviews

Review: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

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

Review: Wing Jones by Katherine WebberTitle: Wing Jones
Author: Katherine Webber
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: January 5th 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

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 expectations. I was a little worried this would be the case for Wing Jones. I shouldn’t have been. Wing is a brilliant character and her story comes off the page.

One of the things I loved the most about this book was the importance of family. So often in YA, family fades into the background. From an academic and plot sense, I understand why. If the main character can go to their parents and they can fix the problem for them, how does the plot develop? As Wing Jones looks at family after tragedy, this is not the case and Wing’s family members are of paramount importance. Her grannies Dee and LaoLao seem to come off the pages with their bickering and different approaches but clear love of their family.

Webber explores a number of themes in Wing Jones.  What it means to be biracial and the reality racism are weaved throughout the novel; from Monica’s family’s disapproval and condemnation of their daughter’s relationship with Marcus to Wing shaping her identity. I also thought the way in which it touched on Marcus’ fall from grace was interesting and felt true. What he does is wrong and the consequences and horror are not played down. However, he is still Wing’s brother, he is not an evil caricature and neither are his actions condoned. There is no going back and all of the characters in Wing Jones are changed by the actions that night.

Wing Jones is a poignant novel about finding your own identity and harnessing a talent you didn’t even know existed. There is a lovely romance subplot but it doesn’t overpower the novel or become the sole focus. Wing is. And so she should be. Wing Jones already stands out as one of the must reads of 2017 and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Do not be surprised if it makes you want to dig out your trainers and go for a run yourself. I did find my next lot of treadmill intervals at the gym after Wing Jones a little more inspired!

five-stars

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
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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: 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 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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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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Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: I had heard a lot about Huntley Fitzpatrick from US book bloggers so was very excited to see that Egmont are finally publishing My Life Next Door in the UK and even more so when I was able to snag a review copy from Netgalley. I adore YA contemporary and I think most people who regularly visit this blog know that. While I try and review all types of YA, and while I admit I sometimes need a little break from contemporary, it’s the YA genre I return to the most. My Life Next Door feels like the perfect YA contemporary read. It’s set in the summer, it has romance, family drama, a main character trying to forge her own identity and some heartbreaking moments too. Samantha Reed has watched the Garrett family next door for years; noting the […]

Posted February 8, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Review: I’ve read and enjoyed several of Anne Cassidy’s YA novels (for example her Murder Notebooks series I’ve previously reviewed) over the years so I was looking forward to Moth Girls. The concept, with two missing girls, Petra and Tina, and their friend, Mandy, who has been left behind was intriguing and I liked that it showed the aftermath of these very difficult situations. How do you grow up knowing your friends went missing and you didn’t and that no-one knows what’s happened to them? I found Mandy the most interesting and vivid character in Moth Girls. I think this is probably because her arc is the most compelling to me personally. She has survivors guilt, wants to know what happened to her friends and she’s traumatised by her own potential culpability. As the book develops, we get to see Petra’s point of […]

Posted January 4, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

Review: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

Review: I love Cat Clarke’s writing and think she’s a fantastic voice in YA so had probably been anticipating The Lost and the Found since I found out it was getting published. What I love about Clarke’s writing is the way she doesn’t present things as absolutes, there are shades between and she creates flawed, realistic, compelling characters. The Lost and the Found tells the story of a family in the public eye. When Faith’s sister, Laurel, was six years old, she was abducted. Thirteen years later she returns home. There is an element of ‘ripped from the headlines’ in the concept of this book, however Clarke looks at a difficult subject with care and thought. She depicts how the family has both fractured and rebuilt itself in the wake of Laurel’s abduction and how her reappearance almost feels like […]

Posted October 7, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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