Genre: Contemporary

Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018

Posted January 3, 2018 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from Electric Monkey in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018Title: Secrets of a Teenage Heiress
Author: Katy Birchall
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Publication Date: 11th January 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Electric Monkey
four-stars

Flick's family have owned The Royale – one of London's most prestigious hotels – for generations. But Flick isn't that interested. She is interested in the newest guest – superstar celebrity Skylar Chase, and Sky's mega-famous group of friends, including dreamy YouTube star, Ethan Duke. But just as Flick gets the chance to join their glittering squad, she gets grounded following an unfortunate incident involving a prince, a wardrobe and a selfie stick (it could have happened to anyone!). With only her Instagram star pet dachshund, Fritz, for company, will Flick find a way to escape The Royale and join the fame game?

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 be interested to see if it continues and what Flick gets up to next. In fact, this book reminded me of series like the Princess Diaries or Holly Smale’s Geek Girl and I think fans of either series would find a lot to enjoy in this book.

I received this book for free from Electric Monkey in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mini Reviews #7: Some UKYA to start off 2018Title: Thornhill
Author: Pam Smy
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: August 24th 2017
Pages: 544

Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl next door.

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it's shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she's left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill's shadowy past.

Review: Thornhill is an unusual and striking book.  There are two narratives; one told through prose and the other through illustration.

In the prose section, it’s 1982 and Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute writing in her diary. Thornhill is about to close and Mary is one of the last girls left in the home, other than a cruel, insidious bully.

In the graphic novel section,  it’s the present day Ella has just moved in to a house near Thornhill and is drawn to the place after seeing a figure there. As she investigates, we learn more of Mary’s story. What I loved was how without any dialogue, Ella’s story still came through and developed really well.

This book is just the right level of creepy and compelling. It’s intelligent, poignant and beautifully illustrated; I read it in one sitting.  I don’t want to spoil any of the twists and turns so I’m not giving too much away, suffice to say this is an unusual and really well done book I definitely recommend.

four-stars

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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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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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: Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Review: Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Review: Jenny Downham is one of my must-read authors, her contemporary YA is always thought-provoking, feels authentic and is beautifully written. Therefore, it’s fair to say Unbecoming was a highly anticipated 2015 read for me. What I love about Unbecoming is the fact that this isn’t a story about one character, but about three generations of women, each with their own secrets and fears and hopes. Considering the popularity of the ‘absent parent’ device in YA, it is refreshing to see a YA book about family relationships ,and one that doesn’t remove the ability to empower its teenage characters through those relationships. Katie’s relationship with her grandmother felt very honest and was a highlight of the book. They develop a strong relationship after a more uncertain start and it’s something I’d like to see more as it’s a relationship not always explored so […]

Posted September 14, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: Captive by A.J Grainger

Review: Captive by A.J Grainger

Review: I was really intrigued by the concept of Captive, which tells the story of Robyn, daughter of the prime minister, who has been kidnapped. I read Captive very quickly and within a couple of sittings. I thought Robyn’s first person narration worked well, as did the interweaving of a past incident with her father through flashbacks, as Robyn tries to work out what is going on and why. The overall plot was fairly tight and I thought there were some good twists and developments. There is very little time before the action starts so the reader is immediately pulled in and shocked. In terms of characters, I thought that Scar was just as creepy as his named implied and Grainger really depicted that danger well. Feather felt flat at times, and a little too obviously unhinged however overall the characters were […]

Posted January 28, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews, wow / 0 Comments
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Review: Juvie by Steve Watkins

Review: Juvie by Steve Watkins

Review: I was lucky enough to be invited to Walker Books blogger brunch last November and had a wonderful time chatting with bloggers and publishing people, eating yummy food and hearing all about the upcoming books from Walker. One of them immediately caught my attention with its striking cover and compelling concept: Juvie. Described alongside Orange Is The New Black comparisons, Juvie tells the story of Sadie who is accidentally caught up in a drug deal. To keep her sister out of jail, and niece out of care, Sadie confesses despite being innocent. What was meant to just be a slap on the wrist turns into a six month sentence and when we meet Sadie she’s just about to start this. Juvie surprised me as I read it. It is far more about Sadie’s own journey and growth than action. The […]

Posted January 26, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 1 Comment
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