Posts Tagged With: Young Adult

Pride and Premiership by Michelle Gayle

Addition: Review book, paperback

Genre: Young adult, chick lit

Rating: 3/5


This is the diary of Remy Louise Bennet, age 17-1/2. Remy Louise Bennet has one goal in life – to be a WAG. And as every true wannabe WAG knows, there are rules. One: pretend you don’t know he’s a footballer. Two: Don’t get drunk (or he won’t trust you while he’s off on pre-season tour). Three: Never dispute a thing his mum says (they worship their mums). When Remy starts dating Netherfield Park Rangers’ Robbie Wilkins (not Premiership, but good for starters), it seems like all her dreams have come true. Or have they? Remy soon realizes that being a WAG isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, that Robbie’s balls aren’t quite so golden…and that maybe there are smarter dreams to pursue. Michelle has already participated in workshops with The Reading Agency up and down the country, promoting literacy among teenage girls and encouraging them to aspire beyond the WAG myth. Michelle is an ex-EastEnders star, chart-topping pop diva and popular TV celebrity.

I was sent this book by publisher’s Walker Books UK. It is written by Michelle Gayle – ex-Eastender and WAG. Walker Books say:

“The ex-WAG, actress and singer has now turned her hand to storytelling as part of her mission to empower young girls and remind them that there is more to life than bagging a boyfriend. Shocked to hear that 2/3 of teen girls’ career plans involved marrying a footballer, Michelle set out to write a book that provided a realistic view of being a WAG without judging or patronising the girls she was writing for. The result is an honest, stylish and sassy reminder that marrying a footballer doesn’t always mean a happily-ever-after ending and that it’s far smarter to pursue your own career than to rely on Prince Charming.”

This story follows Remy – a 17 year old who, with the help of her older sister Malibu wants to marry a footballer. Malibu has rules and guidelines for this and on the first night they go out Remy meets Robbie. He seems interested in her and she is happy to be pursued. We see her at work – a beauty salon – and at home. We watch how Malibu dates a footballer; and someone she has as a back up, Boring Roger. The story follows several months of Remy’s life, as things fall apart at home, get serious with Robbie and the decisions she makes in life.

This book is written in diary form. I didn’t find this a problem as most entries were fairly long. The language is simple and easy to follow. I didn’t feel challenged by this book but that was OK. It was a gentle and quick read.

I found this book quite addictive. Although the storyline is not amazing – to be honest it is simple and fairly predictable – I was hooked. I read this book in about half a day. I didn’t mind the characters, although both Remy and Malibu were fairly shallow. They made for good reading however. I was intrigued, I wanted to know what was going to happen to them. I was a little disappointed with how Malibu’s storyline ended – it was unfinished but she settled for the seemingly shallow life of a WAG. Remy did end up with a nice man, but he too was a footballer. It felt like the message Gayle was sending was that once you are in that life, you can’t escape.

I know Gayle was a WAG and that she wanted to write this book to let girls know how life really is for WAGs, but to be honest it felt quite stereotypical: spending lots of money and cheating, controlling, angry footballers. It didn’t feel like there was a lot of insight into this world – and for some, the idea of living in a huge house with endless money will appeal to them. I’m not sure that Gayle has achieved her aim of warning girls of what this life is like.

I have rated this book 3 out of 5 because to be honest, it isn’t that good but it I was hooked. I was intrigued and my attention was held throughout the book. I developed an empathy for Remy and what is going on with her family and the life she got sucked into. This was a quick read and I think will appeal to teenage girls.

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It Started With a Dare by Lindsay Faith Rech


Addition: Review e-book from NetGalley

Genre: Young adult chick-lit

Rating: 3 out of 5


Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status.

While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut.

CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the façade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud?

I read this book a little while ago, and to be honest, not a lot of it has stuck with me. This is a book that I easily read in a day and have not thought about since.

CG moves schools and by accident – a comment muttered in response to a teacher lands her in the “in-crowd”. All of a sudden, she has a façade to keep up. This leads to lies and lies – and then more lies. She becomes out of control – lying about how she used to be an alcoholic – even though she is 15! – and how far she has gone in relationships. She starts an online relationship with an English teacher and things just spiral out of control. Of course, once the web of lies is spun so deep the only way out is the truth – and inevitably this is what happens. CG’s parents find out what she has been doing and saying and the world is put to rights again.

Like I said at the beginning, this book hasn’t really stayed with me since reading. It is a simple story, that took me an afternoon to read. I didn’t really like the characters – I can’t stand lying and I never like the “popular” characters. They are so fake and cruel. Why did I keep reading? I guess because I wanted to see what would happen. It was not surprise that the truth came out and CG was humiliated – part of me thinks she deserved it – that is one lesson learnt. I didn’t like CG really. She started the story with an I-don’t-care attitude and transformed into something hideous.

Does this reflect school? Not the crowd I hung around in! I don’t know – I went to school in the UK and was not in the “cool crowd” so I don’t know if people acted like this. From what you see in American TV shows/films e.g. Glee and Mean Girls, one gets the impression that high school is all about being popular. If that is really the case than CG’s attempts to fit in are realistic. I couldn’t believe the lies she told – especially about being an alcoholic. How could anyone believe that?! From that aspect, this book isn’t particularly life-like.

I’ve given this book 3 out of 5 because it was a story that gripped me to the end – I just wanted to see how Rech would finish the story. Sadly, not the greatest book but if you want a light, teenage read this is for you.


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Hunger by Jackie Kessler


Addition: Review e-book from NetGalley

Genre: Young Adult

Rating: 4 out of 5


“Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world.”

Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

This is the first book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series by Jackie Kessler. The first horseman she has chosen is Famine. Lisa is tasked with this job when after months of struggling with bulimia she overdoses on medication her Mum has. Whilst unconscious she is visited by Death, who offers her two choices: die, or live as Famine. In a confused state she chooses the latter. When she wakes up she sees the scales and her horse but thinks she is just having a breakdown. When she finally realises what is going on she is in for a shock. She travels to places were people are gorging on food, and places where children are starving. She has to learn to control her rage, find a way to help those with nothing and face up to, and fight War – a dominating and intimidating lady. Will she ever stop being Famine? What will happen to her and her health if she does?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked Lisa a lot. I felt so sorry that she was having eating-related issues. This is a big problem in Western society, and I think Kessler deals with the issue well – she addresses the way it can manifest, the thoughts the person has, what it can lead to and the effect it has on others. It was thoughtful and provoking. Of course, her solution to the problem, making Lisa famine, isn’t realistic but I thought it was great that Lisa overcomes her problems and is willing to accept help and counselling.

I thought the story was very good. It is full of different, eccentric characters – such as Death, who sat on his horse singing. He just made me laugh! There were some characters who we needed to get to know before we liked – such as Lisa’s Mum, some characters who were a bad influence, such as her bulimic friend and others who were just lovely, like her Dad. This range of characters added depth and interest to the book.

This is a fantasy young adult book, but one I enjoyed very much. It was well written and researched. It took me a couple of days to read through. I laughed, enjoyed the storyline, and could have cried in some places. Really worth reading.


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This Girl is Different by J J Johnson


This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is.

As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.


This is the first novel by JJ Johnson I have read, and I really enjoyed it. It is classed as young adult, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was pacey, exciting and gripping. I read this book as fast as I read Therapy, and although they are completely different, they both had my heart racing, had me wondering what was going to happen.

This is the story of Evie, a girl who is about to enter her final year at high school – although this will also be her first year at high school, as she was home-schooled, both by herself using the internet and her mother, a wonderful, slightly eccentric character who likes to move around. We first meet Evie out by the river, drawing a snake she caught after she has fallen and sprained her ankle. Cue Raja and Jacinda, cousins who are walking past and help Evie. Their friendship blossoms and becomes a key storyline throughout the book. Along with Evie, and the havoc she causes at school. She doesn’t know what to expect but the regimental and sometimes unfair school system causes her to act radically, and as a result, secrets come out and the school is turned to chaos. Her relationships are jeopardised, as is her opportunity to go to her chosen university. Will she be able to set things right, whilst changing what was wrong?

As I said, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun novel about high-school. I can’t say how realistic it is, one girl coming in and shaking a whole school – certainly wouldn’t have happened at my secondary school, but it was a fascinating read. Evie stands up to teachers who bully students, teachers who have relationships with students outside of school – platonic or not, and she takes on the school about their mobile phone policy, the food and the fact the students are not allowed outside. Her, Rajas and Jacinda set up a blog, and chaos ensues. It might not be realistic, but it was a great read. I was hooked from the beginning, fascinated, and wondered if schools in America are really as bad as this novel makes them out to be?

Johnson seems to be addressing the lack of democracy in schools. Should students be allowed to have a say about every matter concerning school? Should they even have to go? It was interesting, and some things I agreed with – like the fact they should be allowed outside and the canteen should serve healthy food, but other stuff I found myself disagreeing with. I found myself entering into the debate, even as I read, which is a sign of a good book to me.

I liked all the characters. Evie was different, not afraid to stand out. Maybe without Rajas and Jacinda she wouldn’t have made any friends, but I liked her individuality. Rajas and Jacinda were very well written. I liked how they interacted with each other – and their mood swings seemed very realistic. Martha – Evie’s mum was a strange character. I didn’t like that Evie didn’t call her “Mum” but I loved that Martha was there for Evie all the way through. The headmaster is the other character who stuck out for me. He reminded me of Headmaster Chartleston from Gilmore Girls! He seemed to give Evie a lot of freedom and often support – which I found hard to believe given the state the school was slipping into.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun and exhilarating. The ending wasn’t a total surprise, but then this isn’t a thriller, it is a young-adult novel full of school, friendship and love. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it, even if, like me, you aren’t a young adult any more!


Reviewed for netGalley

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The Oracle Rebounds by Allison van Diepen

This review does contain spoilers!!!

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Female, young adult

Rating: 4/5


As the “oracle of dating,” Kayla is supposed to have all the answers about love and relationships. She’s supposed to have the perfect relationship. But now that Jared is “taking a step back,” Kayla feels like a total fraud.
So the expert on dating starts taking her own rebound advice—and some from her friends—and stops moping around. Yeah, there are other possibilities out there—including the beyond-cute French foreign exchange student she’s showing around town. But when controversy erupts about the Oracle’s advice, Kayla is sent reeling once again. Will anything work out for her this year? Yet when her friends start seriously needing the Oracle, Kayla begins to focus on what really matters: Viv, Sharese, Amy and Ryan, her trueblue buds. And suddenly, everything starts making sense again…

This is the sequel to The Oracle of Dating, and I was excited when I saw this book because I really enjoyed the first one. I received this book from netGallery.

This is a book about a girl called Kayla, who is sixteen and writes a blog all about relationships. She has currently been dating the guy of her dreams, Jared. However, he doesn’t get the art scholarship he is desperate for and believes that it is because his focus has been on Kayla and not art. Therefore, he dumps her. The Oracle is now heartbroken, which on the bright side gives her something new to write about. As does the fling she has with the gorgeous French student who comes to stay at her home on an exchange visit. Things are good again until she realises that the fling was just that – two weeks of fun, and when her blog is attacked. Her attentions turn, her life gets hard, and she finally relies on her friends. Her life gets better, her blog gets more hits, and her love life could be turning itself around once more when Jared starts finding reasons to see her again.

This book was fairly predictable. The ending did not come as a shock but I was glad that Jared came to his senses and pursued Kayla again – and that she followed her heart and they got back together. I felt sorry for Kayla when out of the blue Jared ended the relationship; and to be honest I wasn’t happy with his reason. I really felt for her and her pain. I can’t help but like Kayla, although sometimes I found the storyline a little unbelievable. It was a bit too convenient that just after she was dumped her mother organised for a hot French student to come and stay. You could tell that he was only interested in a two week romance but I still found myself feeling sorry for Kayla when again she got dumped.

I thought it was interesting that van Diepen chose to write that Kayla’s blog faced some harsh criticism. I guess that would be the case if you were to advertise, and I think the way Kayla dealt with the situation was well written. I do find it hard to believe that a teenage girl who had only one boyfriend would be quite so knowledgeable about love and heartbreak – and also that she would be giving out advice to her older sister and her friend – both of whom were in the their twenties. However, none of these criticisms spoilt the book.

I liked the characters. Like I said, I found Kayla enchanting and really felt for her when she got her heartbroken. I loved how her friends acted and rallied around her. They seemed realistic and well written. The storyline is easy to follow and it did not take long to read this book. I was entertained and I enjoyed this book a lot. This would be a good comfort read for any female, whether in their teens or not. Although I was not surprised with the outcome, I liked it and I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked, however predictable. This is very readable and I recommend it.

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The Crepe Makers’ Bond by Julie Crabtree

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Young adult

Rating: 4/5


Ariel is the head chef in her family kitchen. Cucumber salads, fettuccine carbonara, fish tacos, and peanut butter pie are just a few of the dishes she crafts when she’s feeling frustrated by the world. And it’s turning into a frustrating year. Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie have been inseparable friends since they were little kids, but now Mattie’s mom has decided to move away. It’s the girls’ last year in middle school, and they can’t fathom being separated. The friends concoct a plan that will keep Mattie in the Bay area she’ll move in with Ariel and her family. But before you can say “bff,” the party is over. Everything Mattie does gets on Ariel’s nerves, and it’s not long before the girls are avoiding each other. This was supposed to be their best year ever, but some painful lessons are threatening to tear their friendship apart. Can the girls scramble to make things right before the bond crumbles?

I received this book from netGallery to review – thank you.

This is a story of friendship and food. Ariel has two best friends: Mattie and Nicki. It has become a strange year. Nicki is creeping around and keeping secrets, but worse, Mattie’s Mum has a new job and they have to leave town. To keep Mattie around Ariel proposes that she lives with her and her family. Being a welcoming home, Ariel’s parents allow this. Mattie moves in, but soon she is getting on Ariel’s nerves. Mattie sees herself as just trying to fit in, and Ariel finds herself getting jealous. Their friendship is in trouble, and what is going on with Nicki? This story looks at the joy of food, how to fix a friendship and the truth about keeping secrets.

Firstly, I was drawn by the simplicity of the cover – just a few aprons hanging up. I also liked how the book contained the recipes mentioned as part of the story. They are unique and different. Not what I would eat or cook but it makes the book stand out.

The girls seemed realistic – just typical American high school teenagers. They were not the most popular girls, they were just nice, hard working and friendly. The book is about their friendship, and actually it is nice to read. The bond and the tension is well written and I liked them all. I felt sorry for Mattie, who was living away from her Mum and sorry for Ariel, who felt that Mattie was taking her place in the family. Of course, I did also think that they should have expressed their feelings instead of keeping it in and almost losing the friendship. I liked Nicki as well, but she wasn’t the main character. She was the third wheel in the group – joining late and keeping secrets, and I felt she was written just as an extra.

This is a girly story. The main characters are girls and the book is about friendship. The story line isn’t particularly original – I feel having the recipes in the book special, not the story line as such. It is an easy read and a young adult book. I enjoyed it. I did find myself getting exasperated with the girls at times; I felt they just needed to talk to each other and Mattie’s actions at the end didn’t impress me. Overall, this is a quick and easy read if you like female fiction and young adult books.

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Bone by Bone by Bone by Tony Johnston

This novel is told through the eyes of David Church, a young boy (the novel covers four years, from when he is 9 to when he is 13), living in Tennessee in the 1950s.  David makes friends with a boy called Malcolm – but David is white and Malcolm is black, and it is a dangerous place and time for a white boy and a black boy to be friends. David’s father tells him that if Malcolm ever sets foot inside their house, he will shoot him.  His father expects David to obey him, but David finds himself questioning his father’s beliefs, and the events that he sees going on around him.

Set in a Southern state in the 1950s, and narrated by a child, comparisons with To Kill a Mockingbird are inevitable.  I personally don’t believe that this book is as good as TKAM (which is one of my all time favourite books) – but it is certainly a good read, aimed at younger readers.  Hopefully it would open up the subject for discussion.

As it is narrated by a child, a certain naivety is to be expected, and certain events are therefore somewhat simplified.  However, the book very ably portrays David’s distaste (and later disgust) with his father’s views.  The writing flows easily and the story moves on at a rapid pace, and I felt that the author did a good job of getting into the mindset of a young boy.

I did feel that Malcolm was not really explored as a person, although he is one of the main characters.  I would also like to have seen more of David’s Uncle Lucas, who does not share the father’s racist views; Lucas was one of the better fleshed out characters, despite being on the periphery of the story.  The one character who was most fully rounded was probably that of Franklin Church – David’s father.

The Ku Klux Klan also appear in the book, and indeed a couple of the scenes filled me with a genuine sense of unease.  There are a couple of genuinely upsetting parts of the story, which might be worth bearing in mind for younger readers.  Overall though, I would certainly recommend this book – as mentioned earlier, it’s aimed at young adults, but I think it’s a worthwhile read for adults of all ages.

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The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Copy: Review e-book

Rating: 5/5


Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined–the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart. The Iron King is the first book in the Iron Fey series.

I loved this book for everything from the beautiful cover to the great story line. This is the first book in Julie Kagawa’s young adult series The Iron Fey Series. I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to get onto the next: The Iron Princess (out this month). The final book in the trilogy is released in Feb. 2011. This is fantasy and adventure, with a touch of romance – everything you need for a great read.

The star of the story is Meghan Chase, a girl who didn’t fit in well at school. She did however have a good friend: Robbie. Her life changes when she discovers her little brother Ethan has been kidnapped and replaced by a monster. Suddenly she finds herself on a mission: rescue Ethan. This opens up a whole new world for her, the Nevernever world. Unbeknownst to her, this is the world she belongs in, as does Robbie. He turns out to be Puck, and he had been guarding her for the Summer King. Whilst in the King’s court she meets Ash, the Winter prince sent to kill her, but sparks start to fly. And then when they discover it is a new enemy trying to take over Nevernever and is holding Ethan hostage Ash and Puck have to put their differences aside, Ash has to stop trying to kill Meghan and together, with the help of Grim the cat, they have to defeat the new Iron King.

This book is full of imagination, adventure and I cannot think of one bad thing to report. Right from the start I was interested. The faery land mischief starts in the human land when Meghan turns 16. From there she meets all kinds of interesting characters. Kagawa has an amazing imagination and what she creates is great to read. She has taken normal fantasy creatures and evolved them, she has given power to normal animals, such as cats and she has created new monsters. All this wrapped together makes for excellent reading.

I finished the book as definitely Team Ash! Of course that might change with the reading of the new book, but he was strong and handsome, and prepared to put his needs aside. Of course to start with Meghan had to bargain with him but as the story progressed you could see him softening. Puck, or Robbie was a great character too, but I the girl in me preferred the hero Ash! Puck made me laugh with his humour and tricks, but I think I liked Grim the most. I’m not a cat person but this was a wonderfully written character – smooth and cool, and just down-right entertaining. Meghan was a strong-willed girl and the love for her brother drove her on, which was lovely to see.

Overall, I can easily give this top marks, and I am itching to get onto the next in the series, and to read the novella, Winter’s Passage. I’m glad I discovered this series, and if you like young adult books or fantasy, this is well worth reading.

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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Book Type: Paperback – library copy

Rating: 5/5


Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey
dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life—and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in
town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie’s struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

I have been eagerly awaiting this book, having only heard good things about it, and I loved it! This is the first novel by Jandy Nelson, and I hope she writes more as this was a success. This is a young adult book, but one that adults will enjoy too. It is mature and very readable. It did not take long for me to read this book. I was hooked from the beginning and could have easily read this in one sitting.

The story follows Lennie, a seventeen year old who has just lost her older sister, Bailey. She died of an aneurysm whilst in rehearsals. Until then, Lennie had been floating through life, working hard at school, spending her summers making lasagne at a local Italian restaurant and playing her clarinet. They lived with Gram and their uncle, Big. Their mother Paige had left when Lennie was one. She had what Gram called the “restless gene” and could not stay settled in one place for long. This had never bothered Lennie, but as Bailey had got older and her relationship with Toby grew more serious she started to look for Paige. After Bailey’s death Lennie does not know how to cope. She spends time with Toby, but their grief is leading them to be more intimate than they should be. Toby reveals many things that Lennie didn’t know about Bailey and her plans too. Then Joe appears – the new boy in town and in band practice. Lennie starts to fall for him, but hates herself for it as she should be grieving all the time. She also hates that Bailey is not around to see Lennie in love. Lennie has to learn to deal with her grief, understand that other’s are hurting too, and learn about love all at the same time.

This book is moving, often sad, and at times funny. Nelson explores all the feelings involved with grief and I think the portrayal of Lennie is accurate. She struggles after the death. She doesn’t want to pack up Bailey’s things, she doesn’t know how to react around people and she starts to feel things that she had never experienced before. She channels her grief into sexual tension, and acts irresponsibly with Toby because when she is with him she feels Bailey around them. I liked Lennie. This book is a journey for her and I think it was so well written. I felt so sorry for Lennie, and really wanted good to come of the situation.

I liked the other characters too. Lennie’s friend Sarah was funny, but I loved that she let Lennie have a free pass card, so her aloofness could be forgiven as she grieved. Sarah was always there when needed though. Big also made me laugh, with his efforts to revive dead bugs. Joe was a bit too in touch with his emotions for my liking – a bit jealous and easily angered. However, his pursuit of Lennie was sweet. My favourite character was Gram. She was strong, having lost her daughter and grand-daughter. She was honest and blunt when she needed to be, and I loved reading about her.

One feature of this book I really liked was at the beginning of most chapters was a picture with a poem Lennie had written and where it was found. In the book she is often writing on rubbish or tables or trees, as an outlet for her feelings, and I loved that the reader got to experience this. I also loved how Nelson used music as a release too – this reminded me of Sarah Dessen and how she uses creativity as a way of coping.

There is nothing bad to say about this book and if you like a realistic, touching and gripping book this is for you. This is for everyone, not just teenagers. I loved this book, and it was well worth the wait.

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Forever by Judy Blume


Katherine and Michael meet at a New Year’s Eve party. They’re attracted to each other, they grow to love each other. And once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love. It’s the beginning of an intense and exclusive relationship, with a future all planned. Until Katherine’s parents insist that she and Michael put their love to the test with a summer apart…”Forever” is written for an older age group than Judy Blume’s other novels for children. It caused a storm of controversy when it was first published because of its explicit sexual content. It was a book ahead of its time – and remains, after thirty years in print, a teenage best-seller. America’s No. 1 children’s author has written some of the best books of our time about real-life issues – family stress and pressures, what happens when your parents divorce, the problems of growing up and sexual awakening, bereavement – with insight, sensitivity and honesty. The response of readers all around the world continues to make her one of the best-loved writers ever published.

Well I can see why this book would have shocked Judy Blume’s younger readers! I loved her books when I was 10 and 11, but never came across this one. The one’s I remember are full of innocence and fun…this one is full of sex! I think I’m glad I didn’t discover it when I was reading her books, I was too young to know about sex and love! This is definitely a novel for older teens, but I think it is a good book for those who are starting to explore life and relationships.

The story is mainly about Katherine. She is young and eager to experience life. She meets Michael at a party and they start dating. Soon they believe themselves to be in love and think they will be together forever. When Katherine thinks she is ready they start to have sex. Yet they are both sent away for the summer and during that time Katherine meets someone else who she feels attracted to. It is also whilst she is away that her Grandfather dies. Katherine had a close relationship with him and is devastated. Through the time away, the grief and the infatuation she feels, Katherine matures and has to find out if “forever” with Michael really is “forever”.

I liked how this was written. Katherine didn’t rush into sex and she asked lots of questions to help her make a decision. She also was sensible and used contraception, even going to see a specialist to find out about all the ways to stay safe. Personally I believe in no sex before marriage, but that is not a common view and I think Blume explored all options well. Her writing was wise and informative, as well as a fun read. Sex is not the only thing explored in this book but it is the main idea. Katherine has to learn how to deal with death and grief – something else Blume did delicately and realistically; and Katherine learns about romantic relationships. She is young and hopes her and Michael will stay together forever, but her parents don’t want her to tie herself down to the first guy she dates. Blume explores the idea of first love, marriage and forever in a great way, that gives advice and options to teenagers.

I liked Katherine. She had a good head on her shoulders. She asked questions, sought advice and didn’t rush any big steps in her relationship. She was a realistic teenager who had mood swings and had to learn to grow up. Michael on the other hand I didn’t like. I felt he was pushy, and although his feelings for Kathy seemed genuine, his main focus seemed to be sex. While they are both away for the summer he often makes reference to the fact what he is missing most is sex. It just made him a bit sleazy and I felt his intentions were wrong. I liked the authority figures Blume wrote. Kathy’s parents and grandparents are wise and honest – but also firm and just want the best for her. They are not scared to over rule her and help her do what is best. I thought they were vital to the story and very good characters.

This is a good book for older teenage girls who are thinking about sex and growing up. Blume is open in this book and looks at the act from many different angles and gives some sound advice. It didn’t take long for me to read and I can see why this is a teenage classic. There were elements, such as Katherine going forward with the sex and the character of Michael I didn’t like, but I don’t think that will put others off the book. I give this 3/5.

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