Tag Archives: bullying

Book Review: You’re Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood

Published 19th March 2015 by Hope Road Publishing.

You're Not ProperGoodreads Synopsis: Karen thinks she’s not proper white.
Her dad is Pakistani and her mother is white Christian, and somehow she feels as if she doesn’t quite fit in… anywhere. So she’s made a choice: she’s switching sides.
Karen’s going to convert to Islam to find her true identity.
But Shamshad, her Hijab-wearing school mate, isn’t making things easy for her. What’s her deal, anyway? Is Shamshad really any more proper than herself?
Trouble and turmoil await in the old textile mill town of Boardhead East, as school battles are replaced by family troubles, name calling turns to physical confrontation and cataclysmic secrets are unveiled.
Set against a backdrop of seething Islamaphobia, You’re Not Proper is the first in the Striker series, written by Tariq Mehmood to shine a light on issues of identity, religion, politics and class affecting young people today – a unique new series in young adult fiction.

My Review: I was curious to see what this book would be like, as I can’t say I’ve read many books on the same subject; and Islamaphobia is a really prevalent topic in today’s world. I was really interested to see how it was written about here!

I loved the concept of the story and I wish books like this were more talked about. The plot of You’re Not Proper was a complete emotional roller-coaster, as Karen is so desperate to find faith and belonging in a pretty divided Manchester community. I found it really eye-opening to read about the harsh treatment of people because of their backgrounds – even from their peers.

The pacing felt a little strange at points, and I’m not sure how to describe it. I felt like some scenes felt rushed where they could’ve been longer and more descriptive of the narrator’s feelings. The switching narratives between Karen and Shamshad were great and I found the girls both really realistic and I wish I’d gotten to know their mindsets a bit better.

The plot twist towards the end of the story was really unexpected and made a really interesting ending. There’s careful hinting throughout the novel as to some kind of family secret – but the truth was far more shocking than I’d imagined! Very quickly, the story spirals from bullying to a really dark outcome – which in turn reveals the huge secret. It was a little strange how the final events played out – I would’ve preferred to see how everything developed.

Overall, You’re Not Proper is a really thought-provoking read and I enjoyed it! I definitely recommend it for those who want a brilliant, relatable insight into what it’s like to be a teenager and Muslim in a place where it’s often frowned upon. I had a few thoughts while reading it and would’ve liked to get to know the characters in more detail, and the ending didn’t feel completely solid to me – however, it’s a short and enjoyable read that’ll definitely make you tear up a few times!

My Rating:

three

I received a copy of You’re Not Proper from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Anti-Bullying Week: #ChooseKind & GIVEAWAY!

I’m really excited about today’s blog post!

Anti-Bullying Week starts today, the seventeenth, and runs until the 21st. It’s celebrated in schools across the UK to raise awareness of bullying, and how to prevent and solve it. (Last year, I made a blog post for Sophie’s themed week.)

Penguin Random House are the publishers of the fantastic WONDER by R J Palacio, and they’ve teamed up with the Anti-Bullying alliance to bring the #ChooseKIND campaign to schools (find out more here). It’s a brilliant scheme to raise awareness of bullying and promote kinder behaviour, especially in youth – and inspired by Wonder, which is a beautifully written tale of bullying, bravery and kindness.

I read Wonder at the start of 2013, and was completely blown away by its raw emotion and beautiful narratives. It’s marketed as a Middle Grade book, but can be read and adored and treasured by anyone of any age. It’s a novel about a boy called Auggie, who’s just about to start middle school after years of being home-schooled, and his ups and downs of navigating a new life while being labelled as different because of the way he looks. It’s unforgettable, moving and inspiring.

365 Days of Wonder is a tie-in gift book that was released earlier this year. It was inspired by precepts and quotes given by Mr Brown, Auggie’s teacher in Wonder – and all of the inspirational quotes readers sent in response, to R J Palacio. There’s a quote for each day of the year – it’s such a beautiful book to treasure.

To coincide with Anti-Bullying Week, and the #ChooseKIND campaign, I’m running a giveaway! One person will win Wonder & 365 Days of Wonder. Entry by the Rafflecopter link below…

PicMonkey Collage

click on the link below to go to the Rafflecopter widget!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Bibliomaniac/330168953761504?sk=app_228910107186452

 T&C’s, etc.: Unfortunately I can’t cover the cost of sending the prize overseas – this is a UK only giveawayThe giveaway prize was provided for me by the publisher, and I will be posting it myself: I’ll let the winner know when it’s been posted. The giveaway will end on Monday, 24th November. To be completely fair, I’ll pick the one winner through Random.org. I’ll try to post it before December 10th, so it doesn’t get lost in all the Christmas-post madness!

 Good Luck! You can check out more about #ChooseKind by using the hashtag on Twitter or clicking here.

Finding Your Inner Cherokee

By Siobhan Curham, published on the Kindle store (eBook only!).

Finding Your Inner CherokeeSynopsis from Siobhan’s site: Finding Your Inner Cherokee is a FREE, non-fiction e-book , full of case studies, exercises and advice, designed to help empower and inspire the victims of bullying.

It is available on Amazon and all other e-book retailers. You can download a copy for FREE here.

I was inspired to write the book after my novel Finding Cherokee Brown was published and I received emails from readers telling me that the book had helped them deal with bullying in their lives.

Reading their emails made me want to do more to help. So, drawing upon my own experiences of bullying and my work as a life coach, I created this book.

I am giving Finding Your Inner Cherokee away for FREE so that anyone who needs or wants to read it will be able to.

My Review: Siobhan. Siobhan Curham, you absolute genius. This book helps SO much, and I just wish it was around when I was a bit younger, so my younger, more-frequently-bullied self could read it! 

When being bullied, you always get the plain and simple tell a teacher advice, from a member of staff at school, or someone similar. either that, or you’re given a book from your school library, that’s a really boring book that doesn’t help you: I’ve been recommended one of those in the past. Now, Siobhan- one of my favourite UKYA authors- has released this: An amazing guide, that stands out from the market entirely. I’ll be recommending it to everyone in my school, and nagging my school librarian to put a poster up about it!

This eBook is divided into different chapters, covering different aspects of all parts of Bullying- and how you can beat it. Each page, each paragraph, was inspirational and moving. Siobhan mentions her own bullying experiences, (She also wrote a guest post for me about it here) and every now and then, there are passages from other bullying vicitms. These were all so saddening and eye-opening, though there are also examples of the writing exercise these victims did, to help themselves. They’re all so thought provoking!

Don’t mistake the tasks in this book for the usual “count to ten” “Walk away slowly” nonsense. Nope! These are all writing (Or the occasional dancing!) exercises to do at home. They really, really do improve your confidence, and so you definitely need to keep a notebook and pen by your side, when reading this! Siobhan is a genius at coaching through writing; as she’s already shown with her life-and-writing companies, Dare To Write and Dare To Dream. I can’t recommend this book enough, for its guides to calming yourself, and realising that the bullying is not your fault. It’s so helpful. 

Overall, Siobhan’s Finding Your Inner Cherokee eBook is definitely one to get a copy of: It’s such a useful guide, that, should I ever get bullied again, I’ll be re-reading over and over. Curham’s writing is so direct, and reassuring. I’m so glad I was able to read this book, as the writing tasks made me realise that I’m awesome and that the bullies are the opposite 😀 (Hopefully that was Siobhan’s intended message…) It also really helps you to understand a bully. I can’t recommend this little guide enough- go grab a copy! Recommend it to everyone! I’ll be doing that!

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Finding Your Inner Cherokee from the author, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Anti-Bullying Blog Week: Bloggers on Bullying

Hello, people! The lovely Sophie from A DAY DREAMER’S WORLD is hosting a really special blogging week, to go with a special themed week that’s happening too: Anti-Bullying Week. She’s been posting some brilliant author guests posts, that are both emotional and supportive. Sophie’s so amazing for hosting this blog week, and supporting bullying victims in general.
As a part of her blog week, I and a lot of other bloggers were asked if they would like to help, by posting today. The title is Bloggers on Bullying: and it’s all about sharing experiences and being supportive and things 🙂 So, below, I’ve decided to not write a thing about my experiences. Yes, I have been bullied a lot of times before, and it’s awful. I’ve had name calling, and even physical bullying. But I’d rather post some book recommendations, to read if you’re a victim! All of these books, I’ve absolutely loved, and a lot of them I read whilst I was being picked on, and they really, really helped me. So, hopefully, this post might help somebody, which would make me so glad!

My Recommendations:

Bullying is a subject that’s tackled in so many YA books, especially nowadays. It’s amazing to see so many authors, like Siobhan Curham, supporting bullying victims and helping campaign against bullying. Below, are books that I’ve read that cover bullying. I’ve decided to only pick ten, or this post would be a mile long. There are so many great books about brave victims out there- I wish I could list them all!

Finding Cherokee Brown#1: Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham

 I read this in one school day, which was a really awful school day. It cheered me up so much, because Cherokee’s ending was happy. She’s an amazing character.

#2: The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Though not entirely about bullying, Curious Incident features a boy who is picked on a lot because he’s autistic and attending a specialist school.

Wonder#3: Wonder by R J Palacio

It’s heart warming, and heart-breaking too. The bullying themes in his are really powerful. It’s also a beautiful story about hope and friendship!

#4: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling:

Before Hogwarts, Harry’s bullied by his aunt, uncle, and cousin. That beginning is a really sad one, before he wreaks a hilarious revenge involving a snake!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)#5: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney:

Okay, you might not see this as bullying- I don’t, particularly. However, Greg Heffley is socially excluded and you can tell he does have a pretty hard time, if you read between the lines and ignore the humour!

#6: Matilda by Roald Dahl:

Realistic and uplifting, it’s a childhood classic I read and re-read whenever I want to smile, because Matilda overcomes the awful people.Paper Aeroplanes

#7: Geek Girl by Holly Smale:

This is an obvious one! Harriet matches my personality exactly, minus the modelling. She’s a social outcast, picked on by an awful girl called Alexa. Holly Smale captured school bullying so well in this book, as well as its sequel.

Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)#8: Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter:

The themes in this are more of teenage-romance: however, it definitely does touch on bullying and peer pressure. Dawn’s writing is gritty and realistic, and there’s also a short spin-off Dawn wrote for world book day from the POV of the bully- which gives a really emotional insight into a bully’s life.

#9: Teardrop by Lauren Kate:

I only just finished this book! I wanted to include it here, because the protagonist, Eureka, is left out because of things she’s done in the past. The bullying isn’t the biggest focus of the book, but I really felt it and it was really sad, and I’m sure things all get resolved in the sequel.

#10: Furnace- Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith:

In the first parts of the book, before the protagonist is sent to prison, he’s experiencing serious peer pressure; the need to follow in his friend’s footsteps and bully others. It’s a really heart-rendering story; full of bullying’s consequences as well as horror. This took my mind off of my own bullying problems, a lot!

Thank you, Sophie, for inviting me to do a post! I know this wasn’t exactly the topic every other blogger has been doing. However, I thought it might be a good way to help anybody who is a victim of bullying still; maybe if you’re reading this, you’ll pick up one of the books, and it’ll help you, like a lot of these did for me. If you want to know more about the Anti Bullying Blog Week, check out Sophie’s blog or use the hashtag #AntiBullyingBW on twitter!