Published 9th April 2015 by Bloomsbury.
Hope you enjoyed the infographic! Ivy Pocket was a really fun MG book to read and I really recommend it.
Published by Hot Key Books, 2nd January.
Goodreads Synopsis: Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more ‘feminine’ side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course.
To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets ‘stuck in’. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God.
To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates…and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…Laugh-out-loud, often ridiculous, sometimes quite touching, and revelatory about the knitting world, Boys Don’t Knit is a must for boys and girls…
My Review: I was not expecting so many laughs and so much fun from this. I devoured the whole book cover to cover in one sitting; I literally couldn’t put it down! Tom’s book definitely isn’t one to miss this year.
Boys Don’t Knit is different from anything I’ve read. I read quite a lot of contemporary, but I’ve never come across something so original and something that brings such a big smile to my face as this. Ben’s accidental crimes were so funny, I couldn’t help but laugh as well as feel a little sympathetic. Ben decides a knitting class is the best for him out of a rather unappealing selection, mainly because the teacher he has a crush on is said to be running it. Ben’s knitting adventure is full of mishaps and classic laugh-out-loud moments. I loved reading about it! I literally had no idea where the book was going, but I wasn’t disappointed.
Ben reminds me of a male version of Tallulah Casey, from my old favourite Louise Rennison series, because they’re both such hilarious, brilliant protagonists. His family’s rather strange, and his secret obsession is the last thing boys are expected to be taking up, and anyone who reads his story will at least smile. Ben and his knitting obsession is hard to dislike. He’s so different from his friends, and really stands out. I loved the way that his knitting club, something he was half-dreading, turns into a lifestyle, and completely changes his life in a lot of ways. Ben’s such a memorable character. More like him in books in future, please!
I was giggling like a maniac for the most part, literally from the first page. The story starts at a hilarious point with his parents and from then on, I knew the book definitely was as hilarious as I’d been told. Reading this in one sitting at home, I guess I was kind of lucky. People would’ve thought I was a bit made if I read it in public. Tom’s writing is witty and sharp, and it’s so hard not to giggle at a lot of points. It’s a book I think both girls and boys will love, and I’m definitely going to be recommending it to anyone and everyone.
Overall, Boys Don’t Knit, was just awesome. The plot was witty but captured a teenage boy’s life really well, and how hard it is to fit in when you have a hobby no one else has. I’ve never seen or read a book anything like it before, and it’s a must whether you’re a boy or a girl, a teenager or an adult. It’s a laugh-out-loud book that I think might be the funniest book I’ve read in a good few months! Bonus: HUNGER GAMES REFERENCES. (“I’m Katnisssssss!” – you will understand after reading). I loved Ben, and Megan and Ben’s teacher-crush and practically everyone. I can’t recommend it enough!
I received a copy of Boys Don’t Knit from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.
For Spotlight on Steampunk today, I have an awesome book that I’ve been waiting ages to get my hands on a copy of. I’m really glad to say that I enjoyed it- and the manga adaption! The manga will be part of a mini-reviews post tomorrow- so watch out for that soon (:
By Gail Carriger, published by Atom.
Goodreads Synopsis: First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire – and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
My Review: I’ve heard so much about this book, so I had a little squealy fangirly moment when I found it in a charity store while I was shopping ;D It was one of the main books that made me decide to do a steampunk read-a-thon. I started it yesterday and, like a lot of the steampunk books I’ve read so far, it had me completely absorbed into the story!
The world, was just… ‘awesome,’ seems to sum it up the best, to me. It’s the same world (but different location-ish) to Gail Carriger’s new YA Etiquette and Espionage series: Meaning the Victorian society, with a twist. Vampires and Werewolves are accepted in society. Airships roam the skies. A brilliant steampunk vision! Gail’s writing is amazing. It brings the story and the setting to life really vividly. I could imagine everything so well!
Gail is really talented at weaving humor into a pretty grim plot, too. She’s conveyed some hilarious witty dialogue into what is actually, come to think of it, a pretty terrifying plot. I have no idea how it was possible, but Carriger has blended a grim, creepy plot about evil-seeming scientific schemes, a romance story, and loads of scenes that will make you laugh out loud, into one book. Genius writing, from a genius author!
The plot was great. It took me a little while to get used to the writing, because it’s a different style to a lot of books that I normally read, but after that, I really got stuck in to the story. The plot has a bit of everything thrown in; romance, action, horror, humor- you name it, pretty much! Everything was structured well and the events played out brilliantly. At no point was I bored: which was great. I think the events in the epilogue seemed a little too hasty, though! I was expecting for something (Trying VERY hard not to drop any spoilers here! Don’t worry, I won’t say anything by accident ;)) to take a lot longer to develop. And it seemed a little rushed to me: I wanted more conflict between the two characters, so there were more complications… and hopefully for the events of the epilogue to happen in the second book, at least… Okay, enough crypticness! I’ll stop babbling on about this now! D:
I loved Alexia. In Victorian times, from what I’ve learned and what I’ve read, girls never got to do anything, and everything was sexist and Alexia is just the opposite of every Victorian female stereotype. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. Inside, she’s conflicted with her Italian background and her Soullessness. And secretly, she has a tendency to be pretty violent, as revealed in the first chapter, where she used her parasol to fight off a vampire. She’s such a powerful-and witty- heroine! The love interest… I have very mixed feelings about. He has a really well developed personality and background, as a Werewolf… but I couldn’t like him as much as I wanted to. Of course, he was an awesome love interest- especially in a particular action-packed scene near the end of the book- but I don’t know why I couldn’t really connect with him! He seemed quite cold at points.
Overall, Soulless was a really great book. It was definitely worth the wait for, as I enjoyed reading it so much. The main protagonist was such a kick-butt, awesome character, and the plot really well developed, too. I loved delving into Gail’s steampunk vision of the Victorian era again after loving the concepts in Etiquette and Espionage… I’m definitely going to carry on with this series! The epilogue I really didn’t like: too fast!! however, everything was written beautifully, and that made up for it. Keep writing such engrossing stories, Gail! (:
I purchased a copy of Soulless from a second hand bookstore.
By Holly Smale, published by Harper Collins.
Goodreads Synopsis: “My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”
Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.
What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.
With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.
Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.
Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?
My Review: (This first paragraph MAY be viewed as a SPOILER. Tread carefully, if you haven’t yet read this sequel). About a year ago, I read and fell in love with Geek Girl. After seeing in the back of my copy that there was to be a sequel, I was literally crying with joy that I’d get to read about Harriet again! And Nick! And them as a couple! Yay! So, when this came in the post, I dived in, thinking Harriet And Nick Were Happy Together And Everything Was Going To Be Fine. And then, Holly Smale, you SMASHED my dreams and everything fell apart and I may have shed a tear. Holly! Why! However, it did make an epic plot twist- which made for a very beautiful ending!
Spoiler-ish paragraph over 🙂
Speaking of the plot for this novel: flawless. I loved it so much! It was just as great a Geek Girl’s… Maybe… Better. Harriet, upset about being cast aside as the baby’s on the way, takes up a modelling shoot in Japan so she can get away for the summer. I think the change of setting made for a very different read! I also loved the setting because I’m a manga/anime nerd, so a little obsessed with Japan :). As well as the plot twist with Nick, there were lots of surprises in store- most, were hilarious.
Harriet! I love you so much. Please come to the real world someday and be my friend? We can geek out over facts and watch some documentaries together. And we can do physics!!
Harriet’s so much like me, and that’s a main reason I love the story so much. I have a Toby friend, and a best friend whose dream is to be a model, and I’m a geek, and she’s described to look like me (YES, Harriet! High fives for the Strawberry Blondes Who Are NOT Gingers Contrary To Popular Belief). A lot of other people have said similar things, too! Holly’s invented an unforgettable character who we’re all like in one way or another. All of the other characters are unique and brilliant. Most of them (Bar Alexa and a couple of others.) I just wanted to hug because they make me smile so much!
Whilst I was reading this, even though their stories are quite different, I couldn’t help but feel that Holly Smale’s writing is in the same vein as Louise Rennison’s; another huge UK teen comedy author. Holly’s books are similar because they’re laugh-out-loud-embarrass-yourself-on-public-transport-because-you-snorted-with-laughter type books, (yes. That happened okay.) and are really feel-good reads.
Overall, Geek Girl: Model Misfit loved up to my expectations- and more. The plot was brilliant, pretty much unpredictable, and the setting for the story was perfect. I didn’t think it was possible to love Harriet more than I did in the first book… Well, I was wrong! Go read the Geek Girl books, whoever you are. If you’re a geek, hugely or slightly, you’ll love this because you’ll relate all too much to it. If you’re a fashion lover, read it, and you’ll love it for Harriet’s funny teen career. If you’re neither, I can guarantee you’ll still love this. Geek Girl is one of the best contemporary series I’ve ever read, definitely!
I received a copy of Geek Girl: Model Misfit from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.
By Louise Rennison, published by HarperCollins.
Goodreads synopsis: Gadzooks! It’s another term at Dother Hall for Tallulah and her mates. But can they keep their minds on the arts with all those boys about…
After the thing-that-will-never-be-mentioned last term, Tallulah is keen to put all thoughts of Cain behind her. But that seems like that the last thing he wants.
Their performing arts college may have been saved by Honey’s mystery benefactor, but for how long is anyone’s guess. So will Tallulah finally get to wear those golden slippers of applause or will Dr Lightowler swoop down on her glory days?
Don your craziest tights and Irish dance your way to some surprising and hilariously unexpected answers…
My review: Hooray, more Tallulah!! I loved the first two books in the Tallulah Casey series so much, and was ridiculously excited when this came. Louise Rennison’s previous books have been so brilliant, quirky and hilarious, and this one was no different. Before Tallulah had even arrived at Dother Hall for another term, she’d already made me laugh out loud a good few times. Things only got wittier as the term started, with Tallulah’s crazy love life, teachers, and friends. The plot was just brilliant, again focused around a school play (The Taming of the Shrew, hence the altered title of this book). I sped through the book, desperate to know what happens to all of my favourite comedy characters, and there wasn’t a single chapter that was boring.
I fell in love with Tallulah’s personality all over again in this third book in her series. Usually in books, I don’t like the make-up loving girly-girls, and prefer the kick-butt heroines, but Tallulah is one of my exceptions. She’s just so funny! A unique, cheeky protagonist, Tallulah always seems to make a mess of things in the most humorous ways possible. I just adore her, and I really like how she got really close to Charlie in this story. They make such a cute couple, and their date-ish thing about two thirds into the book just made me laugh so much.
As well as Tallulah, I also love her friendship group, The Tree Sisters. All of them are really awesome. They’re not as funny as Tallulah (though Jo kinda was in this installment), but I really do enjoy reading about their misadventures too. Jo in this book had quite a large part, thanks to the hilarious incident with Phil. I won’t go into detail about it, but it is one of the funniest points in the book.
Ooh, another point- THE DEAD RABBIT WAVING!!! You probably now think I’m mad. But, in the past two books, Rennison has put in the author’s note that she had this grim scene of a dead rabbit, but her family wouldn’t let her put it in. However, she snuck it in here. I’ve been wanting to read the scene so badly, even though it’s only a paragraph long. I was absolutely ecstatic when it appeared in the book. Look out for it. You shall laugh your head off, or cry because of the grimness. I laughed.
Overall, The Taming of the Tights was another brilliant read from another brilliant author. It’s crammed with ridiculously funny characters, and events, and there’ll be at least one point where you’ll find yourself laughing. Although I think the ending was a little too cheesy for me, the plot was just amazing. I honestly can’t wait for a next book (hurry, Louise Rennison, I want more!! :)). Just don’t read this in public, because people will probably give you funny looks because you’ve suddenly burst out laughing on the train, or something. This series is an absolute must for teenage girls!
I received an ARC of The Taming of the Tights from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.
By John Green and David Levithan, published by Penguin.
Goodreads synopsis: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, teenager Will Grayson crosses paths with…”Will Grayson”! Two teens with the same name who run in two very different circles suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions. Culminating in epic turns-of-heart on both of their parts, they team up to produce the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high-school stage. Told in alternating voices from two award-winning, popular names in young-adult fiction – John Green (author of “The Fault in Our Stars”) and David Levithan (author of “Boy Meets Boy”) – this unique collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humour that has won both authors legions of fans.
My review: I bought this over a month ago, whilst getting pretty much all of John Green’s other titles, too. For some reason, I hadn’t gotten around to reading this one until last week! As I turned to the first page, I was wondering how different it might be to John Green’s other books, as he wrote WG, WG with another author (Which, unfortunately I haven’t read anything by!). And, it was very different. But in an amazing, unique and genius kind of way. The whole book was written in alternating chapters, in turn by each Will Grayson, with one author writing each. John Green’s writing style was his same, hilarious and descriptive fashion. I haven’t read anything by David Levithan before, so I don’t know if he always writes like this, but he wrote with no capitals and no speech marks. As much as that drove me round the bend (I’m a Geek, it frustrates me. Okay?), I grew to really enjoy the individual style by Levithan.
The plot was unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I was so not expecting the events that took place. The story began with who I’m now going to call WG1, as he started another day at school being the sidekick of his outrageous, constantly-falling-in-love friend Tiny. I got to like WG1 a lot, as his problems were really and relatable. He was just your typical male teenager, with the hopeless crush on that girl and the best-friend he is stuck with and sometimes hates. Then, I began the second chapter of WG2, who led a very different life. I instantly felt sympathetic about him, from his home life, to his difficult relationship. He seemed like such an outsider, with nobody but this online guy who he’s fallen for to turn to, and when that world of his was torn down I felt like crying for him. His emotions were raw and real, displayed really well through David Levithan’s writing.
The two boys came together under the most unlikely, most hilarious circumstances, and their meeting really made me giggle. After they’d met, it became pretty predictable that WG2 was going to fall for Tiny, but as much as I enjoyed seeing the ups and downs of their dating, it seemed to take over the whole plot, and made WG1’s story seem so much smaller. The story could’ve been re-named Will Grayson, Tiny Cooper. I really liked WG1, so would’ve liked him to have a little more limelight. I loved his growing relationship with the leading female character, though. It was really sweet. However, the focuses on certain characters did not stop my love for the overall plot. The book made a really great build-up to a sweet, emotional ending that has a lot to do with the name Will Grayson.
Overall, WG, WG was a very fun read. It focuses on accepting gay people for who they are, and teenage life through a very unlikely, brilliant coincidence that really made it funny. The plot was unforgettable, and I loved the switching narrative between two really strong protagonists. John Green’s writing, as always, was so amazing and full of emotion and laughter. Also, the story made for a great introduction, for me, to David Levithan’s equally emotional and fun writing. I’d love to read more from both author’s in the future!
My Goodreads rating: 4/5!
I bought Will Grayson, Will Grayson from a local bookstore.
By Matt Whyman, published by Hot Key Books
“They’d love to have you for dinner…”
Sasha Savage lives in a family who all follow a strange tradition. They look like a normal family; Her shopaholic mother Angelica, rather strict father Titus, baby Katya, and rather nasty brother Ivan. But inside their house, away from prying eyes, they’re modern day cannibals! They don’t eat it all of the time, but human flesh is their favourite meat. When Sasha gets a new boyfriend though, the family discover that he is handsome, charming, and… a vegetarian. Sasha decides to try a month skipping meat from her diet, which, obviously, is a huge thing to keep a secret in a house of cannibals.
Whilst Sasha is swapping meat for tofu, a curious detective is getting his nose stuck where it shouldn’t be. Will he discover the secret cannibalism of the Savage family, and what lengths will he go to in order to find the truth?
This. Book. Was. AWESOME. I loved it so much, and read it in quite a short space of time. It was one of the books that really stood out to me at the Hot Key bloggers lunch the other week. It was really funny, most of the humor quite dark. An unmissable, unique family drama, with great and unpredictable plot twists. I loved how it was a normal drama, with teenage love, and rebellion, but with the twist of a cannibal family which really livens the story up.
I loved all of the characters, especially the Savages- the typical yet different family. I think my favourite character, after teenage Sasha, was Ivan. He really was a nasty piece of work- sticking thumb tacks in school lunches and lacing Sasha’s (vegetarian) boyfriend’s tea with chicken stock cubes (Hahahaha)- he reminded me a little of the girl, Wednesday, from the Addams Family! The detective was funny, too, because of his obsession with fast food and how it always seemed to get in the way of his investigations.
Overall, I really, really love The savages. It was hilarious and scary all at the same time, and a really great read from an author I’d love to hear more from. An essential read for young teens and upwards!
By Holly Smale, published by Harper Collins
“My name is Harriet Manners, and I am a geek.”
Harriet Manners is the geekiest girl of the school. She gets picked on by mean girl Alexa, and ‘GEEK’ graffitied on all of her property. One day, she is forced on a school trip to a fashion show with her best friend, who dreams of getting spotted and becoming a model.
But when Harriet herself in spotted instead, she jumps at the possibility of changing her lifestyle. It will mean stealing her best friends dream, lying to her mother, flying to Russia, and more. But wouldn’t it be worth it to become popular, and change from being a geek? With the support of Geeky-stalker-boy Toby and Harriet’s easily excitable, very enthusiastic father, she embarks on a hilarious journey to pursue a modelling career. Can she make it, and impress super-cute model boy Nick?
This is going to be one of the hottest debuts of the year, I just know it!
The story follows Harriet as she gets a crush on a cute model boy, struggles with bullies and friendships, and experiences the ups and downs of being a (pretty clumsy) model, ultimately discovering that it’s fine to be a Geek. It’s a hilarious, brilliantly written novel which also reflects on the teenage life of the author: As Holly Smale got scouted herself as a teenager!
Harriet is a brilliant main character, your stereotypical, clumsy geek who knows more than enough facts. I fell in love with her story right from the beginning! I actually think she was a bit like me; being called ‘ginger’ when she has Strawberry-blonde hair, amongst many other things. I really related to her, which was great. The other characters were awesome too; all of them funny, but I think my favourite has to be Harriet’s agent (Who reminded me of Louis Spence)!
I really loved this. It’s a brilliant story; comedic yet full of heart and personality, a great read for young teenagers, and young adults alike!
Overall, a stunning first novel from a new author who definitely has a great writing career ahead of her. I couldn’t believe this was her first book, and I can’t wait to see how the sequel turns out!
*Note- look out for the geek girl blog tour, with great, geeky posts appearing on lots of YA blogs, including mine! My post will be on the 26th of February.*
By Edith Bulbring, published by Hot Key Books
‘Life is not a bowl of cherries. Suck it up.’
April-May February is the unfortunately named daughter of two recently split up parents. When she joins a new school, she instantly gets on the wrong side of her teacher! She wears bright stripy socks, and the wrong bag- which means trouble when her evil teacher miss Ho sees! April-May makes friends with the mouth breather Melly, but soon loses her clothes to a homeless person and joins Seb and his gang, when she gets all mushy lovey dovey feelings for him…what ever will happen next?
Watch out Georgia Nicholson… there’s a new comedic girl about! I found this book brilliant; it’s packed full of laughs and tears (Mostly from laughter, but from sad bits too)! It’s one of the funniest books I’ve read in a while. I really loved the character of the April-May February; her story is a funny one but it pulls at your heartstrings, as she tries to ignore her parents’ dilemmas and tries to become a normal girl in her crushes’ gang. Although quite short, this book was awesome and comical. I would recommend it to any teenage girl; you’ll really love it! I can’t wait to hear more from South African bestseller Edith Bulbring in the near future!
By Julie Mayhew, published by Hot Key Books
“Sometimes lies are safer than the truth…”
Fifteen year old Melon Fouraki is the daughter of a beautiful Greek woman, and an unknown father. When her mother is hit by a bus and killed, and the memories of Maria Fouraki are slipping away, the only thing Melon has to remember her Mother by it The Story, a tale her mum wrote about her childhood.
Melons’ Aunt Aphrodite is unlikely to be jumping on a plane soon to look after her great niece, so Melon is stuck living with the much-disliked Paul, who was her mothers fiance until she died. The story follows Melon as she discovers that some things her mother had told her were not real, and that her mum, Maria, was not the person she seemed…
This story really was amazing! I didn’t know what I would make of it when I began reading; but I was hooked after a few pages! It was beautifully written, and packed with emotion and heartbreak. The story dealt with love, loss, superstition, and family secrets- and it made for a really sad (but at parts, witty) tale. Melon made a really great narrator with a huge personality.I love the style of writing: One chapter would be at the present, then the next would flash back to before her mothers death.
The ending was very, very, unexpected. And shocking. But I liked it all the same- Now I want to read on about Melon’s future! I can’t wait to read more from Julie Mayhew, this debut novel was excellent- I think I just might have to go and hunt down some of Julie Mayhew’s short stories now.