Tag Archives: race

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.

Book Review: One Of Us by Jeannie Waudby

Published 5th February 2015 by Chicken House books.

24777962Goodreads Synopsis: When K narrowly survives a bomb attack, she agrees to go undercover to spy on the Brotherhood, the radical young group held responsible, and whom she’s determined to bring to justice. But whilst living among them, soon even enemies become real people. And when she falls in love, K discovers that some things are not black and white …
What’s right – and who’s wrong? Someone’s always to blame.
From debut author, Jeannie Waudby, comes a nail-biting contemporary drama set in a modern society divided by violence, prejudice and distrust. One of Us is a topical YA thriller about young love and religious intolerance – can one isolated girl learn to understand who she is and where she stands in such a world.

My Review: I was eagerly anticipating reading One Of Us, and I really enjoyed it, despite taking so long to finish it due to exam revision!

One Of Us is a gripping début. It’s the story of K Child, an orphaned teenager who is asked by an officer, who saves her from a bomb attack, to go undercover in a Brotherhood school to uncover a terrorist group. K’s city is divided between the citizens and the Brotherhood, who are a religious minority that aren’t tolerated because of past terrorist events.

One Of Us really hits home because of its concept, because it can easily be applied to the prejudice in today’s world, and how we treat people based on their backgrounds. The parallels between Jeannie Waudby’s fictional city and our real world were so strong, which made it feel so realistic – and slightly unnerving…

The plot swept me up from the first pages, where K is on the train to school when a bomb explodes and her life is turned upside down. I’ve had to spend a lot of time on school-work lately, but otherwise I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have put the book down at all! K develops a lot throughout the story and I grew to really like her, as she navigated a Brotherhood society and had to question everything she’d been told all her life. I’m not too sure on how I felt about the love story that grew in One Of Us, though I’m sure other readers will adore it.

I think the only thing I would’ve changed about the book was the ending. There’s a lot to take in, in the last fifty pages, and that plot twists was completely unexpected – but I wished the truth K uncovered was explained more. It was really shocking and I would have loved to read more about the story she finds.

Overall, One Of Us was a really riveting read; the kind of book you want to read in one go – I was drawn in from the first pages (and then reluctantly pulled away because revision meh). There were a few things I’m still mulling over, but I really recommend it if you’re a fan of hard-hitting, contemporary thrillers like Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses!

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of One Of Us from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

BBC pointed shaded

DIVERSITY IN YA: Book recommendations!

I was sitting at my computer, procrastinating by scrolling through my twitter feed, last Friday night. I was completely stuck for blog post ideas: I’ve been so behind with blogging because the first term at school has been hectic, to say the least!

I’ve been very aware of the inspiring, brilliant #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign on Twitter since it launched, but seeing tweets from that evening’s #SupportWNDB talk were the deciding factor that led to me making this post. Also, that I haven’t done a infographic post in quite a while. I hope you enjoy it!

There were a lot of books to pick from to fit onto this quick graphic, but picking out of my recently used Goodreads shelves… I honestly didn’t actually find it difficult to narrow it down, to pick only a few titles with diverse characters; of colour, a different cultural background, an LGBT* identity or disability. I think that proves that a) I really must seek out more diverse books, and read those sitting on my TBR, and that b) the WNDB campaign is so necessary: I’m so glad it’s encouraging and publicising books that otherwise wouldn’t be as visible.

Anyway, I’m aware I’ve rambled on a bit, and this post was meant to be just an infographic… (:

Diversity_In_YA1

I hope you liked the infographic! I would love to take any recommendations on books similar to these (or completely unique ones of course!) and hear what you thought of these titles. There’s a lot of amazing sounding YA/MG fiction that’s out next year also, like Lara Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal (A very hotly anticipated one!) – are there any titles you are looking forward to reading?