Tag Archives: religion

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

Vivian Versus The Apocalypse

By Katie Coyle, published by Hot Key Books (Winner of the 2012 Young Writers Fiction Prize).

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseGoodreads synopsis: A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.

My Review: It was no wonder that Vivian Versus The Apocalypse won the 2012 Young Writers Prize! This book simply blew me away with its originality. I’ve never read a book centered around religion almost entirely- it was really interesting, and now the future of religion in America is looking a bit terrifying. The story begins with Viv, at a party that’s basically mocking the supposed Rapture- a date given by a American messenger who predicted that all believers would be awarded on this particular date by being sent up to Heaven. It was such an original idea- I’ve never read, or seen, a book like it before! Katie Coyle has successfully given this whole new American religion a great, detailed background- I understood it straight away and was really intrigued about it. Coyle’s writing was immaculate! It explained everything really well, and I was totally hooked on this because of the imagery.

The plot was really well structured. A huge chunk of the story was told as Viv went on a road trip across America to obtain answers: I really liked that aspect, because every few chapters I was transported to a different place in America, where there were more exciting and riveting plot twists in store for me! For the first part of the book, I wasn’t especially supportive of Viv- who just willingly left with her grandparents who she’d never known, leaving her friends behind. Then, everything definitely picked up as she returned, ready for a road trip with her old and new friends to seek the truth about the Rapture and the location of her parents. The book was just entirely unpredictable, really! The only thing that I didn’t like about the plot was the last few pages before the ending. Don’t get me wrong- the ending was brilliant! But I think that everything was revealed quite fast-Or was that just me reading quickly, eager for answers…?- and so I think the answers didn’t really sink in properly at first. I had to re-read a few passages.

I feel in love with the personality of Viv! She was a really, really great main character. Apart from the beginning, where she left for a while and I couldn’t understand her reasons behind it, she was an excellent protagonist. Strong, a little quirky, and modern, I found myself growing to love her character as the story progressed. I was really hoping she would find her parents! I could feel her emotions really well through Katie Coyle’s writing… especially when she discovered something about her family background quite a way into the book. Wow! That was a really shocking part. And very clever, too. Also, the other thing I adored about Viv was her growing relationship with the character Peter, who was the love interest for the story. They made such a sweet couple! He had a really great background, too. The ending left me a little heartbroken (I’m trying to write this without spoilers. Diiiiiificult!). I now need a sequel to find out what happens with the two of them!

Overall, Vivian Versus The Apocalypse was a truly brilliant read. It was definitely worthy of the prize for the young writers competition run by Hot Key Books and The Guardian! I adored the main characters, and I think that the story was one of the most original that I’ve read lately. Never before have I read a book much like this one! The religious side was really thought provoking, and scarily possible. I’d recommend this to any teenagers looking for an incredible, imaginative read.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Vivian Versus The Apocalypse from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

My review of the other Young Writers Fiction Prize winner, THE RIG, will be up soon, so keep an eye out!