Tag Archives: teen

Book Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green [Tenth Anniversary Edition]

Published February 2015 by Harper Collins.

24599112Goodreads Synopsis: Miles has a quirky interest in famous people’s last words, especially François Rabelais’s final statement, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore.

The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like “forty-six days before” and “the last day” portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished “Great Perhaps.”

My review is of the tenth anniversary special edition, which contains bonus content and deleted scenes.

My Review: This book came as a surprise in the post, but I was so excited when it arrived. I read Looking For Alaska last year, in the short period after finishing John Green’s latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, and I wasn’t sure about rereading it – but I ended up doing so and I think I loved it even more than I did the first time around.

Going back to revisit Miles and Alaska and the Colonel felt like a nostalgic reunion with old friends – I forgot how much I loved the characters and their chemistry. Though I feel that all of John Green’s characters are somewhat similar, I can’t fault them. They’re always endlessly funny, yet complex, and they have such well developed back-stories. Since my first read, I’d forgotten much of Alaska’s background and how it connects with her future, and it was quite haunting to rediscover it.

As for the plot, I somehow felt even more absorbed, knowing what was coming (though admittedly I forgot at which point the BIG PLOT TWIST THAT BROKE MY HEART happened, and it struck me really hard and I spent the rest of the night crying to my friend). I also picked up on some parallels in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ sections that the book is split into – I didn’t notice how events lined up and how the story begins 135 days before and ends 135 days after, exactly. This is why rereading is the best – There are so many things you pick up that you hadn’t noticed before!

However, I did dislike some bits of the plot – I loved the ending but I don’t feel it did the book justice, that near-end scene just felt a little disjointed and random to me. The ‘before’ part is definitely the best part, plot-wise, as in the ‘after’ I felt everything was just dragged out a little. However, it was definitely the most emotional part. I couldn’t help but tear up at so many parts.

the reason I’m reviewing this book again is because it’s a new edition, with bonus stuff, so I thought I may as well do a new post and not just reblog my old review. At the back of this edition there’s actually more new content than I’d anticipated – I loved reading John Green’s articulately answered Q&A, thought my favourite thing was the deleted scenes. There were original drafts of scenes such as the opening pages of the book, where Miles is saying goodbye to his parents and starting at Culver Creek school. I found it so fascinating to see how John Green’s writing developed over many rewrites.

Overall, I really recommend Looking For Alaska, especially this copy – whether you haven’t read it before and want to start reading Green’s books (Warning, does not come with tissues, you must purchase these yourself.) or whether you’re a long-time fan, as the new things included are really great! Also, hai, gorgeous shiny cover. The story is one of those rare ones that touches you in a way not many can. It rips your heart to pieces then puts it back together, over and over. The characters never truly leave you – the whole book is just unforgettable.

My Rating:

four and a half

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

Book Review: Catalyst by S. J. Kincaid

[I have a spoiler-y thing to say about CATALYST but I’ve put the spoiler BELOW my review – under the rating – so you can read this review if you haven’t read the book yet! 🙂 ]

Published 6th November 2014 by Hot Key Books.

23927683Goodreads Synopsis:  Tom Raines is about to break through the impossible…

Tom Raines and his friends return to the Pentagonal Spire for a new year, eager to continue their training for the elite Intrasolar Forces. But they soon discover troubling changes. Strict new regulations, suspicious agents in positions of power and the revelation that the Spire is under military control. The trainees are now cadets.

What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those in control have a ruthless agenda. And when the military academy begins welcoming suspicious new cadets, they reveal a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications. Tom is desperate to stop it, and it seems he is not alone. But when the enemy comes for Tom, how much can he endure in the battle to save himself?

read my review of INSIGNIA, book one || read my review of VORTEX, book two

My Review: When I received this in the post I was ridiculously excited, because I’ve been a fan of S J Kincaid since I read INSIGNIA, in 2012! I got a little nostalgic feeling, too, because INSIGNIA was the first ever book I reviewed for Hot Key Books. I was very eager to start reading it, as I’ve been waiting for the last book for so long – but also it was pretty sad to realise it was time to let Tom, Wyatt, Vik, Yuri and Medusa go…

It took me a few pages to regain my memory of what had happened at the end of VORTEX, but as soon as I had, I was completely absorbed in Tom’s world. I’d forgotten how much I’d loved it. From Tom’s realistic narration, to the eerily believable future world, to the hilarious banter between Tom’s friends, the supporting characters.

CATALYST was, needless to say, action packed. There was never a dull moment – I think I’ve said that before about the previous books, but it’s true – and CATALYST is without doubt the most intense, eventful novel of the trilogy. It was hard to put down! The events of the book played out really cleverly, and the twists in the story were utterly unpredictable. I did get a bit confused at a few points, as the pace was really fast and there was a lot going on, but it was overall such an enthralling read.

Overall, CATALYST was such a great read, and a compelling end to a memorable trilogy. I really recommend it, as it was a satisfying end to Tom’s story – and also if you haven’t picked up the trilogy at all… whhhyyy not? I wouldn’t have ended the plot on a different point: S J Kincaid did such a good job at tying up all of the loose ends, and creating an unforgettable finale to what’s most definitely the most inventive Sci-Fi tale I’ve ever read.

My Rating:

four and a half

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

*SPOILER KLAXON* Don’t read this bit if you haven’t read CATALYST…

There’s a huge plot twist within the first third of the book that literally had me on the edge of my seat! The meteor was such a tense, thrilling part of the story. It was really well written, but if I could change one thing about CATALYST, I’d love to know the true after-effects of the crash, because it was left unmentioned for the much of the book, and I was really interested to see how the future world could have coped.

Book Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T. S. Easton

Published by Hot Key Books, 2nd January.

Boys Don't KnitGoodreads 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!

My Rating: 

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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.