Tag Archives: terrorism

Book Review: If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn

Published 2nd April 2015 by Chicken House.

22892748Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of CHASING THE DARK comes a thrilling young teen crime mystery, guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end.

Not long after Aliya’s family escapes Afghanistan for Britain, her brother is accused of a bomb attack. Aliya is sure of his innocence, but when plumber’s son Dan finds a gun in their bathroom, what’s she to think?
Dan has his own reasons for staying silent: he’s worried the gun might have something to do with his dad. Thrown together by chance, they set out to uncover a tangled and twisted truth.

My Review: Recently, I’ve read quite a few books based around religion, intolerance and terrorism – so I was very excited about getting to Sam Hepburn’s latest title, which is along the same lines. I really enjoyed it!

Aliya is an instantly loveable character; from the moments we see her forced to leave her home, to the closing pages. Her chemistry with Dan was great. I was a bit nervous watching them develop as I was certain it would end up in a love story, but I’m really glad it didn’t. The story is focused on finding the truth about Aliya’s brother – and told through Aliya and Dan’s switching perspectives, which were really insightful.

I am so glad that so many books are being written on similar themes lately (see also: You’re Not Proper and One Of Us) as terrorism and victimisation are things happening every single day. If You Were Me tackles stereotypes and the way the media portrays events expertly and brutally honestly – within a tense and gripping plot.

The plot was incredibly well paced and engrossing. Solving the mystery was such a thrill ride – I guessed some elements, but there were a lot of surprises. I think the only problem I had was that I lost track of characters at points: There’s an intricate web of antagonists and allies in If You Were Me and I got a little mixed up sometimes (partially blaming that on reading distractions though…:P).

Overall, If You Were Me was a lot more than I’d expected. It’s a totally gripping read with some unbelievable twists and turns that kept me hooked. With prominent themes of media portrayal, and terrorist attacks, I hope this gets a lot of attention as it’s a very relevant book. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a nail-biting thriller, or something that’s very relatable.

My Rating:

four

 

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

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Book Review: Big Game by Dan Smith

Published 1st January 2015 by Chicken House books.

22892753Goodreads Synopsis: Written by acclaimed children’s novelist Dan Smith, BIG GAME is a stunningly told survival story set in the icy wilderness.

13-year-old Oskari is sent into the cold wilderness on an ancient test of manhood. He must survive armed only with a bow and arrow. But instead, he stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airliner: Air Force One. Terrorists have shot down the President of the United States.

The boy hunter and the world’s most powerful man are suddenly the hunted, in a race against a deadly enemy…

My Review: I started Big Game a little apprehensively. I had read and really enjoyed Dan Smith’s previous historical novel, My Brother’s Secret (review here!) – though this new book is a novelization of a movie script, for a film of the same name. I wasn’t sure how I’d find it, because of that – would it be as good as Dan Smith’s historical YA? Would it be as enjoyable? I was a little nervous but very eager to read it, as the synopsis was awesome.

I loved Dan Smith’s writing yet again. It was fast paced and I was sucked straight into the story. I really loved Oskari’s narration. He’s comes across at first as a character defined by his flaws, but he flourishes throughout the story as an incredibly brave, powerful protagonist. He was so fun to read about! I really enjoyed seeing him develop.

The plot was so great and I am really looking forward to seeing it played out on a big screen. On the night before Oskari’s birthday, he must embark on a journey to the Finnish forest, and stay there for a night and a day. When he returns, he will be a man and must present a trophy – a hunted animal that will reflect his personality.

However, when he finds the president of the U.S.A in an escape pod after witnessing terrorists land close by, Oskari realises there’s a much bigger game being played than his own hunt. It felt really original and exciting to me; a real pulse-raiser of a book.  The ending felt a little abrupt, but made me smile.

Overall, I enjoyed Big Game a lot and I definitely recommend it. Smith’s writing is fantastic and enthralling, and he’s channelled the personalities and emotions of the characters brilliantly. I felt really attached to Oskari by the end and found myself wanting to read some more about him – the ending did make me smile but was a little abrupt. I can’t wait for the movie, which features Samuel L Jackson as the president – and I’m also eagerly awaiting Dan Smith’s next book now. 🙂

My Rating:

four

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

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Book Review: Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Changed the World

By Malala Yousafzai and Patricia McCormick

Published 19th August 2014 by Indigo (Orion).

23161221Goodreads Synopsis: 

Written by Malala for her peers, this is a brand new look at the girl behind the icon.

Written in collaboration with critically acclaimed NATIONAL BOOK AWARD finalist Patricia McCormick, Malala tells her story – from her childhood in the Swat Valley to the shooting, her recovery and new life in England.

She’s a girl who loves cricket, gossips with her best friends, and, on the day of the shooting, nearly overslept and missed an exam. A girl who saw women suddenly banned from public, schools blown up, the Taliban seize control, and her homeland descend into a state of fear and repression.

This is the story of her life, and also of her passionate belief in every child’s right to education, her determination to make that a reality throughout the world, and her hope to inspire others.

My Review: I was really eager to read this as soon as I heard about it! I knew very vague details about Malala’s story, and I was keen to learn more about it seeing as I’ve seen a lot of coverage of Malala and her education campaigns, but never properly read about it.

This recount of Malala’s life, from she was a child in her home, Swat, right up until her current time in Birmingham, completely blew me away. It really wasn’t what I’d expected and I honestly found it really difficult to stop reading. Malala’s voice captured me from page one; her narration had me entirely engrossed in the story. She and Patricia McCormick (A writer I’ve always wanted to read something from!) are brilliant collaborators: I loved the writing.

At a few points I felt like I was reading a fiction book, instead of an autobiographical work. It’s so, so hard imagine that,  just before I turned ten, living in the UK, Malala was watching her home village in Pakistan change so terrifyingly with the growing terrorist powers. Malala’s life story made me tear up so much. It’s heartbreaking and shocking – but also there are so many points that made me smile. I loved getting to know Malala in terms of her education rights work – and also getting to know her personally in the book. Malala is a great insight into the personal life of someone so inspirational and amazing.

Overall, Malala: The Girl who Stood up for Education and Changed the World is a book I’d really recommend to anybody and everybody. It’s such an important read: It’s inspirational, influential and moving – but incredibly informative too, because before I’d seen very little about all of the shocking events that happened in Pakistan. Patricia McCormick and Malala are visibly both incredibly talented writers – and this book will definitely stay with me for a long timeIt’s incredibly hard to do this book justice in a review… This definitely isn’t a title you’ll want to miss!

My Rating:

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