Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: LGBT Fantasy
How I got this book: Bought
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
I finished this book last night and, even though I don't know how to find the words to express how utterly perfect this book is, I just had to write my review.
This book is perfect.
There's a quote on the cover saying that it's almost perfect and honestly, I'm calling BS. This book is stunning and I wouldn't change a single word.
“I'm afraid I don't have magic."
"You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.”
I've been a fan of TJ Klune's work for quite a while, and I've never been disappointed by his books, but at the same time, I've never been completely and utterly blown away either (although, it's come extremely close - see The Bones Beneath My Skin) until now.
There's something so magical, warm and heartfelt about this book and its weird and wonderful cast of characters, as they battle against a reflection of our society and government.
Watching Linus grow, and his unconscious effect on the inhabitants of The House in the Cerulean Sea was so moving it had me in tears numerous times.
"I am but paper. Brittle and thin. I am held up to the sun, and it shines right through me. I get written on, and I can never be used again. These scratches are a history. They’re a story."
The writing is beautiful and the message so very poignant as it drives home the importance of equality and the need to challenge prejudices.
“Your voice is a weapon. Never forget that.”
Every single character in this book is amazing. The children are wonderful, varied and not at all what you'd expect, and I love each and every one of them. If you asked me to choose my favourite, I simply couldn't; they're all too precious and unique.
Linus is a fantastic protagonist. His flaws are on full display and his transformation throughout the book reads like a phoenix rising from the ashes. He's a brilliant character to behold as he grows in confidence and awareness, and can we just take a moment to enjoy the fat main character rep we have here?!
“Why can’t life work whatever way we want it to? What’s the point of living if you only do it how others want you to?”
My only criticism has absolutely nothing at all to do with the book itself. It lies in the narration. I began listening to this book on Audible and no matter what, I just couldn't get into it, which led me to give up for a while until I could get my hands on the hardcover, which I then fell into and never wanted to leave.
Honestly, if you're actively looking for a book that will give you the mother of all book hangovers, this is it. Prepare to fall in love.
"Don't you wish you were here?"
Rating: 5 STARS!
How I got this book: Bought
Faking the best summer ever is a lot harder than it looks...
At the start of summer, Jack and Nate find themselves dumped as their respective exes, Dylan and Tariq, start up a new relationship together. Not only that, their exes start posting pics on social media, showing the whole world how fabulous their new life together is!
Jack and Nate are reeling. Not to be outdone, they decide to create their own 'highlights reel' and show their exes that they're having an even better time.
But between the depressing motorway service station motels, damp campsites, and an ultimate showdown with the exes, something epic really is happening: Jack and Nate are learning to get over their heartache and open themselves up to new possibilities for love.
I have been trying to write the review for this book ever since I finished it last week and I'm really struggling...because I loved it so much!!
It's so much easier to write about something that has faults and flaws, which is why this entire review should basically just be the following four words:
GO READ THIS BOOK!
But that probably wouldn't be very interesting, so I'll keep trying.
First of all, I just want to say that, as a 29-year-old, how jealous I am of the teens who get to read this book. This is probably the only book I've ever read that made me wish that I could go back to high school *shudders* so that I could do things differently. If I had this book as a teen I might not have felt so alone and unseen, I might have had the courage to be more me, and I can only thank authors like Simon James Green for writing books like this for kids like me who were too shy and insecure to say, "Hey, this is me! Deal with it."
"I want them all to see it, Dylan. I want everyone who made my life hell for the last three years to see they haven't won. I'm here. And I'm gonna shine so bright I'll blind the fuckers."
So, first impressions, Jack is literally my hero. He's incredible. He's an absolute sweetheart, instantly likeable and hilariously funny.
I love Simon James Green's writing and his impeccable British humour that's always had the ability to transport me back to a 90's childhood.
I admit that upon first introduction to Dylan, I thought he was okay, but no, Dylan is trash who gets worse and Jack deserved so much better!
Nate is a gloomy little cinnamon roll who I wanted to put in my pocket...and also slap a few times for getting 'swept up in the moment and ALMOST RUINING EVERYTHING DAMMIT!'
I absolutely love Jack and Nate together, their clashing personalities and dry humour are the perfect combination and, along with the ridiculous things that happen on their journey, help to keep a fast, interesting pace throughout the whole book.
The secondary characters are also fantastic, Nate's parents are brilliant and Elliot needs to have his own story (pretty please!)
As a bonus, this book was made even more perfect for me as the characters took a detour to my hometown with hilarious results.
Heartbreak Boys, just like Alex in Wonderland, made me instantly want to take a holiday and is definitely the perfect summer read!
If you're looking for a book that will have you laughing out loud and holding your breath at every almost, you should definitely read this book!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Horror/Historical Fiction
How I got this book: Bought
Seventeen-year-old Aderyn ("Ryn") only cares about two things: her family, and her family's graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don't always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as "bone houses," and legend says that they're the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.
Review by Sophie.
TW: Horror. Zombies. Death.
I’ve thought about how I’d write this review for quite some time now, and truthfully I’ve kept changing my mind every five minutes, so I’m just going to jump straight in…
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK!!
The front cover gives you an idea of how utterly beautiful and atmospheric this dark fairy tale is, and I will point out that I picked this book up on a whim, as Zombies really aren’t my cup of tea. But, I can honestly say that Emily Lloyd-Jones quickly worked her magic when it came to me how much I treasured this book, which left me with tears in my eyes.
The book itself is, I think, classed as a horror, but it’s certainly not at all on the level of a Stephen King novel, and I’d say it's only mild. I love how the quirkiness of the main character eases some of the tension during the more suspenseful scenes.
“I suppose it could have been bandits or maybe one of his chickens got hold of a blade, but I don’t think so.”
This story is set in ancient Wales, and first, we meet Aderyn (Ryn). She’s protective and loyal, and I really loved her sarcastic wit and charm.
Oh, and did I mention, she is totally badass?!
“There was a young woman. She was a fearless creature – a girl who would chase death into the mountains. With only an axe for company…”
Ryn lives with her younger sister Cerri, her brother Garreth, (and their pet goat). After the loss of their mother and her father missing, presumed dead, Ryn sets out foraging in the woods, remembering her father's warnings, when she stumbles across Elis, a Mapmaker.
Elis is a strange boy surrounded by mystery, not really knowing who he is or where he came from, after being found alone when he was very young with an injury that still plagues him. I really like how the author constantly reminds you of the struggle Elis has when contending with his injury, and highlights the effects of having a disability without making the character seem weak or any less of a real person.
As the story progresses, the relationship between the two grows beautifully, and I love how it felt natural rather than rushed, and that both characters, despite being having very different personalities, were very well suited.
“She reminded him of an ocean - beautiful, with enough salt to kill a man. He suspected it would take a knight or a hero of legend to impress one such as her.”
The writing style was intricate and beautiful, and the pace of the story kept the tale intriguing, with action, mystery and an unravelling romance throughout.
I think before I’d even finished the first chapter of the book, immediately I knew I was already being absorbed by it, and how the author describes the devastating heartache of loss and family bonds is truly heartbreaking but beautiful.
Another thing I really loved about The Bone Houses was the setting of the scenes and how easily the plot flowed. I loved the Welsh folklore, and the detail surrounding the mines, caverns, village and the mysterious woods; and how the imagery was effortlessly created in my mind.
Now, I must say I did struggle to choose my favourite character, as I found quite a few of them to be loveable. So, I’ve narrowed it down to Ryn, who, as I said before, is a total badass…with an axe!
“If I come across a problem, I take my axe to it. Or bury it. I'm good at burying things.”
But I must say, my all-time favourite character was the legendary bone goat! This strange creature shows true loyalty and is plain awesome. If there’s one reason to read this book, it's definitely the goat!
Rating: 5 STARS!
Series/Standalone: Scholomance #1
How I got this book: ARC from Cornerstone, Random House UK via NetGalley
Learning has never been this deadly
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
I'm giving 5 stars to my girl El because she deserves every single one of them!
"Yes, now I was worrying I'd be turned to the dark side by too much crochet."
I've started this review several times, always with, I love this book because...and then about ten things immediately spring to mind.
So, instead, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I loved the premise. The synopsis grabbed me instantly and I couldn't wait to dig in.
But, it took me a little while to get really into the book. I knew that I liked it, but I wasn't really sure why. Then, it did a complete one-eighty on me the more I got to know El.
I'll be honest, in terms of actual plot, not a great deal does happen BUT this is the first book in the series, and it's clear that there's a lot of setup going on AND we do get fantastic world building, character building and really great monsters.
El though is my new hero. I absolutely love her, and might also be a little in love with her. It's really not often that you're introduced to a morally good character that's also incredibly powerful, witty, stubborn and 100% interesting.
"I love having existential crises at bedtime, it's so restful."
It's El who makes this book worth reading, and I love the humour she brings while at the same time bringing a lot of heart to the book, making you really care for and root for her.
The premise is fantastic - it's a school that almost tries to kill you!
"The school has to be fed somehow."
I love that the traditional "hero" trope in this book is turned on its head and I just love the dynamic between El and Orion. Think Legolas and Gimli, but a little more frank.
"Lake, I hate you more than words can possibly express."
The secondary characters are also fantastic and add a lot of unexpected humour, tension and drama to the plot.
"Mom told me that all boys are carrying a secret pet mal in their underwear, and if you get alone with them they let it out."
As the tension and danger built throughout the book, I really wondered how it was going to end but it was great, with just enough tension to keep me hanging on for the next one.
Overall, a fantastic start to a new fantasy series! I can't wait for the next instalment!
Rating: 5 STARS
How I got this book: Birthday gift
This powerful debut novel delicately blurs the line between truth and fiction as Carol unravels the fantastical stories of her mentally ill grandfather. When she and her family move to his deserted ranch in order to transfer him to a care home, Carol struggles to cope with the suffocating heat and the effects of her grandfather's dementia. Bees seem to be following her around, but the drought means this is impossible. She must be imagining things. Yet when her grandfather chooses her as the subject for his stories – tales of a magical healing tree, a lake, and the grandmother she never knew – Carol sees glimmers of something special in what her parents dismiss as Serge's madness. As she rethinks her roots and what she thought she knew about her family, Carol comes to the realization that Serge's past is quickly catching up with her present. A stunning coming-of-age story.
TW: Mental Illness (Dementia), Grief
This book was chosen as our very first Turn The Page book club read, and you can catch our chat about this book on Tuesday 14th July 2020. You can also join in our Twitter book club chat on Friday 17th July 2020 (just use #TTPBookChat)
I want to start by saying that I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did.
I purposefully didn't find anything out about this book aside from the blurb on the back cover, and so I didn't even know what genre this book was, which I'm actually really glad for because I had no idea at all what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised.
I did have some issues with this book, mainly with the parents. I mean, first of all, what parent would leave a 12-year-old child alone with a grandfather she's never met who has severe dementia and a baby?
I understand that the parents were struggling with grief and pain in their own ways, but it just didn't sit well.
For the first couple of chapters, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this book, it just didn't 'click' for me until Serge began to tell his story and after that, I was hooked.
I loved how, from this moment, the mystery and magic built quickly until I was fully immersed in the story. In fact, I was so lost in the story that I didn't realise how quickly I was reading it and then all of a sudden I was at the end.
And for once, I was completely and 100% happy with how a story ended! No cliffhangers, just lots of possibilities.
Overall, I was blown away by the quick-pace of this book and the magic-filled family history. I was fully invested in both Carol and Serge's characters and loved their dynamic.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Standalone/Series: Bear, Otter, and the Kid #1
How I got this book: Bought (Audible)
Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.
Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world... something or someone.
TW: Abandonment and homophobia.
You'll have to forgive me for the poor quality of this post as I'm struggling with a stupid cold right now and my eyes really hurt. It's a little ironic that I started listening to this audiobook a few weeks back when I was sick and now I'm under the weather again just as I've finished it - I blame the crying and the emotional turmoil this book put me through.
I've read a few of TJ Klune's books now and while his books always pack an emotional punch, I think the narrator, Sean Crisden, did a particularly fantastic job of bringing that emotion out through his voices for Bear, Otter and Ty. I also really liked his voice for Creed while I found Anna a tad annoying (both in character and voice).
I'm not sure how authors like TJ Klune manage to pack so much emotion and pain into a book and yet still have the ability to make you laugh, even through the heartache you share with the characters.
I haven't yet read a TJ Klune book that hasn't made me cry, or at least brought me very close to tears and Bear, Otter, and the Kid was no exception, I found myself sobbing into my pillow during certain scenes and then laughing out loud, usually at something Bear or Ty said, at others.
Bear is a fantastic character. He has so many depths and I love the storm and earthquake imagery the author uses to illustrate his anxiety and fears. It's a theme that builds throughout the book and is a beautiful metaphor for his inner turmoil.
Bear and Ty (the Kid) have a beautiful relationship and I love Ty's intelligent humour. The little eco-terrorist is my favourite character and so reminiscent of Artemis in The Bones Beneath My Skin. I love the way that TJ writes kids and I cannot wait for his upcoming book, The House in the Cerulean Sea for this very reason.
Otter is also a wonderful character and his evolving relationship with Bear and his dedication to both Bear and the Kid is moving and powerful to behold.
TJ has written a book containing so much pain (a lot of it via Bear's mother - god, I hate her) and this book had me holding my breath in so many places, just hoping and wishing that everything would work out (this author has a habit of being mean to his characters and readers!) but I'm going to spare you a spoiler and let you find that out for yourself.
Overall, this is a book that I fell in love with, with characters that made me laugh and cry. It's a heavy book, but at the same time it's light and with love, laughter, and family at its core. If you love TJ Klune, if you love heartfelt, meaningful and emotional romances, this is the book for you.
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: LGBT/YA/Graphic Novel
Series/Standalone: Heartstopper #2
How I got this book: Bought
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the second volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie's gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn't.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family ... and himself.
Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.
This is the second volume of Heartstopper, with more to come.
If you haven't read Heartstopper Volume One yet, you can catch my review here.
This is going to be one of those short and sweet reviews because, besides saying how much I truly love this graphic novel, I'm not sure how else to convince you all to read it!
I thought that Heartstopper Volume One was good, but this is even better. So many more cute, mushy feelings. As always Alice Oseman's illustrations are beautiful, the story is so sweet and Charlie and Nick are both likeable and compelling.
Alice also does a fantastic job of making you care about the supporting characters and their stories and we're treated to a fantastic snippet from another story at the end of this book.
The storytelling and voices are relatable and current, making the whole thing speed by far too quickly! I can't wait until I have every volume and can read through from start to finish!
If you're looking for queer, YA romance with tons of inclusivity and rep that'll make you feel warm and gooey on the inside, you need Heartstopper in your life.
Rating: 5 STARS!!
How I got this book: Bought
In the town of Newsands, painfully shy Alex is abandoned by his two best friends for the summer. But he unexpectedly lands a part-time job at Wonderland, a run-down amusement arcade on the seafront, where he gets to know the other teen misfits who work there. Alex starts to come out of his shell, and even starts to develop feelings for co-worker Ben... who, as Alex's bad luck would have it, has a girlfriend.
Then as debtors close in on Wonderland and mysterious, threatening notes start to appear, Alex and his new friends take it on themselves to save their declining employer. But, like everything in Wonderland, nothing is quite what it seems...
This might be my absolute favourite book of the year so far and it's easily my top Pride Month read!
I was in a bit of a funk when I picked up this book, but Simon James Green (and Alex) managed to flip my bad mood on its head.
This book is a riot, I started laughing on the very first page and I don't think I stopped until long after I closed the book.
Alex, like Noah before him (if you haven't read Simon's debut novel Noah Can't Even, you can find it on Goodreads here!) I adored Noah, but I LOVED Alex in Wonderland!
Alex is so instantly relatable with his shy awkwardness and his extremely bad luck that was so familiar it was unsettling.
I love the English seaside setting, reading about the pier, the mini doughnuts and, of course, Wonderland itself made me crave the seaside so much (I haven't been for years) that it inspired me to take my family to New Brighton Beach last weekend so that my four-year-old could experience the joys of playing in the ocean, sand between your toes and the intoxicating thrill of the 2p machines!
Alex in Wonderland is so many things; a coming of age story, a first-love story, a friendship story and a mystery. It also tackles sexual identity and diverse representation through Alex, Efia and Ben and divorce through Alex's family in a way that keeps the pace moving and the story so much fun to read.
Simon James Green writes with a fantastically comedic, authentic voice and brings Alex's character tripping off the pages. I also really enjoyed the other characters in this book; Alex's step-mum (who I loved to hate), Lemon Boy (the second pizza restaurant scene had me shaking with laughter), Ben (and his dimples), Efia (and her meddling) and Maggie (who's sarcastic and crazy but caring at heart).
Without giving too much away, the only part of this book that I didn't like too much was the ending, Alex deserved to be treated better, much better!
Overall though, this was the perfect summer read. It's light, incredibly funny, relatable and so awkwardly-romantic you'll be biting back a grin the entire way through!
Now, I'll just be sitting her not-so-patiently waiting to see what awkward, adorable muppet of a character Simon James Green blesses us with next.
Rating: 5 STARS!
Genre: LGBT/YA/Graphic Novel
Series/Standalone: Heartstopper #1
How I got this book: Bought
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore, and he's sort of got a boyfriend, even if he's kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.
Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner...
TW: Homophobia, mental health and manipulation.
1. I honestly thought I'd already written the review for this but I guess not because I can't find it anywhere. Not that I'm complaining too hard as it gave me the perfect excuse to re-read this again for pride month.
2. This is the only graphic novel I've read that I actually loved and couldn't put down. I read this in around an hour.
So, onto the review.
Heartstopper started life as a web comic and I did attempt to read it on the website but I found the format a little too distracting so, when I found out that a book was coming I couldn't get hold of it fast enough.
Nick and Charlie attend an all-boys British Grammar School which sort of reminds me of my own high-school except that mine was co-ed and nowhere near as posh!
Charlie is 14 and Nick is 16 and their story is most definitely a super-cute YA.
What's amazing about this graphic novel, aside from the gorgeous art and realistic British dialogue is that it's so inclusive. It has gay, lesbian and bisexual (whoop whoop!) rep. It's racially diverse and has mental health rep.
I'm not sure that I've ever read anything quite so instantly adorable as the story of Charlie and Nick and in volume one it's lovely to see their friendship begin blossom and effect how they each deal with their own demons.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words, and Alice's are worth even more. After just a few scenes, I wanted to wrap Charlie and Nick in a giant hug, punch Ben in his stupid face and be best friends with Tori and Tara.
I've pre-ordered Volume Two which comes out next month and I can't wait to get it because the ending of Volume One is too sad and I need the infectious happiness that bursts from the earlier pages.
Charlie and Nick are precious and if you want a reason to smile today, go grab this book and fall in love.
What about you? Have you read Heartstopper by Alice Oseman?
Rating: 5 STARS!
How I got this book: Bought
Tessa has major attitude and an impossible dream—not a greatcombination for success. But she believes that fate has delivered the ungainly horse Buffoon to her, and Tessa is determined never to be separated from him. What's more, she intends to one day become a jockey and ride Buffoon in the Grand National. But how can a girl with a violent temper and a “can't do” philosophy gain the physical strength, courage, and money needed to become a jockey—especially when her stepfather would like nothing better than to see her fail? Determination and grit may not be enough—but Tessa's not going to let go without giving it her all.
TW: Alcoholism, abandonment, domestic abuse, violence, attempted murder, mental illness, depression, grief, loss and neglect.
You guys, I have so many emotions about this book but no words to express them. End of review.
Just kidding, there are lots of words, it's just getting them into coherent sentences that's presenting a challenge. Truthfully, I've even considered just filling the page with crying and heart emoji's and the occasional knife for good measure (you'll get it if/when you choose to read it!)
I should probably start by saying that this is a re-read but that I haven't read this book since I was a young teen (so around 12-16 years ago) and when I did I loved it SO MUCH because:
1. I love horses.
2. It's set in England/Ireland with authentic characters.
3. It's a gritty YA that deals with some really challenging themes.
4. Did I mention the horses??
Honestly, I was terrified of reading it again, afraid that it just wouldn't be the same because of how much I've changed since reading it the first time and I've put it off for quite a long time just in case, but it finally felt like the right time and I'm so overjoyed to report that it was, and somehow, it was so much more!
It felt as though I was reading it for the first time all over again. The emotions, like the characters, are wild and unruly in this book. They're so strong, compelling, addictive and the ride is thrilling despite being so painful.
'Tessa stood and stared, shaking. She was numb, seeing it, never having known death before. Not like that, in the middle of brilliance, the light going out like the sun falling from the sky without warning. So fast the passage from life to death, she could not cope with it.'
I devoured the book from start to finish, revelling in the story, it's dark twists and turns and the characters. At the end I was an emotional wreck, having suffered through pain and grief, with the characters but holding out that uncrushable hope throughout that everything will work out and that despite all the bad, things will come good in the end.
Despite the incredible number of trigger warnings at the top of this review, this is a book of hope, of the power of love and how sheer, unwavering determination and handwork can overcome surmountable odds.
The main character Tessa is such a strong and compelling character. Because of her past, she's dealing with loss, grief, parental abandonment and a tempestuous home life that's shaped her into a girl with a violent, turbulent nature, a hate-the-world attitude and a bone-deep refusal to do see the good in anything. That is until a horse comes along who might just change everything for better and for worse.
Blind Beauty follows Tessa's journey from a young child to a young woman and it's a moving journey.
Tessa goes through so many challenges and we see a really harsh side of her, something that's been forged at the hands of others through their abuse and neglect but despite her nature, I couldn't help but feel drawn to her character, to root for her, to desperately wish for her happy ending, even if she doesn't believe in it herself.
The characters in this book are colourful and unique with clashing personalities asunder. The writing is unusual, a bit jarring almost as the author gives a glimpse into the mind of almost every character, even those that aren't human, but it's so gripping and I couldn't put the book down, lost in this horse-crazed world.
Side note: If you love horses, you'll either love or hate this book as the horses suffer just as much as the humans in various ways.
This book is easily one of the most touching and painful books I've ever read. It has feminist undertones, which shine through at key moments, something I love to see in YA fiction.
"...And fourteen-year-old Buffoon! And a girl - a girl-"
As if the rider were an ostrich, or a monkey. A girl!
It's such a heartbreaking, powerful story about how loving someone (in this case a wonderful horse) with your entire being can either make you or destroy you entirely.
At the end of this book, I was a bit of an emotional wreck but I almost instantly wanted to re-read it, which, is the mark of a truly good book, if nothing else.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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