Rating: 4 Stars!
How I got this book: Gift
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can't get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school's resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He's determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Ah, this book hit me right in the feels!
"You don't need anyone's permission to be you, Yads”
Cemetery Boys is the story of Yadriel, a young trans man who, after losing his mother, and his number one supporter, is fighting for recognition as a brujo in his very traditional community. With the help of his best-friend Maritza, he performs a ritual that sets a chain of events in motion that he never saw coming, accidentally summoning the wrong spirit and entwining their fate.
I loved the beginning of this book. Aiden paints a beautiful picture filled with Latinx culture. The imagery is beautiful and the interweaving of Spanish with English made this book a truly cultural experience and reignited my desire to learn Spanish.
The tension at the beginning of the book is perfect and builds into something palpable and almost dangerous as the book progresses and new dangers and obstacles arise.
“You know who you are, I know who you are, and our Lady does, too." She said with fierce conviction. "So screw the rest of them!" Maritza grinned at him. "Remember why we're doing this.”
I immediately loved the obvious love and friendship between Maritza and Yadriel as she helps him perform the ritual that will grant him the powers of the brujo, without getting caught. Maritza is supportive in all the right ways, without ever trying to force Yadriel into doing things he doesn't want to. She's a great person to have in your corner.
Yadriel is such a fantastic character to root for, made even more powerful because this book is own voices. His moving and emotional struggle to prove himself and then to accept who he is, despite what others think, is poignant and makes for an eye-opening read with a perfect fantasy twist.
"Queen folks are like wolves," Julian told him. "We travel in packs."
Then, we meet Julian, a riot of a character who has a tough, no-nonsense exterior at first, but proves himself to be a complete puppy with boundless energy, enthusiasm and acceptance for all. Julian is my favourite character in this book. He's perfect for Yadriel, complimenting Yadriel's reserve with plenty of daring and excitement. He's loving and delivers some of the deepest insight in this book, both for Yadriel and for the reader; while delivering what I felt was one of most powerful scenes in the entire book; full of raw, unguarded emotion.
Watching Yadriel and Julian grow closer and push each-other was the genuine delight of this book, and so enjoyable. Until finally we got an ending that fit the book perfectly.
“You ready?" Julian asked, a curious look on his devastatingly handsome face.
"No," Yadriel confessed, his voice tight.
Julian grinned. "Do it anyways.”
My only very slight issue was that the plot and the 'big twist' were really predictable BUT because the tension and the build-up between Yadriel and Julian built so beautifully, and the ever-looming deadline to their journey was constantly at the forefront of the story, it more than made up for it.
Overall, I loved the setting, the scenery, the culture, the language and the relationships, even the ones that weren't so great as they provided a brilliant contrast for the strong, healthy relationships. I also loved the magic and how it completely entwined with the everyday.
I'd highly recommend Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas to anyone looking for a truly diverse and powerful paranormal YA.
“Julian's chuckle was wet. "Valió ... la pena."
Rating: 3.5 Stars
How I got this book: Bought - Fairyloot
Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend itself. Master of One is a fantasy unlike any other.
Rags is a thief—an excellent one. He's stolen into noble's coffers, picked soldier's pockets, and even liberated a ring or two off the fingers of passersby. Until he's caught by the Queensguard and forced to find an ancient fae relic for a sadistic royal sorcerer.
But Rags could never have guessed this "relic" would actually be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince called Shining Talon. Good thing Rags can think on his toes, because things just get stranger from there...
With the heist and intrigue of Six of Crows and the dark fairy tale feel of The Cruel Prince, this young adult fantasy debut will have readers rooting for a pair of reluctant heroes as they take on a world-ending fae prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and, most dangerously of all, their feelings for each other.
I have so many mixed feelings about this book, and I've been torn over how to rate it. So, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I've been excited to read this book ever since I first heard of it, and so I jumped at FairyLoot's December box once I knew it was inside. I imagined The Cruel Prince meets Six of Crows, which just sounded fantastic.
I started reading with high expectations. I loved the idea of a heist-style plot and the unexpected LGBT romance, and that a queer couple wrote it was really exciting.
In the beginning, I was not at all disappointed. The prologue was unexpectedly brutal, but it was incredibly gripping and had me hooked immediately.
Then, in chapter one, we meet Rags. He's a cocky, sarcastic thief from the slums who's found himself on the end of a job gone wrong, bruised and battered in the royal dungeon, trying to plot his escape.
I love Rags. He's the perfect incarnation of the loveable rogue. A sweet-heart with a rough, sardonic exterior and I instantly wanted the best for him.
"Daring a ravens, rich as magpies."
As Rags sets off on his journey, I flew through the pages. The pace was brilliant, the deception and trickery gripping, and that puzzles and challenges that Rags has to face are really interesting.
I was convinced that this book was going to be a 5* read for me.
The next character we meet is Tal, affectionately referred to by Rags as Shiny and, even though something between them felt a little 'off' for a while, I grew to enjoy their connection and the scenes they shared.
However, shortly after this point, the narrative completely changed and split into multiple POV's. After 20 chapters of focusing solely on Rag's perspective, it felt really jarring to suddenly have POV chapters from completely new characters.
The pacing also took a bit of a nosedive from here and I sped through to find Rag's chapters, which were easily the ones I enjoyed the most.
A couple of the characters, to me, felt a little stiff and lacking depth and it took a while for me to settle back into the story.
Saying that though, as I neared the end of the story, the pace, the danger and the intrigue picked up again to where, upon finishing the book, I'm back to feeling how I did at the beginning and really wanting to read the next book (although it hasn't been confirmed yet) to find out what happens next and how it all plays out. (Read: I really want Rags to get the happily ever after he deserves.)
Can you see what I meant now about not knowing how to rate this one?
So, I've decided to go for 3.5 stars because I loved Rags and enjoyed the plot itself but just felt that the pace took a nosedive once the additional POV's were introduced.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: MM Romance/Christmas/Fantasy/Comedy
Series/Standalone: A Snow Globe Christmas #1 (Can be read as a standalone)
How I got this book: Bought on Audible
Despite growing up in a family of villains, I’d rather curl up and read than commit crimes. When I get coerced by my brother into helping him rob a bank, I run into August, my childhood crush—also known as Chrono, the city’s greatest superhero. He’s sexy, sweet, and suddenly he’s asking me to Thanksgiving with his parents. It’s probably because he doesn’t realize that I’m Leviathan, a villain with the power of telekinesis. And I can’t tell him because he’d never forgive me and would stop doing things like cooking for me—wait, maybe that would be a good thing, since he’s a terrible cook. It doesn’t help that my parents think they’re the ultimate villains and won’t stop getting in my way, although they can’t even steal toilet paper without getting caught.
But when real supervillains (not the wannabe kind that I grew up with) start targeting August, I might be forced to show everyone who I truly am: a slightly warped and snarky man who’d really rather read a book than save anything… besides August. I’ll tear this world apart just to get another glimpse of him in those glasses and spandex suit. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep him safe, even though it means exposing my true identity. Luckily, August still cares about me, proving that even a villain and a hero can fall in love. Hopefully, we’ll be able to save the world in time for Christmas.
Fans of TJ Klune will devour A Villain for Christmas.
I started this book on a whim because of an Audible recommendation.
It's narrated by Michael Lesley, one of my favourite narrators; he's a sassy and comedic genius who effortlessly brings characters to life.
About a minute in, I had to go back and check that the author wasn’t actually TJ Klune because, honestly; it sounds like him to the point where I wondered if it was intentional, especially when the protagonist begs the villain to stop monologuing (which is a recurring joke in Klune’s Tales from Verania series).
The absurd characters and Lesley’s exaggerated narration drew me into the story immediately. He's a perfect Landon, with his fun, sassy wit. It’s the perfect combination of hilarious and completely heartfelt, and his delivery had me in stitches from the beginning.
Landon is a super-villain with a secret - he hates being bad! He's also crazy powerful and has a huge crush on the city's biggest superhero.
Landon is an absolute sweetheart. He's hilariously funny and sarcastic, but he wears his heart on his sleeve and delivers some truly emotional and heartbreaking scenes in the book.
August is loads of fun. He's also extremely sweet, and so adorable when Landon brings out his 'bad' side. Together, they're hilarious and once you add in the random, diverse cast of superheroes, villains, and the hairless cat, A Villain for Christmas will have you laughing out loud from start to finish.
I admit I didn't expect a lot from the plot, but it's actually really enjoyable. There are a couple of great twists and surprises that really drove the plot forward and kept me listening.
However, I’m not really sure that you would call this a Christmas story, other than it taking place in December and featuring a small Thanksgiving and Christmas scene, it's very much a funny superhero story, but it works.
Anyone who loves outrageous, OTT characters that make you laugh out loud will love A Villain for Christmas.
In particular, if you've read TJ Klune's The Extraordinaries and would love a more 'adult' superhero/super-villain rom-com, this checks all the boxes.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary YA
How I got this book: ARC via NetGalley and UCLan Publishing
When his dad moves out, Jamie tries to fill his shoes. He needs to become head of the household – right? With his mum dealing with the aftermath of toxic masculinity at its finest, and his little sister Bex struggling to understand what’s going on, Jamie has to navigate the choppy waters of what he thinks it means to be a man.
Having learned that the best way to deal with feelings is to push them down as far as they’ll go, he finds help from an unlikely source. Drinking makes him feel invincible – Super Jim can take on anything – and anyone… But how long will it be before this particular well of wisdom runs dry? And what will it take for Jamie to realise that help was at hand all along?
From the author of the Geekhood series, the first of which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award, comes Smashed by Andy Robb. Funny, touching, with a narrator readers’ will instantly love, Smashed is a rollercoaster exploration of young masculinity. The story would appeal to fans of Me Mam, Me Dad, Me and Noah Can’t Even.
TW: domestic violence, emotional abuse, manipulation, blackmail, kidnapping, depression, teen alcoholism, sexism.
The main reason I was drawn to this book was that it was recommended to fans of Noah Can't Even, which I adored.
It becomes very clear, very quickly, that this book centres around domestic violence. Jamie is struggling to cope after The Night Everything Went Weird when his mum got The Rainbow Eye and his dad started sleeping downstairs. He now finds himself as 'man' of the house, responsibilities stacking up as he has to mediate his mum and dad's relationship, take care of his younger sister and bear the 'Weight of Manhood'.
I really liked Jamie at first, he's a compelling character, with an inner voice that draws you in and makes you hope everything will work out for the best.
Just thinking of Bex saying those words is enough for the recently installed radiator in my throat to get hot and my eyes to blur with the sting of salty tears.
But, there came a point where his inner voice stopped being an almost 16-year-old boy and instead took the tone of a grown man trying far too hard to be funny and falling completely short (to put it simply, the voice of the author overtook Jamie's voice, and it wasn't enjoyable). When he describes his English teacher's breasts as 'pendulous milk tanks' I almost threw up, threw the book, and stopped reading.
The writing reeks of sexism, even though the supposed point is to make a stand against toxic masculinity.
So, I was at the point where I felt convinced I wouldn’t finish this book. The choice of language, the toxic masculinity and the blatant sexism annoyed and disgusted me, but something was compelling about Jamie and his plight that almost forced me to keep reading.
I blink twice, before smearing on the smile I rehearsed in the mirror. "Oh, you know me, Becky" I nod. "I'm fine."
Jamie finds that the 'Weight of Manhood' becomes harder and harder to carry, but he's got no choice. His mum needs him, his little sister needs him, and he doesn't know how he feels about his dad. Add to this a girlfriend he feels is smothering him, Jamie needs an escape, and his mum's drinks cabinet is right there...ready for the taking.
There were a few things in this book that made me cringe. If it hadn't been for the sexist language (I mean, for god's sake, he literally gives a girl the nickname 'nipples' at one point), the almost forgiveness for unforgivable acts and some really stupid decisions that would NEVER EVER HAPPEN.
At no point would you EVER freely allow your young child to go off with a man that a.) hit you, b.) stole from you, c.) basically kidnapped your child, d.) has previously used said child to manipulate/blackmail you and the child in question.
You'd literally call the police and keep the man as far away from your children as possible.
The secondary characters do add a lot to the story. Jamie's best friend is a great character, and I'd actually love for him to have his own story. His girlfriend is sweet and his little sister is both adorable and heart-breaking as she struggles to understand what's happening at home.
One thing I can say for Andy Robb is that he can write a villain with scary accuracy. I held my breath through the entirety of Chapter 30 and wanted nothing more than to see Jamie's dad behind bars.
The pacing also is fantastic. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, watching with wide eyes as Jamie's life crashes and burns around him.
Overall, Smashed is a heart-breaking journey of a young boy who spirals out of control as he attempts to deal with the aftermath of domestic violence and to come to terms with what it truly means to be a man.
I can't deny that it was compelling, but I think that some language choices and messages left a lot to be desired.
Rating: 4 Stars!
Genre: LGBT Contemporary Romance
How I got this book: Bought
It may be cold outside, but inside, the temperature is rising.
When grad student Kevin Taggert goes home with his best friend for Thanksgiving, the last thing he expects is to drool over the guy’s dad.
Forty-eight-year-old Drew Freeman would love a relationship, but he never expected to find it with his son’s best friend.
When a last-minute change of plans leaves Drew and Kevin alone in a cabin the week before Christmas, the heat between them is too much to deny.
Although they promise it’ll only last the week, every day that passes brings them closer together. When Christmas Day arrives—along with Drew’s son—can they salvage the relationship and the holiday?
Looking for a super-sweet m/m Christmas romance? Cabin Fever is a best-friend's dad, age-gap, forced proximity, slow burn, perfect for fans of Anyta Sunday.
I will not drool over my best friend's dad...
Packed full of wintery feels, this book is a is a sure-fire way to get you into the Christmas spirit. The wintery cabin, the long walks and early morning runs in the snow, the winter hot tub scene; it was all brilliant and really set the mood for the entire book.
The book centres around Kevin, who's facing a Thanksgiving spent alone as his family is too far away. He's feeling sad and like his family are cutting him out of their lives, when his best friend Jason invites him to spend Thanksgiving with him and his dad.
Kevin jumps at the chance for a family holiday but regrets his decision when he comes face to face with Drew, Jason's dad, who might just be the most handsome, kindest man Kevin has ever met.
"Help yourself to anything in this house," Drew said with a smile.
Including you? he wondered.
Watching Kevin and Jason grow from perfect strangers to good friends and then fighting to keep their relationship in the friend-zone, for Jason's sake, was really sweet. This book is most definitely not insta-love, it's a long slow burn that will keep you turning pages, eager for more.
I liked Kevin and Drew, who are a pretty perfect match, except for the odd moment where Kevin acts a bit childish. But together, they bring out the best in each other.
Jason is my least favourite character as, for most of the book, he's a self-centred, petulant child, only seeming to mature at the very end of the book. He was necessary to the plot, but I grew to really hate him as a character.
Kevin groaned. "You're going to make me work for it aren't you?"
Something in Drew's eyes flared hot. "I might."
The tension and chemistry in this book are fantastic, the constant will they/won't they back and forth built really well and kept me hooked through every single page.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is how every character is introduced using their full name. It's a pet peeve of mine, but honestly, just beginning the book with, 'Kevin looked up from his phone...' is much better, in my opinion than, 'Kevin Taggert looked up from his phone', and then a couple of lines later, 'Jason Freeman plopped onto the couch next to him...' Unless there are several characters with the same first name, including surnames sometimes feels a bit informal and throws off the tone of the book.
That being said, it didn't stop me from quickly shipping these characters and rooting for them every step of the way. So, if you're looking for a super sweet, sizzling slow burn this Christmas, I'd highly recommend Cabin Fever.
Rating: 4 Stars
How I got this book: Bought
Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he's never really dated before.
Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.
Kai Sheridan didn't expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there's more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he's awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this "relationship" will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?
TW: Racism, homophobia (violence & religion)
This book grabbed me from page one.
I absolutely loved the "fake boyfriend" trope in a YA format, and I think the author did a fantastic job of making it both believable and realistic.
I adore the main characters in this book.
At first, Kai is a complete wallflower. He's shy and reserved as he struggles to keep his secret from the world, but all that changes when he angrily (you'll find out why) asks Bryson Keller, the most popular boy in school, out on a date.
It's so much fun to see Kai come out of his shell as he starts to feel comfortable with who he is.
“I’m not joking,” I say. “Date me, Bryson Keller!”
Bryson is just as sweet as Kai and takes Kai's request in his stride. After all, he can't lose his dare, even if he doesn't believe in relationships.
Together, Kai and Bryson are adorable. They form a strong friendship, and support and care for each other through the hardships they each face.
"He breaks then. Whoever says that boys don’t cry—or shouldn’t cry—needs to walk off a very short pier into a shark-infested ocean."
The first half of this book is great. Kai's friends and family seem brilliant and supportive, and there's the strong feeling that all will work out in the end.
This book is definitely one for fans of Becky Abertalli's, Simon vs The Homo Sapien's Agenda, but one thing I adored about this book that I hated about Love Simon, are the best friends! They're so damn supportive and just brilliant, something that was truly lacking in Simon vs.
Sadly, the book takes a darker turn during the second half, and there's a lot of pain for both Kai and Bryson to deal with. I almost hate the author's choice to include this drama as it feels like too much on too many fronts, and the story would have been so damn sweet and beautiful without it.
I get that it's a coming-out story, and coming out is tough. Hell, I'm almost 30, and I'm still only open with a few select people in my life. But, for once, I'd love a sweet LGBT YA without all the pain and drama from a-holes who should never be forgiven for the crap they pull.
"Gay means happy, too, you know."
But saying all that, going through what they do does make the relationship stronger and drives the reader's compassion and need for everything to work out in the end.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, my first by this author, and I'm really looking forward to reading what they do next.
Just be prepared, if you cry easily, as I do, you'll definitely want to have some tissues to hand towards the end of the book.
"As my world burns down around me. This, right here, is enough."
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
How I got this book: NetGalley ARC
Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don't belong anywhere? Like you're almost... invisible? Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.
This is the story of one of those days - a day so bad you can barely get out of bed, when it's a struggle to leave the house, and when you do, you wish you hadn't. But even the worst of days can surprise you. When one sad ghost, lost and alone at a crowded party, spies another sad ghost across the room, they decide to leave together. What happens next changes everything. Because that night they start the The Sad Ghost Club - a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don't belong.
For fans of Heartstopper and Jennifer Niven, and for anyone who's ever felt invisible. You are not alone. Shhh. Pass it on.
I've been trying to read more graphic novels lately, especially as my 6yo has become low-key obsessed with them. So, when I saw the adorable-looking, The Sad Ghost Club, I had to request it.
This is such a relatable book. I don't know of a single person in my life who doesn't suffer from some type of anxiety, myself included, and this book really resonated with me; even down to blaming my cats for their bad advice!
The illustrations in this book are really cute and very reminiscent of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, the story starts off quite dark as you see the extent of the main characters loneliness and fear of not being accepted.
But the message of the book is really kind and sweet and made me feel so much better about my own insecurities. I'd highly recommend this book to everyone; kids, teens and adults alike.
It's like a little warm hug letting you know you're not alone.
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: 4 Stars
Genre: Contemporary YA
How I got this book: NetGalley ARC
'It's not my body that's holding me back. I think it's more of a problem that people tell me my body should hold me back.'
Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.
With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.
A warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.
I have severely mixed feelings about this book.
Have you ever read a book that made you feel as though you were looking directly back at your own life?
That pretty much sums up how I felt reading No Big Deal.
The other fat girl in our group wasn't called Camilla, and my first real crush wasn't Joe. Everything else though, pretty much an exact match, and seeing it there on the page, reading Emily's story brought back so many old anxieties and so much pain that I thought or maybe hoped, I'd left behind.
"Eat too many of those and you'll always be Fatty Smith, never Patti Smith."
It got to the point where reading this book infuriated me as I drew parallels within my own life and my own insecurities.
But at the same time, I couldn't stop reading. The main character was relatable (or she would have been to teen me when I, for a brief period, cared that I was the only one without a boyfriend/girlfriend), almost too much so which is what made this such an uncomfortable read for me.
"Do not allow into your world someone who thinks you're second best, who thinks your body is a temporary "problem" that you're going to solve, who puts you down in any way."
The writing was easy to digest and the pace fast. I read the book in two short sittings but at the end felt a little unresolved.
Emily is funny, witty and down to earth but I did have a few problems, especially that she became too quickly obsessed with a boy she'd only just met and it takes her a while, too long in fact, to realise that all isn't as it should be. But, saying that, she is a teen and I can't deny that I had a LOT of obsessive moments when I was younger, and let's face it, I'm very obsessive over my books!
"Oh no. Too far, Emily. You can't just ask people why they like dickheads."
I do think the author does a good job of being open about teen sex, and it's refreshing to have sex just be a part of a YA without it being something taboo.
I hated some of the supporting characters in this book, but only because of how they made Emily feel, and the author did a great job of showing how, very often, it's the people closest to you who can fuel your anxieties.
"What's the goal in saying stuff like this to your child? It feels like she just sees an opportunity to make a mean comment and takes it."
I think Emily is a great body positive character, I just would have loved a different ending that wasn't so 'boy-focused'.
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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.
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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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