So when I started writing this blog four years ago I was mainly reading books for younger readers. As a primary school librarian and mum to a nine and six year old I felt inevitably drawn to books that I could recommend to my own children and the children at my school. Fast forward four years and I now have a teenager so it seems natural that I’m gravitating more to teen reads. The books I’m sharing on the blog today are only suitable for teen (and adult readers) but the thing they all have in common is that they entertained and enthralled me in very different ways.
It was with huge anticipation that I read Lucy Powrie’s debut, ‘The Paper and Hearts Society,’ having heard so much buzz about it on Twitter. The mere mention of a literary road trip and a Jane Austen dance party was enough to convince me that this was a book that teen me would have adored, although I’m pleased to say adult me feels exactly the same way. Tabby is tired of trying to fit in. She would much prefer being at home reading her favourite book then have to face the social awkwardness of going to parties. But a chance encounter in an library opens up a whole new world where she discovers fellow teens who may just be like her. Can Tabby be brave enough to face her fears and reach out to find her people or will secrets from the past ruin any hope she has of happiness? Lucy has created a thoughtful and insightful debut that speaks to everyone out there who hasn’t yet found their tribe. In a increasingly tricky world dominated by social media, healthy and positive relationships can be hard to come by. While teens are pressed to conform and fit in instead of standing out. Lucy explores what could happen if you embrace your inner weird and just be yourself. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a teen in want of an entertaining, funny and poignant read needs this in their life! This book will make you laugh, cry and smile in so many different ways, for me it’s a real joy of a read.
Having read, ‘Summer of No Regrets.’ it’s hard to believe that this is Kate Mallinder’s debut novel. It’s incredibly brave to write a story from four different view points and be able to create a cohesive and compelling read but Kate does this brilliantly. The cover alone makes you dream of the summer holidays, endless days filled with sunshine, laughter and time with your friends. After their exams finish, four friends vow to live a summer with no regrets allowing themselves the chance to face their fears and try something new. Hetal will seize the day and go to summer camp. Nell will try to escape the confines of her mother’s desire to wrap her in cotton wool. Sasha will go to stay with her absent father, while Cam tries to find her birth father. With all four girls facing monumental challenges, can they stay true to their pledge to live life to the full? Wonderfully diverse, sensitively written this is the perfect teen summer read. It really is a breath of fresh air. Both me and my teenage daughter devoured it and I would love to see more uplit teen reads where the challenges of everyday life are laid bare for the reader to see. A confident and assured debut from Kate, I think she is a very talented writer and definitely one to watch out for.
I genuinely can’t remember the last book that made me laugh out loud as much as William Sutcliffe’s, ‘The Gifted, The Talented and Me.’ Sam’s life is turned upside down when his Dad becomes rich overnight and his mum decides to uproot his whole family to London. Convinced her children’s creativity is being stifled by an ordinary school she enrols them in the North London Academy for the Gifted and the Talented. But Sam unlike his musical brother Ethan and his infinitely expressive sister Freya is just well ordinary. In a normal school being ordinary is fine but at this school, it makes Sam a social pariah. Can Sam find a way to fit in while being himself? I don’t say this lightly but this book is a total genius, it’s outrageously funny and downright clever. William’s ability to write the most brilliant observational comedy is outstanding. There are so many scenes that made me cringe and laugh, my particular favourite being the poetry scene – no spoilers here! He has assembled a magnificent cast of characters who felt so real to me, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Sam and his family. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year, it really stands out from the crowd.
I’m going to let you into a secret, some might say it’s quite shocking. Despite the fact I’m a huge booklover I don’t own that many books. I have a carefully curated collection of books by authors whose work I genuinely love and Lauren James is an essential part of my most loved shelves. Her ability to create stories that are truly incredible never ceases to amaze me and ‘The Quiet At the End of the World,’ is another stellar addition to her repertoire. Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused a global infertility. Enveloped in a small community where they are treasured, their every move is controlled and their freedoms are limited. One day whilst exploring the confines of their restricted life they stumble across a secret that threatens their entire existence. Lauren explores the theme of how we as humans are destroying our world by highlighting the irony that as the population decreases the planet begins to recover from the years of excessive consumption and pollution. This dystopia is frighteningly believable, the reader is so drawn into the story we can feel that these events may unfold in the future it is not beyond the realms of our imagination. Lauren yet again manages to surprise and astound the reader with the most unexpected of revelations which disturb the very foundations of everything you held up to be the truth. A truly compelling and extraordinary story that dazzled me with its brilliance.
Thank you to Bloomsbury, Firefly and Hodder for sending me gifted proof copies in exchange for an honest review. All of the books are available to buy or pre-order online (click on the title) or from any good bookshop.