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Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton - Review

Monday, September 28, 2015

Where did I get it? My gorgeous friend Lucinda bought it for me for my birthday in January 

What's it about? Megan's friend Hana has died in an accident and ever since, Megan is too shocked to speak. She's bullied at school by old friends Sadie and Grace. Then Jasmine starts at school and Megan gets close to her. I felt like the narrative jumped about too much in time, I felt like there were abrupt endings to conversations that needed more explanation. I didn't like Megan's mum, and I didn't buy that Megan's grandparents were old enough to have met during WWII, especially given that Megan's mum is only supposed to have been 16 when she was born. I liked Jasmine I guess, and her family. I thought the ending was both hackneyed and abrupt. 

What age range is it for? 14+ probably. It's possibly, apart from the death storyline, suited for a younger teen audience too. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Well, kind of. Jasmine and Megan kiss. 

Are any main characters non-white? It's not stated.

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Megan is obviously traumatised from what happened. 

Is there any sex stuff? No.

Are drugs mentioned or used? No. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, since Hana died. 

Are there swear words? If there are, they're infrequent. 

Would I recommend the book? Not really. I didn't find it believable or particularly relatable for a modern teen. It's almost like it was written about 15 years ago. 

How many stars? 3 out of 10. 

Where is the book going now? Not sure, I'll pass it on though. 

The Breeders by Katie French - Review

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Where did I get it? Free on Kindle a few weeks ago. 

What's it about? Riley Meemick is a girl in a world where women are sold to the Breeders and forced to carry pregnancy after pregnancy, because girl babies aren't born any more (which is never really explained). Riley's mum escaped, along with Auntie (really related? another escapee? who knows?) and is bringing up Riley and her brother on the outskirts of town when the Sheriff's men attack and kill Riley's stepfather. Riley and Ethan are spared, but then have to go and rescue their mother from the Breeders. It's not a spoiler to say that Riley ends up with the Breeders, even though it doesn't happen for over half the book. 

What age range is it for? 14+ maybe?

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No, although Riley disguises herself as a "bender", which is a genderless mutant - I think calling a person like this a "bender" is a pretty gross and disgusting thing for the author to have done when that word is used a slur. 

Are any main characters non-white? No, although Riley, Ethan and their helper Clay (the brooding hero of the piece) encounter a group of Riders, who try to kill them and want a human sacrifice. I'm pretty sure these people are supposed to be Native American types - they're portrayed as savages in a really disgusting way, they have tattoos and bones through their noses. It's terrible.  

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, and again it's not portrayed well. 

Is there any sex stuff? No.

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, many and violent 

Are there swear words? A few

Would I recommend the book? Not one bit. If I could have given it 0 stars on Goodreads I would have. It's a hackneyed story with problematic elements. If you like the idea of this kind of dystopia, I would recommend The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood or The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. There are many many better stories than this tosh. 

How many stars? 0 out of 10

All the Rage by Courtney Summers - Review

Monday, September 14, 2015

Where did I get it? NetGalley - my first one! I signed up, had a browse, requested this, and got permission to have it just a couple of hours later! It's a bit complicated with getting permission for NetGalley to email your Kindle, so persevere if you sign up. 

What's it about? Well, here I sort of need to write two things. This is the official blurb from Summers' website
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything–friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her past there. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time–and they certainly won’t now–but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.
However, this description isn't, to me, entirely accurate. We don't see any of the first assault, Romy's rape. By the time we meet here, she's living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and is living out a pretty miserable life. She and her mum have moved in with her mum's new boyfriend, Todd. Romy likes work and her co-worker Leon, but hates school and is bullied relentlessly there. There's a big party (which I think is where Romy was raped the year before) and Romy goes. Her ex-friend goes missing, and the stress of it brings everything back to Romy. I had issues with keeping the timeline straight, and I don't think, from looking at Goodreads, that I was the only one

What age range is it for? 15+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No. 

Are any main characters non-white? Yes, Leon and his family. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, Romy is living with some pretty big mental health problems. Her mum's boyfriend Todd is physically disabled, which some in the town think is fake as an excuse to not work. 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes - HUGE trigger warning for rape and sexual assault, obviously. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes - there's some talk of a date-rape drug. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's quite explicit. 

Are there swear words? Yes, lots

Would I recommend the book? Yes, definitely. It's one of the most brutal and unashamed books about rape that I've ever read, so I especially love that it's for a YA audience. I think any reader will love Romy but may be frustrated with her - she finds it very hard to open up to her mum and ask for help. Her relationship with Leon is extremely sweet, and also with Leon's sister. It isn't like the blurb says, but it is fantastically written. 

How many stars? 10 out of 10. It isn't perfect, but it's a fantastic example of YA. 

The Third Coin by J A Howard - Review

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Where did I get it? It was free on Kindle a little while ago.

What's it about? Bea Brightman has just moved to New York with her antique seeker father, a man who's been looking for a very special coin for several years. Bea meets Nisha, an unpopular girl in her class, and the two realise they can read each other's minds. Along with Indy, their neighbour, they get dragged into finding The Coin. This is a middle grade novel which attempts to use the legend of King Arthur as its base.

What age range is it for? Anywhere from 9-13. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No. 

Are any main characters non-white? Well, kinda. Nisha is "dark", but whether that translates to actually being a person of colour, I don't know. I kept picturing her as South Asian, though. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Not really. 

Is there any sex stuff? No

Are drugs mentioned or used? No  

Is there any talk of death? Yes, but in an age-appropriate way

Are there swear words? No.

Would I recommend the book? Kind of? I didn't hate it, and it was a quick read. But I didn't love it, either. I felt like a lot of it was pure exposition, I felt like the POV switches between Bea and Nisha were sometimes badly done. I felt like the King Arthur stuff was shoehorned in. The ending was abrupt and the plot twist I guessed early on. 

How many stars? 6 out of 10. 

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