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The Early Birds by Laurie Graham - Review

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Can you remember back in October I reread The Future Homemakers of America by Laurie Graham, because I had heard there was a sequel out and wanted to reread the original book - which had meant a lot to me in my late teens - before I read the sequel so that I remembered the story. I was happy that the book held up to being as good as I remembered, and I knew I wanted to get to the sequel early in 2019.

So I picked it up this last week, hoping it was as good. It is! I loved it, I'm giving it a solid nine out of ten. It made me laugh out loud a few times, which is unusual for me. Maybe I read sad books, I don't know.

Anyway, the story picks up about ten years after The Future Homemakers, when 1999 is about to turn into the new millennium. We left Peggy, the narrator of everyone's lives, living in Texas with her friends Grice and Tucker. Grice used to work for Peggy in her wedding planning business, and she eventually moved in with them and Tucker's mother, Miss Lady.

Miss Lady is already dead and at the beginning of this book Tucker dies. With no legalities formalising Grice and Tucker's relationship, a cousin of Tucker's moves in and demands the house, leaving Grice and Peggy homeless.

But Peggy's ex-husband Vern has Alzheimer's disease and their daughter Crystal is struggling to care for him up in Maine. Peggy and Grice decide to move up there to help look after him. When they do, they find Vern forgetting who they are but able to remember all of the US airbases, and his stepson Eugene who is obsessed with the end of the world. He is building a bunker for when the Shit Hits the Fan. Then 9/11 happens and he becomes a conspiracy theorist about it.

Peggy is still in touch with Lois and Herb from the air base, and with Kath, her friend from Norfolk who ended up coming to America to care for her nephew, Lois' son Kirk. She's married to Slick. Peggy also tries to keep up with Audrey, who always wanted her husband to make colonel, and with Gayle, the youngest of them on the air base, who is now an evangelical healer. The book is the same chatty, pithy, complicated hurtle through as the first one, and I loved it.

I really want to read another book of Laurie Graham's now - I think I have one hanging around actually - because I'd love to see what her style is like outside of these characters. I think she does funny really well, but also does sentimentality well, without dropping into triteness, and tragedy really well.

Betty died in the first book so she couldn't be in this one, which I felt was a total shame, I missed her. I found it really weird to be reading about 9/11 - I was seventeen when it happened and remember it so clearly, so to be reading about it nearly twenty years later was quite moving and a bit mind boggling.

I am so glad I read this - it's superb.


Uncomfortable Labels by Laura Kate Dale - Review

Monday, February 25, 2019

I was browsing Netgalley and came across this, which is a memoir about Laura's life as a gay autistic trans woman. I was intrigued, so requested it, so thank you to Jessica Kingsley publishers for granting it to me. I started reading it while I was at a gig on the 13th, while waiting for the main act. Due to extreme anxiety I find it easier to read a book on my tablet and just get through the supports. Not all books are easy to read when it's busy and loud (I have sensory issues myself) but this was, and before I knew it I'd read a quarter of it.

I had a really busy week so didn't finish this for a few days, but I found it a really interesting read. Laura charts her life from her childhood, where she was assigned male at birth, to having difficulty at school, to her teens where she found a group of accepting friends, to coming out as a woman in her 20s, up to the current time, where she is a video game critic making her living from writing. I'm not familiar with Laura as a video game critic but I know other people will be!

I found this an engaging memoir which also looked at the evidence of an overlap between being LGBT and being autistic. I thought this was a good way to do it. It gets pretty dark in places but ends on a positive note. Personally, I hope Laura continues to thrive and I will definitely look at reading something else by her in the future! I'm giving this a solid nine out of ten.

There's quite a lot of talk about death and suicide, so take care of yourself if that's triggering for you to read.

Uncomfortable Labels will be published on 18th July 2019. I was given a free e copy of this book for consideration for review, but was not in any other way compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas - Review

Friday, February 22, 2019


Where did I get it? I had it on pre-order so it arrived on publication date or thereabouts. 

What's it about? We're back in the Garden, the same setting as The Hate U Give, with Bri, who is sixteen and wants to be a rapper. Her dad was a rapper, known as Lawless, although he died when Bri was tiny. Bri now lives with her mum Jay and her brother Trey, who has moved back from college to help Jay with the bills. Then Jay loses her job and bills aren't getting paid, meaning Bri is more worried than ever and determined to get her come up to get somewhere.

She raps in the Ring against her dad's old manager's son, Milez. Her manager, her Aunt Pooh, gets her some studio time for her to record her song On The Come Up. It goes viral, but people misunderstand what Bri was trying to say in the lyrics. She's also hiding from her mum what she's doing, because she knows her mum won't approve.

Bri and Trey used to live with their dad's parents due to Jay's drug addiction. Bri still fears her mum falling back into those ways, and has quite a bit of recurring trauma from it. There's bad blood between Jay and her parents in law, and they want Bri and Trey to come to live with them again.

Meanwhile at school, the security guards on the door are known to unfairly target black and other minority students, but no one will listen to the students when they protest. Bri gets targeted and her friend Malik wants to publicise the video so people will believe them, but Bri doesn't want that hassle either. 

Bri's best friends are Sonny and Malik, but she feels like she's falling apart from them. She likes Malik and when he asks her out on what seems like a date she's excited. But there's also Curtis, who lives near her aunt, and who is definitely flirting with Bri. 

This is a book in which a lot happens! It's got twists and turns, it's got sweet romance, it's got hard hitting family stuff, it's got everything. I'm sure people will talk about how powerful it is, and it is, but it's also just really, really good. Angie Thomas has such a way with words; I find she really brings setting and characters to life - even minor characters like Scrap are beautifully drawn. I would honestly read a bunch of novels set in this neighbourhood - Bri mentions "the kid that was killed" in T.H.U.G. a couple of times which is a nice throwback. 

I wanted Bri to succeed so much; I hope the book does too. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes! This is a really excellent subplot, I won't spoil anything but I would read a whole novel of these characters. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Obviously! There's barely a white person mentioned except maybe the school superintendent? I loved that. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Jay is an ex-addict and I think it's important to note that it is discussed in some depth, plus the struggles she has staying clean. Bri has residual trauma from what happened with her mother, which is important to note too. 

Is there any sex stuff? No. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? They're mentioned a number of times, yes 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, in relation to both of Bri's parents. It's not graphic but may be upsetting. 

Are there swear words? Yes. 

What criticisms do I have? None. Not one. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. I loved The Hate U Give and I really want to see the film as I haven't yet, but I would say On The Come Up is better?!?! I cannot WAIT to see what Angie writes next. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I waited too long last time to read The Hate U Give and I was determined not to do that this time so I picked it up straight away. 

What other books is it like? The Hate U Give, obviously. It's definitely just as good and I loved the story. 

How many stars? Ten out of ten! 

Where is the book going now? I'm going to make my partner read it, so it's down his side of the bed!



The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths - Review

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I feel like I've been waiting FOREVER for the new Ruth Galloway book and indeed it is nearly a year since I read the last one, even though I've read two of Elly's books since then. I love Ruth so much - she always feels like a familiar friend and I love to go back to her house on the Saltmarsh with Kate and Flint to see what crime is happening this time.

This book is set in February just as Michelle's baby is due. She gives birth and Nelson wants to tell his daughters Laura and Rebecca about the fact that Ruth's daughter Kate is his child. I really liked this closer look at Nelson's family. Nelson behaved all the way through this book, there wasn't one bit where I winced at what he was doing!

Meanwhile Ruth is called to see a new henge that has been discovered near the site of the wooden one that is the focus of the first book, The Crossing Places, which she was a part of excavating with her mentor, Erik. Erik is dead, drowned in the marshes, but Ruth thinks she's seeing a ghost when she meets his son, Leif.

There are bones in the stone cist in the middle of the henge, bones that Ruth is pretty sure belong to a Bronze Age girl. But then she and Nelson are called back because other bones have been discovered - bones which turn out to belong to Margaret Lacey, who went missing after a street party in 1981. Nelson has to try to find out who murdered her then, and who has moved her bones since.

He's also receiving letters which are like the letters he received before, and given that Erik's son is around, Nelson calls that too much of a coincidence...

I absolutely raced through this book and I'm really glad I did - I'm glad I didn't "save" it but read it straight away. It was like being among friends and I liked it. I also like the softening we see in Nelson's character around many things but especially some of the more esoteric views of his friends. There's some theology in this which I obviously love.

I feel like this book brought us full circle from the first one, bringing us from Erik and the wooden henge to the newly discovered henge and Leif. I do know there will be at least one more Ruth Galloway novel as Elly has tweeted about it, but if there wasn't I do think this would be a lovely ending to the series. I felt like all the main characters came to some sort of resolution with what happened with Erik and their complicated feelings about him. Ruth is considering new jobs, which may mean of course that her time with Nelson helping the force is coming to an end, and which, in character, seems like she is stepping out of some traumatic times and looking forward. A great read, it's a good addition to the Ruth series.

Oh if I have one criticism it is that there isn't enough Cathbad in it! I love Cathbad, he's delightfully weird and reminds me of quite a few friends I've had. I would have liked a bit from his point of view... but next time maybe?!

I received an e copy of this book from Quercus Books but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah - Review

Sunday, February 17, 2019


Where did I get it? Penistone library a few weeks ago, I had to renew it actually as I hadn't got round to it in the three week loan period!

What's it about? I have to say first of all that I thought this book was new - certainly the copy I had was new to the library, so I assumed. It isn't - it was published in 2005, and I think it's obvious just how far YA publishing has come in thirteen years. I didn't like this book very much but I was compelled to keep reading it to the end because I wanted to know what happened.

Amal is the main character, she is sixteen and goes to high school in Melbourne. Right at the beginning of the book she decides to start the new school year wearing hijab full time. She's worn it before, including at her old Islamic school, but never full time. She knows it's going to attract a lot of comments and attention. There's Tia, a racist bully, to contend with, and Adam, who Amal has a crush on. 

She has two best friends from her Islamic school, Leila and Yasmeen. Leila is also a "full timer", ie she wears the hijab all the time out of the house, and her mum is determined to set her up with an eligible man instead of letting her go to university like she wants to. Yasmeen's family is mixed race - her mum is white, and is a convert to Islam. 

Amal also has two friends at school. Eileen is Japanese, although we don't learn too much about her, and Simone is white and overweight. They both stand up for her when she faces racism and negative comments. The three girls also end up becoming closer to Adam and to Josh, who has a crush on Simone. 

The storyline about Amal and her hijab and what it meant to her and what her religion meant to her was a good one. I liked how her decisions were shown, I liked how Islam was portrayed, and I liked what happened with Adam. I think that this storyline is great for any modern teen to read, whether they're in the UK or Australia or American, whether they're Muslim or not, whether they know people who wear hijab or not.

But. One of the subplots includes Simone's weight, and I just found this tiresome at best. She's constantly hounded by her family because of her weight, and she body shames herself and constantly diets and goes on about what she is or isn't eating. She isn't "really fat" though, which annoyed me because, what if she was??? I found this whole part so depressing and fat shaming, and I really think that if the book was published now it would have been edited to make this subplot better. 

What age range is it for? 13+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No. You'd think none of them had ever even considered anyone could be queer, which I also found annoying. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Obviously. There's a lot of discussion of race and culture, which I did like. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Marijuana I think may be mentioned? 

Is there any talk of death? No 

Are there swear words? No 

What criticisms do I have? See above 

Would I recommend the book? Honestly no. I think there's far better examples of Muslim teens

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I had picked it up in the library because I thought it was new, I was quite disappointed it wasn't. 

What other books is it like? It's a lot like Saints and Misfits by S K Ali only not as good. 

How many stars? Four out of ten 

Where is the book going now? Back to the library if I remember to take it!



The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby - Review

Thursday, February 14, 2019

I read this book for my book club, I'm not sure I'd have ever chosen it myself but I'm really glad I read it. I'm looking forward to discussing it with my book club next week! Trigger warnings for death if you're going to read it. Be careful with my review, too.

It's about an optician on the small Italian island of Lampedusa, which is between Sicily and Tunisia. The optician is never named, which for me adds an element of everyman about him - he's just a man who happens to be in a place at a time that he may not otherwise have been, and so may we be at some time. The optician, at the beginning of the novel, is lamenting the turn of the season in Lampedusa, meaning people are leaving for the Italian mainland and business is on the downturn. The optician and several friends are about to go out for the last time on the yacht belonging to one of them. The optician thinks about what could have happened that meant they didn't go - like a chance in the weather.

But they do go. On the second morning, the optician is lying in bed savouring the tranquillity. He goes up on deck and hears a noise that he at first takes for seagulls. Then he and the others realises that they are people screaming. They take the boat over and find people drowning in the sea.

They are migrants, coming on a boat from Africa to Europe. The boat has sunk and there are corpses everywhere. There are people still alive, too, though, screaming for help. The optician and his friends start to pull people out, scarcely able to believe what they are seeing. They pull people aboard a boat meant for ten, eventually saving 47 people. The boat is low in the water by the time they return to Lampedusa, told to leave by the Coastguard.

The migrants are taken to a centre on the island and the optician and his friends are left to deal with the trauma of what has occurred - and the knowledge that 350 more people have died, unable to be saved.

If the optician ever thought of migrants before, it was only in theoretical terms. Now he can't stop thinking about them - about the young man in the vermillion t-shirt, about the young woman found still attached to her newborn baby, about the outstretched arms of all those desperate to find sanctuary on the boat.

This is a really short book but incredibly powerful. The plight of the migrants is told horrifically - because it IS horrific that people die in unsafe boats in the sea, taken advantage of by unscrupulous traffickers and left to take their chances by the coastguards and governments. This is a true story, but names have been changed and Kirby, a journalist, has expanded the story to deftly get across the traumas suffered by all involved.


Proud by Various Authors - Edited by Juno Dawson - Review

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I had of course heard the buzz around Proud, a new anthology featuring LGBTQ+ stories by LGBTQ+ authors. Many of the authors will already be known to you, but, like with previous similar anthology Stripes, the publishers also solicited submissions from new, as yet unpublished authors, and four are featured here. The standard of stories is so high that I've already forgotten who the unpublished authors were, they're all excellent. I read this book in a couple of days while away last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

There are all kinds of teenagers here and all kinds of stories - a coming out story, a getting comfortable with yourself story, a coming of age story, a running away story - and all featuring queer teenagers of many types. There's trans kids and lesbians and gay kids and kids who aren't sure where they fit in yet. My favourite ones were the ones by Tanya Byrne, Fox Benwell, and Dean Atta. Dean's is a poem and it's right at the end and it hit me right in the feels. I loved it, I thought it was a perfect ending to the anthology.

I loved Tanya's story because it was about music and making friends through music, and I loved Fox's because it was about a fierce warrior and their friends.

This is a gorgeous anthology and I will probably buy myself a paper copy when it's out in March. I received a free copy of the ebook but was not otherwise compensated for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins - Review

Saturday, February 9, 2019


Where did I get it? Netgalley, thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to read this. 

What's it about? Vetty is moving back to London with her dad and sister Arial after living for four years in Somerset. Her mum died four years ago of cancer and the family went to live with Dad's sister Wendy and her girlfriend Fran. At that point, Vetty left behind her friend Pez. She met him when they were young, and they were inseparable, but they haven't had much to do with each other since she moved away so she's nervous about seeing him again. 

She gets back to London and finds a different Pez. His parents are still arguing like always. Pez is secretive and when Vetty meets his friends, she's not impressed with the way he treats a girl he's been seeing. But Vetty also starts to fall for March, this girl, as well. People assume things about Vetty's sexuality but she isn't sure what she feels - she likes both girls and boys. 

She gets a job working in March's mum's cafe, and the two girls begin to get closer. Pez is still going through some stuff, and when he goes with Vetty back to Somerset for her aunts' wedding the two of them talk about some stuff. 

I had a few problems with this book, which was a shame because I wanted to like it more than I did. Firstly, I felt like really nothing happened. It was like one third of the way through the book before anything actually happened - before that Vetty spent a lot of time just thinking about things only. Secondly, I found it daft that in four years Pez had never visited Somerset? It's not exactly the end of the earth to get from London to there, so I just thought this was daft. Thirdly, Vetty is really called Helvetica, and her sister is called Arial, and you can call your characters what you like but why name them after fonts??? The reason given - that Vetty's mum liked the order of fonts - was just daft, and kind of a pointless part of the book? It annoyed me.

Fourthly and perhaps most of all, to say this book is supposed to be about a bisexual girl, it doesn't mention the word "bisexual" until three quarters of the way through. And this isn't something that Vetty wouldn't know, she clearly would. She talks about her sexual feelings and how she likes just a person rather than a gender, but she can't even think she might be bisexual? It felt wrong and I was unimpressed. 

What age range is it for? 13+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yes, with the above caveat. The lesbian aunts was a nice touch, I liked their wedding and the conversations they had with Vetty. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes Pez is mixed race and I think March is too. It's set in a very diverse London, which is excellent. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No I don't think so. 

Is there any sex stuff? There's masturbation! I really liked this, I thought it was very well done and is good to see in a YA novel. There's mention of watching porn, quite a lot about idealised bodies in pornography, and other discussions of sex. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Maybe weed, nothing else. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, Vetty's mum died and there's something else that touches on death. 

Are there swear words? Yes 

What criticisms do I have? I think I've outlined them above. I didn't hate it, and your mileage may vary, but I was disappointed 

Would I recommend the book? Kind of, but I think there's better bisexual representation out there 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I've been trying really hard to get to my Netgalley books, and I was looking forward to it. 

What other books is it like? It reminded me of Odd One Out by Nic Stone which I read recently. 

How many stars? Six out of ten. 


All the Invisible Things is published in March 2019. I was given a free electronic copy of the novel but was not compensated in any other way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie - Review

Thursday, February 7, 2019

I'd heard about this book sometime last year since it won a bunch of awards, and I knew a few people who had read it and raved about it, so I ordered it. It's been sitting by my bed for a couple of months because I knew I wanted to get to it but wasn't sure when.

I started it on Monday and it took me a bit to get into because I wasn't sure where it was going. I had read that it was a modern telling of Antigone, but I'm not familiar with that story so I can't say if it's faithful or anything. It's about a Muslim family in London in the 21st century. Isma is the older sister, and for the last seven years, since the deaths of their mother and grandmother, she's been parent to her siblings Aneeka and Parvaiz, who are twins. Aneeka is off now at law school and Parvaiz has disappeared - supposedly to a cousin in Karachi, Pakistan, but really to fight for Islamic State in Syria.

Isma heads off to Boston, in the United States, to take up a post graduate research position. There, she meets Eamonn, an over privileged mixed race man not unknown to Isma - his father, Karamat, is from the same area of London that she grew up in and was known to Isma's family. Karamat is now a politician tipped to be Prime Minister, and in fact during the novel gets promoted to Home Secretary. Isma really likes Eamonn and hopes for more between them, but in the next part of the novel Eamonn returns to London and strikes up a relationship with Aneeka.

At this point in the book I couldn't really get where the book was going to go, but then it picked up and we moved through three other points of view before the end. I don't really want to say more as I don't want to spoil the book, but I thought it as a whole had a lot of depth and nuance. I liked Isma best, I understood how she wanted to do her duty even when it was painful. I liked how both sisters wore hijab but were very different about it, and how we the reader were let into their worlds when their heads were uncovered. I loved the setting and the politics, and I was really shocked by the ending. I knew it wasn't going to end well, but I utterly didn't expect that.

I haven't read anything by Kamila Shamsie before (I think I started and gave up on A God in Every Stone) but I definitely would again. Nine out of ten, utterly captivating.

I'm posting a picture of the blurb too because I think this helps to understand the story better.



Our House by Louise Candlish - Review

Monday, February 4, 2019

I was in the mood to read a thriller kind of novel, with a bunch of twists and turns, so when I saw this advertised for 99p I bought it on Kindle. I was hooked by the premise - a woman turns into her street one day and finds another family moving into her house. They say that she, Mrs Lawson, has signed all the contracts, along with her husband, Bram. But Fi has done no such thing and is in a state of shock.

We get four strands of narrative: Fi, on the day that house is sold, Friday the 13th of January, Fi, a couple of months later, telling her version of events on a real crime podcast, Bram, on Friday the 13th after he's absconded, and Bram's suicide note, that he starts writing on that day too. We learn that Bram had sex with someone else the previous summer, so he and Fri split up but decided to do "bird's nest" custody, meaning they both stayed in the house with their children at times, but lived elsewhere at other times. This gave Bram access to the house, and we see how he came to sell it without Fi's involvement.

I had seen that there was a twist in the last part, which kept me guessing all the way through. I picked up some red herrings and some bits, but didn't quite see what was going to happen. I liked Fi and Bram too, although I thought they both acted like terrible humans in parts. I thought Fi was a bit too obsessed with the house - it's just bricks and mortar after all, although my house isn't worth two point two million dollars so what do I know. I thought the constant 'oh and here's something else terrible that happened' was a bit frustrating, but over all I did like the book and it kept me hooked, which is exactly what I was looking for. I am giving it eight out of ten and will look for something else by the same author.


Pulp by Robin Talley - Review

Saturday, February 2, 2019


Where did I get it? I was poking around Netgalley and it was appearing as a "read now". I don't know enough about Netgalley to say whether that was just for me or generally or what, but I'd been wanting to read this book so I immediately downloaded it. Then, because I'm trying to read books I'm excited about straight away rather than put them off for months (I don't know why I do that) I started it just after the Maggie Stiefvater book. Thank you Negalley gods, anyway!

What's it about? It's about the lesbian pulp fiction books of the 1950s, which I'd heard of but don't know much about. There's a dual narrative. In 1955 we meet Janet, who's just graduated from high school and who is in love with her best friend Marie. The times mean that they can't be together; Marie's government job means that they have to be even more careful. Janet buys a pulp fiction book and falls in love with the genre and feels validated because she didn't know there were so many girls like her. She writes to the author and receives a reply, so begins to write her own book about two girls falling in love. 

In the other narrative we meet Abby, who is seventeen in 2017 and in her senior year of high school, about to apply to colleges. She and her girlfriend Linh broke up a few months ago and Abby's struggling with the feelings she still has for Linh. She loves lesbian pulp fiction books and wants to know what happened to an author called Marian Love. She also starts to write her own book in the genre, although she's trying to subvert the tropes. Her parents are falling apart but Abby buries herself in the mystery of what happened to Marian Love.

Interspersed are extracts from the novels mentioned, which I really liked reading. I would definitely read one of them in full! 

I liked the book, it's fun and moving all at the same time. I liked the stuff about how the 1950s and in particular McCarthyism meant that Janet couldn't be out about who she was. I liked that she got some good lesbian experiences, though - she has sex and she meets other lesbians in a bar. I liked that you could see the difference that sixty years of civil rights movements have made and that although things aren't perfect for Abby in 2017, she's able to be out to her family and has a ton of queer friends around her. I like how politically engaged both girls were, that's very relevant to today's teens. I liked the ending, it felt very real and was a happyish ending even if not perfect. 

I felt like some of the stuff about writing and getting published was quite meta, I felt like there was a lot of Robin's own experiences in there, which didn't detract at all from the book but which made me - an aspiring author - laugh a bit. I'm glad Robin put these bits in, it feels like she probably had fun with them. 

What age range is it for? 14+

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Obviously! There's a non binary person too which was nice to see although they were a secondary character. 

Are any main characters people of colour? Linh is Vietnamese American and Abby is Jewish, although these aren't central themes to the book but are mentioned. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, it's really lovely 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No I don't think so 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, somewhat violent but not explicit 

Are there swear words? Not that I recall 

What criticisms do I have? Almost none, I got a bit frustrated with Abby towards the end of the book, but I did feel sympathetic towards her 

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? It's ages since I read anything by Robin and I've heard really amazing things about this book so I wanted to see for myself. 

What other books is it like? It is like Robin's other books and like Becky Albertalli's. The stuff with Abby really reminded me of Leah on the Offbeat. 

How many stars? Eight out of ten! Lovely book, I'm glad I read it


 

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