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The It Girl by Ruth Ware - Review

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

As you may remember, I've set myself a challenge to read the books on this page excluding the ones I've already read (and possibly minus the Kate Mosse one because I just don't fancy it), so I got this one on my Kindle. I have been mostly reading on my Kindle in May because I've been away a bit and it's much easier to take my tablet with me rather than schlepp books around. It also means that if I'm not gelling with something while I'm away I can just choose something else. 

I have read a couple of Ruth Ware books before and thought they were okay, but with problems. I absolutely feel the same about this one, too. It's an interesting premise and I'm glad to have read it, but I do have criticisms. It's a shame because I wanted to like the book, but the criticisms were quite big. 

So the story. In the present day Hannah lives in Scotland, works in a bookshop, and is pregnant with her first child. Her husband, Will, in an accountant. Hannah is at work one day, around twenty weeks pregnant, when she gets a phone call from her mum to tell her that John Neville has died.

You see, Hannah was at university in Oxford ten years ago when her best friend and roommate, April, was brutally murdered in their 'set' (eg their suite of rooms). Hannah and their friend Hugh were walking back towards the staircase at the time and saw John Neville, one of the college's porters, leaving the staircase. Hannah's evidence was instrumental in putting Neville in jail, and now he has died, while protesting his innocence. 

The 'before' parts of the novel tell about Hannah arriving at Oxford, meeting April, and making friends. There's Will and Hugh, who April already knows, reserved Emily, and Ryan, who is from Sheffield and who therefore stands in as the comedy northerner (this is one of my criticisms because his accent is done terribly in parts). Hannah and Will have a spark between them, but Will and April start a relationship so Hannah tries to squash her feelings. The before parts of the book take us right through to April's murder. Hannah has forgotten a lot of what happened to April. 

So ten years later, in the 'after' parts of the book, she is married to Will and happily expecting her baby. But then Neville dies and reporters start to get in touch with Hannah again. Emily encourages her to speak to a reporter called Geraint, who is also friends with Ryan. Hannah does, and Geraint tells her that he believes Neville was innocent. Hannah starts to think about the night in question again, going over everything. Will wants her to stop - but what is he scared of her finding out? Hannah sees all her old friends - Emily still in Oxford, Hugh who lives in Edinburgh and who she's always been friends with, and Ryan, who has had a stroke and is recovering. 

I did like the mystery. April is a really unlikable character and it's interesting to learn how she manipulated all her friends, giving all of them a motive for killing her. But Hannah knows what she saw. She had had previous problems with Neville on a few occasions when he was creepy towards her. It's not such a stretch to imagine he could have been a killer, is it? Then there was Hannah's professor Dr Myers, who had taken an interest in April, but he was miles away, surely. 

But, I found that the characters didn't overly ring true to me in a number of ways. As I said, the comedy northerner shtick is really annoying, I wish authors would stop doing this just to show how northern and different someone is. Then the new students, aged 18 or 19 years old, just didn't speak like teenagers. The early parts of the book are supposed to be set in around 2011 but they utterly didn't act like teenagers then at all. I felt like actually the early parts of the book were set around 2002/2003, but the author wanted there to be Instagram and stuff, so had to change. 

Similarly, I felt like the characters in the later part of the book didn't ring true as 29 year olds either. Hugh is supposed to be a famous plastic surgeon despite the fact that he would have only qualified as a doctor a few years earlier? Will is worried about making 'partner' at his accountancy firm which didn't ring true either. And Emily is a renowned professor... Mmm. This bit felt like the characters were coming up to forty years old, but for some reason the author had made them a decade younger. Maybe she didn't want there to be a huge gap between the murder and the events of 'today', but I can't work out why. All of this really jarred me and make me give this book three out of five. 

Hungry by Grace Dent - Review

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Someone I know had been reading this book and I was intrigued so I requested it at the library. I don't love Grace Dent when she's on the telly but I was interested enough to read her memoir. I'm really glad I did because I really enjoyed it. I even absolutely devoured it! Yes that pun was intended!

Grace is about ten years older than me, but like me she's from the north, and there's definitely stuff I recognised from the beginning of her book, which focusses on her early life in Carlisle. She was the first child of both her parents, but both had children from previous relationships. Her dad, George, had no contact with his previous children and they were rarely talked about. George would say that Grace was his 'only little girl'. He is Scouse and ex army, both of which were things that had an impact on Grace's early life. She remembers him cooking 'sketti' for her and her younger brother.

Her mother, also called Grace, is less present in the beginning of the book but she is there. I loved the depiction of a northern, working class childhood, and her memories of food in among that. Grace soon had visions of life outside Carlisle, and she ends up at Stirling university. From there, she starts writing for a zine and a magazine and then starts pitching her work to magazines in London. She moves there and starts her career. Funnily there's no mention of her time as a soap critic - literally one line would have done. But there is a lot about her becoming a food critic, which is interesting. 

In the last third of the book, Grace's dad suffers from dementia and she feels split in half between her life in London and looking after both her ailing parents in Cumbria. It's something that a lot of people will recognise, I think, and I really felt for her. There is a lot of sadness in the book but some funny parts too. I liked it, I'm giving it four out of five.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson - Review

Thursday, May 25, 2023

I saw this book a few weeks ago but didn't buy it, but then saw it for very cheap on Kindle so bought it. I was away in Northern Ireland and usually take my Kindle when I'm on holiday so I started this. It's much easier to just read on my tablet when I'm on holiday, especially when flying. I say Kindle and I say tablet and mean the same thing because although it is a tablet, I don't use any of the other apps on it except the Kindle one. I sometimes do use the document reader if I'm cross stitching, but otherwise it functions just as a Kindle!

So, I liked the blurb of this book but I have to say it didn't entirely land with me. I feel like I've read this story a hundred times before and I'm just sort of bored of it. There were some original parts, like Covey's history with swimming, but generally I feel like I've read this before. Some chapters are really short and the point of view changes quickly, which I found annoying at times. Plus the style of writing jarred sometimes. There's parts that feel like a newspaper article - things are reported as having happened to to be going to happen, instead of the reader getting to see those things happen in real time. I understand that this can be a space saving device, but if you're so desperate for space in your novel then you've got too much stuff going on in it, in my opinion. 

So the story concerns Bryon and Benny's mother, Eleanor Bennett. Before the beginning of the novel, she has died. Benny has been estranged from the family for eight years, because she is bisexual, but that's never put into actual words so that annoyed me as well. Byron has been caring for his mother since the death of their father five years before. Eleanor has left a long recording for Byron and Benny with her lawyer and companion, Charles Mitch. She has also left one of her famous black cakes in the freezer and tells them to eat it 'when the time is right'. She says they'll know when the time is right.

We then go back to her early years, and her birth name, Coventina Lyncook. Her mother was from the Caribbean and her dad was Chinese, and Covey grew up 'on the island' which is assumed to be Jamaica. Apparently there were quite a few Chinese immigrants in Jamaica, which I didn't know and which I did find interesting. Lin, Covey's dad, is a gambler. Her mother leaves when Covey is small and never comes back or sends for her. Covey's mother figure is the housemaid, Pearl, with whom her mother used to make her famous black cakes as wedding cakes. Covey is a brilliant open water swimmer. She trains with her friend, Bunny, and then she meets a boy, Gibbs, and falls in love. The two plan to move to England to start a life together there, but unfortunately Lin has other plans for her. I won't say anymore of this story because it was interesting to see it unfold. 

Eleanor tells her children that they have a sister, and the story of how that happened comes out too. They make contact with her; she is a food historian and I did like the stuff she said here about food and culture and history and stuff. The book sort of lost me in the last third because the point of view jumps around all over the place, and there are way too many characters who all wanted to stick their oar in. I feel this end bit could have been massively streamlined and yes it may have left some questions unanswered for the reader, but I actually don't mind that. 

All in all, I was just a bit bored by the book and am giving it three out of five. 

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - Review

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Oxfam challenge prompt for May was "fantasy". Now, I'll admit I don't read a lot of fantasy. I'm just much more of a kitchen sink kind of person. I was a bit unsure as to what to read for this prompt, but then I remembered I'd bought The Ocean at the End of the Lane when it was like 99p on Amazon. It is fantasy but it's not high fantasy like Lord of the Rings - instead, the world is very recognisable as the one we live in, but with some magical elements. 

So, the unnamed narrator returns to where he grew up for a family funeral, although it's never clear who's. He leaves the wake and travels to where he used to live. The exact house no longer exists; his parents sold the land and lived on a smaller part of it, I think. Then the man drives further down, down to the farm where the Hempstocks lived. Forty years ago, when he was a small boy, the man met Lettie Hempstock, who was a few years older than him, and her mother and grandmother. Arriving now, he meets a woman who looks exactly like the grandmother, but it can't possibly be here, can it? Wouldn't she be dead by now? The woman gives him food and the man starts to remember things from so long ago. 

There was a pond behind the Hempstock farm that Lettie claimed contained the whole ocean. In the boy's house, a lodger arrives. He is an opal miner. He steals the family's car and takes his own life in the back of it, by the Hempstock farm. This lets something supernatural free into the area, and the boy wakes up choking on a coin. Lettie is told by her capable mother and grandmother to go and tell the monster to go away. She takes the boy with him, telling him to keep hold of her hand. However, something throws a thing at the boy, and he catches it. With that, something gets inside him. He later notices a small hole on the sole of his foot and pulls something free. But that's not the end of it either. 

The boy's parents hire a new nanny, Ursula Monkton. She immediately antagonises the boy, and vice versa. He ends up having to escape from her, to the Hempstock farm, and has to help Lettie fight the monster. The man says he hasn't been back to the farm in forty years, but Lettie's grandma says that's not true. It's just that he has forgotten what really happened.

I really liked the book. It's odd and quirky and has a big pinch of humour in it. I liked the boy and Lettie and her mother and grandma, definitely. I've never read anything by Neil Gaiman solely - I've read Good Omens by him and Terry Pratchett, which I loved (I also loved the TV show and am looking forward to series two!). On the basis of this book I would definitely read something else by him, though. I am giving this five out of five. 

A Spoonful of Murder by J M Hall - Review

Friday, May 19, 2023

I can't remember where I heard about this book but I was told it was for fans of Richard Osman and I liked the sound of it, so when I had an Amazon voucher I bought it. I'm glad I didn't spend my own money on it because it ended up being quite a disappointment. I lent it to my mum and I'll be interested to see what she thinks. 

So firstly the story, then I'll get into the problems with it. Three friends, all retired teachers, meet every Thursday at the local garden centre for coffee. They are Pat, married to a builder and with a seventeen year old son still at home. She is obsessed with her weight which is one of my problems as it's really dull to read about a woman worrying about eating a scone. Then there's Thelma, married to a man who may be a vicar or something, but honestly that bit was very confusing. She did something terrible while grieving when a young woman, but it's not clear what but it has shaped the type of person she was. Finally there's Liz, married to Derek and grandma to Jacob, who is having problems at school and who read to me as autistic but no one mentioned that word throughout the whole book so who knows. 

They are at the garden centre one Thursday when another ex colleague of theirs, Topsy, turns up with her daughter, KellyAnne. It becomes clear that Topsy is suffering from dementia and is a bit confused, but remembers her old friends. They talk to her a bit, feeling a bit guilty that they haven't seen her in so long, and then in the toilets she says something to Thelma about someone wanting her dead. Thelma thinks it's just a confused old lady saying things, so doesn't say anything.

Liz goes to visit Topsy the following Monday, and finds KellyAnne there, and an estate agent who is her friend, who's called Ness. There's a young man trying to deal with mending the telephone, and there's the cleaner, Paula, who Liz and co also used to work with so they know her well. Topsy gets confused with her tablets and there's also the mystery of the man outside in the rusty black van... And then a few days later Topsy is dead. The police seem inclined to believe it was just an accident, especially as KellyAnne was in Portugal at the time, but Liz, Pat, and Thelma aren't convinced, especially with what Topsy told Thelma. They start to investigate and discover that Topsy was defrauded out of all her life savings... but is that relevant to her death? 

So I did like the mystery, but there are too many red herrings. There's entirely too many characters in the book, and a lot of similar names which makes it hard to keep people straight in your head. I feel like at least one strand could have been cut and the book would have been just as good if not better. I didn't feel like the endings all really paid off, either, and I was just entirely baffled by what happened with the young man who was trying to mend the telephone line. 

The book also needed a better edit. There are several mistakes which I feel a good editor should have copied - for example, KellyAnne says a couple of times that she was "three thousand" miles away in the Algarve. The Algarve is not three thousand miles away. She also says she was in Santorini, which is in Greece (and which is still not three thousand miles away!). There's a few mistakes like this. There's also some linguistic tics that should have been sorted - for instance three different characters use the phrase 'bar-steward' in place of 'bastard' which is fien but I don't believe three different people would say this. The book feels a bit like it's been self published, if you know what I mean. 

I'm giving it three out of five and unfortunately I don't think I'll read anything else by the same author. 

Jamie by L D Lapinski - Review

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

I had been hearing about this book on Twitter for ages and knew I had to pre order it. I did so through Rhyme and Reason books who are a children's bookshop in Sheffield, because I like to support indie bookshops and they're just the absolute best people in there. It arrived in early April so on Good Friday Lee and I headed over to pick it up and get ourselves some brunch while we were out. When I went in to pick up the book I ended up buying three other books at the same time, oops. I have way too many books really. 

So Jamie is a non binary child who is in their last year of primary school. They live with their parents and their older brother Olly, who is gay. They have two best friends, Ash and Daisy. They are enjoying school until the two headteachers from the only two secondary schools in the area come to visit. That's when Jamie realises that they can either choose Such and Such Academy for Boys, or Such and Such Academy for Girls. 

But Jamie is neither a boy nor a girl. Where can they go to school? The headteachers and Jamie's own headteacher tells them they can choose, but that means ticking one box or another. Choosing one box or another. Jamie isn't prepared to do either, but isn't sure what they can do about it. 

The book is a fantastic middle grade book, perfect for 10-12 year olds in my opinion but really good for anyone older than that age too. Interspersed in the narrative are definitions of many terms like gender, pride, lgbtq+ etc, all explained in a very succint and accessible way. I also really liked that the reader NEVER knows what gender Jamie was assigned at birth. It absolutely does not matter, and when Jamie is asked at one point they stand up for themself and refuse to answer. I love this, it's a brilliant way to write a book and it makes the reader meet Jamie on their terms, with their own gender. 

I am giving this five out of five and can I say I sort of hope there's a sequel?!

Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare - Review

Saturday, May 13, 2023

I can't remember where I heard about this book but it appeared in my reminders so I must have heard of it then set that for a few weeks ahead. I could have bought the book but it was available at the library so I put a hold on it. I picked it up soon after. I was expecting a thriller like something by Louise Candlish or Harriet Tyce, but I think it fell a little flat. 

So Lena is the heroine of the novel and she is a singer in a dive club called the Canary, in London in 1935. She works for a man called Tommy. Her best friend Maggie is married to him, but he has affairs and is running a brothel from the flat above the club. One night at the end of August, Tommy dies by cyanide poisoning in the club while Lena is on stage. Maggie is there, and Tommy's girlfriend Serena, and any number of other people who would want Tommy dead. There is a diary entry from the person responsible, explaining how they did it, but obviously the reader doesn't know who that is.

We meet Lena on the ocean liner the Queen Mary, sailing from Southampton to New York. She was contacted by an old friend of her father's and offered the chance to go to New York to be in a Broadway musical. This old friend thought he owed something to Lena's father, Alfie. It does seem like it's too good to be true, but everything in Lena's life was falling apart, so she jumped at the chance. 

Lena was brought up by just her father after her mother left. Alfie was black, and from New York. Lena's mother was white, and Lena is very pale skinned and can pass as white if she wants to. She is trying to pass for white on the boat, travelling in first class and upscaling her accent to try to fit in. The person she is travelling with, Charlie, wants her to try to integrate with some of the other travellers, who may then want to sponsor her or the musical. 

Lena meets a black man called Will, a band leader on board the ship, and starts a friendship with him. Charlie introduces her to the Abernathys, and wangles his way on to their table. They are patriarch Francis Parker, who is disabled due to a stroke and travels with his doctor, Dr Wilding, and nurse, Mrs Lancaster, and his daughter Eliza and her family. She is married to Jack, and she has children Frankie and Carrie. 

Francis Parker is murdered in much the same fashion that Tommy was, showing that someone is trying to show that Lena was at both murder scenes. It's not obvious who she can trust, but she barely knows what is going on. 

I enjoyed the book up until about 4/5ths of the way through. I didn't believe the revelation of who was behind it all, and it wasn't very exciting or thrilling. I liked Lena and the boat setting, and several of the characters are likeable, or likably unlikeable, but I just felt the motivation behind the whole thing just didn't ring true. I'm giving this three out of five. 

Given by Natsuki Kizu - Review

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

My friend Chloe lent me this book because it's about boys in a band who fall in love and she thought I would like it. She was right, I did! I like graphic novels because I like looking at the art at the same time, and the artistic choices that have been made.

So the story is about a band and it ends up that there are two relationships going on between the four of them. Because this is the first volume, though, it mostly just sets up the band getting together. Ritsuka is the electric guitarist and he's still at school. He goes to his special spot one day and finds another boy sitting there. A boy with a very fancy guitar, but with apparently no idea how to play it. It's got broken strings, so Ritsuka helps the boy, Mafuyu, mend it. He isn't sure who the guitar belongs to, but Mafuyu wants to learn to play it so Ritsuka helps him. Ritsuka already knows the bass player, Haruki, and the drummer Akihiko, so the four of them do start a band by the end. 

Chloe asked me to guess which one of the boys was her favourite and it was a no brainer, it was obviously the soft blonde one Haruki. He's my favourite too! 

I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. I'm giving this four out of five. 

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole - Review

Sunday, May 7, 2023

You may remember that I'm doing a challenge this year where I am reading books by all the authors included in the new Marple book that I read last year, so in April I picked up When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole. I'm not familiar with the author but I was excited to read this as the premise sounded good. 

So, Sydney is a Black woman in her early thirties who lives in a historically Black neighbourhood in Brooklyn. Her mum owned a brownstone house, where she lived on one floor, Sydney lived on another, and Sydney's friend Drea lived on another. The house is clearly worth a lot of money now, especially since the neighbourhood is in the process of being gentrified. A medical research company has battled local protests to be allowed to use the old mental hospital as its new premises. This promises jobs and money in the area, but locals are unimpressed. The estate agent vultures have started to move in, promising to buy people out of their houses for good money. Sydney keeps batting them away, but her mother is really ill and she is worried about the medical debts and other stuff, so she's losing the will. 

One day she attends a walking tour of the area which goes through the historical inhabitants, but Sydney gets annoyed that they're ignoring the current inhabitants. She decides to put on a walking tour showcasing current people, and she's encouraged by some of the other residents, so she starts doing some research. On the first tour two new neighbours have arrived - Kim and Theo. They have a lot of money and have paid top dollar for their new house. Kim is immediately antagonistic towards her neighbours, being quite racist towards them. Sydney's new neighbours are similar, crowing about the steal of the house. 

Some of the book is told from Theo's point of view and we learn that things are not rosy between he and Kim. Kim's family is very wealthy and has put most of the money in to the house and renovations. It's easy to like Theo and feel sympathetic towards him, but he has dark secrets too, which he does end up spilling Sydney but it takes a while. Theo starts to help Sugney with her research. Strange things are happening around the neighbourhood. Sydney and Drea had had an argument but Sydney can't contact her friend at all.

This is an excellent thriller and I enjoyed the neighbourhood and all the different characters who lived in it. I like Sydney and wanted her to succeed at what she was doing. It also has some science fiction elements which I liked too. I'm giving this four out of five. 

If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St Jude - Review and Blog Tour

Friday, May 5, 2023

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the tour for If Tomorrow Doesn't Come by Jen St Jude! It is a pleasure to welcome you here. Please do click around and read some of my other reviews. I read a lot of queer YA so you will probably find something you like here too. I liked the sound of this book so signed up immediately for the tour. I liked the book and would definitely read something else by the same author. It's a strong debut! 

So I knew right from the off that there was a lot of talk of suicide in the book, so I want to give the same trigger warning here. Suicide is a massive trigger for me, but I did know going into the book that Avery, the main character, is about to take her own life right at the beginning of the book. That meant it was okay for me to read, and not triggering, but I did find it a difficult and sad read and I would warn for this for other readers too. I have lost someone close to suicide, and suffer with depression and anxiety myself, so I empathised with Avery and felt very sad for her. I hope that if this book will be difficult for you to read that you will take care of yourself. 

So all that aside, the book. Avery is a freshman at Eaton College which is a few hours away from her home in New Hampshire. She is a soccer player and shares her room with another soccer player, Aisha, who is Nigerian. It is Avery's nineteenth birthday and she has decided to end her life. She is struggling at college, finding it hard to make friends, finding soccer hard, and feeling like she has to hide the fact that she is gay. She has failed one class and can't see a way round it. She has also fallen out with her best friend of several years, Cass, who she's in love with. Cass is also gay and has been out forever, and the two had a moment when Avery visited Cass in New York, but then everything went sour and they have barely spoken since. Avery's mum's sister also took her own life on the day Avery was born, and Avery has lived with that ever since (something I very much understand and empathised with). So Avery has written some notes (I would point out that the majority of people who die by suicide DON'T leave a note, but Avery does) and walked down to the river.

However, then she gets a phone call from Cass. She is panicking, trying to tell Avery the news. Hackers have hacked into NASA and discovered that there is an asteroid heading towards earth. It is supposedly going to hit Arizona and take out a lot of the United States, and its impact will be felt worldwide. It is going to hit in nine days and everyone is panicking. 

Avery runs back to her dorm and finds that Aisha is trying to work out how to get home to Nigeria. Cass is trying to get home to Kilkenny from NYC, so Avery wants to go there too. People are leaving Eaton College in droves. Avery and Aisha manage to get a lift to Boston with a professor, and the professor whose class Avery has failed cadges a lift too, with his dog. In Boston they manage to catch up with Cass, even though cell phone service and wifi are really patchy, and she, Avery, Aisha, Dr Talley and the dog head to Kilkenny.

Avery's parents are there along with her brother, sister in law, and nephew. They plan to build a bunker in the basement to try to survive after the asteroid has hit, so they begin collecting supplies. Avery and Cass have to work out how to be around each other again.

Interspersed with the present day are flashbacks to different times in Avery's life - realising she was in love with Cass, prom with a boy called Clayton, starting college, and more. I liked these flashbacks as they explained Avery's life and how she had got to the point of wanting to take her life. 

The book is extremely sad but very well written. I'm giving it four out of five. 

If you would like other books in a similar vein, I would recommend On the Beach by Nevil Shute and Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel 

Straight Expectations by Callum McSwiggan - Blog Tour and Review

Monday, May 1, 2023

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the tour for Straight Expectations by Callum McSwiggan! Please do click around and read some of my other reviews as I often read and review books by queer writers or featuring queer characters. When I heard the blurb for this story I was immediately intrigued and signed up for the tour immediately. I'm glad to say the book did not let me down at all - it's funny, fun, and deserves to take its place alongside authors like Alice Oseman, Simon James Green, and Becky Albertalli. I will definitely look out for something else by the same author because I liked the book so much and found it such an easy read. 

So Max is seventeen and in Year 12 at school, the first year of sixth form. He is openly gay. His parents divorced when he was younger. He is best friends with Dean and Alicia. Dean is also gay, and hopefully headed to drama school. He is the star of the drama shows put on by the school. Alicia, too, knows where she's going - she designs the sets for the plays and she's heading for art school. Max is planning on taking a gap year to travel after college, but isn't sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life. 

Max has a huge crush on a boy called Oliver Cheng, who is newish to school and a star of the football team. He is friends with  Thomas, who bullied Max and Dean when they were younger and who now remains a bit of a homophobe towards them and is generally a bit of a dick. Max does not dare to speak to Oliver even though Dean and Alicia both encourage him to. Max feels a bit out of place; he likes fashion and wears somewhat outrageous outfits, like Dean does, but he just feels like he's got a lot against him. Dean and Alicia are both Black so they rightly point out the privileges that Max has that they don't. This spills over into a fight one night and Max wishes that he could just be straight! 

When he wakes up the next morning, it's to an entirely new world. His hair is different; his wardrobe is really boring. His parents are still together but rowing all the time. Max heads to school and finds that there, everyone thinks he is straight. Alicia is his girlfriend. Oliver and Thomas are his friends and Dean - where is Dean? Surely everyone can't have forgotten Dean! 

Max has to try to figure things out, including himself. Some things remain true to his personality even though in this world he is straight. He keeps messing things up with Alicia, by accident, but he does at least have chance to get to know Oliver better. But he wants to get home, back to his reality. He's got to find Dean... And maybe if he can work that out, he can work out what he wants to do with his life, too. 

This is such a good read, a really fun book with poignant parts too. I'm giving it five out of five and will hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!


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