Wednesday, 30 June 2010
This week I'm waiting on...
Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick.
Summary from Goodreads.com: First love, broken friendships, and heartache all play a part in this evocative, voice-driven novel about Alex, a girl whose world is ripped apart when her father’s affair splits her family in two.
Alex moves with her mess of a mother to a new town, where she is befriended by hot, enigmatic Fred—and alternately flirted with and cold-shouldered by Fred’s twin sister, Adina. Others warn Alex to steer clear of the twins, whose sibling relationship is considered abnormal at best, but there’s just something about Fred—and something about Adina—that draws Alex to them and makes her want to be part of their crazy world…no matter the consequences.
Doesn't this sound amazing? I'm getting more and more into realistic fiction these days. I'm not really sure what to expect from this one, but I think the amibiguity is going to be part of its charm. Plus, twins are just basically fascinating, and that's a fact.
And while I know the cover for this one isn't exactly seasonal right now, come Autumn it will be. And it's lovely.
This one hits the US on October 5th 2010. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a UK publication too.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
I had mixed feelings about it. On the plus side, I got to wear cute little ballet slippers and show off how graceful I was in front of a room full of my schoolmates. On the minus side, I didn't get to wear a tutu or tie my ballet shoes with crisscross ribbons. The teachers at this 'school of dance' (yes, they had the audacity to call it that) insisted that we were there to learn, not to prance around like princesses.
Boo! I was five. Ballet was all about the tutu.
On the even more minuser side, I really wasn't all that graceful. Well, not in real life. In my head I was elegant and talented and quite possibly on the verge of a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. But unfortunately, for the failed ballerina teaching the class, my Pas de Cheval resembled (and this is a direct quote) 'the six million dollar man running in slow motion'. Ouch.
At the height of my enthusiasm for ballet, my mother gave me a copy of Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes. I was seven, and I fell in love with it. The story of three adopted sisters who are put 'on the stage' to save their household's finances, it had everything I loved about ballet and none of what I hated. It was set in the olden days. It had sisterhood and glamour and taffeta dresses. It was about the kind of ballet that existed in my head and not in a drafty church hall on a Monday evening.
But my absolute favourite thing about Ballet Shoes was always the characters. There was Pauline, the eldest: blonde-haired and exquisitely beautiful, we followed her journey to becoming a Hollywood movie star. Next was Petrova, the Russian-born tomboy who didn't really want to dance - she hoped to fly aeroplanes someday - but did so because her family needed the money. The youngest was redhead Posy, the daughter of a ballerina who inherits her mother's gift and is on her way to becoming a prima ballerina by the end of the novel. The book ends by sending the girls off to their very different destinies in the world, and asking the reader which of the three they would rather be. For me there was no contest. Posy was my favourite: self-assured and a little bit big-headed, she was the kind of precocious child that seven-year-old me could relate to all too well.
I've reread Ballet Shoes so many times I've lost count. I've come to appreciate the strong female leads and the fact that it's a book about three girls vowing to make their own way in the world at a time when feminism was still in its early stages. It's a book that says girls can choose their own destinies and their own paths and do any job they want. Oh, and I can't be sure, but my grown-up self guesses that the two female doctors who rent out rooms in the girls' family home are meant to be a couple. My favourite character has shifted: first to Pauline, and now to Petrova. I guess I've finally made peace with my clumsy, ungraceful inner tomboy.
Verdict: Every girl should read this one. It's the ultimate comfort read: a book full of nostalgia and old-fashioned values that still manages to bring a little girl power into the mix. If you've somehow missed it, you're missing out. It's divine.
Monday, 28 June 2010
In addition to romantic entanglements, The Other Countess sweeps readers off their feet with its captivating Elizabethan setting. We accompany the characters to jousting tournaments and extravagant court banquets, where they rub shoulders with the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh and even the Queen herself. Eve Edwards' vision of Tudor England is clearly crafted from an impressive knowledge of the era's customs and politics. It's stunning in scope and filled with delightful little details that readers will savour. There's also a real sense of the world beyond our main characters' lives, and the markedly different ways in which commoners find a 'match'.
Within this world, main characters Ellie and Will find themselves drawn together in a society that makes a relationship between them utterly impossible. Despite the bad blood between their families, an initial attraction gradually blossoms into friendship and longing. Although Ellie also faces a threat to her honour in the form of a rich - and titled - young scoundrel with little respect for beautiful girls, the main obstacle to Ellie and Will's love is money... or the lack of it. In contrast, Will's prospective match Lady Jane can offer him a dowry of high enough value to provide for his family, but there's no love between them. Prepare for a tale of inner turmoil and suppressed passions that will definitely appeal to all those hopeless romantics out there.
The Other Countess is a sumptuous historical romance with a love story that modern readers are sure to relate to. It's the type of novel you can lose yourself in for hours - but prepare to feel vaguely surprised when at last you wrench your gaze up from its pages to find yourself back in the dull old 21st century. Delicious.
Out: 1st July 2010, UK
Thank you to Puffin for sending a review copy of this book.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
You know what? I had an amazing week for review books. Everything I received appeals to me, in completely different ways. Sadly, none of the books I'd ordered online showed up yet, but I have enough here to keep me busy alright. All links go to Goodreads.com.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
I believe in true love. Although I'm cynical about the idea that there's one special someone out there for everyone - in a world as big as ours, holding out for somebody who may never cross your path strikes me as a gamble too far - at the same time, I'm a romantic at heart. My Name Is Memory is a novel that walks that line between scepticism and the longing to believe that many of us feel. It's a powerful love story about two characters who have lived over and over again, crossing paths every now and then. But only one of them remembers.
Everything about the way reincarnation is depicted in this book rings true, and I think that's largely down to the way that Daniel is so clearly shaped by his experience of returning in different bodies. He sees the arc of his life as spanning across all of his lives, over hundreds and even thousands of years. He doesn't fear pain or even death in the same way that many of us do - to him, pain is fleeting, and death is a transition. For Daniel, it's all been building up to the moment when he and the woman whose name he first knew as Sophia would be in the right bodies at the right time. Their love has the weight of centuries behind it, and it's that which convinces the reader so completely that Daniel and Lucy are meant to be together.
Compellingly, Brashares weaves this notion of reincarnation into the reader's familiar experience of the everyday world: the birthmark that represents a wound in a past life, children who talk of once being older than they are now, that feeling of being inexplicably drawn to someone you barely know. In a way, it's comforting - the idea that even though death comes to us all, it doesn't necessarily mean the end for that great love of your life. It's certainly thought-provoking. In fact, it's almost impossible to read Daniel and Lucy's story without relating it to your own life. Is 'the one' out there, waiting for you? If you've found 'the one', is death the end or will you meet again someday? And though as I write this it sounds completely corny to my cynical self, somehow Brashares makes it seem romantic and reassuring and beautiful.
This book is nothing if not epic. The narrative cuts between chapters telling the story of Daniel's past lives and chapters focusing on the interaction between him and Lucy in the present. This does mean that we get to know Daniel in far more detail than we ever know Lucy or her previous incarnations. This is resolutely Daniel's story, at least until the final chapters when Lucy is finally able to challenge the wisdom of his refusal to let himself live in the moment. Though the ending may leave readers puzzled at first, the story is probably all the richer for its ability to get the reader thinking rather than attempting to supply all the answers.
My Name Is Memory is a sweeping love story that really makes you think about the way that we live our lives. It has genuine crossover appeal, because it speaks to readers at all stages in their own journeys. It's the type of book that takes all those questions we ask ourselves about destiny and the meaning of life and explores them so convincingly that it's almost as though the author has stumbled upon a secret truth. Magical.
Out: 24th June 2010, UK / 1st June 2010, US
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for sending a review copy of this book.
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Told in a series of connected poems, One Of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies is a shining example of a much-underrated form. Having only fairly recently discovered for myself just how absorbing the YA verse novel can be, I can relate to all those who don't think they'd enjoy reading a story written entirely in poetry. Especially if - like me - you're not a huge fan of poetry in general. But if any verse novel can change your mind, I think it might be One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies. With an engaging story and a wonderfully snarky narrator, this one is gold.
In this particular verse novel, the poetry is interspersed with the occasional prose email from main character Ruby to the people who mattered most in her life back in Boston: her boyfriend Ray, her best friend Lizzie, and her much-missed mum. Each of the poems has its own subtly unique flavour, but flows as part of a seamless whole. As a protagonist, narrator Ruby shares poignant memories, striking imagery and the occasional WTF moment, taking the reader with her through the grieving process and out the the other side. It's also a journey of discovery, as Ruby slowly realises that maybe everything she thought was true about her father... isn't.
The majority of Ruby's story takes place in Hollywood, home of her movie-star father. For Ruby, it's like a different planet. Being snapped by the paparazzi, attending a school that has its own resident drug dealer, living next door to Cameron Diaz... Despite the sad circumstances, the setting gives her journey an element of wonder that ensures it never becomes dark or depressing.
One of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies is a sensitive and thoughtful story about a girl who loses everything - and then finds something new. It's insightful and surprisingly upbeat and at times laugh-out-loud funny in a way I hadn't realised a verse novel could be. It's like a hit of pure YA amazingness. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys verse novels and anyone who thinks they just might, given the right book. This may well be the right book.
Out: already, US.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
Aimee Friedman is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for young adults, including South Beach, French Kiss, Hollywood Hills, A Novel Idea, and, most recently, The Year My Sister Got Lucky. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Aimee attended the Bronx High School of Science, but she always wanted to be a writer, never a scientist. Though she does not know how to swim, she loves living on the island of Manhattan, where she also works as a book editor.
Summary from Scholastic: Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science...and not so great with boys. After major drama with her (now ex) boyfriend, she's happy to be spending the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.
On the lush, beautiful island, Miranda finds new friends and a community with a mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, romance...and reality.
Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?
And now, as promised, Aimee's guest post...
Growing up, I was fascinated by mermaids. The rippling hair, the shimmering tail, the grace under water compelled me, a city girl who didn’t know how to swim. Naturally, my favorite fairy tale was The Little Mermaid. I enjoyed the Disney version, but what really drew me in was the original Hans Christian Andersen: that much darker tale of forbidden love, transformation, and
sacrifice. I began to search for other mermaid stories to slake my curiosity. I devoured Greek myths about the singing sirens, the nymphlike Nereids, Poseidon the king, and the lovelorn merman, Glaucus. I sought out movies like Splash, about a Manhattan mermaid, and The Secret of Roan Inish, a wonderful Irish film about the legend of selkies — seals who shed their skins to become human. (I highly recommend both movies, even if you aren’t obsessed with sea creatures!).
Is it any surprise, then, that I would wind up writing Sea Change? I got the idea for the book, fittingly, on a ferry ride. I was standing at the railing, staring into the frothy waves, and thinking about mermaids, mermen, and selkies. When I sat down to outline the story, I had these many legends bubbling in my head. I knew I wanted to incorporate them into the story, while also inventing new mythologies specific to Selkie Island. (I’d originally wanted to call the island Poseidon Island, but my editor wisely suggested a subtler, less recognizable name). In a way, Sea Change is about the power of legends and stories; Miranda begins to fall for the legends of Selkie Island just as she begins to fall for Leo. And though logical, level-headed Miranda is very different from me, with my wild imagination, she can’t help but be seduced by the myths and the mystery.
I love asking readers: what myths and fables spoke to you when you were younger? What have stayed with you since? And which, of all those fantastical stories, do you still, in spite of everything…believe?
Thank you Aimee, for a beautiful guest post. I know I'll never stop believing in the possibility of mermaids, unicorns and dragons, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.
Want to know more? You can check out Aimee's website here and even get a sneak peak inside Sea Change here. And don't forget to catch the next stop on the tour at Word For Teens on Friday.
Many thanks to Big Honcho Media for inviting me to host this stop on the Sea Change book tour.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
We first hear from main character Georgie Harris when she decides to contact her favourite actor, Dylan Curtland - the star of her favourite soap opera. In these early emails, Georgie seems to be your average celebrity-crushing teen. She gushes, she tells Dylan she loves him, and it's clear how much she wants to believe that the standard replies she gets back from him are written just to her. Her friend Jessica thinks she should just get over it. But then, something amazing happens. Georgie gets the email that changes everything. A real, personal, just-for-Georgie email from someone who might just turn out to be the friend she's always needed.
It doesn't take long for this new 'e-mate' to realise that Georgie is going through a difficult time at home. Her stepdad is a bully, and she misses her own dad. Even her summer holiday is beginning to look like it's going to be a total washout, as she's forced to look after her half-sister every day instead of going to the drama workshop all her friends will be at. But with the encouragement of her new online friend, Georgie finds a way to slowly start turning things around. Through emails, we follow the ups and downs of Georgie's summer as a life-changing friendship grows on the pages before us.
Much of what Georgie goes through will be familiar territory for most readers, as she negotiates her way through cringe-inducing beauty disasters, toxic friendships and the uncertainty of her first romance. Where Georgie's story differs is in the influence that her new online friend has on the way she deals with her troubles. Because this is where the format really counts: not only is the story is told in emails, but the emails are the story. And when the story begins to take a darker turn, Georgie's e-mate shows us what real friendship is all about.
Georgie herself is a sparky, easy-to-relate to character whose emails are written with a quirky and endearing individuality. She's the kind of protagonist who'll have you cheering her on through the good times and commiserating through the bad times. Fans of romantic storylines will especially appreciate the sweet and tender (and yes, swoonworthy!) story of Georgie's first real love. At the same time, there is major substance here. As Georgie confides more and more in her online friend we begin to see that her stepdad's bad moods might just be far more sinister than we first realised - and it's down to Georgie's e-mate to help her.
Although Dear Dylan covers some serious themes, it does so with a lightness of touch that keeps the reader captivated from start to finish. There's also a real specialness in the way that the email format brings so much to the story. It's a book that reminds us of the power of true friendship. It's intimate and honest, and written with a freshness that I believe will enchant teen and adult readers alike. I loved it.
Out: 24th March 2010, UK / currently available for free download (yes, you read that correctly!) right here at Siobhan Curham's website.
A sincere thank you goes to the author for providing a review copy of this book.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Set in the small town of Junction, 13 to Life is definitely a paranormal romance that ticks all the boxes. When mysterious Pietr Rusakova arrives at Junction High, he's just bursting with that special brand of arrogance and charisma that we readers have come to expect from our supernatural love interests. Our heroine, Jessie Gillmansen, is initially unimpressed - but it doesn't take a scientist to figure out that the sparring between these two can only mean one thing: major chemistry. And when I say major, I mean it - these two set the sparks flying, the air crackling with electricity and the pages turning like crazy. Thrown together at school, the attraction between Jessie and Pietr gradually deepens into the beginnings of love. Of course, we readers can also make the connection between Pietr's arrival and the strange creature lurking in the shadows around town - and unless you failed to notice the book's title before you started reading, it's not difficult to figure out what young Mr Rusakova's big secret is. This paranormal romance is sweet, stormy and dangerous.
But where this one really makes an impression is with the elements that take the story off the beaten track and into less familiar territory for the genre. Take our MC, for example. Heroines of YA paranormal romance can often be a little passive for my liking, but Jessie is a character whose inner strength shines through. She's not your regular 'everygirl': she has a witty and engaging voice, a fascinating backstory and is drawn with the kind of complexity that means she doesn't always behave in ways that are predictable to the reader, but she is true to herself and her own motivations. Then there's the element of mystery about Jessie's past, and her somewhat strange friendship with schoolmate Sarah. This gives the story an added intrigue quite separate from Pietr's own secret, and a satisfying depth beyond that which I was expecting to find. The biggest surprise, however, is one I don't want to spoil by even hinting at. Because just when I thought Pietr's big mystery had been revealed to Jessie, we learn that there's more to it - and it's a huge, jaw-dropper of a revelation that promises to take the sequel in directions I hadn't even considered.
13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale is a delicious combination of all my favourite YA paranormal romance ingredients, topped with a generous sprinkling of tantalising variations. It's the perfect blend of cosy familiarity and intriguing newness. A new twist on a favourite genre.
Out: 22nd June 2010, UK
Thanks to Carla at The Crooked Shelf for organising the book tour for this one.
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Another excellent week for me, with some amazing sounding books and gorgeous swag. All links go to Goodreads.com.
This one is with me on loan, as part of the Get Song Quest Back In Print book tour organised by Becky at The Bookette. I'm especially psyched to read it since Becky clearly loves it so much.
Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham
So, what did everyone else get?
Friday, 18 June 2010
Now a ward of the state, Pancho is taken to St. Anthony's home for boys. He plans to leave as soon as he can, and track down his sister's killer. But there he meets D.Q., another boy with big plans. And his plans involve Pancho.
The Last Summer of the Death Warriors begins by introducing us to two very different teenage boys who both seem to be set on the path towards death. For D.Q., the death is his own. He's sick with an inoperable cancer that is slowly draining the life out of him, and seems to have come to terms with the end that he feels is probably inevitable. For Pancho, the death is one he intends to inflict. He's convinced that his sister was murdered, and since the police aren't interested he's determined to bring the killer to justice in his own way. For the reader, what follows is a powerful and poignant story of male friendship, coming-of-age and what it really means to be alive.
Male leads are something of a minority in YA fiction, and Stork spoils us here with not one but two complex and authentic male characters. Our protagonist is Pancho, whose recent life has been defined by loss and has brought him to a point where his own future means nothing to him. He wants revenge, and fully expects that he'll eventually end up in prison as a result. Nothing else matters, because he has nothing else. He doesn't talk if he can help it, and when threatened his natural response is to fight. He's a tough guy, not a girl's idealised version of a tough guy, and that's probably what makes him such a fascinating character. In contrast, secondary character D.Q. is a boy who dwells on the meaning of the life. He's a big talker. He knows the cancer will probably kill him, and this knowledge is precisely what makes him want to find his purpose and really live while he still has the chance. For some reason, when Pancho arrives at St. Anthony's home for boys, D.Q. feels a connection. He's sure that Pancho will be the one to help him fulfil his purpose, despite the fact that Pancho would rather be left alone.
And so begins a strangely beautiful friendship, and a journey that takes us to the edge of death for both boys - in very different ways. When D.Q.'s estranged mother insists that he come to Alberquerque to undergo a last-chance attempt at a new treatment, he convinces Pancho to accompany him. Since Alberquerque is the hometown of the man he suspects of causing his sister Rosa's death, Pancho agrees. The mystery of Rosa's death is intertwined with D.Q.'s own quest to find his purpose, and the two boys' inner journeys are in many ways like two halves of the same coin. This lends the book a kind of emotional richness that allows one character's experience to give us insight into the other's, and that ultimately means we come to care deeply about both of them.
Though the subject matter might sound a little sombre, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors is written with the kind of wry humour and matter-of-factness that simply tells it how it is. It may be a little too contemplative for some readers' tastes, but it's the kind of story that will leave a lasting impression. It's frank and funny and thoughtful. I started it thinking, like the characters, that I knew exactly where their stories were heading. I didn't, and neither did they. This one is full of surprises.
Out: June 7th 2010, UK / March 1st 2010, US
Many thanks to Scholastic UK for sending me a review copy of this book
Wednesday, 16 June 2010
This week I'm waiting on...
Take Me There by Carolee Dean
Summary from Goodreads.com: Dylan has a bad-boy past and a criminal record. He knows that rich, beautiful Jess is way too good for him—but she has always been the one person who sees through his tough exterior and straight to his heart, and he has been hopelessly in love with her from the first time they met. He would change his life for a chance with her.
But trouble follows Dylan wherever he goes, and a deadly mistake soon forces him to hit the road and leave his dreams behind. He’s on the run and in search of answers—answers to questions he wishes he’d never asked.
Even though I'm mostly about the sci-fi and paranormal, like most people I love a good love story. With this one I'm liking the sound of the connection between Dylan and Jess, and the whole tough-cookie-with-a-sweet-heart vibe is always irresistible. Plus, will you check out that cover? Love it.
The US gets this one on July 20th. Right in time for summer!
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
I'm not kidding. When questioned a few years ago, he told me that the last novel he read was Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In A Boat, in approximately 1967. Not a bad choice, but it wasn't even his. He was made to read it at school, shortly before turning in his text books to take up an apprenticeship at the age of fifteen.
My dad was good at technical stuff. He could do my GCSE maths homework without a second thought, decades after his own last maths lesson. But when I asked him why he didn't like to read, he said something I couldn't fathom: it just didn't appeal to him.
To me, this was like saying that he didn't see the appeal in breathing. You know, if breathing was actually fun and fulfilling as well as basically vital. On one level I was shocked, but on another I wasn't. My dad and I were worlds apart in many ways. We often didn't 'get' each other. For me, his lack of interest in fiction was yet another major difference in our respective outlooks, and in who we each were at our very core. I can't remember who I was before I loved reading. He couldn't remember ever liking it at all.
Last year, my dad got sick. At first he thought he had swine flu, but a few months passed and he didn't get better. He had cancer. In his last few months he was in hospital a lot, away from his guitar and his computer and his golf clubs. I joked with him about bringing him in some books to read. I guess I kind of hoped he'd say yes. He died five weeks ago today.
Since then, I've found memories of my childhood floating to the surface. Surprisingly, some of them involve my dad and... books. Roald Dahl books, to be exact. I've remembered reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and picturing Charlie Bucket looking exactly how my dad did in the few photos of him as a child. Why? Well, mostly because they both lived in the olden days, and because they both had bedridden grandparents living with them. (Although to be fair, my dad only had one of those, and she had her own bedroom.) I've also remembered the time my dad washed my six-year-old sister's hair for her, and complained that he couldn't get the shampoo out. Of course he couldn't. I'd read George's Marvellous Medicine, and been inspired to create a dubious mixture of my own... with the entire contents of my parents' bathroom cabinet. Despite being a pretty strict parent in some ways, he let that one slide.
And finally, I've remembered something else. My dad read us bedtime stories. And he liked The Twits.
Now, I didn't like The Twits. As a child, it was my least favourite Roald Dahl book. I thought it was icky. But my sister (she of the toothpaste-and-talcum-powder hair treatment) thought it was hilarious. And since I liked a bedtime story, on the nights my dad was reading that one to her I'd listen in. It was a pretty twisted tale, about a quite disgusting couple who played mean tricks on each other. Like getting the other one to eat worms disguised as spaghetti. Or tying so many balloons to the other that they nearly float off into space. But eventually, they get their just desserts, when their ill-treated pet monkeys play a nasty trick on them. And they don't live happily ever after.
When I remembered my dad reading this book to us, I decided to reread it myself. I asked myself, what did he see in it? What made this one appeal to a person who didn't usually see the appeal of reading? So I read it this week, and actually I was pleasantly surprised. Like much of Roald Dahl's work, it's darkly funny. It's the kind of book that's perfect for younger children, because it's a little bit gross and not at all sensible. It's spirited and beard-hating and odd, but charmingly so. It revels in naughtiness and in some ways it sets a bad example, but it has a good message at heart: if you're mean, you'll get your comeuppance. And you'll deserve it.
Verdict: The Twits is still not my favourite Roald Dahl book, but it is a classic. And it's perfect for reluctant readers. Even grown up ones.
Sunday, 13 June 2010
Specials is the final book in the original Uglies trilogy, set in a dystopian future where extreme surgery is compulsory at the age of sixteen. It's also the last instalment in the story of sixteen year old heroine Tally Youngblood. Having experienced life as an Ugly and a Pretty, Tally is now a Cutter - a super-strong, super-fast and somewhat scary junior member of Special Circumstances. It's her job to keep rebellious Uglies and Pretties in line, with the help of her icy new senses, her skintenna communication device and the equally Special members of her clique, the Cutters. It should be easy. She's physically superior to the random Uglies, and mentally superior to the bubblehead Pretties. But at what cost?
Although the Uglies trilogy follows the journey of a single protagonist, Scott Westerfeld gives us a different version of Tally Youngblood in each instalment. I have to confess that I liked the Uglies Tally best - the tricky, flawed and slightly innocent everygirl just beginning to question the values that she'd taken for granted her whole life. In Pretties, there was the sense that deep down that Ugly Tally still existed, and that reversing the bubblehead operation by whatever means might just bring her completely back. But in Specials we get something different: a Tally Youngblood so utterly transformed that we begin to wonder whether the original exists anymore. Whilst this does mean that Tally is never quite as easy to relate to in Specials as she was in book one, we are treated to a trickier version than ever before. So, there's plenty of nail-biting suspense and breathtaking action scenes to keep readers on the edge of their seats here.
In keeping with Tally's transformation, Westerfeld gives us the chance to see even more of her world in this instalment. She can go further, with fewer limits, and so can we. Most excitingly, we get to visit Diego - a whole new location, and one where the authorities have not reigned with such tight control as we're used to seeing in the previous two books. It's a vividly-drawn city where people have the freedom to look however they want, and take full advantage of it. It's also closer to our own society than Tally's own hometown, but the beauty of Diego is that having read the previous two books Westerfeld ensures that we look this relatively 'free' society with new eyes. There are those who have had surgery to look like traditional pretties, those who have opted for more extreme and outlandish enhancements, and those who have never changed a thing. There are those who want to blend in, and those who who want to stand out. And the population of Diego don't just express their differences in the way they look: they have different opinions, and different behaviours, and they're not afraid to clash. And having looked at Tally's world through the eyes of twenty-first century citizens in the first two books, it's now time for us to look at our world through Tally's eyes.
And this is where Specials really gets clever. Having contemplated the evils of brainwashing, control and enforced uniformity in the previous novels, Westerfeld always made it clear that Tally's society had at some point felt this was wholly necessary. The Rusties (that's us) had nearly destroyed the planet with their wars and their irresponsible use of natural resources. The authorities' control had eradicated these dangers, but at the price of the citizens' humanity. Now we have to ask ourselves whether freedom is really better, when what it comes down to is the freedom to destroy the world - and each other. For me, Specials is the most thought-provoking book in the trilogy. In fact, it provokes thoughts all over the place: on freedom, on self harm, on war, and even on real-life conflicts between cultures with different value systems. And there's no easy answers.
As well as the larger themes at work here, there's also some intriguing resolution to the relationships between Tally and the other characters she's come into contact with through the Uglies trilogy. Let's start with the romance. By the end of Pretties, many readers will be backing either Team David or Team Zane. Sure, Tally originally fell for David despite the fact he was Ugly, but in book two Zane turned out to be a worthy suitor for our heroine despite his Prettiness. As it turns out, Specials throws us a real curveball on this one. Without giving too much away, get your hankies at the ready - there's a real tearjearker of a twist approaching. On the friendship front, Tally's uneasy friendship with Shay adds a welcome layer of crackling tension to proceedings, and we even finally understand just what the deal is with Dr Cable. Best of all, we're left with the sense that Tally has finally found a body she's comfortable in - and one that reflects who she really is, after all that she's been through.
Specials is an exhilirating and satisfying conclusion to the Uglies trilogy. It's fast-paced, action-packed and seriously epic. Fan of YA dystopian fiction? Read Uglies, read Pretties, and then read this one.
Out: this edition, 4th March 2010, UK
Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for providing a review copy of Specials with its gorgeous new cover.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
No review books this week, which meant I felt completely free to pick up or order whatever took my fancy. And I also got an amazing gift. Yay! All linkies going to Goodreads.com.
One Of Those Hideous Books Where The Mother Dies - Sonya Sones
Thanks to Lisa Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me (my review here) I'm inspired to check out quite a few verse novels at the moment. I read the first few pages of this at an online bookstore and it hooked me, so here it is.
Make Lemonade - Virginia Euwer Wolff
Another verse novel, and I've heard great things about this one. It sounds like one of those stories that is going to stay with me, and I love books that do that.
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
I guess this one is a debut. I don't think I've heard of this author before, and I'm not sure what the book is about, but - Oh, okaaaaay. It's the new Meyer vampire story and after reading some of my blogger friends squeeing over it (yes you, Jenny, Carla and Caroline!) I figured I'd borrow a copy but then I saw it looking all pretty on the bookstore shelf and simply couldn't resist.
Amazing! Surprise! Gift!
Endless Summer - Jennifer Echols
The seriously-awesome Carla of the equally awesome The Crooked Shelf sent me this one with the absolute sweetest note about my blog and pointing out that I really do need to read some Jennifer Echols. If her reviews are anything to go by, she's completely right about that. Thanks Carla, you rock the rockiest.
Oh, and that big The Passage leaflet thingy you see in the photo was free at my local bookstore. It's the first six chapters of this upcoming novel. And since I'm super excited about this one, I grabbed it with total glee. Exciting, non?
While I'm here, can we just talk about the UK cover for Mockingjay for one second? See, I love the US one. It has this great cool futuristic feel that just does it for me, and when I first saw it I thought it just felt 'right'.
But now we've seen the UK one, and... it just feels 'right' too. I love its fieriness and the fact that it's totally unisex, because this is absolutely a series that should be read by boys as well as girls.
I'm now thinking I need one of each. When I'm not grinding my teeth with anticipation, that is. Roll on, August 25th. And go Team Gale!
Friday, 11 June 2010
Here's the thing: I failed. Miserably. Although also happily, because after all... I got awards! I've had a few, and in the interest of spreading the blog love I'm going to pass on the most recent ones today.
Disclaimer: I know some of you will have had these already, or maybe you just don't do awards posts. That's fine and dandy. I love your blogs and just wanted to be sure you all got a mention.
First up, the Bodacious award. This one was passed on to me by the fantastic UK blogger behind Rhiana Reads. You should go check that one out.
The rules of this one are to list the last five books I read and pass the award on to five other bloggers. My last five books read are:
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Rebel Girl by Carmen Reid
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
All pretty different, but all absolutely worth a look. I'm passing this one onto five bloggers who are definitely bodacious...
Steph of Steph Su Reads
Becky of The Bookette
Carla of The Crooked Shelf
Ari of Reading In Color
Jo at Once Upon a Bookcase
I also got the Beautiful Blogger Award from Caroline at Portrait of a Woman. Her blog rocks, she rocks, and if you don't know about blog yet you're missing out.
This award has more rules, but they're fun.
1. Thank and link to the person who gave you the award
2. Pass the award onto 15 bloggers you've recently discovered and think are fantastic
3. Contact said blogs and let them know they've won
4. State 7 things about yourself
Fifteen bloggers I've recently discovered is a tall order, since I'm pretty sure I follow nearly everyone in the YA blogosphere by now. So here's my picks for relatively-recent-and-fabulous:
Splendibird at Mountains of Instead
Kris at Voracious YAppetite
Little Miss Becky at Stories and Sweeties
Dwayne and Hannah at Girls Without A Bookshelf
Asamum at Asamum Reads
Robby at Once Upon A Book Blog
Seven random things about myself? Okay...
1. I didn't think I'd stick at blogging very long. I wanted to have a go at writing reviews, but I figured I'd keep it up for two months tops. Now, I wouldn't be without it.
2. My favourite flavour of crisps is salt and vinegar. They are the crisps of the gods, in my opinion.
Some time ago, I got the Happy 101 award from the fantabulous Jo of Once Upon A Bookcase and Ink and Paper. The rules of this one are that I write a list of ten happy things and pass it on to ten bloggers.
My ten happy things...
1. Disneyworld. It really is the happiest place on Earth.
2. Expensive chocolate. No explanation needed.
3. New socks. Just a personal thing.
4. Being in love. There is something completely happy-making about knowing you have found the one and they actually love you back.
5. Glee. I didn't get it at first, but I sure do now.
6. Dystopia. Maybe you noticed that.
7. The beach. Love it!
8. Turning on the TV and discovering an episode of Friends I've never seen before.
9. My new bookshelves. Twelve entire shelves to fill with my YA collection. Yay!
10. When people leave nice comments on my blog. Now that, I love.
Now ten bloggers. I'm picking ones whose blogs make me happy here...
Everyone at Chicklish
Nina at J'Adore Happy Endings
Caroline at Portrait of a Woman
Sophie at So Many Books, So Little Time
Jenny at Wondrous Reads
Jenn at Book Crazy
Sasha at The Sweet Bonjour
Shweta at Book Journal
Donna at Bites
Thanks to everyone who has given me an award this year, and everyone who has given me a duplicate award. It's always lovely to be thought of!
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Inside Out is the story of Trella, who is one of her world's scrubs. She exists to fulfil her function as a worker, and risks being 'recycled' if she stops being useful or starts posing a threat to the Pop Cops, who govern Inside with a regime of fear. She only has one friend, she doesn't plan to find a mate or have children, and she's hostile to the prophets who surface every now and then, speaking to the scrubs of 'Gateway' - a rumoured secret exit to whatever lies beyond. Trella's never believed in Gateway, but when an act of curiosity brings her under the Pop Cops' spotlight, she finds herself drawn into the search for this mythical doorway and becomes a symbol of scrub rebellion. In the process she also encounters Riley, a member of the Upper society that Trella credits with keeping scrubs down. Except... he's lovely, and the friendship that unfolds between them gives this sci-fi adventure a welcome gentle side. With snarking, of course.
For all Trella's efforts to escape the confines of Inside, it's a pretty fascinating place for a reader to visit. First, there's the lower levels, where the scrubs live. There you'll find barracks, a canteen serving spinach-flavoured slop, hydroponics, and care facilities where all scrub children are raised - ten kids to one Care Mother. The higher levels are inhabited by the uppers, who actually get their own quarters and a shot at family life. Then there's the huge network of ducts and pipes where few ever enter, except for those like Trella who work shifts cleaning them - ten hours off, ten hours off, for week after hundred-hour week. It's Trella's knowledge of this network that's earned her the nickname 'Queen of the Pipes', and that makes her the perfect candidate for the quest to find Gateway. She's also gutsy, smart, and a total trooper of a YA heroine. Or to put it another way, she rocks.
The fact is, Inside Out is everything you could want in a YA dystopian novel. Loner heroine with the hidden potential to lead a revolution? Check. Intriguing set-up with secrets galore to uncover? Got it. The makings of an addictively unlikely romance? Sure thing. Oppressed masses, imagination-pleasing gadgets, a truly evil female villain... It's all there. It's tense and exciting and compelling and at times it's even... cute. In fact, if I have any doubts about this one, it's that it's a little too spot on. I usually like my dystopians slightly on the out-of-the-ordinary side, and for me Inside Out reads more like it's written to a really, really perfect formula. It even manages to deliver an ending that is simultaneously satisfying and cliffhanging, and that's no small achievement. So, I won't hold its perfection against it. I loved every minute, and I'm counting the weeks till the sequel, Outside In, hits bookstore shelves in 2011.
Inside Out is a book that'll whisk you off to its fascinating future world from the very first page, take you on a breathtaking dystopian adventure, and leave you clamouring for more. It's the kind of book that makes your imagination happy. I'd recommend it to YOU. Yes, you. Go on, read yourself some dystopian goodness.
Out: April 1st 2010, US
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
This week I'm waiting on...
Matched by Ally Condie
Summary from Goodreads.com: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.
Okay, so this is a no-brainer choice for me. In fact, it's such an obvious me choice that I haven't WoWed it before, simply because it's basically a given. But just read that summary! It's set in the future. It's dystopian. It's about love. It has everything I'm looking for in a potential perfect read. And I can't wait to find out if I'm Team Xander or Team Ky.
Plus, gorgeous (though slightly freaky) cover alert! This one's out in the US on November 30th 2010, and in the UK on December 2nd. It's almost enough to make me wish the summer away.
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
But unexpectedly, change comes to Morgan. An attraction to a hot co-worker, a kiss from a female classmate and the discovery of a family secret turn Morgan's small-town life upside-down.
The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind is the story of sixteen year old Morgan, who means to escape her small town and write the Great American Novel someday. Once dubbed 'the walking dictionary' by girls at school, she loves words in a way that makes it almost inevitable that readers who love words will love her too. Each chapter is headed with a pearl of fortune cookie wisdom from the restaurants her beloved grandmother visited whilst touring as a concert pianist, and Morgan punctuates her narrative with wry attempts at fortunes of her own. Her voice is sometimes raw, frequently witty and disarmingly frank. As a narrator, she's just about perfect.
Morgan's story is, to say the least, a knotty one. Her family life is non-existent, with the exception of a doting grandma. On the romantic front, there's her boring but socially acceptable boyfriend Derek, her hot co-worker Rob and her one-off kiss partner Tessa. With all three looming large in her life, she's faced with the classic question of love versus lust: how can she tell the difference, and does she need to? Struggling with this dilemma and small-town gossip of the homophobic variety, Morgan is also hit hard by a revelation about her family's history. Her journey is about deciding who she is, confronting her relationships with others and navigating some moral grey areas. For me, it's a story of a girl who longs to someday leave her small town discovering that she can escape its limitations and expectations now, by being the person she wants to be.
The Sky Always Hears Me And The Hills Don't Mind is a fresh and insightful take on the YA coming-of-age story. It raises more questions than it answers, and though the ending is satisfying we're left with the feeling that Morgan still has far to go. It's a book that will make you think, not a book that will tell you what to think. I'd recommend it to anyone, of any age, anywhere.
Out: 1st September 2009, US
Sunday, 6 June 2010
Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden is not one of those books. In fact, it's likely to be one of the most painful and difficult YA books you've ever read. Because while this is a story about two young people falling in love, it isn't a cosy romance. Dual narrators Lochan and Maya are a brother and sister who realise they love each other as more than just siblings - or, more accurately, not as siblings. It's a challenging subject, and one that could easily put readers off even picking up the book in the first place. However, Forbidden is also an extremely well-written and thoughtful novel.
Neglected by their alcoholic mother and having no choice but to look after their three younger siblings, seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya haven't had what you'd call a normal childhood. In many ways they're the parents of the household: they refer to their brothers and sister as 'the children', they're there to tuck them in at night and make sure there's food on the table, and for the last few years they've been spending their Christmas money on making sure it's a happy time for the little ones. They're partners; two people clinging to each other in their isolation from the world. Nonetheless, when they begin to realise their feelings for each other are not those that siblings should feel for each other, they're both thrown into a world of confusion, longing and hurt.
I'm a big fan of dual narrative, and in this case I think it's a huge part of what makes this book work. Suzuma appreciates that we need to be able to see for ourselves that Lochan and Maya both fall in love with each other, that they both try to ignore their feelings and that neither of them is manipulating the other. I can't deny that there are many passages which make for uncomfortable reading, but the main characters are sympathetic enough to carry the reader through. That said, there were occasional portions of dialogue between the two - regarding the consequences of their relationship and the kind of assumptions other people would make - that felt a little didactic. However, this doesn't lessen the achievement of Forbidden in any way. Tabitha Suzuma takes a subject that really is taboo for most people and creates a heartbreaking story of immense emotional impact.
Forbidden is a brave, poignant and powerful book. I don't think it's for everyone. There are some graphic scenes and for that reason I probably wouldn't recommend it for the younger end of the YA demographic. But for older readers looking for a novel that really challenges our expectations of Young Adult storytelling, this is the one.
Out: 27th May 2010, UK
Many thanks to Random House / Definitions for providing a review copy of this book.
Saturday, 5 June 2010
Just a few this week...
All links go to Goodreads.com
A Most Improper Magick - Stephanie Burgis
Everything I've heard about this one has me totally excited about reading it. It's not out till August, so getting to read it early is pretty awesome too.
Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder
I've wanted to read this one for ages, so when I happened to walk into a bookstore that sells US published titles this week I really couldn't resist picking myself up a copy. Yay for dystopian YA.
I've been meaning to read something by this author for a while, and this one has a list and footnotes. I love lists and footnotes. Yes, really.
So, what did everyone else get?
Thursday, 3 June 2010
I got hooked on Carmen Reid's Secrets at St Jude's earlier this year after reading Drama Girl, the third book in this super-fun series. So, I picked up new instalment Rebel Girl looking forward to more of the same - and I wasn't disappointed.
This time around, Niffy suffers a double-strength hair trauma after getting her locks chopped short on a whim... and then letting her pals try out their home-highlighting skills on her. Is there any teenage girl who can't relate to that tale of beauty woe? I doubt it. In contrast, there's a topical storyline for Amy, who is forced to trade shopping sprees for a Saturday job after her dad's nightclub empire crumbles around his ears. Then there's Min's exam stress, Gina's relationship worries and even a surprisingly poignant storyline for killjoy housemistress Mrs Knebworth. In fact, I found myself warming to The Neb in Rebel Girl - we learn a little more about her, and she actually shows a different side to her personality.
The St. Jude's series is set in an exclusive Scottish boarding school, but somehow Carmen Reid makes her four main characters seem really down-to-earth and easy to relate to. They all have their insecurities, and none of them has what you'd call a perfect life, but what they do have is an awesome friendship. These girls look out for each other, they stick together, and they have a blast. Still, Rebel Girl is sprinkled with just enough designer dresses, cute love interests and snogging to remind us that we're firmly in YA chicklit territory here. The highlight of this instalment has to be the relationship dramas between Gina and Dermot. I don't want to give too much away, but what I will say is that there's a shocking development and some nailbiting moments for fans of the St Jude's golden couple.
Secrets at St Jude's has all the elements of a classic YA series. There's fun, romance and even a touch of glamour. And like any great YA series, there's also an ensemble cast of very different characters for readers to pick a favourite from. I'd recommend Rebel Girl to anyone looking for a light-hearted, girly read with a healthy helping of teen drama.
Out: May 27th 2010, UK
Thank you to Random House / Corgi for providing a review copy of Rebel Girl.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
This week I'm waiting on...
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Summary from Amazon.co.uk: In the beginning we were nine. We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now . . . Three are gone. We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We’re just trying to survive. Six are left. But we are hunted, and the hunters won’t stop until they’ve killed us all. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. I am Number Four. I know that I am next.
I've been through a bit of a YA sci-fi drought recently, so this one has me doing my happy dance. Apparently, it's about aliens on the run from some evil force who wants to kill them.
Aliens! How awesome. Aliens are my favourite.
Also, if the online bookstores have it right, it appears there might be two UK covers for this one. Which is cool because... well, it just is. I'm not sure whether it's a boy cover / girl cover thing or a YA cover / grown-up cover thing, but in this kind of situation I tend to find I want them both.
Current ETA for I Am Number Four is August 26th 2010 in the UK and August 17th 2010 for US types. I Am Crazy Excited.
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Time Travel Tuesday: Jackson Pearce on Gertrude Chandler Warner's The Boxcar Children
When I was growing up, there was one thing I was absolutely certain about: The adults in my life were idiots. As far as I was concerned, they wanted to treat me like a toddler, when I was perfectly able to make most of my decisions completely unassisted. They were holding me back! Crushing my ambition! Putting the best snacks at the top of the pantry!
I think that’s why I found the entire BOXCAR CHILDREN series so appealing. Here were these four kids that proved they could make things work on their own. After their parents die, they runaway and find jobs in a bakery, then go on to live in an abandoned boxcar. The siblings do all sorts of clever things—they use rocks behind a waterfall as a refrigerator and get jobs and even achieve what I considered to be the ultimate success: they get a dog. The series was originated in the 1920s by a schoolteacher, but after nineteen books ghost writers and mass marketing got a hold of it, so today there are over 140 books in the series.
I feel like a lot of books similar to the BOXCAR CHILDREN—the SWEET VALLEY series, the BABYSITTERS CLUB, for example—often get the cold shoulder in the world of young adult books. Sure, they’re packaged, they’re fluffy, they’re probably written in three weeks and edited in four. There’s something undeniably disposable about mass series books, and yet, there’s something about them that I think lingers with readers.
It could simply be the fact that there are six million BOXCAR CHILDREN/SWEET VALLEY/BABYSITTERS CLUB books and so, after reading Super Special Beach Edition #97, the books are bound to stick with us. But genuinely think that, at the core of these ghost-written, shelf-filling series is, undeniably, a good story. A good story about kids able and willing to make decisions normally left to adults: a staple of modern young adult lit.
Sure, the characters aren’t necessarily developed, but in a way that makes them even better—I cast myself in the role of Jessie, in BOXCAR CHILDREN, and was able to because her character was something of a blank slate personality-wise. It allowed me to envision myself taking care of my family, making tough choices, and finally putting the snacks on the top shelf exactly where I wanted them (in my hand, thank you very much). That sort of escapism might not be symbolic or heart-wrenching or canonical, but it was exactly what 2nd-grade me needed.
So, would I read THE BOXCAR CHILDREN now? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t inspire me or make me think about the tough questions. Plus, re-reading them might do that thing where I realize they weren’t quite as awesome as I remember. But would I give my own kid any mass series, no matter how mundane the problems, no matter how many ghost writers chipped in to it? Absolutely. Sometimes all you need is an escape, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Many thanks to Jackson Pearce for this fantastic Time Travel Tuesday guest post, and to Hodder for inviting me to take part in the Sisters Red book tour.
You can read my review of Sisters Red here.
Why not check out yesterday's stop on the blog tour at Chicklish? Just click here.
Ever since, Scarlett has dedicated her life to hunting werewolves like the one that attacked her family that fateful day. Dedicated to Scarlett, Rosie hunts alongside her. Wearing matching red cloaks, they lure the wolves in with a pretense of girlish innocence... and then slay them. It's become routine.
But one day, the routine changes. When the girls discover that the werewolves are searching for a Potential - a boy or man who they can make into one of their kind - Scarlett makes it her mission to find him first.
Sisters Red is a contemporary reimagining of the story of Little Red Riding Hood, in which the big Bad Wolf is replaced by a whole species of Fenris - a.k.a. werewolves - who pray on adolescent girls. Unlike the original fairytale, Little Red herself is replaced by Scarlett and Rosie March, deadly teenage sisters who have made it their mission in life to hunt and kill as many Fenris as they can.
Badly scarred by the werewolf attack that left her grandmother dead, Scarlett March is one of the most memorable YA characters I've ever encountered. She's someone who has experienced the worst that the world has to offer and been irreversibly altered as a result. Her scars have become part of her identity, and in shielding her younger sister from the wolf that day she assumed the permanent role of protector. In contrast, Rosie March has the potential to be more than a hunter - to do normal teenage girl things, and to fall in love - but she feels a responsibility to the sister who saved her life and still bears the marks to prove it. The dynamic between the two sisters reaches crisis point following the reappearance of Scarlett's former hunting partner Silas and Rosie's instant attraction to him, which heightens the girls' awareness of their differences and the tension between what they both want from life. Both sisters are portrayed with compassion and subtlety, and after initially bonding mainly with Scarlett I was surprised to find my sympathies divided more equally between them as the story unfolded.
Despite its fairytale roots, Sisters Red is no bedtime story. It's dark and it's fierce, and packed with fight scenes described so unflinchingly that you can practically feel the pain of Fenris teeth slicing through flesh. I'm not usually big on gore, but Sisters Red needs that. It's what makes Scarlett in particular such a convincing character, and what also makes the story so frighteningly relevant to the real lives of many young girls in our society. There is horror in the world, and Scarlett is someone who can't turn her back on that knowledge. At the same time, this is one of the most beautifully written YA novels I've read. Although I spotted the big twist coming a mile away, I suspect this might be intentional - as in a fairytale, much of the suspense here comes from knowing (and dreading) what's lying in wait around the next corner. Spellbinding imagery, lyrical descriptions of the sisters' love for each other and knowing references to the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale blend seamlessly to create an enchanting and intense story with the power to touch the heart of the YA reader.
Sisters Red is the kind of book that burns itself into your consciousness. It's heartbreaking and bloody and beautiful, and I'm smitten with it. I'd recommend this one to readers who like their monsters scary and their female leads strong. Love, love, love.
Out: June 3rd 2010
A sincere thanks goes to Hodder for providing a review copy of Sisters Red and inviting me to be part of this book tour.