Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret.Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast–and nearly got someone killed.Now Chelsea’s has taken a vow of silence–to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.But there’s strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.
Chelsea Knot has a problem: she can’t keep her mouth closed. She loves spreading rumours, delighting best friend Kristen by dishing up juicy (and some not so juicy) secrets, but Chelsea’s Gossip Girl gig is cut short when she tells one secret to many. The consequences of this particular piece of gossip are serious: one boy is in hospital and two are in police custody. After one disastrous, drunken night Chelsea decides enough is enough. It’s time for her to keep her mouth shut. Chelsea takes a vow of silence and finds out that sometimes people are not what they seem.
Let’s get one thing out in the open first up: Chelsea’s decisions are silly and they really hurt the people around her. However, this is what made Speechlessall the more real for me. She’s not perfect, in fact she screws up pretty damn big, but then again, who doesn’t? She made no apologies for not being perfect and accepted that there are aspects of her personality that are a work in progress. That’s something that most people, myself included, still struggle with.
At first it seemed that Chelsea was just the former mean girl’s sidekick, pining for the days when she was on top of the high-school food chain. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that Chelsea had been a victim of Kristen’s bullying for years before the party. I’ve been in Chelsea’s shoes before, doing almost anything to impress the popular girls and by some miracle being accepted, but there was always a sense that I wasn’t meant to be there. Luckily I decided that I didn’t need friends like that before we made it into high school, but while reading Speechless I could easily imagine myself in Chelsea’s situation.
One of the most impressive elements of Speechless was Chelsea’s development and growing maturity as a person throughout the novel. This aspect was something I wasn’t expecting to find in such a short novel. Chelsea certainly had depth as a main character, but so did the cast of secondary characters were real and totally loveable. Really, all I want to do now is hang out with my mates at Rosie’s.
This book tackled a lot of issues relating to bullying in high-schools and the close-minded bigotry of a small town. In terms of mean girls, Kristen is the queen. She’s the ultimate mean girl; manipulating, using and abusing anyone and everyone she feels deserves it. It seems like she always gets away with it, but does she really? She’s never going to grow as a person and she’s always going to be surrounded by a group of wannabe girls who will be all to happy to take her down when they decide she’s past it. Personally, I think that a having no true friends in your life is punishment enough.
What surprised me most about this novel was how much I loved it. Harrington’s, almost journalistic, conciseness was impressive and she pulled it off with aplomb, writing a brief novel which packed such an emotional punch that at points it did leave me speechless. In Speechless I found exactly what I was looking for – a little piece of contemporary book heaven to distract me from my impending university exams. What I didn’t expect was something beautiful, thought provoking and truly worthy of a five star rating.
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again
Pushing the Limits was a novel which almost held me captive. There were times when I was really absorbed in the story, but overall I felt that the story was a little too forgettable. I found it to be just a little too clichéd and something which slipped out of my mind the moment I turned off my eReader.Echo and Noah are two troubled teens and I felt they were almost too troubled for dual narration. I think that is ultimately why I chose to give this book three stars. The character’s stories were so utterly compelling and needed to be told to a YA audience, but I couldn’t help thinking that this novel didn’t quite do them justice. While reading I had so many questions, but unfortunately not as many answers. I wonder if their stories could have been more developed if Pushing the Limits had not been a romance between two troubled teens. What if, instead, we had two separate novels where Noah and Echo’s stories could be told independently and with a lot more depth? I tend to think that I would have found those two novels to be much more compelling than Pushing the Limits.
I also found a lot of things in this book to be a little too over the top for my taste. These issues were mostly to do with Noah and his ‘nymph’ – I can tell you by the end of this book any mention of nymphs or sirens made me roll my eyes. I also found the use of the word ‘baby’ annoying, but that’s just a little pet peeve of mine.
However, for all the negative things, there were so many things I did love about reading this. I found Noah’s struggle with his brother’s foster family and his quest to adopt his brothers truly touching. Likewise, I found Echo’s journey to discover what really happened between her and her mother heartbreaking. Although, this kind of brings me back to my point about their stories not being suited to dual narration: all these issues in the one book just made my head hurt and, to be completely honest, I felt overwhelmed. It was little like I was watching some kind of overly dramatic soap opera (*cough* Home and Away *cough*).
Overall, this was good to read, but isn’t something that will make it to my favourites shelf. It’s also not something which I’m sure I’m even going to remember in a few months. This is unfortunate because I really feel that given separate stories and less dramatic writing, Echo and Noah could really have touched my heart.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.com
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.
I must admit this was my first real fantasy book, because I’m guessing Harry Potter doesn’t count, right?
Hartman has created an amazing world in which dragons and humans live side-by-side, seemingly harmoniously. They have not fought for decades, yet there is a simmering distrust between them which begins to boil over after the suspicious death of a member of the royal family. As Seraphina attempts to solve the mystery with Prince Lucian she learns more about herself and her ‘condition’. You see, Seraphina is half-dragon, half-human.
Dragons and humans are drastically different, yet each species is both fascinated and revolted by the other. On one hand there are the cold, scientific, objective and analytical dragons who consider emotions a destructive burden which must be controlled, not in control. On the other hand there are the emotive and, at times, reckless humans. When both of these worlds collide, something remarkable happens.
Both of these species have a choice; they can either continue to fear each other, allowing fear to manifest as hate, or accept and learn from each other. My favourite personalities throughout the book were those who were prepared to discover and learn.
Hartman explores so many themes within the novel that, to me, it felt like so much more than a fantasy. Seraphina’s struggle with self-acceptance and acceptance within the community was touching and wasn’t simplified for a teenage audience. This is something which I am sure many teens struggle with and therefore could relate to. The second major theme of the book – the question of what makes us human was intriguing. Is it really only the breadth of our emotions that separates us from other species?
The world-building was flawless in my eyes. The detail involved was mind-blowing. My only problem? I really wanted a map to see this amazing world spreading out across the page.
The characters, however, were not flawless. They made mistakes. They fell in love. They let their emotions go a little cray-cray.They got angry. They got sad. They got scared. They were real.
The writing was phenomenal and I don’t mind admitting that I had to look up the meaning of quite a few words.
In short: you should read this book. I really can’t say much more than that.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.com
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut–part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by “Blade Runner,” and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune–and remarkable power–to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved–that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt–among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to” win.” But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life–and love–in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Well, that really wasn’t what I expected. Actually, I’m not entirely certain I even know what I expected.
Set in a future where almost everyone has given up the real world for the online sanctuary of the OASIS, Ready Player One is a book which will keep you on the edge of your seat. And no, I’m not just saying that.
The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, has hidden three keys in the online universe and whoever finds them and unlocks the corresponding gates will inherit his billion dollar fortune. Wade Watts is just one of millions of ‘gunters’ hunting for the ultimate prize. Wade spends his days online, searching and dreams of escaping his bleak and miserable life in the real world.
To be honest, it did take me a while to get into this and I was starting to wonder what all the fuss was about. Then Wade, more commonly referred to by his avatar name Parzival, found the first key. That’s when things got very interesting. From that point on I found it hard to put down (alas, being at uni means I had to study).
I think what impressed me most about this book was the sheer detail of the world that Cline has created within the book. One of my most common annoyances with dystopian/futuristic/post-apocalyptic books is the lack of world-building. Believe me, no one could fault Cline on that. Every time I picked this up I was instantly transported to a different universe. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book about a boy playing an online game – I was Parzival. This world was real and, quite frankly, that’s what made this book freakin’ awesome.
Speaking of Parzival brings me to the characters in this book. Even the ‘supporting’ characters were amazing. Each and everyone had a distinct personality and, in the same way as the world-building, the details are what made me fall in love with every member of the ‘Top 5’. I had a few issues with the love interest at first, but these were well and truly resolved by the end. I was certainly happy with the ending.
Alright, so now I need to make a confession. Most of the eighties references went way over my head. However, with Google as my trusty sidekick I managed to navigate my way through the nostalgic nod to the epic eighties.
Something which was explored in this book which I found really interesting was the idea of meeting people online and forming amazing friendships with them. I think, for someone who is slightly addicted to Goodreads, the idea of connecting with people on a purely mental level is totally true. I would definitely count my blogger friends as real friends and I have had some amazing conversations over books with my Goodreads friends. In fact, had it not been for my them I probably would not have picked up this book.
Ready Player One is a must read for anyone who loves a fast-paced novel with an epic battle scene. Don’t look at this and reject it on the basis of the sci-fi classification or video game premise, I’ve proved that anyone can enjoy this fantastic book. Plus, you should probably read it anyway to get prepared for the future because I have no doubt the world will end up like this one day.
Amazon Significant Seven, October 2007: I’ve seen a wave of new young adult novels come across my desk this fall, and among them Gemma Malley’s The Declaration has captivated me the most. We meet Malley’s heroine, Anna, in a society that’s unraveling. One hundred or so years earlier, “Longevity,” a new drug granting immortality, took the world by storm, only to lead to an untenable swell in population. Anyone who wants to live forever in this brave new world must agree by law not to have children (thus the eponymous declaration) … or else. Anna is a “Surplus,” a fallout of this decree who ekes out a stark existence (in a neo -Dickensian outpost known as Grange Hall) with the hope of becoming a Valuable Asset to the adults immortal. However, with the arrival of a new Surplus, Peter, who’s lived on the Outside his whole life, she discovers a path to the life she might have lived. A world in which children struggle against the adults in charge isn’t a new concept, but Malley gives it a provocative twist in a debut that echoes Margaret Atwood, Aldous Huxley, and–most recently–Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as it explores what happens when you tangle with reproductive power. –Anne Bartholomew
“I think sometimes you can outstay your welcome.”
The YA dystopian genre is almost exploding with books at the moment, but for me Malley’s The Declaration was probably the first I read. I read it when it was first released and I remember still being up at 1am, devouring it page by page until I finished it. Reading it second time around with one of my Goodreads friends, the feelings have pretty much been the same.
Set in a world where no one has to die of diseases or old age, surely everybody is happy? Living forever gives you so many possibilities, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. In a world where you can live forever, no children are allowed. Energy and food is scarce. Everyday life is monotonous and boring. You still age physically, even if Longevity pills keep you alive. Malley’s world is dark and oppressive, stifling all forms of new life. For illegal Surplus Anna, life is harsh, offering no pleasure. After all, in the eyes of society she shouldn’t even be alive; her only purpose in life is to learn how to serve Legals.
I have read reviews complaining about Anna and what an annoying character she is. I have to admit that she is annoying at times, but for me that makes her all the more real. Her thoughts are a result of a lifetime of brainwashing and these ‘Surplus statements’ make her more dynamic as a character, showing the level of control government departments have over all citizens, even ‘legal’ ones.
For the most part, this book is written from Anna’s point of view. However, multiple points of view were introduced to great effect in the final part of the book, adding to the suspense already building as the final twists were revealed.
The best thing about this book was that the romance which sparked between Peter and Anna wasn’t the main focus. Perhaps more authors writing for this genre should consider this?
As with The Returners (which I reviewed earlier this year here) Malley’s premise is frighteningly foreseeable. Everybody hopes to cures for terrible diseases like Cancer or AIDs, obviously a world without the pain of death would be incredible. However, without death there is no life.
Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, andThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
Just thought we’d get the cliches out of the way first. Actually, I’m lying – this review is probably going to be full of cheesy cliches.
Am I the only person (still technically a teenager) in the world who does not ‘get’ this book? Please tell me I’m not the only person in the world who had a fun time in high school and was actually really happy with my parents and my friends?
That brings me to my main problem with this book: I just don’t get it. I don’t really get teen angst in general to be honest and that is just because my experiences never correlated with that. However, in saying that I have to admit that the part which I did have tears in my eyes was during the graduation. This probably wasn’t the intended spot for people to start crying in, but nonetheless that is what I managed to do. It’s probably only because those feelings of graduating and moving out of home are still quite raw to me, but that is what resonated with me most at this time in my life. I guess that is what makes this is a classic for so many people, there is something that most people can relate to at one point or another in here.
Overall, I felt that Charlie was a rather forgettable character. For me, his letters seem to channel the stories of the people around him, rather than his story. Wait…was that the point? Did I miss the point and then criticise it? Honestly this book confused the hell out of me at times.
This was cruising along at two stars until page 68 which was the point at which I fell in love with Chbosky. I am awarding a whole extra star for this present alone. At this point Charlie presents Sam with a present. A present which I dream of receiving from my future soulmate. A present which just happens to be associated with my favourite Beatles song (and believe me this title is not bestowed lightly). If I had to pick just one Beatles song that would be it. Of all the songs Chbosky could have chosen, he happened to pick that song – clearly we would be perfect for each other. Alright, I’m kidding, but seriously when I do get engaged sometime in the distant future the first thing Mr Right will be reading is this book. Hopefully he’ll get the hint.
I loved the Fleetwood Mac, Nick Drake and Beatles references – I’m not the biggest fan of The Smiths, so all those references were completely lost on me. I think, though, that the song which best sums up how I felt about this book is by Procol Harum. A Whiter Shade of Pale is kind of confusing, yet beautiful, but not one of my all time favourites…like this book. Funnily enough, it also rates a mention on Charlie’s famous mix tapes. I am also going to include some Cat Stevens because singing along to him on a drive makes me feel infinite*. Anyway, Charlie, I think you need some cheering up so I just need you to know The First Cut Is The Deepest. Please try to love again.
So, to sum up, I am going to quote the novel:
“The thing is, I didn’t know what it said even if it said it very well.”
And, because cliches are fun:
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
*Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the cheesy cliches.
Will may be many things – friendless, unhappy, a loner – but he isn’t paranoid. People are following him and they claim to know him. He can’t remember them, at least not at first. And when he does, he doesn’t like what he remembers.
Will discovers that he has a past far deeper than most, and the struggle to break free of the powerful hold that history has on him may well become a struggle for death over life.
From the critically acclaimed author of The Declaration and The Resistance.
I have to be honest and confess I have been scared of writing this review. I am actually going to make a big call and say it is the hardest review for me to write so far in my (short) reviewing ‘career’.
Why is it so hard to write? Because it is the most fantastic book.
Don’t laugh. I can see you snickering. Stop. Seriously. Stop it.
Let me try to explain:
Firstly, I always find it harder to write glowing reviews of books where I loved every little thing than I do to write reviews for books I had issues with.
Secondly, you really can’t write a review of this book without spoilers. On that note, I would recommend not reading the Goodreads synopsis for this book as it will pretty much ruin the first half of the book. Unless of course that doesn’t bother you, in which case be my guest.
So, now to the review.
“We are humanity’s conscience”
I always knew I would enjoy this book. I loved The Declaration trilogy and I get mildly annoyed that more people haven’t read it because, honestly, it is a wonderful dystopian novel. I was surprised by how much I loved this book.
I loved the whole mystery of the book. Strange people are following our hero around and they all have ‘weird’ eyes. The dreams. It was enthralling. And I love how it unfolded.
I really grew to have a soft spot for our hero, Will. I love how Malley wrote him. He was gritty and real. He was frightened and unsure. And he was manipulated and confused. I felt every emotion through her writing.
The whole premise is frighteningly plausible. The idea that the world is about to bear witness to another holocaust is a tough topic to think about. The fact that Malley sets this in 2016 around issues that are already discussed in politics now makes this book a whole lot more realistic than many of the dystopian fantasies I’ve read lately. It is also a large departure from the world of The Declaration.
And the ending. Wow. That is pretty much as coherent as my thoughts on the ending get. Although I would like to read more about Will and what the overall outcome of the situation will be, I think the power of this book is the message it conveys. It would be nowhere near as powerful if some things weren’t left to the imagination.
Now, to explain the message without spoiling it too much, I’m going to share some of my favourite quotes:
“The dividing lines were not between people. They rarely are. They are between political stances, ideologies, beliefs.”
“Humans may progress…They may think that they are moving forward because they have invented clever machines and because they can control the land and sea. But man’s capacity to inflict and endure pain is constant. Man’s desire for power, to beat down competition – it hasn’t changes in the slightest.”
“Human nature is what it is. Driven by desire for material things, for love, for conquest, for knowledge. The best and worst come out of this desire.”
I have decided to include a song which I think really suits this book. I’m choosing Imagine because Lennon’s words of wisdom are timeless. Malley proves this in the novel.
As a side note I have to share this:
On happiness – “It’s not like the pictures you see in adverts of people grinning manically, throwing children in the air and whooping just because they’ve bought some crappy washing powder or something”. Now I can’t speak for washing powder, but this is the actual happiness I feel when I get a package in the mail (especially if it’s a book)
A fascinating, exhilarating portrait of the Beatles in their early years.
Meet the Beatles . . . right at the beginning of their careers.
This gorgeous, high-energy graphic novel is an intimate peek into the early years of the world’s greatest rock band. The heart of Baby’s In Black is a love story.
The “fifth Beatle,” Stuart Sutcliffe, falls in love with the beautiful Astrid Kirchherr when she recruits the Beatles for a sensational (and famous) photography session during their time in Hamburg. When the band returns to the UK, Sutcliffe quits, becomes engaged to Kirchherr, and stays in Hamburg. A year later, his meteoric career as a modern artist is cut short when he dies unexpectedly.
The book ends as it begins, with Astrid, alone and adrift; but with a note of hope: her life is incomparably richer and more directed thanks to her friendship with the Beatles and her love affair with Sutcliffe. This tender story is rendered in lush, romantic black-and-white artwork.
Baby’s In Black is based on a true story
This is an absolutely gorgeous, heartbreaking book detailing the love of Stu Sutcliffe and Astrid Kirchherr. Stu was the real fifth Beatle, the original bass player of the band and best friend to one John Winston Lennon. During their time in Hamburg Stu and Astrid meet and fall in love, but this book is so much more than that. It is a tale of love, loss, friendship and a band at its beginning.
“I think of her, but she thinks only of him, and though it’s only a whim, she thinks of him…”
Astrid and Stu’s love may seem rather fast to some, and I guess since they could hardly speak each other’s respective languages then you may well be justified in thinking that. However, in each other they saw something; there was chemistry. They were both passionate artists and this was something they could share only with each other. In fact, Stu only joined the band because he could afford to buy a bass – he couldn’t play and would always keep his back to the audience.
This book, however, is not just a love story of the romantic kind. It also shows the incredible bond and friendship The Beatles shared, in particular the bond between Stu and John.
“She thinks of him, and so she dresses in black, and though he’ll never come back, she’s dressed in black…”
The ending of this book is heartbreaking. I knew it was coming, but I still had tears in my eyes as I finished it. The simple way it was portrayed made it so much more poignant. Yet, as the synopsis says, Astrid’s life is richer for knowing The Beatles and loving Stu, so there is a touch of hope in this desperately sad and tragic ending.
This book is so gorgeously illustrated; the drawings instantly brought the story to life. While I read this as a digital galley, I will certainly be buying the hardcopy. It will be a beautiful addition to my Beatles collection.
I think it is also appropriate to tell you the song I had in my head the entire time I read this: Baby’s In Black. Also, I think I should share the song I think is beyond perfect for Astrid and Stu’s story. Take it away Mr McCartney…(blame the 70’s for the hair).
Now, I just have one question to ask: can we please, please have a sequel for John and Cynthia?
Sounds like: Baby’s In Black || The Beatles and My Love || Paul McCartney and Wings
A copy of this book was provided by the publishers via Netgalley.com
Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.
This book was just so charming. Whimsical, charming and very, very sweet. It is simply a story about the connection between mothers and daughters. It is also a story about growing up, letting go and losing the ones you love. Not often do I read a book in one day, but the fact that I read this in a day is perhaps testament to just how engaging I found this novel.
The characters of Mary, Scarlett, Emer and Tansey are what make this story. The connection between each of the women and the dynamics of their relationships were the best parts of the novel; although, I found Tansey and Emer’s story much more engaging than Mary and Scarlett’s. However, Mary was my favourite – cheeky, feisty and loveable.
That brings me to another point and that is that this book is almost entirely dialogue. This didn’t bother me, in fact I found it sped up the pace of the book, but I know it would be an annoyance for some.
I loved the flashbacks and the historical aspect of the novel. I just wish there had been more as, for me, the present day scenes became a little annoying.
So, if the book was so sweet and charming and if I found it so engaging why am I not rating it higher? Well I felt a little cheated to be honest. I thought the ‘road trip’ would be the major part of the book. I was disappointed to find it was in fact only the last 50 pages or so.
However, this was a really fast, charming, nostalgic and quirky read which is probably best enjoyed with a slice of cake and a cup of tea. It was truly grand and reminded me of this sweet little song.
“ahh, but I may as well try and catch the wind…”
A copy of this book was provided by the publishers.
Sylvie and Carl have been friends since they were tiny children. They’ve always played together, eaten with each other’s families, called each other boyfriend and girlfriend and deep down, Sylvie has always believed that they’d end up married to each other. They even have a magical fantasy world that belongs to them alone — and the glass hut where it’s all created, at the bottom of Carl’s garden.
But as they become teenagers, things are starting to change. They each have different friends. Sylvie would still rather spend all her time with Carl. But Carl has a new friend, Paul, who is taking all his attention. And he seems much less happy to be called Sylvie’s boyfriend. And in a game of spin the bottle, he avoids having to kiss her. Sylvie can tell his feelings have changed and that her plans for the future may be affected. But can she guess at the true reasons behind it all? A moving, compelling and delicately handled treatment of sexuality from the Children’s Laureate.
“I never ever thought I’d feel like this. I thought I’d just coast along somehow. I’ve always been careful…I felt so safe, you and me and our own private world. I didn’t have a clue about what it’s like to fall in love. It’s frightening because it’s so intense, it kind of takes you over. It’s just like every stupid cliché, every silly song. You can’t eat, you can’t concentrate, you can’t sleep. You just think about the other person all the time, even though you know it’s crazy…I knew I didn’t stand a chance…and yet I still sort of hoped that somehow it would happen.”
Sylvie and Carl…Carl and Sylvie. They’ve been joined at the hip their entire childhood. Their families have blended over the years, but whatever the circumstances their friendship has remained a constant. In fact Sylvie has secretly always believed that they were destined to be together and would marry. They poses their own private world which comes to life in the Glass Hut at the bottom of Carl’s garden and have always kept it fiercely private.
As they grow up things start to change…They go to different schools, making new friends. Yet, Sylvie still secretly yearns for those moments when she and Carl can play GlassWorld in private. Carl seems to have moved on with his show-off friend Paul who takes up all his time and attention, much to Sylvie’s annoyance. Suddenly it seems to Sylvie that things may not turn out the way she has always dreamed.
Reading Kiss now I can see the twist coming, but putting myself in the frame of mind of the average 13-16 year old I probably wouldn’t have foreseen it. Wilson handles every aspect of this novel so delicately and seems to step away from her usual family-focused subjects to really examine the anxiety and emotional rollercoaster that teenage love and heartbreak brings to Sylvie. However, she also manages to weave in the story of Sylvie’s single mother finding new love for herself after years alone.
I loved the imaginary world that Wilson created for Sylvie and Carl in GlassWorld and honestly I would just love to read the GlassWorld Chronicles that Sylvie and Carl write throughout the novel. The way that the Chronicles were woven through the story really helped the audience to understand Sylvie’s personality in more depth and therefore sympathise with her as her perfect world shatters around her.
Another stunning Wilson masterpiece which has been added to my favourites and has set a new bar for Wilson’s older teenage reads. Powerful, emotional and touching exploration of teenage heartbreak and sexuality.