Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for
Today Mands and I are back for another joint review!
Maree: I am always on the lookout for really good YA historical fiction, so when I saw Scarlet on one of Vegan YA Nerd’s Stacking the Shelves posts, I immediately added it to Goodreads. Seeing it was at the library I thought it would make the perfect read-a-long book for Mands and I. Honestly, although I added it to Goodreads, I went into this book with almost no expectations. In fact, I thought it might not live up to the awesome blurb and beautiful cover. Well, I am more than happy to admit that I was really, really wrong. This was wonderful!
Most people are familiar with the classic tale of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor. However, Scarlet turns this tale on its head, focusing on a certain someone in Robin’s band of merry men, someone whose story has been lost in the legend. This is the story of Scarlet, a girl who disguises herself as Will Scarlet, revealing her identity only to those closest to her. Scarlet is courageous and handy with her knives, but she’s also hiding some dark secrets about her past. When the deadly Thief Taker, Lord Gisbourne arrives in Nottinghamshire everyone is in danger and Scarlet feels that only she can save them, even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.
Mands: I loved Scarlet by A.C Gaughen and I know you did too, Maree! I want to start reading more YA historical fic as well, and this is definitely a unique book covering a topic rarely seen in YA. I’m a big fan of Robin Hood: Men in Tights so I was thrilled to read about characters I knew from the movie, even though they were completely different. I was immediately drawn into Scarlet’s world – she hides the fact that she’s a girl to everyone but Robin and his boys. She is brave, independent and fearless. Part of the reason is her past, her guilt pushes her to look after others and put them before her own well-being.
Maree: I think the characters were my favourite part of this novel. I adored Scarlet and thought the way the secrets in her past were revealed was excellent. I felt so sad for Scarlet; I can’t image the fear she must have felt around Gisbourne after everything that had happened. At times though, I just wanted to shake her and tell her it wasn’t her fault and that she needed to stop punishing herself for things which were out of her control.
Mands: I don’t often swoon over book characters but Rob, also known as Robin of Locksley, stole my heart along with Scarlet’s. He was so good to her and it was obvious they each had feelings for the other, even if they didn’t realise it. I loved John and Much as well, my heart went out to John because I thought Scarlet was going to break his and Much was just so sweet. Gisbourne on the other hand was so cruel; I shared the characters’ hate for him.
Eight years in a care home makes Billy Finn a professional lifer. And Billy’s angry – with the system, the social workers, and the mother that gave him away. As far as Billy’s concerned, he’s on his own. His little brother and sister keep him going, though they can’t keep him out of trouble. But he isn’t being difficult on purpose. Billy’s just being Billy. He can’t be anything else.
Although I am a fan of contemporary novels and recently read another novel set in the UK with a male protagonist (review here), Being Billy still managed to take me by surprise. I was expecting it to be confronting and gritty, it seems to be something the Brit’s excel at, but I was not expecting it to make me so angry or have a protagonist I didn’t particularly like.
I know that sounds harsh, but in my opinion, Billy wasn’t meant to be instantly likeable or endearing. No, he was angry and he showed it and that’s always confronting to read. I felt deeply sorry for Billy and I could never begin to imagine what it must have been like to have been through what he had. However, he also made me angry when it came to his relationship with his main carer Ronnie. I could see Ronnie was trying to help and Billy’s constant anger toward him annoyed me, but ultimately I could understand why he found it so hard to trust anyone. In saying that, I did eventually come to care deeply for Billy. He was so incredibly loving towards his brother and sister, and so brave and mature when it came to realising he had to let them go. By the end of the novel, I was cheering him on, hoping he could make everything right.
In terms of the pacing of this novel, it was spot on. It was relatively fast-paced and very compelling, yet portrayed the more ‘mundane’ aspects of life in the home and at school. And those last few chapters…WOW. I’m still trying to get my head around it all. I was torn between desperately hoping for a magical happy ending and knowing that I wouldn’t be happy unless the conclusion was realistic, however heartbreaking. Well, Earle certainly delivered a realistic ending, but there was a dash of hope in there.
Being Billy was a wonderful read and one that really did take me by surprise. It was raw, heartbreaking, confronting…everything I’ve come to expect from those marvellous British writers. Although I didn’t instantly take to Billy, he won me over in the end and made this a book I won’t forget in a hurry.
P.S. My favourite childhood author Jacqueline Wilson described this as stark but sensitive and said she was moved to tears. I didn’t need much more persuasion to read it.
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
Sam’s your average college dropout working in a fast food joint called Plumpy’s and playing potato hockey in his breaks. Things are shaken up for Sam though, when he meets Douglas, a weirdly creepy guy with a taste for pressed jeans and polo shirts. Douglas is dangerous and he has Sam in his sights. Sam soon learns that he isn’t actually just an average guy, he’s a necromancer. Suddenly, being average doesn’t sound that bad…
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, as the title may suggest, is not a serious paranormal book. No, it’s a wild roller coaster ride of a novel and I loved every minute of it. My initial thoughts about this book were that it would probably be dark, I mean, it’s about raising the dead. I was quite surprised to find that it was so much fun, and I think this comes down to the wonderful, slightly macabre sense of humour McBride writes with.
I loved all the characters (with the exception of Douglas, of course) and I think that’s what makes this novel so memorable. Never before have I read a paranormal book which was just so fun and where each of the characters had such unique quirks. In this we have a reluctant necromancer, hybrid werewolves, a waffle-addicted harbringer, a zombie panda, a pensioner neighbour with a ridiculously good social life and a severed head…which can talk back. Yes. There is a talking severed head. In a bowling bag. It’s actually a lot funnier than it sounds.
I also loved the song lyric chapter headings. Especially these: ‘I put a spell on you, because you’re mine’, ‘Come together, right now, over me’, ‘Beep beep’m, beep beep, yeah’ and ‘Live and let die’. Bonus points for two Beatles references. I really thought they reinforced the general light-heartedness of the book and the fact that it wasn’t meant to be a dark, brooding paranormal novel.
However, I must admit I did find the use of different tenses slightly jarring. For me, this made the multiple points of view grate. I am usually a fan of multiple points of view, but it just felt a little odd when only Sam’s was in the first person and I think it may have worked better had they all been in third.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer was a fast-paced, light and funny paranormal novel with a quirky cast of characters, making it a very entertaining read. While the story was neatly concluded, I can’t wait to get started on the sequel Necromancing the Stone.
Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.
Silence, a street kid, finds Friday and she joins him in a gang led by beautiful, charismatic Arden. When Silence is involved in a crime, the gang escapes to a ghost town in the outback. In Murungal Creek, the town of never leaving, Friday must face the ghosts of her past. She will learn that sometimes you have to stay to finish what you started—and often, before you can find out who you are, you have to become someone you were never meant to be.
Friday Brown is the breathtaking second novel from the author of the award-winning All I Ever Wanted.
This book is incredible. Writing this about two months after finishing Friday Brown, these are the only words I seem to be able to form. However, I am going to do my best to write some sort of review because I want the whole world to know that I love this book. In fact, it may even be one of my favourite books of all time. Yes. That was a big statement. Vikki Wakefield has eclipsed all my other favourite authors, the way George Harrison stole my heart with Something, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes the Sun. Seriously, where can I buy my ‘I love Vikki’ badge? It will be right alongside my lifetime Beatles fan club membership, I promise.
“I was the sum of two people, one dead, the other unknown. I’d lived in a hundred small towns and I’d never known another person for my whole life, except Vivienne.”
Friday Brown is still reeling from the death of her mother Vivienne when she decides to run away from the grandfather who is caring for her and find the father she’s never known. She disappears into a crowded city, where faces blur together as feet busily pound the lifeless grey pavement. Here Friday finds comfort in a group of equally lost people where she bonds with Silence, someone who needs a loving friend almost as much as she does.
I adored the characters in this novel. I was in love with Friday right from the very first page (which, might I add, is superb). She’s smart, loving and fiercely loyal, but she lacks confidence. Her journey of self-discovery is remarkably well written. She has to face her past and realise that sometimes even those we love most can lie to us. For Friday though, the problem is that these lies and half-truths formed her and without them she is lost. I was so glad to see how she found herself and her inner strength throughout the novel. Of course, a review of Friday Brown would not be complete without Silence. Silence, the gorgeous, silent boy who changes Friday’s world. Needless to say, I thought their friendship was absolutely gorgeous.
Each of the other characters was remarkable in their own way, but it was Arden who stuck with me for the most chilling of reasons. She was enchanting, calculating and extremely manipulative. Yet her nurturing, mothering personality attracted the other street kids like moths to a flame. I couldn’t help feeling unsettled by her from the outset, but understood Friday’s need to impress her as she filled part of the void Vivienne left in Friday’s life.
The writing was magnificent. It drew me in and help me captive. The second part in particular struck me the most as the book took on a gothic turn, with writing reminiscent of Barbara Baynton’s The Chosen Vessel. It was absolutely gorgeous, hauntingly and devastatingly so. Everything about this novel was authentic; the setting, the people, the feelings. Through Wakefield’s prose I could feel the red dirt between my toes, I could feel a real and loving connection between Friday and Silence and I was left utterly heartbroken by all the emotions. Seriously, Wakefield took my heart, tore it out and squashed it into tiny little pieces. Needless to say I ate a lot of chocolate upon finishing this book.
I honestly cannot explain how much I love this novel. However, I have chosen a song which I think fits Friday Brown perfectly: Sad Lisa by Cat Stevens. I have never heard a song which seems to fit a novel so beautifully.
For me, everything about this novel was perfect; from the haunting cover and the gorgeous prose to Friday’s wonderful journey of self-discovery. In case you hadn’t already noticed, I just want to shout from the rooftops how much I adore Friday Brown and I cannot wait to see what else Ms Wakefield has in store for us.
P.S. A huge thank you to Mandee at Vegan YA Nerds for sending me this for my birthday. It was an amazing present and is now one of my favourite books. Thanks for also helping me discover another wonderful Aussie writer. You can read Mandee’s review here.
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.
What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?
Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.
*This is the second part of a joint review by Mandee and myself. You can read the first part at Vegan YA Nerds here*Mands: I really fell for Taylor later in the book, too. Also, I had no idea this book would be so funny! I really liked the satirical look at pageants, consumerism, capitalism, and spy/action movies. The tone was perfect from the very beginning, it felt like we, as the reader, were in on the joke. I’m not a fan of advertising and the need to buy every new product that is produced, so I especially enjoyed the fake advertisements that wer clearly making fun of the intended targets’ intelligence.
Maree: I certainly did not expect that! I am a huge fan of watching trashy reality TV shows like Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras and this book felt like everything that my best friends and I make fun of in those shows. I loved Bray’s writing and found it so engaging right from the start. I loved the fake advertisements too, actually I just loved everything in this. Really. It was just a wonderful satire of things we value far too highly these days.
Mands: I have always wanted to start watching Toddlers & Tiaras after seeing some clips but I wasn’t sure if I needed more reality tv in my life… seems like I do! I thought the separate plot lines worked together well and kept me guessing for a while. I enjoyed the way the girls eventually got their act together and how proud they were of their accomplishments. I loved the ending and thought it was a great conclusion.
Maree: The spy/action plot took me by surprise, but it worked so well. I loved seeing the girls get empowered and take back control of their lives. I really enjoyed the way everything was tied together at the end. It was a fantastic read, very captivating and wonderfully witty!
Mands: I really enjoyed this book but I’m finding it hard to talk about it because I feel like I’d just be listing all the funny things, but I don’t want to spoil it for you all, I want you to read it for yourselves!
“Not going to school? But you love school. You’re a high achiever who fulfils my narcissistic need to outshine the other mothers on the block”
All we want to do now is point to this video.
When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he’s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image. Life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe’s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe’s confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with – a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent.
There is something I love about British crime dramas. I adore Heartbeat and whodunits like Midsomer Murders and Rosemary &Thyme. I also love grittier shows like Taggart, Above Suspicion, A Touch of Frost and, of course, The Bill. My point? Reading When I Was Joe was like watching an episode of The Bill, but following the story of the witnesses and victims of crime rather than the investigating officers. When I Was Joe was incredibly captivating, a true contemporary novel which stays with you long after the final page.
Ty’s trouble begins when he witnesses a murder in a London park. When his mother convinces him to tell the police they are forced to go in to witness protection. Neither Ty or his mum are keen on the idea, but are convinced when their home is targeted in a deliberate petrol-bomb attack designed to shut them up. Then Ty becomes Joe, a sexier, more confident version of himself who makes a splash at the high school of the small town they’ve been relocated to. That’s when things get really interesting.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose everything in one night, your friends, your extended family and the stuff in your house, the stuff that holds meaning which cannot be replaced. Given this premise, I was very interested to see where the novel went, and I was very impressed. We were given a very real story – it was gritty, it was confronting, but it was always real, heartbreakingly so at times. Both Joe/Ty and his mum were amazing characters, actually, all the characters were wonderful, because they were real.
They were so real that at times I wanted to yell at them in frustration. I felt particularly angry with Joe/Ty’s mum at times and just wanted to tell her to get outside and do something, rather than laying about moping, but then I realised that if I were in the same situation I’d probably be the same. With the possibility of being moved again, I can see how she would have felt it was easier to protect herself by doing nothing. In her old life she worked incredibly hard to raise her son and be accepted by society as a young, single mother, to have that torn away from her would have been heartbreaking.
We didn’t get much of an insight into Ty as a person at the beginning of the novel, because I think part of him adopted a new persona when he became Joe. Suddenly he was more confident with girls and found a new hobby he excelled at. Yet he also made me so mad sometimes. He could be lovely to the women in his life, but some of his decisions made me want to slap him. In saying that, however, I felt that he truly did learn from some of his mistakes at the end of the novel.
The pacing of the novel was perfect; it was action-packed and kept me so intrigued that I finished it overnight. Books like this are the reason I love the contemporary genre, they are confronting and heartbreaking, highlighting some very real issues. When I Was Joe is certainly a must-read for all contemporary fans.
When Brian Stutts walks into a first-grade classroom with a gun, Emery and Jake’s world is blown apart. They’re just teenagers helping to tutor some kids, but now they’re at the centre of a deadly hostage crisis.
While Jake tries to get a secret message to the outside world, Emery reaches out to the desperate, unstable man. But Brian Stutts is holding the gun, and one way or another he’s not leaving without his son.
Jake and Emery are high school students assisting a group of first graders in their lessons one day when something happens which will change their lives and the lives of those around them forever. They are interrupted by the father of one of the boys in the class who demands to see his son; when he is refused he turns violent, pulling a gun and holding the class hostage. Right from the opening sentence I knew this was going to be a tense read and I was not disappointed. However, what I was not prepared for was just how much I would come to care for each and every one of the characters, even those who initially seemed to be bad.
I really liked both Jake and Emery as narrators. I felt that the dual narration was perfect for this novel as both characters worked together to tell the story and the shifts in perspective felt very natural. I loved the way their history together was slowly revealed as it really gave a good understanding of each of their personalities. While their relationship was not the main focus of the novel, I was pleased that it gave some sort of happy ending to an otherwise completely tragic situation.
I was so pleased that Emery talked to Brian and the audience was given some insight into the complex issues he was facing. It would have been all too easy for McDowell to paint Brian as the ‘big bad man’ and leave it at that, but she handled the issue of PTSD admirably. It really illustrated the point that the world is not black and white, but a million shades of grey. Everyone has their own story which is not always what it seems and may contributes to the actions they take, whether those actions be right or wrong. The revelation of the reasons behind Jake and Emery’s break up also reinforced this message.
The children almost stole the show in This Is Not a Drill, showing maturity beyond their years as they displayed courage, love and compassion in the face of danger. I would be interested to see how the children and Jake and Emery cope in the aftermath of the whole event. I also loved Jake and Emery so much as characters that I would happily read more about them and their relationship.
Although the end was heartbreaking, there was something fitting about it. It was very realistic, I think I would have felt too ‘happily ever after’ if it was done another way, yet there was a note of hope there as well.
This Is Not a Drill was a suspenseful read, highlighting some very important issues and dealing with them with sensitivity. Told through narrators you come to care deeply about, this isn’t a book that will be forgotten in a hurry.
Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for providing a copy of the book for review.
The year is 2140. Peter and Anna are now living on the Outside as Legals. As an agent in the Underground, Peter is tasked with infiltrating Pincent Pharma Corporation and find out what’s happening in the secret Longevity programme. Peter must feign a reconciliation and win the trust of his grandfather, Richard Pincent, one of the most powerful men on the planet, whose company, Pincent Pharma, is chasing the holy grail of modern science – a drug which will reverse ageing and make people look young again.
But his grandfather has his own plans for Peter – plans which involve Peter and Anna signing the Declaration and endorsing Longevity+. Richard Pincent will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means ripping Peter and Anna’s new life apart.
At the heart of the organisation he most despises, Peter stumbles across something more sinister than he could ever have imagined, as powerful forces are gathering to crush the young couple’s dreams.
“Your grandfather is doing his best to become the most fearsome deity that the world has ever known. A deity that feeds on nothing but power and greed. A deity that must be stopped, for all our sakes.”
The Resistance follows on from where The Declaration left off: Anna and Peter are living together, officially Legal, The Underground are working hard to bring down Pincent Pharma and Richard Picent is developing an even more terrifying plan to keep people young forever.
I spoke a lot about the world-building in my review of The Declaration; this novel reinforces that suffocating atmosphere and amplifies it through Peter’s experiences inside Pincent Pharma. It was fascinating to see the inner workings of the company and was the perfect setting for some shocking revelations. It will be interesting to see how these revelations affect Peter and Anna in the final installment of the series.
Although multiple points of view weren’t used extensively throughout the first novel, they were used very effectively. I really enjoyed seeing the points of view expanded in this novel, as the audience is introduced to more and more characters who will play an important part in the final book.
The Resistance was another, fast-paced, mysterious and thrilling read, as was its predecessor, The Declaration. The second novel allows for greater character development and world building, introducing some fascinating new characters. While not ending on a cliffhanger as such, it does raise several questions about the future of Peter and Anna, Pincent Pharma and Longevity drugs.
“What didn’t matter was people like him and Anna. New people. New life. Like Noah’s Ark, the Authorities had pulled up the gangplank many years before and set sail defiantly, not caring what they might be leaving behind, or to what horrific world they might be sailing.”
“People have always been fearful of youth. Children and young people are threatening – they challenge things, they reject the status quo.”
As punishment for a crime he didn’t really commit, Matt was given a choice: go to jail or go live with an old woman named Mrs. Deverill in a remote town called Lesser Malling.
He should have chosen jail.
A strange and sinister plan is coming together made in Lesser Malling, with Matt at the center of it all. People who try to help him disappear . . . or die. It all ties to an evil place named Raven’s Gate – a place whose destiny is horrifyingly intertwined with Matt’s own.
Matt Freeman is an orphan on the wrong side of the law. He is convinced by his friend to break in to a warehouse and promised that no one will be hurt. Then things go terribly wrong and suddenly he’s being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Although he’s not charged, his aunt decides that enough is enough and she can’t look after him any more. He is put into the LEAF project, designed to help juvenile delinquents. Unfortunately, this is just the start of his troubles. He is sent to the creepy village of Lesser Malling to live with the even creepier Mrs Deverill and that’s when things get freaky…
I’m one of those people who is easily scared. I avoid horror movies like the plague – the scariest thing I’ve watched was The Others which was a great movie and probably not even really that scary. The thing is that, for me, it’s the suspense that creates the fear. Knowing that there’s something malevolent out there, but not being able to see just gives me the heebie-jeebies. That’s what makes Raven’s Gate so incredibly compelling. Reading this at night was like being caught in a natural history museum when the lights are out and dinosaur skeletons are coming to life.
Horowitz has been on my List of Excellent Authors since I read Stormbreaker in high school. I moved on to Raven’s Gate at the time and loved it, but never finished the rest of the series. I decided it was about time I finished the series, but, after reading Jo’s Letters to the Five, I realised I needed to re-read this because I had honestly forgotten everything about it. I’m so glad I did.
This really reminded me how wonderful Horowitz’s writing is. I’ve never felt so creeped out when reading a book before. Ever. However, it was not just the fear that made this book compelling; it was the complete and utter despair of Matt’s situation. It was something I felt deeply. Each time an escape plan failed or someone died, I just felt this weight on my body. The tension in the oppressive farmhouse in Yorkshire was something palpable which I could feel surrounding me. Each time a solution seemed possible, I felt a sense of hopelessness knowing that something would stop it.
Matt, mate, you’re braver than me. I would have given up at the beginning and been sobbing in the corner for the rest of the novel.
Raven’s Gate is a wonderfully creepy and utterly captivating novel and, while it’s not for everyone, it is an excellent read and something which I highly recommend. It has a vat of face-melting acid. What more do you really need?
It’s 1989 and Rachel Hill is the girl most likely to succeed. And the girl most likely to have everything under control … that is, until her father invites the moody Nick McGowan to live with them. With the help of her best friend Zoe, Rachel battens down the hatches in preparation for Nick McGowan to move into her old bedroom and into her life.
Nick immediately labels Rachel as uptight. With bad taste in music. Rachel immediately labels Nick a no-hoper. With a bad attitude. But it’s a secret from Nick’s past that will draw them together and make the year Nick McGowan came to stay one that Rachel will never forget.
Rachel is a slightly spoilt teen who is completely devastated when her parents offer to take the troubled, but very handsome, Nick McGowan. It is, understandably, the worst thing ever. I mean, he’s going to see her in her daggy PJ’s and he’s going to find out she’s not cool. I too, would be utterly mortified by this.
This was such a fast-paced, fun read that I think it would be almost impossible not to enjoy it. However, there was something about it which I really connected to and I think it all comes down to proximity. This was so authentically Aussie and so close to home. I don’t think I’ve read another book which has mentions of Yeppoon, Middlemount, Emerald, and, my hometown, Rockhampton. There were also mentions of my favourite football team, The Broncos. I’m not entirely sure why this actually makes a difference, but I just felt like I could really connect with the setting. I also felt like I could really connect with Rachel. It’s not even a year since I finished high-school and it was so easy to remember my first few weeks of grade 12 and put myself in her shoes.
Rachel as a character was quite likable, however, she could be a little bratty and didn’t appreciate how lovely her parents were. She’s aiming high and, like me, has a real competitive streak. She’s also not exactly the coolest of cool girls at school and I often felt embarrassed for her because I could totally see myself getting into some of those situations. I was so glad to see how she changed over the course of the book.
I loved Rachel’s relationship with Zoë and Nick. Both felt so incredibly natural, I felt like I was back in high school gossiping with my best friend. Nick and Rachel’s mutual dislike for each other was understandable, as neither really took the time to look deeper than their first impressions. I was really happy with how their friendship developed, it felt authentic and thankfully there was no instalove.
Despite the brevity of the book, I had no idea how it was going to end until, well…it ended. I so desperately wanted a fairytale ending, but was happy when that wasn’t what was delivered. Instead it was, like the rest of the book, so authentic and believable; realistic, but with a note of hope.
This was utterly delightful, from the shoulder pads to Huey Lewis, and so Australian. Take a break from whatever you’re doing and read this book – you’ll laugh, cry (from laughter) and possibly even break out into song. “That’s the power of love!”