Title: The Gatekeepers

Author: Jen Lancaster

Pages: 448 Pages

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

The Blurb

“How could we know that forever could end at seventeen?”

Anyone passing through North Shore, Illinois, would think it was the most picture-perfect place ever, with all the lakefront mansions and manicured hedges and iron gates. No one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains.

Meet Simone, the bohemian transfer student from London, who is thrust into the strange new reality of an American high school; Mallory, the hypercompetitive queen bee; and Stephen, the first-generation genius who struggles with crippling self-doubt. Each one is shocked when a popular classmate takes his own life…except not too shocked. It’s happened before. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?

The Review

I have read a lot of YA novels – a lot so it always takes me by surprise when a book comes along and completely blows me away. This – The Gatekeepers – is my first 5 Star read of 2019.

It is the story of an idyllic town in middle America. The houses are perfect, the neighbours keep their lawns trimmed to a certain height, and the local high school has the best academic record around. Equally – and less talked about – is how it also has an unusually high suicide rate amongst its teenage population.

Told from multi-perspective, The Gatekeepers shows you just how much pressure teenagers are under to try and attain a level of perfection that doesn’t exist. It comes from either the school pressure, parental pressure or even just the pressure they put on themselves.

I work in a high school and the one thing that is not taught on the curriculum is how to fail and how failing isn’t the end of the world. But it is all ok because they teach you the hypotenuse of an angle. That’s…useful?

I genuinely loved this story. It was heartbreaking and it had me in tears and I will admit I had a severe headache at the end – too much emotion plus the inability to put the book down led to said headache – but it was worth it.

I don’t know anyone else who has read this book which is a shame because this is a book that needs to be shouted about. It should be in every school library and it deserves a higher place on the curriculum than the hypotenuse of an angle.

The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster is available now.

For more information regarding Jen Lancaster (@altgeldshrugged) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Harlequin Teen (@HarlequinBooks) please visit www.harlequin.com.

Title: Help

Author: Simon Amstell

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Vintage

The Blurb

COMEDY. TRAGEDY. THERAPY.

Simon Amstell did his first stand-up gig at the age of thirteen. His parents had just divorced and puberty was confusing. Trying to be funny solved everything.

HELP is the hilarious and heartbreaking account of Simon’s ongoing compulsion to reveal his entire self on stage. To tell the truth so it can’t hurt him any more. Loneliness, anxiety, depression – this book has it all. And more.

From a complicated childhood in Essex to an Ayahuasca-led epiphany in the Amazon rainforest, this story will make you laugh, cry and then feel happier than you’ve ever been.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I like Simon Amstell. I liked him on T4 and on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and I won’t lie I miss his acerbic wit on television.

I downloaded his audiobook Help because I thought it would be funny and entertaining and it was but it was also honest and revealed more about the star than I knew before.

It was raw and it showed a vulnerable side to Simon Amstell. It is only about 3 hours long but I recommend it to anyone who misses this curly haired fellow on our screens.

Help by Simon Amstell is available now.

For more information regarding Simon Amstell (@SimonAmstell) please visit www.simmonamstell.com.

For more information regarding Vintage (@vintagebooks) please visit po.st/VintageHomepage.

 

Title: In Paris with You

Author: Clementine Beauvais (Translated by Sam Taylor)

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Faber & Faber

The Blurb

Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love. If things had gone differently. If they had tried to really know each other. If it had just been them, and not the others. But that was years ago and time has found them far apart, leading separate lives.

Until they meet once more in Paris.

What really happened back then? And now? Could they ever be together after everything?

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In Paris with You is one of the nominees for the Carnegie medal in 2019. I have been trying to make my way through the books and since I liked Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais I decided to give it a go.

In Paris with You is told completely in verse form – this is not unusual. At least three others on the long list are told in this format. What is unusual about this is that not only is it in verse form but it has been translated from French.

It is a quirky little love story that slips backwards and forwards from the modern day to the past and tells the story of Eugene and Tatiana. It shows how timing is everything and that we shouldn’t just expect love to happen when we want it to.

I really enjoyed In Paris with You but it is one of those books that due to the verse I wished I had heard read as slam poetry. You read with the beats but I think it would have been better if I had listened to it rather than reading it.

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais is available now.

For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.

Title: Once

Author: Morris Gleitzman

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find my Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

You would be hard pushed to find anyone who works with children who hasn’t heard of the Once series by Morris Gleitzman. It is the story of Felix; a young boy left in an orphanage by his parents on the outset of war. Felix has no idea what has happened but firmly believes that he will be reunited with his parents.

We follow his journey as he finds his way back home only to discover that the home he once knew is no longer the way he remembers it.

It is through the help of a strange man, a dentist, which Felix and other children survive as long as they do.

Once is the first in the series and I will be reading more. It is a great introduction into the horrors of war and Nazi occupied Poland.

Once by Morris Gelitzman is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin Books UK (@Penguin UK Books) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: New Erotica For Feminists – The Must-Have Book for Every Hot and Bothered Feminist Out There

Author: Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor and Carrie Wittmer

Pages: 128 Pages

Publisher: Sceptre

The Blurb

Get What you Deserve Again and Again and Again with New Erotica for Feminists: the must-have provocative, subversive and wickedly funny book from the editors of The Belladonna comedy magazine

He calls me into his office and closes the door… to promote me. He promotes me again and again. I am wild with ecstasy.

Your boss gives you a pay rise, the hotshot producer recognises your talents, the pizza delivery guy hopes you’ve got a box-set to watch with your extra-large pizza. Prepared to be satisfied…at last.

Sometimes a plumber is just a plumber. Get what you really want this year with dozens of literary quickies to tantalise and titillate even the most world-weary feminist.

From four brilliant women with their finger on the pulse comes a wickedly funny, provocative and subversive response to #metoo and Time’s Up.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Well this is just hilarious.

New Erotica for Feminists is a handbag sized book that is jam packed with laughs. It takes the concept of a dirty story and subverts it with a feminist twist. I genuinely had tears in my eyes laughing at the stories because they were so real and relatable.

New Erotica for Feminists is a must read.

New Erotica For Feminists – The Must-Have Book for Every Hot and Bothered Feminist Out There by Caitlin Kunkel, Brooke Preston, Fiona Taylor and Carrie Wittmer is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Kunkel (@KunkelTron) please visit www.caitlinkunkel.com.

For more information regarding Brooke Preston (@bigu) please visit www.brookeprestoncomedy.com.

For more information regarding Fiona Taylor (@fionaleslie) please visit www.thebelladonnacomedy.com.

For more information regarding Carrie Wittmer (@carriesnotscary) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Sceptre Books (@SceptreBooks) please visit www.sceptrebooks.co.uk.