Synopsis

When a Tornado sweeps across Amy’s hometown, the trailer in which she lives with her mother and pet rat is swept up and lands Amy in Oz. Yes, that Oz. Amy swiftly learns that the Oz that we have read about in the classic stories is not all what it seems. Now ruled under a reign of terror at the hands of Dorothy, Amy has to try her hardest to stay alive.

Review

The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favourite stories. More so due to the movie rather than the books (although I do plan to read the whole series of Wizard of Oz books in 2015) however, I cannot seem to warm to any of the literature that has been created in light of the original story.

Well, actually that is a lie. I bloody love Wicked The Musical. The book Wicked didn’t do it for me though. Dorothy Must Die is an extremely clever concept. The idea that Dorothy had turned evil and changed Oz for the worse is so clever. It usurps everything that we know about Oz and our beloved characters and the way Paige tells the story it seems almost plausible that Dorothy would be angry at another girl arriving in Oz by tornado; sheesh, get your own entrance!

There are interesting twists on characters and a few third act surprises that do keep you on your toes. However, I did find that there was far too much exposition and not a lot of action happening. I felt that the pace sometimes dragged.

Overall, Dorothy Must Die is a brave attempt to take on a classic story and for the most part Paige succeeds. With the subsequent sequels I do hope that a lot more action takes place.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige is available now.

You can follow Danielle Paige (@daniellempaige) on Twitter.Dorothy Must Die

Synopsis

Rabbit Hayes has beaten cancer before. All it took was a battle which resulted in chemotherapy, radiation and a mastectomy. So when her cancer came back she was determined to beat it again. However, when a stumble results in a broken leg Rabbit is told the devastating news that her cancer had advanced. She was at stage 4 metastatic cancer.

When Rabbit has only days left to live her family gather round to say goodbye.

Review

There have only ever been a handful of books that have broken me. The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes has successfully joined those ranks. Let me get this out of the way before I get into the nitty gritty of the review – this book is beautiful. It is a gorgeous (albeit devastating) story, it is written in the most engaging way and it is surprisingly uplifting. Anna McPartlin has hit a pitch perfect note with this novel.

The heart of this novel relies on the closeness of the Hayes family; each character adding to the dynamic of the novel. The anger and sadness and desperation felt by the cast of characters is almost palpable. Yet their humour makes the utter wretchedness of the situation almost bearable. It is the verisimilitude of this attitude that makes The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes all the more relatable – anyone who has ever dealt with serious sickness or chronic illness within their family will know that laughing is the only way to get through it.

One of the most difficult things about The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is having the ability to put the book down. It is so beautifully written and heart warming; I was left with the horrid feeling of wanting to know what happened but not wanting the book to end because I knew what the inevitable ending would entail.

If you loved Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember (all of which made me cry) then The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes is the book for you. I cannot recommend it enough.

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin is available now.

You can follow Anna McPartlin (@annamcpartlin) on Twitter

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

Synopsis

Josh Sundquist embarks on a scientific study to reveal why he is so un-datable. In this study, he questions girls who he has previously either had a crush on or nearly dated. The results might not be quite what you had expected.

Review

This book had me gripped from beginning to end. You cannot help but relate to Sundquist. Who among us hasn’t felt the sheer mortification by being shot down by their crush? Who among us hasn’t felt the crazy overload of sweat when trying to tell our beloved how we feel? We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story almost holds a mirror up to our own insecurities and makes us realise that we all have reasons for people to love us, and yes, reasons for people to not feel the same way. Sadly, that is life. Josh Sundquist makes you realise that you aren’t alone in this.

What does become more and more obvious as you read this book is that there are very few characters – let alone protagonists – within modern literature who have a disability. Personally, I can only recall one other character. Whether or not Josh Sundquist was aiming to highlight this is unbeknownst to me; however it is something that should be addressed and made more prevalent in modern day fiction.

I really enjoyed We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story. Sundquist has a witty, self-deprecating and observational humour that makes you want to read more. I couldn’t put the book down and I read it in one sitting which to me speaks volumes.

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist is available now.

You can follow Josh Sundquist (@JoshSundquist) on Twitter.

We Should Hang Out Sometime

Title: The Last Virgin Alive

Author: Stephanie Crosby

Pages: 116 pages

Synopsis

College student Symphony has left her home town of Virginia to make a new life for herself in Chicago away from the demons of her teen years. Her plan for this year is to pop her cherry; but is she really ready for such a massive decision?

Review

I always feel bad when I have to write that I didn’t like a book; someone’s hard work and effort has gone into creating a book and therefore I feel bad for judging it. However, in the case of The Last Virgin Alive I have no compunction in telling it like it is. This book is awful.

Firstly, let’s look at it purely from a grammatical sense. Punctuation was flying about willy-nilly and incorrect spelling littered the pages. Secondly, entire phrases were repeated in the narrative descriptions of characters, not just a little phrase but a whole paragraph. That is either lazy writing or lazy editing. Thirdly, the narrative to dialogue ratio is unbelievably unbalanced. You are constantly struggling to guess who is talking. As a reader, I shouldn’t have to work that hard.

The storyline actually had a lot of potential to work as a young adult thriller but the execution was poor. In part, the fault of this lies in the characters. Our protagonist, Symphony, is difficult to like. She is whiney and needy and a little unhinged. Partnered with new boyfriend Adam – who causes arguments over completely random things – the relationship fails as fast as the thin plot does.

Normally when I write a review of a book that I do not like I encourage others to read it and make their own decision. In the case of The Last Virgin Alive I make no such recommendation, save your time and money. This book just isn’t worth it.

The Last Virgin Alive by Stephanie Crosby is available now.

The Last Virgin Alive

Synopsis

Jessie and her best friend Emma have left boring Manchester in England for a summer adventure in one of the greatest cities in the world – New York! The girls are staying with Jessie’s mum and Jessie is hoping it is a chance to repair their fractured relationship. She is also looking for a holiday romance to get over bad boy Taylor who recently left her broken hearted.

If only she could meet someone in this great big romantic city…

Review

Ok, so here is my problem. I like YA fiction, however, when I read some YA fiction really begin to feel my age (coughs *31* coughs). Jessie Hearts NYC is one of those books. Don’t get me wrong, this book is well written, it has a sustainable and believable plot, the characters are well rounded and thought out and I actually rather enjoyed it. My only problem is not one that Stainton can be blamed for; I am not her key demographic. Therefore, I didn’t love this book but I can see all the good qualities in it. I am certain that teenage me would have adored this book.

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton is available now.