Synopsis

The Song girls have always been close. After the death of their mother Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty have had to work together to be strong; not only for each other but for their father too. So when Margot flies 4000 miles away to study in St Andrews University in Scotland, middle child Lara Jean finds that the majority of the responsibility falls heavy upon her shoulders.

It is difficult enough being the responsible one but Lara Jean has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh; a boy who she once loved but stopped herself from thinking about due to Margot liking him too. However, when a box of love letters that Lara Jean has written somehow get sent to all the boys that she has had feelings for before her whole world is turned upside down.

Review

Initially I wasn’t really feeling this book. I felt that it was paced at warp speed and the short scenes felt a bit choppy to me. However, I think this could have been because of the sweeping narrative of the book that I had previously read was still playing in my mind. This is not a fault of Jenny Han’s but just because it was such a sudden shift. I needed t readjust.

As I got further into the story I actually began to see the pacing as one of the books main attributes. Life is like that when you are young and in love. Everything goes fast, one drama after another that lose significance as the weeks go on. It was actually a clever stylistic trick employed by the writer.

As for the Song girls, they were so easy to like and what I thought was so special about Lara Jean is that she was the balance between the two surrounding sisters. She had the heart of Margot and the playfulness of Kitty and it was s lovely to see her develop and take on the role as older sister as opposed to middle child.

What was also rather lovely about the story is that it didn’t make grand sweeping gestures. It was the simple things that were important such as the little notes passed back and forth between Lara Jean and Peter or how they slowly got to know one another. Lara Jean came across as a young insecure teenager. She wasn’t whiney or gauche which you can sometimes find in YA fiction. She was still growing and developing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a sweet innocent book that has the ability to remind us just what it is like to be in the first throws of teenage lust; a gloriously wretched feeling. Jenny Han has done herself proud.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is available now.

*             Special thanks to Sophia at Scholastic for sending me a copy for review.

 

Synopsis

The Bradley family are devout Mormons. Their faith is unquestionable as they conduct their lives by the teachings of the church. Ian Bradley is not only the head of the family but is the Bishop in his local area; his wife Claire regularly sees the church put before his family but that is the way of the religion. God comes first. However, when the unthinkable happens within the Bradley family everyone’s faith is put to the test.

Review

Reading about religion will forever be an eye opener especially in modern society when for most religion has been reduced to special occasions and faith is not practised as much as it once was. In A Song For Issy Bradley, Carys Bray presents a story of fervent faith within the modern family and has focused on the Mormon religion which in itself is a fascinating topic but when structured around a fictional text very much becomes the foundation for its characters.

Bray handled the difficult subject of child death with dignity and heart. Her narrative is beautiful as she undresses the emotions that Claire was feels through the loss of a child. It is heartbreaking to read but absolutely necessary to see her crumble under the sheer pain and how her grief snowballs on to the rest of the family.

The familial roles significantly change yet the traditional roles that are expected within the religion remain i.e. the eldest child (and daughter) Zippy takes on the housekeeping responsibilities because it as expected. Ian tries to hold it all together as not only his wife falls apart but as he deals with his own grief and tries to remain faithful to his religious beliefs that everything happens for a greater purpose. His son Al, who has always been a loose cannon continues to misbehave and tries to mask his grief with humour and youngest son Jacob sticks fervently to his belief that his younger sister will be returned to him.

A Song For Issy Bradley is beautiful. There is no other word for it. Bray shines through as a new voice to look out for.

A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray is available now.

 

Last week was a good reading week. I got through quite a few books – finally the dizziness has subsided so reading has become more frequent and easier.

This week I read:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth by ACH Smith and Brian Froud

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A Song For Issy Bradley by Carys Bray (Review to be posted tomorrow)

And I started reading Boy About Town by Tony Fletcher which I will continue reading this week.

I was sent a copy of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It was sent for review from the wonderful people at Scholastic so that will definitely be getting read this week. I will also read the following books.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

Your Beautiful Lies by Louie Douglas

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

I hope I can get through them all. I will get my NetGally percentage up and my reading list down.

Hope you have a good reading week.

L x

Synopsis

Lola has a good life; great parents, great friends, a quirky sense of style and a hot boyfriend who is in a rock band. Things couldn’t be better. However, when her old neighbours move back into the house next door the very foundations of Lola’s happiness start to crumble around her. Especially when she lays her eyes on Cricket Bell – two years older and two years more beautiful but the ache of heartbreak has only got two years more painful for Lola. How will Lola cope with the boy next door?

Review

Stephanie Perkins has only gone and done it again. She has made me fall in love for another of her leading men. Before we get into all of that let me just say that I enjoyed Lola and the Boy Next Door just as much as I liked Anna and the French Kiss and it is no wonder that Stephanie Perkins is at the forefront, leading the way, nay trailblazing the way for YA Romantic Fiction. I genuinely believe in her stories and feel wholeheartedly for her characters that it would be an easy assumption to make that Perkins still remembers the absolute agony of being a teenager in love. This is a quality that we all should try to remember as we grow older but sadly sometimes forget or trivialise.

Lola and the Boy Next Door broke my heart in a different way to Anna and the French Kiss because for Lola, her love for Cricket had been once that had grown, seemingly unrequited, for years. You couldn’t help but ache for her and you could feel just how much Cricket loved her too. Frustratingly they just couldn’t seem to get it together. It is this torturous narrative that makes the story so great. You desperately want to see them admit their feelings, to hug it out, to kiss and to be in love but it takes a whole story to get there.

It is safe to say that Stephanie Perkins has her finger on the beating pulse of every girls’ romantic dreams. Her characters are believable and are easy to fall in love with – especially the male protagonists. She has a magic to her writing that, for me, is unrivalled.

I cannot wait to read Isla and the Happily Ever After.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is available now.

 

Synopsis

After having yet another argument with her stepmother over babysitting duties, Sarah appeals to the goblin king to take away her younger brother Toby. When this actually happens Sarah starts a quest to retrieve her younger sibling and she only has thirteen hours to make her way to the centre of the labyrinth to confront Jareth, the Goblin King.

Review

Ok, so if – like me – you are a child of the 80s then Labyrinth will have been a firm favourite of yours. It most definitely was one of my favourites (to the point where I have the soundtrack on CD and vinyl and the DVD and film posters and the T-Shirt and a weird crush on David Bowie) so when I saw that a book was going to be released of the story I will admit my inner geek went into overdrive. This occasionally happens, especially when I find random memorabilia from movies that I love.

I bought a copy of the book in a moment of proud madness – well technically I Pre-Ordered it from Amazon. I had just had a root canal after 30 years of avoiding the dentist and felt that I had been a brave little toaster and deserved a treat. And boy was this book a treat.

It was strange reading a story that I have loved for such a long time. The characters’ were exactly how they were in the movies but what is good about the book is that you get a vision of the unedited movie. Deleted scenes take place in the book that obviously didn’t make it to the actual movie. What I did find is that some of the descriptive narrative read like extra detailing in a script.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because if you have seen the movie you can see just how accurate that the movie makers got it.

Overall, this is a sumptuous book for the lovers of the film. Now, having finished the book I am off to watch the movie. Dance, Magic Dance….

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth by ACH Smith and Brian Froud is available now.