Madonna in a Fur CoatTitle: Madonna in a Fur Coat

Author: Sabahattin Ali

Pages: 167 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Books/Penguin Classics

The Blurb

The pain of losing something precious can be forgotten over time. But our missed opportunities never leave us, and every time they come back to haunt us, we ache.’

A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade and discover life in 1920s Berlin. There, amid the city’s bustling streets, elegant museums, passionate politics and seedy cabarets, a chance meeting transforms his life forever. Caught between his desire for freedom and his yearning to belong, he struggles to hold on to the new life he has found.

A mesmerizing bestseller of lost love and yearning to belong in 1920s Berlin, Madonna in a Fur Coat is one of the top twenty debut fiction hardbacks of 2016 so far and has been a top ten bestseller in Turkey continuously for the last three years.

Sabahattin Ali is one of the greatest Turkish writers of the twentieth century, his story is as moving as the one recounted in the novel and resonates with the political tensions in Turkey today.

The Review

Ok, this is another of those books that I requested based on the strength of the cover and the title. I can’t say that I loved Madonna in a Fur Coat but I can appreciate certain things about the story. The whole bait and switch of protagonists was in interesting twist. Along with the mysterious nature of Marie and the unending yearning of Reif made the story romantic and certainly of its period.

Whilst Madonna in a Fur Coat certainly has positives it is not something I would normally read.

Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin Classics (@classicpenguins) please visit www.penguinclassics.co.uk.

2 Stars

Holding Up The UniverseTitle: Holding Up the Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

The Blurb

From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone – and love someone – for who they truly are. 

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen’. But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to see who she really is. Since her mum’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER.

I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the art of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his own brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. Until he meets Libby.

When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game which lands them in group counselling, Libby and Jack are both angry, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world – theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are – and seeing them right back.

The Review

I really loved Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places yet it took me an awfully long time after the release of Holding Up the Universe to pick it up and start reading. What a fool I have been. If at all possible I enjoyed Holding Up the Universe more than Niven’s debut.

The story revolves around Jack and Libby – two teenagers who have their own battles to face. Libby is a big girl. She was formerly known as America’s Fattest Teenager. Jack has a rare medical condition called Prosopagnosia which renders him unable to recognise faces.

Through both of their difficulties they manage to find comfort in each other but this is high school and we all know that school kids can be cruel. This is a story of young love, coming of age and finding yourself.

What I love about YA fiction is that it is so diverse that it presents the reader with something that they may have never heard of. I have never heard of Prosopagnosia so I am almost certain that the students I work with will not have done either. They will have heard of obesity and may have even made cruel comments towards people with weight issues. It is books like Holding Up the Universe that help create empathy and highlight the differences in people. Holding up the Universe is the kid of books that young people need to read.

I can genuinely say that Holding Up the Universe is one of the most impactful books that I have read in 2017.

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is available now.

For more information regarding Jennifer Niven (@jenniferniven) please visit www.jenniferniven.com.

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

4 Stars

Title: Truth or Dare

Author: Non Pratt

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian’s “writer to watch” Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne.

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

Ever since reading Trouble by Non Pratt I have been a fan of her writing. She did not disappoint me with her recent release Truth or Dare.

Told in two parts, it tells the story from the two protagonists, Sef and Claire’s, perspectives. Sef is determined to get money to pay his brother’s hospital fees. Sef’s brother has recently suffered a brain injury and his care is scarily expensive. Claire and Sef come up with a plan to raise the money. The more time they spend together, the closer they become.

The lines of friendship become blurred and now they are both in way to deep.

Truth or Dare was a fast paced, intense read that I couldn’t devour quickly enough. Page-turner really doesn’t seem a strong enough word to describe just how good it was. Non Pratt is in possession of a really rare gift; she is one of the strongest voices in YA fiction today.

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt is available now.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksYA) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

35 Stars

Title: Sweet Pea

Author: CJ Skuse

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

I don’t know what this says about me but I really enjoyed Sweet Pea.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is the story of Rhiannon, a girl on a crusade to right wrongs, to help the helpless and hurt the haters. So she is a bit of a serial killer….we all have flaws, right?

In all seriousness, Sweet Pea was a really entertaining read. What made it so entertaining was the sheer frivolity with which Rhiannon committed her crimes. She acted in a glib detached manner and she was really sold by SJ Ckuse as being a character so at ease with murder it was almost disturbing.

I don’t want to worry you but you will laugh at this story…at least I hope you will. Maybe it was just me that laughed. Oh dear.

Sweet Pea by CJ Skuse is available now.

For more information regarding CJ Skuse (@CJSkuse) please visit www.cjskusebooks.wixsite.com/cjskuse.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

4 Stars

Kicking the Bucket listTitle: The Kicking the Bucket List

Author: Cathy Hopkins

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Three sisters. Their mother’s dying wish. One last chance to be a family…The stunning debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.

Meet the daughters of Iris Parker. Dee; sensitive and big-hearted; Rose uptight and controlled and Fleur the reckless free spirit.At the reading of their mother’s will, the three estranged women are aghast to discover that their inheritance comes with very tricky strings attached. If they are to inherit her wealth, they must spend a series of weekends together over the course of a year and carry out their mother’s ‘bucket list’. But one year doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for them to move past the decades-old layers of squabbles and misunderstandings. Can they grow up for once and see that Iris’s bucket list was about so much more than money…

The Review

What an emotional rollercoaster of a story. When I first picked up Cathy Hopkin’s book The Kicking the Bucket List I was reminded of another story that I had read earlier in the year. However, what was brilliant is that even with similar concepts two different writers can both make such interesting and diverse stories.

Hopkins tells the story of three estranged sisters who are brought back together by their recently deceased mother. The three girls are strikingly different but it is the love of their mother that makes them partake in the kicking the bucket list of challenges.

Each new challenge brings a new dilemma, more and more of the characters foibles are revealed and we steadily fall for this family who have fallen apart.

The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins is a gorgeous, warm, and uplifting read. This needs to be your latest commute read….be warned, you may not be able to put it down.

The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins is available now.

For more information regarding Cathy Hopkins (@CathyHopkins1) please visit www.cathyhopkins.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit www.harpercollins.co.uk.

35 Stars