Title: Fierce Fragile Hearts

Author: Sara Barnard

Pages: 354 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

A powerful new novel from the YA author of Beautiful Broken Things, A Quiet Kind of Thunder, and Goodbye, Perfect.

The stunning companion novel to Sara Barnard’s bestseller Beautiful Broken Things – which was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and a Zoella’s Book Club Selection – Fierce Fragile Hearts is about leaving the past behind, and learning to find love, in all its forms.

Two years after a downward spiral took her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting again. (Again.) She’s back in Brighton, the only place she felt she belonged, back with her best friends Caddy and Rosie. But they’re about to leave for university.

When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re the one left behind?

The Review

Sara Barnard is one of those authors whose books I anticipate. I think she is one of the best YA fiction writers and I get swallowed whole by her stories. Fierce Fragile Hearts is no exception to this praise.

In Fierce Fragile Hearts we return to Brighton and to the life that Suzanne once knew. Fresh and optimistic she is trying to become an adult and even though things haven’t been easy for Suzanne so far it turns out that adulthood is no easy picnic. It is especially hard when her support system – her friends Caddy and Rosie – are off to pastures new for university.

Feeling alone and a little bit lost Suzanne starts to fall back on old, dangerous habits.

Fierce Fragile Hearts was a brilliant sequel to an already amazing book. Barnard manages to capture the loneliness and isolation of Suzanne, the struggles with being a child of ‘the system’ and also the difficult journey of trying to grow up. It encapsulates all the things I love, a book with friendship at its core, a coming-of-age tale and an awesome soundtrack to accompany it. If there was an extended road trip added then I would have been in book nirvana.

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Barnard (@saramegan) please visit www.sarabarnardofficial.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Proud

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

The Blurb

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.

Following A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, winner of the YA BOOK PRIZE SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD 2018

The Review

I love a collection of themed short stories. I find it completely captivating when several authors can hook a reader with their take on a contentious topic and completely engage the reader. Proud did this for me.

I came across writers that I have previously read works by and also some brand new authors; now I have the desire to read more of their work. Each unique story showed the struggles and the triumphs of the LGBTQIA+ community. Proud really is a collection that should be shared and spread far and wide.

Proud by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

For more information regarding Stripes Publishing (@StripesBooks) please visit www.littletiger.co.uk.

Title: The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins

Pages: 448 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins/The Borough Press

The Blurb

Imagine you could erase your grief.

Imagine you could forget your pain.

Imagine you could hide a secret. Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

The Binding is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event.

The Review

Well this is an interesting one. The Binding by Bridget Connell is the story of how stories are made. The promise is that there are people called ‘Binders’ who will take away any bad memories and lock them securely in a book. The book will then be locked away. The only way for the people to regain their memories is if the books are burned. So far, so mystical.

We then have the main story which revolves around Emmett Farmer. He is sent to work as a binder but as the story evolves we see that he too has been bound.

I cannot lie to you, I found The Binding really difficult to get into. I wasn’t instantly lost in this world. Then something clicked and I was gone. I mean completely lost. I couldn’t put it down. It is a book that covers so many issues: class, power, LGBT. There is so much in here.

This is definitely a must read for 2019.

The Binding by Bridget Collins is available now.

For more information regarding Bridget Collins (@Br1dgetCollins) please visit www.thebindingbook.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding The Borough Press (@BoroughPress) please visit www.boroughpress.co.uk.

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Washington Square Press

The Blurb

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of my favourite books of 2018. It centres on the life and times of Evelyn Hugo – an award winning movie star – and it charts her way to success; the good times, the bad times and the times when life was so hard it was unbearable. Not only does Taylor Jenkins Reid take you on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey through Evelyn’s life but she also looks at the hypocrisy of Hollywood during its golden age, it looks at the LGBT community and its rise to prominence and it looks behind the screen at the lives of Hollywood actresses – the parts that they don’t want us to see.

This is the first book that I have read by Taylor Jenkins Reid but it certainly won’t be the last.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available now.

For more information regarding Taylor Jenkins Reid (@tjenkinsreid) please follow www.taylorjenkinsreid.com.

Title: The House with a Clock in its Walls

Author: John Bellairs

Pages: 179 Pages

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

The Blurb

Lewis Barnavelt doesn’t have time on his side…

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbour, Mrs Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis couldn’t be happier. What’s not to like about seeing his uncle practise spells and eating Mrs Zimmermann’s delicious cookies?

At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Selenna Izard. It seems that evil Selenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls – a clock that could obliterate humankind.

As the clock can be heard ticking away in the house all the time, sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, it is up to the Barnavelts to find where it is hidden in the walls – and stop it. A true race against time…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In the grand tradition of teen mysteries comes The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Weird title, I grant you but it is a bit like Ronseal. It does with it says on the tin.

The story is about a young, orphaned boy (isn’t it always?) who goes to live with his mad-cap uncle to live in his house which is full of mysteries. A relevant amount of chaos ensues and our young hero, Lewis Barnavelt becomes embroiled in solving the mystery.

It is all fun and games, this book and it would be a perfect gift for a middle grade reader.

The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs is available now.

For more information regarding Piccadilly Press (@PiccadillyPress) please visit www.piccadillypressblog.wordpress.com.