Title: Only Mostly Devastated

Author: Sophie Gonzales

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press/Hachette Children’s Group/Hodder Children’s Books

The Blurb

Ollie and Will were a summer fling; now they’re classmates. But only one of them is out…SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets a modern-day, queer re-imagining of GREASE.

It was the very last Wednesday of August when I realized Disney had been lying to me about Happily Ever Afters. Because, you see, I was four days into mine, and my prince was nowhere to be found.

“Please don’t lose contact. I need to see you again,” he’d said. So why was I here, banging my head against a metaphorical wall, weighing up the pros and cons of sending another message? This wasn’t a big deal. It was just a guy texting another guy. A guy who knew all my biggest secrets, and had Seen. Me. Naked™. A guy who’d convinced me he really, really liked me. A guy who’d better have been abducted by goddamn aliens…

When Ollie meets Will over the summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself short of his fairy-tale ending.

A family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country – Will’s school – and Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, a basketball jock and, well, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie isn’t going to pine after a guy who isn’t ready for a relationship. But as school life repeatedly throws them together, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

With the noisy drama of their friends as the backdrop – from ambitious Juliette and frosty Lara, to big-hearted Darnell and king-jock Matt – Ollie has a decision to make.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again. Right?

The Review

Only Mostly Devastated is a warm, funny, sweet book about young love and feeling the need to hide who you truly are. The blurb describes it as a modern day telling of Grease and it couldn’t be more accurate. With our protagonist Ollie we see the story from the eyes of Sandra-Dee…except he is a little bit emo and a boy and gay.

Undercurrent to the love story you have a tale of finding your tribe. Ollie is in a new school in a completely different state and he is struggling to find his place. Throw on top of that another story of a sick relative and you really do feel that Ollie has too much going on for someone so young.

I really rate Only Mostly Devastated. It is a book that deals with difficult issues but also gives you the feel good factor. The writing style is easy and you don’t feel like you are being challenged by reading it but feel like you are one of Ollie’s gang of friends, going through things alongside him.

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Gonzales (@sgonzalesauthor) please visit www.sophiegonzalesbooks.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

For more information regarding Hodder Children’s Books (@HoddereBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

 

Title: Follow Me, Like Me

Author: Charlotte Seager

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

What do you do when your Instagram romance goes wrong and tries to find you IRL? 

When sixteen-year-old Chloe replies to a DM from a gorgeous stranger, she has no idea what she’s inviting into her life. As her online fan becomes increasingly obsessive, her real life starts to come apart at the seams and Chloe realizes she needs to find a way to stop him before things spiral out of control.

Meanwhile, misfit Amber’s online obsession with her personal trainer begins to creep into the real world. But when she hears a terrible rumour about him, she drops everything to try and prove his innocence – even if it means compromising her own.

The Review

What a fantastic cautionary tale Follow Me, Like Me is. It is the story of how our obsession with social media can actually be very insidious. What Charlotte Seager has done exceptionally well is that she has presented it from various different angles. We have Chloe who is obsessed with the buzz and thrill of how people liking her on social media makes her feel. It is almost drug like but she forgoes her own safety to get that feeling.

We see obsession from Amber’s side as she becomes fixated with an individual and begins to stalk her prey. Although we feel that her obsession comes from an innocent place we cannot help feel a bit creeped out by her lack of social awareness.

Then we see it from the perspective of the faceless stranger who at first seems lovely but becomes more and more sinister as the story develops.

Follow Me, Like Me is a brilliant story that deserves to be put in the hands of every teen who thinks that they are techno-savvy (and even the ones that don’t) to make sure that they realise the real dangers that lurk in the darkness of the interweb.

Follow Me, Like Me by Charlotte Seager is available now.

For more information regarding Charlotte Seager (@CharlotteSeager) please visit www.charlotteseager.com.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Books (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Saving Missy

Author: Beth Morrey

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Prickly. Stubborn. Terribly lonely.
But everyone deserves a second chance…

Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.

Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.

Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.

Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?

The Review

Oh this book crushed me and brought me back to life.

Missy Carmichael is lonely. She has no one but a chance encounter at a local park sets her life on a series of new adventures that makes her relatively small world less narrow.

I adored this story. My heart broke for Missy on every page. I whooped for her triumphs and a grieved the sad times along with her. The mixture of time frames is seamlessly interwoven and you really do get a full picture of why Missy is the way she is.

This book is restorative. Saving Missy teaches us that there is a world of opportunity out there we just have to be open to the possibilities. One thing is for certain is that Beth Morrey has really hit the nail on the head when it comes to growing old and the loneliness that can come with it. I cannot wait to see what she writes next.

Saving Missy by Beth Morrey is available now.

For more information regarding Beth Morrey (@BethMorrey) please visit www.bethmorrey.co.uk.

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

Title: Pretending

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.

April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel.

Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.

The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her.

As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua.

Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

The Review

Holly Bourne is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects. That is what I learned after reading her latest release – Pretending.

Pretending is the story of April. April is sick of the dating scene. She hates that she can’t live up to the expectations and standards that have been set for girls. More than that, she hates that men cannot live up to the exacting standards that she has set. There is a reason she has these standards and April is not willing to settle. So as a social experiment she invents Gretel. The perfect girl. She wants to see if Gretel is more successful than April. All of this goes well until she starts to fall for Joshua – the unwitting victim of her experiment. But who does he love – Gretel or April?

Pretending is a power house of a story. Bourne was asking questions that plagued my late twenties when it came to dating and men. Her questions and her characters anger are not unfounded. There are a lot of triggering moments in this story though so be prepared to wade through some topics that aren’t easy to read but it is with Bourne’s fearless style that as a reader you feel in safe hands.

Pretending by Holly Bourne is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

Title: Ten Days in a Mad House

Author: Nellie Bly

Pages: 102 Pages

Publisher: Self Published

The Blurb

Ten Days in a Madhouse is Nellie Bly’s (Elizabeth Jane Cochrane Seaman) account of her ten days in a madhouse in New York in 1887. Bly, in an act of stunt journalism that wold make her famous, pretended to be mildly insane so she would be sent to an asylum to see first hand what one was like.

To begin the process she goes to a rooming house and one night she stays up all night staring at the wall. The stare fest alerts her roommate and scares the homeowner and the next day she fixates on her lost trunk and insists on finding it. At the same time she continually talks about too many foreigners and never having worked, which both seem strange to the working class people she is rooming with. These three things are sufficient for her to land before a judge and eventually in the madhouse where she endures the arbitrary and vindictive rule of the nurses who are little better than street toughs.

At the end of ten days a lawyer from her paper the World secures her release.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I first came across the name Nellie Bly when I read The Address by Fiona Davis. I had never heard of this brave woman before and my curiosity was instantly peaked. You see, I have a long lasting and visceral response to people who end up in asylums – an archaic term I know but I have no issue with people looking after their mental health but it is in asylums and sanatoriums in the 19th and early 20th century that really fascinate me due to the abuse of power within the patriarchy and within the institutions themselves. It makes me really angry when I think about it.

Therefore, when I learned that Nellie Bly put herself in a famous asylum for a news report I couldn’t help but marvel at how gutsy and ballsy she must have been. Equally, she must have been so trusting of her colleagues to get her out eventually. During this time period a woman would have required a man to be her guarantor and if they decided that she was crazy they could have left her to rot. Furthermore, she would have sounded more insane by saying she was sane. It was a risky article to take on.

Whilst there, Nellie Bly uncovered the harsh and degrading ways that people with health conditions were treated and it is without a doubt that her pioneering reportage managed to change the ways of mental health care and pave the way for more professionalism within these places.

Ten Days in a Mad House by Nellie Bly is available now.