Title: Should I Stay or Should I Go – And 87 Other Serious Answers to Questions in Songs

Author: James Ball

Pages: 280 Pages

Publisher: Boxtree

The Blurb

What is love? How soon is now? How do you solve a problem like Maria?

They’re some of the most famous questions ever asked. But do you know the answer to them? In Should I Stay or Should I Go?, award-winning journalist James Ball travels from the economic status of doggies in windows, to what war is good for and what becomes of the broken hearted to find out the definitive, fascinating and hilarious answers.


The Review

I love silliness and I will actively pursue it, keep people in my life is they are silly and partake in anything that is in the least bit silly. It is for that reason that I really enjoyed reading Should I Stay or Should I Go. It is such a simple concept really, take a popular song and look for all the things that could be incorrect in it or that pose a question.


This book made me look at popular music in a different way. My one issue with the book was actually a matter of research. It claims that Busted had four members in the band which it does not. It only has three. So yes, I love the silliness but I also like accuracy.

Should I Stay or Should I Go: And 87 Other Serious Answers to Questions in Songs by James Ball is available now.

For more information regarding James Ball (@jamesrbuk) please visit www.jamesrball.com.

Title: When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead

Pages: 210 Pages

Publisher: Anderson Press

The Blurb

Miranda’s life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda’s mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives:
‘I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.’

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.


The Review

When you reach me is a story of wrong first impressions, friendship and time travel. It is a sweet story that was recommended to me by one of the students that I work with and I am awfully glad that she did.

It is the story of Miranda and how she is given clues to her future but she doesn’t know what to do with those clues. When You Reach Me follows her journey of trying to work out the pieces of the puzzle. At the same time, she is dealing with a mother who is practising for a TV show where they could win a life changing sum of money and a friend who has an illness but is not sharing the information with Miranda.

It sounds a bit complicated but it is actually very intriguing and a wonderful read.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Stead (@rebstead) please visit www.rebeccastead.com.

Title: Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

The Review

Things a Bright Girl Can Do looks at the suffragette movement from three different perspectives and at what girls in that period of post-Victorian change would do to get equality. It is still a fight that we are striving for today but it is interesting to look at a fictional account of what suffrage meant during its hey-day.

We get to look at how the different classes were affected by the need for equal rights and how even with the onset of the Women’s Vote some people were still excluded. We see it from the perspective of a well-to-do young lady whose desperate need to fight the cause ended up with a prison sentence and a hunger strike. We see the Sapphic love between two girls from different classes, and we see how they both want the same thing when it comes to freedom and rights but how they both try to achieve it in different ways.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do is an interesting read and one that still holds relevance in modern society where the battle for total equality is still happening.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Nicholls (@Sally_Nicholls) please visit www.sallynicholls.com.

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

Title: A Little Princess

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Pages: 242 Pages

Publisher: Puffin In Bloom

The Blurb

Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary or Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. Ho this resourceful girl’s fortunes change again is at the centre of A Little Princess, one of the best-loved stories in all of children’s literature.


The Review

In my quest to read the Puffin in Bloom series last year, I found a new love for children’s classics. A Little Princess was no exception. Now, for reasons of full disclosure, I used to be terrified of A Little Princess. When I was really little we had a video tape of the Shirley Temple black and white version of the movie and it scared the be-jesus out of me. I was that scared that I made my mum tape over it. For the past few years I have scoffed at my own silliness but then recently my 4 year old niece had to throw my Amazon Echo in the bin because she was scared of Alexa (it was in a plastic bag and we fished it out afterwards). It just goes to show that we can’t always be in control of the things that scare us.

Anyway, back to A Little Princess. It is absolutely charming. The story of Sara Crewe, her rise and fall yet her total grasp of dignity and class. It is heart-warming to the very end. Frances Hodgson Burnett really did write a winner with A Little Princess. I don’t think I will be watching the movie any time soon but I would definitely give the book a re-read.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett is available now.

Title: My Teenage Diary

Time: 19 Hours Five minutes

The Blurb

Forty-five episodes from Series 1-8 of the Sony Award-winning BBC Radio comedy show, hosted by Rufus Hound.

In this hilarious and revealing show, host Rufus Hound invites his guests to revisit their formative years by dusting off their intimate teenage diaries and reading them out in public for the very first time. From terrible poetry, musings on pop music and cringeworthy crushes to fond recollections of schooldays and exotic holidays, to poignant and searingly honest confessions, these extracts reveal the secret thoughts, feelings and experiences of a host of well-known celebrities – before they became famous.

Among the contributors are Richard Herring, Shappi Khorsandi, Sheila Hancock, Meera Syal, Arabella Weir, Robert Webb, Caitlin Moran, Ken Livingstone, Terry Wogan, Alex Horne, Lionel Shriver, Michael Rosen, Ian Rankin, Debbie McGee and John Finnemore.

As they delve into the past and reflect on their youth, will they be filled with nostalgia or embarrassment? What would they say to their younger selves? And what song will they choose to sum up their teenage years? Find out all this – and a lot more besides – in these surprising, insightful and hugely entertaining shows.


The Review

I have been delving into the world of audiobooks recently and what I have come to realise is that I prefer audiobooks when they are a) books I have already read but want to come back to or b) non-fiction.

With that in mind, I spent a few weeks dipping in and out of My Teenage Diary; a compilation of stories that featured on the BBC radio program of the same name presented by Rufus Hound. The premise of the show is that well known celebrities come on air with their teenage diaries and reveal who they once were.

It is absolutely charming and funny and silly. It is great because it makes you realise just how awkward some of your favourite celebrities are and in some cases how little they have changed. Personal highlights for me were Caitlin Moran (she is my Patronus) and Robert Webb.

If you are going to spend your hard earned dollars on any audiobook this year then make sure it is My Teenage Diary.

My Teenage Diary is available now in book form and in audiobook.