Title: The House with Chicken Legs

Author: Sophie Anderson

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

The Blurb

Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning.

For Marinka’s grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother’s footsteps, but her house has other ideas…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Oh dear.

I bought into the hype of The House with Chicken Legs. Everyone was raving about it. Twitter went nuts. Teachers were singing its praises.

For me, I felt a little confused.

Ok so the story is of a young girl who has a destiny to become the next guardian. The one who helps the dead cross over to the other side. I don’t understand why the house had to have legs like a chicken.

Also, as one of my students who attends book group said to me, “this book could have ended half way through it.” Sadly, I have to agree.

It was not for me.

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Anderson (@sophieinspace) please visit www.sophieandersonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Usborne Publishing (@Usborne) please visit www.usborne.com.

Title: The Astonishing Colour of After

Author: Emily X. R. Pan

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

The Blurb

Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.

Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.

Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.

With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The loss of a parent is something that I find unthinkable. I have been lucky, I am well into my thirties and both of my parents are still alive so I find stories with this as its premise really hard to take. It just seems so unjustifiably unfair.

It is this premise that The Astonishing Colour of After follows. Our protagonist, Leigh, is dealing with the death of her mother. Suffering with depression, Leigh’s mum took her own life and Leigh embarks on a journey to find out about her past on her mother’s side. It is a journey that takes her to the other side of the world, to a family she has never met before to figure out just who her mum was.

The Astonishing Colour of After is an interesting story, one that is both uplifting and devastating at the same time.

For more information regarding Emily X. R. Pan (@exrpan) please visit instagram.com/exrpan.

For more information regarding Orion Children’s Books (@the_orionstar) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

My Life As A BenchTitle: My Life as a Bench

Author: Jaq Hazell

Pages: 234 Pages

Publisher: Nowness Books

The Blurb

There are so many benches lining the riverside, each and every one tragic in its own way.’

Unique and haunting, this is a story about love, friendship, a passion for music and what, if anything, remains after we’ve gone.

Ren Miller has died aged seventeen and yet her consciousness lives on, inhabiting her memorial bench by the River Thames in London. Ren longs to be reunited with her boyfriend Gabe, but soon discovers why he has failed to visit. Devastated, she must learn to break through and talk to the living so she can reveal the truth about her tragic end.

The Review

Sometimes a book will stay with you for all the right reasons long after you have turned the final page. I think that My Life is a Bench by Jaq Hazell will be such a book. Not because I overly loved it. It was good but I have read books that captured my heart more but because the story is just so cleverly thought out and so unusual.

It is the story of Ren Miller whose life has been tragically cut short. Her soul however lingers on in a memorial bench that has been bought in honour of her. She’s not alone. She strikes up a friendship with the bench next to her and sometimes she has visitors. However, the person she longs to see the most hasn’t been to see her…yet.

My Life as a Bench really is an inspired story. I giggled all the way through at Ren’s frustration and boredom in death. It was heart-warming in places and it made me hope against hope that I never turn into a bench.

My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell is available now.

For more information regarding Jaq Hazell (@jaqhazell) please visit www.jaqhazell.com.

3 Stars