Title: Allegedly

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it. She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home” – no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted – and their unborn child – to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the gray areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, acknowledging the light and darkness alive in all of us.

The Review

Allegedly is one of those really intense books that messes with your mind. It focuses on Mary, a young girl who is trying to survive a group home for ex-convicts – girls – like her – who have been charged with committing serious crimes. Allegedly.

All throughout the story we are faced with this conundrum. How allegations may or may not be accurate. Whether or not the justice system is right or wrong and at what point does a person earn redemption or a second chance. It really is a lot of heavy subjects for a YA book. However, that is actually Allegedly’s strength. It doesn’t undermine young adults. It gives them a hard hitting and unique story to come to terms with and challenges the reader to have a voice, have an opinion.

Allegedly is one of the most powerful YA fiction books that I have read in a long time.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is available now.

For more information regarding Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) please visit www.writeinbk.com.

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

Title: My Absolute Darling

Author: Gabriel Tallent

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

‘You think you’re invincible. You think you won’t ever miss. We need to put the fear on you. You need to surrender yourself to death before you ever begin, and accept your life as a state of grace, and then and only then will you be good enough.’

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall;
That chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it;
That her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world.
And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her with him.

She doesn’t know why she feels so different from the other girls at school;
Why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see;
Why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done
And what her daddy will do when he finds out …

Sometimes strength is not the same as courage.
Sometimes leaving is not the only way to escape.
Sometimes surviving isn’t enough.

The Review

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is an intoxicating, overwhelming, and intense novel about a young girl on the cusp of young womanhood and the claustrophobic life she leads under the firm hand of her father.

Turtle Alveston has lived alone with her father since her mother’s death. She has been sheltered from the everyday ordinary by her father and instead taught survival skills such as shooting. She is isolated and her world revolves around her insidious relationship with her dad.

My Absolute Darling is a coming of age novel in the most twisted and uncomfortable of ways. For me, the novel had an issue with pacing. For the first half I felt like it was very slow going but that did reflect the smallness and slowness of Turtle’s world. Then the story snowballed and it was the end. For a reader, it can be quite off-putting.

My Absolute Darling is a very disturbing novel. If you are planning on reading it then please be aware that there are a few triggering elements to the story.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent is available now.

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

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: A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket

Pages: 142 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?

It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.”

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I’ve had the Lemony Snicket Series on my Kindle for a while now. I took advantage of an offer on Amazon to buy the whole series for 99p (99p – it is currently retailing for £42!). I decided to start reading it because I needed to read a new book with my students in school, after one chapter in to A Bad Beginning I knew that this was the right book.

It is a classic story of orphaned children and insidious family members with a dollop of disbelieving adults thrown in the mix. The Baudelaire children are sent to live with their insidious uncle Count Olaf who is desperate to get his money on the Baudelaire fortune and he will do absolutely anything to get it. Anything.

If you like your books to have high drama and high jinx then A Bad Beginning is the book for you. I’m off to read the sequel.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket is available now.

For more information regarding Lemony Snicket (@lemonysnicket) please visit www.LemonySnicketLibrary.com.

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

Title: Barbara the Slut and Other People

Author: Lauren Holmes

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

A fresh, honest, and darkly funny debut collection about family, friends, and lovers, and the flaws that make us most human.

The Review

Barbara the Slut and Other People is a quirky collection of short stories from Lauren Holmes. Whilst I enjoyed reading the collection and it was a welcome distraction from some of the heavier novels I have been reading lately I must admit that I cannot recall many of the stories in the collection. Therefore, I would describe Barbara the Slut and Other People as a good collection but ultimately the stories do not play on your mind after you finish reading.

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes is available now.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollins) please visit www.hc.com.