Title: Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

Author: AW Jantha

Pages: 528 Pages

Publisher: Freeform

The Blurb

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I absolutely adore the movie Hocus Pocus. I was ten when it was released in cinemas and it as the first time that me and my older sister were allowed to go to the cinema by ourselves. It has always been a firm favourite of mine, one that I re-watch every Halloween. Now, I have my niece watching it (although she did make me watch it three times in the space of 24 hours).

So you can imagine my joy when I saw that the movie has been made into a book AND that there was a sequel included also. Joy of joys.

Firstly, let’s talk about Hocus Pocus. It doesn’t deviate from the film and for that I am thankful. The film is perfect. You should never monkey around with Bette Milder – whose hands are perfect in that film might I just add.

The sequel, however, was surprising. It follows on from the adventures that Max, Dani and Alex had 25 years ago and the story centres around Poppy, Max and Allison’s daughter (it is nice to know that they stayed together). The reason why the story is surprising is the LGBTQIA element to the story. Essentially, Hocus Pocus is a Disney classic and whilst strides have been made recently to make Disney more inclusive (just this week it was announced that there will be an openly gay Disney character in one of their next up and coming movies) it is still a major step for the wholesome Disney family oriented image. I, for one, salute this move and hope that it brings about more.

Ok, so the sequel wasn’t (and probably – in my eyes – never could be) as good as the original. However, a modern audience may appreciate it more than me. I did enjoy the story though and I loved revisiting much loved characters. I kind of hope that they make it into a movie – that would be amazing.

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by AW Jantha is available now.

Title: So Glad To Meet You

Author: Lisa Super

Pages: 284 Pages

Publisher: Diversion Books

The Blurb

Daphne and Oliver have almost nothing in common…

Seventeen-year-old Daphne Bowman, a bookish drama nerd in public school, might never have crossed paths with Oliver, the popular, outgoing mascot for his private school’s football team, but one event has bound them inextricably. Daphne’s older sister, Emily, and Oliver’s older brother, Jason, who were high school sweethearts, committed suicide together seven years earlier.

When Daphne uncovers Emily and Jason’s bucket list—a list comprised of their “Top Ten” places to visit before they die—she knows she has to tell someone. The one person who might actually get what she’s going through and who might not think it’s silly that she wants to complete the list, is also someone she’s never spoken to—Oliver Pagano. Throwing caution to the wind, Daphne sends Oliver a Facebook message that will come to change the course of both of their senior years—and maybe their entire lives.

Tackling grief with a wry voice and an unflinching eye, So Glad to Meet You tells the story of two people who, in searching for what they’ve lost, end up finding what they never knew they needed—each other.

The Review

What if the only connection you had with someone was shared grief? That is how the relationship between Daphne and Oliver starts. Both have suffered a loss and both are handing it in a very different way.

Both Daphne and Oliver’s older siblings committed suicide but when Daphne finds a bucket list of things that they had wanted to do she sets off on a journey with Oliver to try and do a facsimile of the things on the list.

What is truly special about So Glad To Meet You is that it looks at the issue of mental health from the perspective of the family; those who are indirectly dealing with mental health issues because they have a family member with a mental health condition. Personally, I don’t think this is explored enough and fiction is the ideal platform. The relationship between Daphne and Oliver is constructed in a way that you know that they really feel like they are the only ones who understand each other. Their losses are coming from the self same place. It really is like the world revolves around them.

So Glad To Meet You is a wonderful page turner that needs to be on everybody’s TBR pile.

So Glad To Meet You by Lisa Super is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Super (@LisaSuper77) please visit www.lisasuperbooks.com.

For more information regarding Diversion Books (@DiversionBooks) please visit www.diversionbooks.com.

Something BeautifulTitle: Something Beautiful

Author: Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Pages: 220 Pages

Publisher: Pen Name Publishing

The Blurb

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.

However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

The Review

There are some stories that just help you pass the time away, and there are some that you get mildly sucked into and then there are some stories that take your breath away. Something Beautiful took my breath away.

It focuses on the lifelong friendship of Cordelia and Declan. They are destined to be together. However, life makes things difficult for them. Declan deals with his sexual fluidity, Cordelia deals with her mental health. Even though life throws spanners into their lives the one constant that they have is each other. Something Beautiful is the story of two people who need each other. And it is stunning.

The non-linear multi-perspective narrative keeps the reader on their toes and heightens the tension throughout. Something Beautiful is, at times, un-put-down-able.

This is definitely one book I will be recommending to my friends.

Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson is available now.

For more information regarding Amanda Gernentz Hanson (@amandamaregh) please visit www.amandagernentzhanson.com.

For more information regarding Pen Name Publishing (@PenNamePublishing) please visit www.pennamepublishing.com/home.

4 Stars

History is all You Left MeTitle: History is All You Left Me

Author: Adam Silvera

Pages: 294 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo’s last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he’s hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo’s death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth—both in terms of what he’s willing to hide and what true love means.

The Review

Well, I am emotionally drained.

History is All You Left Me is the emotional YA novel that was released earlier this year by Adam Silvera. Griffin and Theo are in love. Well they were until Theo went to college then life got hard for Griffin. When Theo dies, Griffin is torn apart and is trying to figure out how to put himself back together.

The pain and emotion that Griffin is going through drips off every page in History is All You Left Me. It is tangible and unshakable. To feel that hard for someone is special; to be able to write that pain is something spectacular. Adam Silvera does an amazing job telling Griffin’s story. The story is told in the past and the present which gives you a fuller picture of why Griffin feels so broken. The disjointed nature of this leaves the reader unsettled and searching for something to keep them steady; a device cleverly employed by Silvera. The plot twists are epic and shake you to your very core. Overall, it is ok….yeah right, it is amazing.

I can’t promise that you won’t be broken after reading History is All You Left Me.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera is available now.

For more information regarding Adam Silvera (@AdamSilvera) please visit www.adamsilvera.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

4 Stars

the-art-of-being-normalTitle: The Art of Being Normal

Author: Lisa Williamson

Pages: 353 Pages

Publisher: David Fickling Books

The Blurb

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . .

 

The Review

For the past few years I have had a growing fascination with the transgender community. Not in a weird, creepy, voyeuristic way but more in a sympathetic, can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to be trapped in the wrong body way. I think people who openly identify with a gender that conflicts with the one that they are born into are so very brave. I find the whole subject rather heartbreaking.

Equally, I am a huge fan of Young Adult literature because writers of this genre are tackling subjects way beyond subjects that I read about in my teens. Never has there been more literature that opens up the world to diversity and the fact that it is targeted at future adults gives me hope for a more (and I hate this word but I can’t think of a better one) tolerant society.

The Art of Being Normal is a book about the LGBTQIA community, friendship and is also a coming of age tale of self discovery and acceptance. It centres on the friendship between David and Leo: two outsiders that form an unlikely friendship. They meet in high school and whilst David is battling with his gender identity, Leo is struggling with being the new kid and dealing with a bad reputation that has followed him to his new school.

I don’t want to say anything more about this book. I just want to give you the bare bones because it is rather wonderful and you should be allowed to discover it yourselves. What I will say is that Williamson deals with the topic of identity in a sensitive but honest way. She isn’t patronising or clichéd nor does she treat the subject as a novelty. Her writing is warm and rich and she has created a story that is rich and intoxicating from the very first page.

The Art of Being Normal was a pleasure to read.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is available now.

For more information regarding Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) please visit www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com.

For more information regarding (@DFB_storyhouse) please visit www.davidficklingbooks.com.

4-stars