Title: Queens of Geek

Author: Jen Wilde

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Group/Swoon Reads

The Blurb

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

The Review

Queens of Geek is the perfect book for that person who never quite fits in. Sounds a bit dramatic but it is genuinely the vibe that you get from Jen Wilde’s book.

It is the story of three friends who have travelled across the globe to attend a comic book convention. There is romance, hi-jinx and costume competitions. Wilde has kept her cast of characters diverse and helps dispel the myth of what is “normal” in society – and what better setting than a comic book convention? Wilde’s characters are dealing with failed romance and blossoming new romance, celebrity fandom, autism, LGBT, and social anxiety. It really is a lot to read about in a relatively small novel. Throw in a dollop of movie quotes and you have something pretty special.

It is a wonderful story though, one of personal triumph, self discovery and essentially growing up. If it doesn’t help your inner geek rise to the surface then it is questionable if you even have one. It is a story that I will be recommending to many of the young adults that I work with.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is available now.

For more information regarding Jen Wilde (@jenmariewilde) please visit www.jenmariewilde.com.

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

For more information regarding Swoon Reads (@SwoonReads) please visit www.swoonreads.com.

Title: Floored

Author: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift that morning, they were strangers. Sasha, who is at the UK’s biggest TV centre desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s by far the richest – and best-looking – guy in the lift; Velvet, who regrets wearing the world’s least comfortable shoes to work experience; Dawson, who isn’t the good-looking teen star he was and desperate not to be recognized; Kaitlyn, who’s slowly losing her sight but won’t admit it, and Joe, who shouldn’t be there at all, but who wants to be there the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year . . .

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I can honestly say that I have never read a book that has so many authors attached to it. The authors of Floored is made up of seven of the most noteworthy names in contemporary young adult fiction and whilst I cannot claim to have read other books by all of the authors I now know that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick them up because Floored is brilliant.

Six people from varying different backgrounds – socially, economically, sexually, etc – all meet whilst travelling in a lift. After a shocking incident occurs, the six lives become inextricably linked. Every year the motley crew meet and we watch as their lives unfold in front of us.

What I loved about Floored was thee diversity in the characters. They all had some trials and tribulations to get through, they all had something that was breaking them but they managed to deal with it. Each one was strong in their own way. The range in voices really added to the way the story unfolded. The multi-perspective multi-layering was so engaging.

I genuinely hope that this collection of authors collaborates again. They are like Captain Planet –  when their forces combine they become greater than their individual parts which were pretty great to begin with.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Bynre, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Barnard (@saramegan) please visit www.sarabarnardofficial.com.

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

For more information regarding Tanya Byrne (@tanyabyrne) please visit www.tanyabyrne.com.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Melinda Salisbury (@MESalisbury) please visit www.melindasalisbury.com.

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

For more information regarding Eleanor Wood (@eleanor_wood) please visit www.eleanorwood.net.

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

You Know Me WellTitle: You Know Me Well

Author: Nina LaCour and David Levithan

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

The Review

Good golly I love YA fiction. I love that even as a 32 year old woman I can read it and become utterly absorbed in the stories o characters way younger than myself; I love that YA fiction always seems to be fresh and exciting but more than anything I love that YA fiction is tackling issues and helping to positively shape our youth’s opinion on some major topics by (for want of a better word) “normalising” them such as LGBTQIA. Take the new release from Nina LaCour and David Levithan. LaCour and Levithan have co-written You Know Me Well.

You Know Me Well is a coming of age story that focuses on Mark and Kate; two teenagers who are discovering life’s changes and the rapid fluidity that life takes when you are that age. They are discovering that the world after high school can be a very scary place; they are figuring out that friends come and go and they also figure out that first love can be wonderful and horrible in equal measure.

Oh, wait…do you think Mark and Kate are together? No, no, no, no, no. Mark and Kate are friends who are helping each other deal with the trials and tribulations of love (for other people) and learning to accept their flaws. It is a realistic story about love. You may wonder why I keep going on about love but the weekend that I read this book was the weekend of the Orlando shootings. You Know Me Well is classed as an LGBTQIA fiction because the film focuses on the gay scene in San Francisco. This is why this book is important. Hopefully, teenagers will read this book and the atrocities that happened in June 2016 will never happen again. #LoveisLove.

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

For more information about Nina LaCour (@nina_lacour) please visit her official website www.ninalacour.com.

For more information about David Levithan (@loversdiction) please visit his official website www.davidlevithan.com.

For more information about Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) and their future releases please visit the official website www.panmacmillan.com.

4 Stars

My True Loe Gave to MeThe Blurb

A collection of joyful festive stories that will keep you warm during the cold winter months.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

The Review

My True Love Gave to Me is a quirky and delightful book of short stories that are all set during Christmas. The set features some famous names such as David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Rainbow Rowell and Stephanie Perkins to name but a few.

The collection of shorts provides quick escapes that keep you entertained; however, the stand out short stories did leave you wanting more. In particular Rainbow Rowell’s Midnights, Angels in the Snow by Matt de la Pena, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins, What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman and Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter.

As much as some of the short stories were really engaging there were others by which I found myself bored.

Overall, I would recommend My True Love Gave to Me because this book will get you in the festive spirit.

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins is available now.

Fans of the Impossible LifeThe Blurb

MIRA is a chronic fatigue syndrome-suffering, vintage dress enthusiast. She’s starting over at her old school St. Francis Prep, where she promised her parents that she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.

SEBBY seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.

JEREMY is the painfully shy art nerd at St. Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting him – a blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eyes.

As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.

Fans of the Impossible Life is your perennial coming-of-age story, inspired by Brideshead Revisited with echoes of John Hughes’ classic 80s cult movies. Perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a WallflowerLooking for Alaska and I’ll Give You the Sun, this captivating and profound story about love, loss and growing up is an astonishing debut novel from a true rising talent. Above all else, Fans of the Impossible Life is a story about the magic of finding those friends who truly see the person you are and the person you’re trying to become. As Mira, Sebby and Jeremy try to fix their broken selves and live their impossible lives, Kate Scelsa beautifully portrays those transformative teenage friendships that burn hot and bright, resonating with anyone who has ever felt a little bit different from their peers.

The Review

Fans of the Impossible Life would best be described as a mix of buddy story and coming of age drama.  It follows the lives of three teenagers who for all intents and purposes are social outcasts. Take Mira – she suffers with mental health problems and is the black sheep amidst a family of over achievers; Sebby – a little lost boy – with no home, no family and no one to impress or worry. He is a law unto his own. The more people perpetuate his belief of his worthlessness the more he encourages them. Oh and he is gay. And finally we have Jeremy – also gay, lives with his two dads, doesn’t know his mum and he suffers from social anxiety.

This motley crue form an unlikely friendship and make you realise that sometimes family are the people who aren’t related by blood.

All of this is great. The story is really interesting and the multi-perspective narrative gives great insight into each character. Furthermore, each voice feels individual. Scelsa makes you truly empathise with each character.

What is also really good about the storyline in Fans of the Impossible Life is that it does feel unique. Mental health is a contentious issue surrounding teenagers and it is great to see writers tackling the topic head on.

However, I do feel like I should have enjoyed Fans of the Impossible Life more than I actually did. It had all the ingredients of a great story and it is really well written. I think maybe my age hindered my overall enjoyment of what is a really well written and interesting novel.

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa is available now.