Title: The House of Impossible Beauties

Author: Joseph Cassara

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

The Blurb

Inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza in the seminal documentary Paris is Burning, and set in New York City from the late 70s–early 90s against the backdrop of the impending AIDS crisis, The House of Impossible Beauties follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Pier as they flee their traumatic pasts and band together to form the city’s first all-Latino House.

Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family and the resilience of the human spirit.

The Review

I think my heart is a little bit broken. The House of Impossible Beauties centres on the trans community in New York during the 1970s onwards. It looks at the lack of understanding outside of the LGBTQIA+ community. It navigates familial breakdown and looks at how a person can create their own family – they may not be blood but it shows that you don’t need to be related by arbitrary blood types to look out for one another. 

The House of Impossible Beauties couldn’t exist in this time period without looking at the AIDS crisis. The story shows how it ravaged those who were infected and how the negativity surrounding sexuality was juxtaposed to the narrative of the day. 

Mainly it looks at loss. That comes in the form of loss of innocence but mainly through the loss of those that you love. The House of Impossible Beauties was in fact a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara is available now.

For more information regarding Joseph Cassara (@josephbcassara) please visit www.josephcassara.com.

For more information regarding Oneworld Publications (@OneworldNews) please visit www.oneworld-publications.com.

Title: The Cheerleaders

Author: Kara Thomas

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Delacorte Press/Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Oooh The Cheerleaders is a clever little book. It is a murder mystery meeds psychological thriller wrapped in YA fiction and it is a stonking good read. 

Five years ago 5 girls – all part of the same cheerleading squad – all die in mysterious ways. Monica, the sister of one of the victims, cannot shake off the loss of her sister. She cannot lay it to rest and she spends the majority of her final year trying to figure it out. She knows that there is something more to it and she is determined to uncover the truth.

I got lost in The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. I am the perfect reader for this kind of novel because I never see who the killer is, I never guess ahead of time and everybody is a suspect. I literally had everyone down for the culprit. The Cheerleaders is twisty and turny and every time you think you have it figured out Thomas throws in something new to make you question everything you believe.

I cannot wait to share this novel with my students because I know that they will love it to.

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is available now.

For more information regarding Kara Thomas (@karawrites) please visit www.kara-Thomas.com.

For more information regarding Delacorte Press (@DelacortePress) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: Scritch Scratch

Author: Lindsay Currie

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Kids

The Blurb

For fans of Small Spaces comes a chilling ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.

The Review

Scritch Scratch is a fun ghost story with loads of heart. It is the story of Claire who through no fault of her own finds herself being haunted. She tries to handle the situation herself but when things get to be too much for her she has to rely on the kindness of others to get her out of the mess. 

On the surface Scritch Scratch is a ghost story but beneath it is the tale of friendship and how everyone has to make an effort in friendships otherwise they don’t work. Equally that honestly is the best policy when talking about your feelings. 

Juxtaposed with these narrative threads is the real life story of a boating disaster that happened in Chicago in 1915. With Scritch Scratch you really are getting more bang for your buck!

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie is available now.

For more information regarding Lindsay Currie (@lindsayncurrie) please visit www.lindsaycurrie.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks Kids (@SourcebookKids) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.

Title: Dear Reader – The Comfort and Joy of Books

Author: Cathy Rentzenbrink

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Picador

The Blurb

Dear Reader is a love letter to stories and reading from one of our very best memoirists . . . a book to cherish’ – Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina

For as long as she can remember, Cathy Rentzenbrink has lost and found herself in stories. Growing up she was rarely seen without her nose in a book and read in secret long after lights out. When tragedy struck, books kept her afloat. 

Eventually they lit the way to a new path, first as a bookseller and then as a writer. No matter what the future holds, reading will always help.

Dear Reader is a moving, funny and joyous exploration of how books can change the course of your life, packed with recommendations from one reader to another.

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Last Act of Love.

The Review

I have a strange love for books about books. I love how writers express just how much books and reading have had such a powerful almost religious influence on their lives. I love these books because the authors of them could be talking about my own life and how books have held me under their cosmic power.

Cathy Rentzenbrink has returned to her non-fiction format explaining how books have been a constant in her life. How her life, growing up, her career choices have all been guided in a bookish form in one way or another. 

Even without the bookish element, Cathy Renzenbrink has led a fascinating life. It hasn’t been without its moments of sadness but it (and indeed she) has been inspirational as well. 

Another titillating facet to this type of memoir is ticking off the books that you have in common and adding the ones that the writer recommends to you TBR pile.

I really enjoyed reading Dear Reader. It is a love letter to books but also to book lovers. Our common affection for the novel binds us together. 

The Reader: The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink is available from 17th September 2020.

For more information regarding Cathy Rentzenbrink (@CatRentzenbrink) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) and Picador Books (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Nightbird

Author: Alice Hoffman

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

The Blurb

Twig lives in a remote area of town with her mysterious brother and her mother, baker of irresistible apple pies. A new girl in town might just be Twig’s first true friend, and ally in vanquishing an ancient family curse. A spellbinding tale of modern folklore set in the Berkshires, where rumours of a winged beast draw in as much tourism as the town’s famed apple orchards.

The Review

I am not a huge fan of fantasy books. The odd one I am okay with but it certainly isn’t my “go-to” genre. However, there is one author who always manages to seamlessly weave the fantasy element into her stories that you don’t even question any of the out of the ordinary moments. That author is Alice Hoffman. 

In her book Nightbird we meet Twig. Twig is lonely. She has never really had any friends. She has been told not to get close to people because her family have a dark secret. However, when her new next door neighbour persists in forming a friendship Twig realises that it may come at a cost. 

Nightbird is magical. I loved Twig. I loved the story. I loved the setting. I loved the element of magic and mystery. I just loved everything about it. Alice Hoffman has written a winner of a story.

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Hoffman (@ahoffmanwriter) please visit her Twitter page.

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