Title: The Lost Ones

Author: Anita Frank

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

The Review

I love a good creepy story. Preferably one set in a spooky house and there has to be a mystery.

Voila. The Lost Ones by Anita Frank.

The Lost Ones is set during World War One. Stella Marcham has experienced sadness that no one should ever have gone through. She is sent to convalesce and grieve at her sister’s home but things seem to be getting worse rather than better. When no one believes Stella and her sister about the ghostly happenings at Greyswick, she leaves herself in danger of being sent to an asylum.

I have such a visceral response to the terrible history of women being made to appear as if they were crazy or mentally unhinged. It makes me feel physically sick. I have a genuine fear of gas lighting and especially during a period of time when women weren’t taken seriously and were treated like delicate flowers. Anita Frank’s fantastic writing made me feel so helpless and hopeless for Stella. My stomach was churning and my anxiety was peaked. If a book can make you have that much of a reaction then you know that it is written well.

Furthermore, the characterisation was deeply unsettling. Mrs Henge, the housekeeper had such a sinister Mrs Danvers quality to her that it was hard not to see suspicion lying around every corner. Besides the ghost story you have a house full of intrigue and mystery with twists and turns aplenty to keep you on your toes.

As far as ghost stories go, The Lost Ones is one of the best ghost stories that I have read all year. Add in the multiple layers – war time, feminism, mental health – Anita Frank really has created a fantastic story; one that is still playing on my mind days after turning the final page.

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank is available now.

For more information regarding Anita Frank (@Ajes74) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

Author: Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

From #OwnVoices debut author duo Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones comes a page-turning and timely story about two teenage girls—one black, one white—who only have each other to get through the violent race riots enveloping their city over the course of one night.

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big.

Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

The Review

I read an awful lot of books and it is always nice to be able to read a book that surprises me. With the amount that I read you would think that there would be few topics that I haven’t read a book about. However, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones did just that.

The story follows two teenage girls – Lena and Campbell – as they traverse a night fraught with racial panic and riots. The two girls – who have very little in common – have to band together to make it through. As we watch their story unfold we see them both develop a respect if not a friendship towards each other.

Segal and Jones have used I’m Not Dying With You Tonight to highlight the very potent nature of race relations and how people of an ethnic minority are still persecuted on a daily basis. They haven’t tried to glorify or indeed downplay racism. We see it through the eyes of people who observe it. It is voices like Segal and Jones that make YA fiction so relevant and more importantly, necessary.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones is available now.

For more information regarding Gilly Segal (@really_gilly) please visit www.gillysegal.com.

For more information regarding Kimberly Jones (@kimlatricejones) please visit www.kimjoneswrites.com.

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

Title: The Day We Meet Again

Author: Miranda Dickinson

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Their love story started with goodbye…

The brand-new novel from The Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson.

‘We’ll meet again at St Pancras station, a year from today. If we’re meant to be together, we’ll both be there. If we’re not, it was never meant to be . . .’

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t part of the plan. So they make a promise: to meet again in the same place in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

The Review

I love train stations. That may sound weird but bear with me. Having done the long distance thing for nearly 7 years, for me train stations are synonymous with meeting my partner after a few weeks away from each other. The flip side of that is that there is always the sadness of going back home but bygones. So when I read The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson which uses St Pancras Station – once the scene of a reunion of me and my fiancé – I knew I was going to love this book.

The Day We Meet Again is one of those frustratingly wonderful books that you want to simultaneously hug and throw across the room. You yell at the characters, you will them to make better choices, you groan at the fact that they are not marionettes that you can manipulate to do your bidding but I suppose if I had that power then the book would have been much shorter and the pay off less great.

With Phoebe and Sam, Miranda Dickinson has made two fantastically likeable yet flawed characters. She has the perfect set up which has allowed them both to be selfless in their selfishness so when they pull their heads out of their bottoms they can be the perfect companion for each other. All the while you travel to some amazing places. Dickinson really has worked her magic in this book. It is a lovely read and a perfect gift for the romance reader in your life.

The Day We Meet Again by Miranda Dickinson is available now.

For more information regarding Miranda Dickinson (@wurdsmyth) please visit www.miranda-dickinson.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: Expectation

Author: Anna Hope

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Random House

The Blurb

What happened to the women we were supposed to become?

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

The most razor-sharp and heartbreaking novel of the year, EXPECTATION is a novel about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel.

FOR FANS OF SALLY ROONEY, DIANA EVANS, DOLLY ALDERTON, ELIZABETH DAY AND FLEABAG

The Review

I’m going to be glib and say that I didn’t know what to expect when I read Expectation by Anna Hope. I had chosen it based on the strength of how much I liked Anna Hope’s previous novel The Ballroom. I didn’t, however, expect to be as immersed in the world that she created so fervently. For me, Expectation was a one-sitting read.

The story follows the lives of three friends who, through the innocence of youth, believe that their lives will follow a certain path and trajectory. Yes, there will be pitfalls along the way but they have an end goal and they know what they want. So what happens when that doesn’t happen? Fast-forward to the summer of their lives when they are making life changing decisions and are not where they expected to be we can see the harsh reality of life paralleled with what was once youthful hope as the last vestiges of that optimism fade away. Through this, our protagonists – Hannah, Cate and Lissa – have to face their reality and also the knowledge that they aren’t necessarily the best versions of themselves anymore.

Throughout this book Margaret Mitchell’s words kept ringing in my head: “Life is under no obligation to give you what you expect.” I think that because I am of similar age (physically/emotionally) to the characters I really felt that the novel resonated with me and compelled me to read more. Anna Hope has created a relatable cast of characters with problems that are more pertinent than I realised. Besides an astonishing ability to tell a good story, Hope manages to embed you into the world she has created and makes you examine yourself.

Expectation by Anna Hope is available now.

For more information regarding Anna Hope (@Anna_Hope) please visit www.annahope.uk.

For more information regarding Random House (@randomhouse) please visit www.randomhousebooks.com.

Title: Full Disclosure

Author: Camryn Garrett

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Simone Garcia-Hampton is HIV-Positive… and is positive HIV won’t define her.

Simone is a lot of things: the new kid at school, a supreme theatre nerd, daughter to two loving but slightly overbearing fathers; and HIV-positive.

She knows that celibacy is – technically – the best way to stay safe. Enter Miles Austin: intelligent, funny and way too sexy for Simone to resist. But her classmates don’t know about her condition – and what is the truth worth in the hands of the wrong person?

A smart, funny, sex-positive YA read, perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han, Full Disclosure is a heartwarming take on the particular challenges of adolescence, written as only a teen could.

The Review

One of my favourite things about YA literature is that subjects that are often seen as taboo or scary to talk about are presented to a young, impressionable audience and allows the reader (presumably but not always of young adult age) to make their own mind up rather than relying on the hand me down beliefs of older – and not necessarily wiser – generations.

It is for that reason that we should all be thankful for writers such as Camryn Garrett who has written Full Disclosure: a book about – but not limited to – the discussion of HIV. Her protagonist, Simone, is HIV positive. For Simone, it is one aspect of who she is. Besides that, she is a young girl who is trying to navigate her way into becoming an adult. She is dealing with the everyday worries of being a teenager, and a girl, and a student, and a friend, and a girlfriend. Whilst these things may seem like run-of-the-mill things for most, Simone has to deal with them with the added pressure of a chronic illness that has so little understanding and a history of scaremongering.

Full Disclosure is a fantastic story about the brutality of high school and reminds us firstly, how difficult being a teenager can be but more importantly it reminds us to be kind to one another. You never know what another person is going through and you will invariably never know unless you forget your own prejudices.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett is available now.

For more information regarding Camryn Garrett (@dancingofpens) please visit www.camryngarrett.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.