EverlessTitle: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books

The Blurb

Time is a prison. She is the key. Packed with danger, temptation and desire – a perfect read for fans of The Red Queen.

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.

‘Sara Holland is a fierce storyteller. An intoxicating blend of blood, secrets, and haunting mythology, Everless gives new and terrifying meaning to the phrase running out of time.’ Stephanie Garber, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of Caraval

The Review

Oh my wowza!

In my opinion, young adult fiction just keeps getting better and better. Everless by Sarah Holland is no exception to this rule. It is bloody brilliant.

Set in a world where blood means survival, our young heroine, Jules, has to make some hard decisions to ensure the survival of herself and her beloved father. However, the decisions that she makes can be costly but without choosing to give herself up to work for the Gerling family – a family whom she and her father fled when she was younger – Jules knows that she and her father will die.

Everless blew me away. With dystopian fiction becoming ever more present due to its current ‘on trend’ status you would think it would be increasingly difficult to make something new, original and damn right gripping but Sara Holland has managed to do so with her impressive novel. Furthermore, the book promises more stories from the mysterious yet dismal society in the land of Sempera.

I will warn you, if you are anything like me then Everless will make you antisocial. Be prepared to cut yourself off from the outside world because you will get sucked into this one.

Everless by Sarah Holland is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Holland (@Sara_Holland) please visit www.sarahollandwrites.com.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Books (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachetteechildrens.co.uk.

5 Stars

Kids Like UsTitle: Kids Like Us

Author: Hilary Reyl

Pages: 282 Pages

Publisher: Text Publishing

The Blurb

‘In her wonderfully touching YA debut, Hilary Reyl tells the story of one boy’s effort to connect his imaginary world to the real one. There is love, humor and compassion on every page. You’ll be blown away by this boy and by this book.’—Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s.

The delightful story of Martin, a teenager on the autism spectrum, who falls for Gilberte-Alice, a ‘normal’ French girl. While spending summer in the French countryside with his mother, Martin mistakes Gilberte for a character in a novel he is obsessed with—Marcel Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. He gradually realises she is not Gilberte, the fantasy girl, but a real person named Alice. Falling in love, in all its unpredictability, teaches Martin that he can in fact connect, can get out of his bubble.

Offering a window into the mind of a high-functioning autistic kid, Kids Like Us is the ultimate book about acceptance. Perhaps we are all in our own bubble; perhaps the line between reality and imagination does not have to be fixed.

We meet Martin’s adorable older sister, Elisabeth, his friend Layla and her very useful ‘moth’ theory. And there’s lots of great cooking. The prose is sharp, original and brimming with empathy and humour.

The Review

Autism is a condition that I find fascinating. I work with several children who have the condition and seeing how they deal with everyday situations really amazing. There has, in the past, been a lot of negativity towards the functionality of people with autism but I see how similar people with the condition are to – for want of a more accurate term – “fully functional people”.

In her book, Kids Like Us, Hilary Reyl explores this notion by placing her main character Martin in an unusual environment. He has moved to France with his mother (a moviemaker) and his sister, Elisabeth and he is embarking on a massive challenge of attending a mainstream school.

What is heartening about this novel is that you see Martin succeed. It isn’t easy for him to be in such an alien environment but he does the best he can and manages to blossom.

The novel also explores the idea that we never really can know how a person is thinking or feeling. Martin sees this most when he makes new friends. He cannot tell if they are trying to ride is coat tails into the glamorous world of showbiz or if they genuinely like him.

Reyl does an excellent job of portraying the mind of someone with autism. The rigidity and the early triggers are sensitively handled and Kids Like Us was genuinely an eye opener and a joy to read.

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl is available now.

For more information regarding Hilary Reyl (@HilaryReyl) please visit www.hilaryrey.com.

For more information regarding Text Publishing (@text_publishing) please visit www.textpublishing.com.au.

3 Stars

Love, Hate and Other FiltersTitle: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Author: Samira Ahmed

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books

The Blurb

A romantic and relevant debut about Islamophobia and how it affects the normal life of a teenage girl. 

Maya Aziz dreams of being a film maker in New York. Her family have other ideas. They want her to be a dutiful daughter who wears gold jewellery and high heels and trains to be a doctor. But jewellery and heels are so uncomfortable . . .

She’s also caught between the guy she SHOULD like and the guy she DOES like. But she doesn’t want to let Kareem down and things with Phil would never work out anyway. Would they?

Then a suicide bomber who shares her last name strikes in a city hundreds of miles away and everything changes . . .

Perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and THE HATE U GIVE.

The Review

Being a teenager is hard. I’m 34 and work in a school and I do not envy my students youth one bit. If they are going through even half of what the protagonist of Love Hate & Other Filters is going through then they have things pretty tough; you wouldn’t get me going back to that age for a big clock!

Maya is a young, talented, pretty girl. She is ambitious. She wants to study film in New York and she wants to kiss a boy. Ok that last one doesn’t seem like the biggest ambition but to Maya who has lived a cosseted life due to her strict Indian upbringing it is something that she would like to try.

Alas, Maya seems to be struggling against most things such as liking a boy, snarky people in her school and general teenage life worries. Throw in the added extra of seriously overprotective and intrusive parents and – as you can imagine – Maya’s life is just that extra bit difficult. Many of the readers of Love, Hate & Other Filters will be able to relate.

I really enjoyed this young adult fiction novel and the reason I liked it is because I wasn’t reading in a passive manner. There were times when I was reading Love, Hate and Other Filters that I felt the same feeling of claustrophobia that Maya felt. Ahmed has so accurately and positively described that feeling that I found myself getting frustrated at her parents as if they were mine.

Besides normal teen angst, Love, Hate & Other Filters deals with hate crime and racism in a powerful way. It leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Love, Hate & Other Filters is one of the best books that I have read in the Young Adult genre.

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed is available now.

For more information regarding Samira Ahmed (@sam_aye_ahm) please visit www.samiraahmed.com.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (@HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

5 Stars

The Truth and Lies of Ella BlackTitle: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

Author: Emily Barr

Pages: 346 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK

The Blurb

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . . Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things. And realises her life has been a lie. Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas. But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

The Review

Emily Barr has really knocked it out the park with her latest young adult novel. The Truth and Lies of Ella Black is a superb psychological thriller for the young adult audience.

Our eponymous heroine Ella Black has a dark side that she has always tried to keep hidden away but when her parents whisk her off on an impromptu holiday and take her phone away from her, Ella’s bad side starts creeping out.

The holiday to Rio reveals some things about Ella’s past that cause her whole word to crumble an Ella ends up finding her real self by getting lost in the hustle and bustle of one of Rio’s favelas.

Barr has really created a character with depth and emotional layers with Ella Black. She is easy to relate to and you cannot help but feel her desperation. She is brave and fierce and definitely a heroine for generation Z.

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr is available now.

For more information regarding Emily Barr (@emily_barr) please visit www.emilybarr.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House Children’s UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

3 Stars

The Summer of CrudTitle: The Summer of Crud

Author: Jonathan LaPoma

Pages: 134 Pages

Publisher: Almendro Arts

The Blurb

The summer after graduating from college, 22-year-old Danny Wolinski takes a cross-country US road trip with his friend, Ian Perez, hoping to find the inspiration to reach his songwriting potential, start a band, and avoid student teaching in the fall.

Danny is tormented by intense physical and psychological pain and sees music as his only relief, but the more he searches for this inspiration in an America filled with endless parties, heavy drugs, and lost souls, the more he questions whether it exists.

A deeply disturbing and psychological coming-of-age novel, THE SUMMER OF CRUD explores the complexities of friendships, masculinity, sex, mental illness, and addiction, and shows how the quest to unlock one’s creativity can both inspire and destroy a person.

The Review

Oh dear.

For me, The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma had so much promise. I am looking for a book in the New Adult genre to blow me away and I have yet to find one. I had all my fingers and toes crossed that The Summer of Crud would be it. That finally I would have found a book to give me that satisfied book feeling.

It turns out that The Summer of Crud was not going to be the book to make me feel that way.

Jonathan LaPoma is a good writer. I am not saying that he isn’t but for me something just didn’t connect. The scenes of drug taking were gratuitous but not really offensive which is fine. I love road trip movies so hoped I would love this road trip book. I just found myself shouting at the protagonist Danny because he was letting his friend, Ian, push him all over. I couldn’t empathise with Danny’s situation.

Overall, The Summer of Crud just had me wondering what really the point of it all was.

The Summer of Crud by Jonathan LaPoma will be available from the 20th February 2018.

For more information regarding Jonathan LaPoma (@JonLaPoma) please visit www.jonlapoma.com.

2 Stars