Title: The Astonishing Colour of After

Author: Emily X. R. Pan

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

The Blurb

Leigh Chen Sanders is sixteen when her mother dies by suicide, leaving only a scribbled note: ‘I want you to remember’. Leigh doesn’t know what it means, but when a red bird appears with a message, she finds herself travelling to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time.

Leigh is far away from home and far away from Axel, her best friend, who she stupidly kissed on the night her mother died – leaving her with a swell of guilt that she wasn’t home, and a heavy heart, thinking she may have destroyed the one good thing left in her life.

Overwhelmed by grief, Leigh retreats into her art and into her memories, where colours collide and the rules of reality are broken. The only thing Leigh is certain about is that she must find out the truth. She must remember.

With lyrical prose and magical elements, Emily X.R. Pan’s stunning debut novel alternates between past and present, romance and despair, as one girl attempts to find herself through family history, art, friendship, and love.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The loss of a parent is something that I find unthinkable. I have been lucky, I am well into my thirties and both of my parents are still alive so I find stories with this as its premise really hard to take. It just seems so unjustifiably unfair.

It is this premise that The Astonishing Colour of After follows. Our protagonist, Leigh, is dealing with the death of her mother. Suffering with depression, Leigh’s mum took her own life and Leigh embarks on a journey to find out about her past on her mother’s side. It is a journey that takes her to the other side of the world, to a family she has never met before to figure out just who her mum was.

The Astonishing Colour of After is an interesting story, one that is both uplifting and devastating at the same time.

For more information regarding Emily X. R. Pan (@exrpan) please visit instagram.com/exrpan.

For more information regarding Orion Children’s Books (@the_orionstar) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.

Title: Lola Offline

Author: Nicola Doherty

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Orion Children’s Books

The Blurb

On the internet, there are no take-backs… LOLA OFFLINE is a teen romantic comedy set in Paris, perfect for fans of Holly Bourne, Sophie Kinsella and Stephanie Perkins.

Delilah Hoover has gone dark. She’s quit social media, moved to Paris and changed her name to Lola Maxwell. Because she made a mistake – one she can’t take back. It was all over Twitter, and it’s still the first thing that comes up when you Google her.

Paris is a fresh start, in a new school with new friends including smooth student politician Tariq. With awkward dates, tipsy afternoons and a perfect kiss, Lola’s life as a normal teenager could be back on track … But can she ever tell people who she really is? And what happens if they find out first?

The Review

I’ve long been a fan of Nicola Doherty’s books and I requested Lola Offline from NetGalley ages ago and for some reason I didn’t get round to reading it until just recently. Like Doherty’s other books, I really enjoyed Lola Offline.

Lola Offline tells the story of Delilah who has fled her normal life to live in Paris under the moniker of Lola. Delilah is fleeing from a mistake that she has made that ended up making her internet famous for all the wrong reasons.

Rather than embracing her mistake and dealing with the fall out she opts to hide. But in a world saturated by social media you begin to wonder can a person really ever truly hide from their past?

Nicola Doherty’s story really hit a nerve with me for two reasons. The first being because I wrote a blog post once that ended up getting a ridiculous number of views within the space of 24 hours. Now don’t get me wrong, for someone who blogs that is generally a good thing, however, the post was not about books it was about a health condition I had and I was very unsettled by the amount of people that read it. I got over it but for a good week I felt really unnerved. The second reason is that I work in a high school and the amount of problems that we encounter on a daily basis because of Instagram or Facebook is ridiculous. The insidiousness of social media is becoming more and more prevalent and Doherty addresses this very matter. Personally, I think she is brave to do so. If just one member of her target audience of young adults reads this book and thinks about something before they post it on social media then Doherty has made a massive impact.

Lola Offline by Nicola Doherty is available now.

For more information regarding Nicola Doherty (@nicoladoherty_) please visit www.nicoladohertybooks.com.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) or Orion Children’s Books (@the_orionstar) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.