Title: Everything I Know About Love

Author: Dolly Alderton

Pages: 333 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A spot-on, wildly funny and sometimes heart-breaking book about growing up, growing older and navigating all kinds of love along the way.

When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out.

It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough. Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humour, Dolly Alderton’s powerful debut weaves together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age – while making you laugh until you fall over.

Everything I know About Love is about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty.

The Review

I found the end of my twenties really difficult. I had the breakdown of my first real relationship, I had the breakdown of my longest standing friendship because of said relationship and I just found the whole thing to be quite traumatic. There was no guidebook on growing up. For those currently in their twenties I would say that you should thank every available higher power source because you now have one.

Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love is a candid memoir of how life isn’t easy and how we often screw it up and how we can fix things around us and how sometimes we make really stupid decisions and how sometimes we do not know what is for the best. In conclusion, it is your twenties wrapped in a pretty book sleeve.

Everything I Know About Love really resonated with me. There were times I was just sat, shocked, that someone had been able to verbalise a feeling I had or how she inherently understood the power of female friendship. I was bowled over.

This is the kind of book that I feel the government should send out as a birthday gift when you reach the age of 21. It would save us all years of anguish and heartache.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton is available now.

For more information regarding Dolly Alderton (@dollyalderton) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Once

Author: Morris Gleitzman

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find my Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

You would be hard pushed to find anyone who works with children who hasn’t heard of the Once series by Morris Gleitzman. It is the story of Felix; a young boy left in an orphanage by his parents on the outset of war. Felix has no idea what has happened but firmly believes that he will be reunited with his parents.

We follow his journey as he finds his way back home only to discover that the home he once knew is no longer the way he remembers it.

It is through the help of a strange man, a dentist, which Felix and other children survive as long as they do.

Once is the first in the series and I will be reading more. It is a great introduction into the horrors of war and Nazi occupied Poland.

Once by Morris Gelitzman is available now.

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

Title: Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

The Review

Things a Bright Girl Can Do looks at the suffragette movement from three different perspectives and at what girls in that period of post-Victorian change would do to get equality. It is still a fight that we are striving for today but it is interesting to look at a fictional account of what suffrage meant during its hey-day.

We get to look at how the different classes were affected by the need for equal rights and how even with the onset of the Women’s Vote some people were still excluded. We see it from the perspective of a well-to-do young lady whose desperate need to fight the cause ended up with a prison sentence and a hunger strike. We see the Sapphic love between two girls from different classes, and we see how they both want the same thing when it comes to freedom and rights but how they both try to achieve it in different ways.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do is an interesting read and one that still holds relevance in modern society where the battle for total equality is still happening.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Nicholls (@Sally_Nicholls) please visit www.sallynicholls.com.

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

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Pages: 286 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Books

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience and the power of lifelong friendship.

The Review

Turtles All the Way Down is a brave novel.

I say this for many reasons. The first reason being that this book is the first release from John Green since the epically successful The Fault in Our Stars; comparisons are bound to happen. People may have been expecting another gut wrenching tearjerker or to be completely emotionally immersed into the characters world in the same way as before. The second reason is that John Green has chosen to tackle a topic that is so on trend at the moment – this being mental health – that the worry is that he isn’t going to do it justice. Other writers’ may do it better. However, John Green needn’t have worried.

Turtles All the Way Down, as I said before, is brave. Having read many stories based on mental health I can genuinely say that I felt Aza’a compulsions. Her obsession with things that she cannot control became oppressive and you found yourself feeling both sorry for her but also understanding her need.

Furthermore, what John Green did (which is often missed out of the stories I have read previously) he discussed how hard mental illness is on those around the sufferer. He didn’t make the story evenly balanced because essentially it is Aza’s issue but we saw how the people who cared about her struggle – her mum not wanting to lose her, her best friend Daisy always feeling a few steps behind and her would be boyfriend Davis who can’t get as close as he would like to Aza.

So, Turtles All the Way Down is nothing like The Fault in Our Stars and if you are expecting it to be the same or similar then you may be disappointed. Taken as a separate entity, then John Green has written a really impressive and stark story about mental health.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is available now.

For more information regarding John Green please visit www.johngreenbooks.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinTeen) please visit www.penguinteen.com.

4 Stars

Modern RomanceTitle: Modern Romance

Author: Aziz Ansari

Pages: 253 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s most popular and sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighbourhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analysed behavioural data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humour book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humour with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

The Review

Comedian Aziz Ansari takes a anthropological view at romance in the 21st century in his book Modern Romance. He looks at how it has evolved over the last hundred years and how millennials are finding the dating game just so damn hard.

It is almost taboo to admit that you meet someone on the internet. I know a few people who have met their other half via dating apps or swiping right. They have gone on to have lasting relationships and even got married. The problem is that, ironically, it doesn’t seem an organic way to meet someone. The irony is that more modern romancers dating apps are the new organic. It’s not like in the 70s where you had the slow dance part of the evening, or medieval times when a woman would be promised to a man with a dowry and some cattle.

Ansari’s study is really interesting and at times witty. The overall message is that it doesn’t matter how you meet someone as long as they make you feel good then you should pursue the relationship.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari is available now.

For more information regarding Aziz Ansari (@azizansari) please visit www.azizansari.com.

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

3 Stars