Title: Toffee

Author: Sarah Crossan

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

I am not who I say I am,

and Marla isn’t who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget.

She is a woman trying to remember.

Allison has run away from home and with nowhere to live finds herself hiding out in the shed of what she thinks is an abandoned house. But the house isn’t empty. An elderly woman named Marla, with dementia, lives there – and she mistakes Allison for an old friend from her past called Toffee.

Allison is used to hiding who she really is, and trying to be what other people want her to be. And so, Toffee is who she becomes. After all, it means she has a place to stay. There are worse places she could be.

But as their bond grows, and Allison discovers how much Marla needs a real friend, she begins to ask herself – where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

The Review

I absolutely adore Sarah Crossan’s novels. Whenever a new one comes out you can guarantee it is on my ‘want to read’ list. The same can be said about Toffee. It was one of those books that I didn’t want to know anything about I just wanted to dive in because I know that with a Sarah Crossan novel I will be presented with challenging topics in a moving way.

Toffee did not disappoint.

It is a book about relationships. Not the love kind, but more the familial or the platonic kind. The story follows Allison, a runaway who is desperate to seek solace in the one person who has ever shown her kindness, however, when she ends up alone and penniless in an unknown area Allison forms a friendship with Marla. The only problem is that Marla has dementia and doesn’t remember Allison from one day to the next.

Crossan deals with issues such as abuse, broken families, loneliness, and mental health in such a caring, non-judgemental way. She has a magical ability to make her characters likable even when we question what they are doing. She is meticulous in her characterisation and I absolutely adore her books, Toffee included.

Toffee by Sarah Crossan is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: We Come Apart

Author: Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

YA rising stars Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan join forces to break readers’ hearts in this contemporary story of star-cross’d lovers.

Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn’t left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they’re picking up litter in the park for community service. He’s so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She’s got a lot to hide.

Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about is going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. He wants to get educated, do better, stay here in England. But his dad’s fists are the most powerful force in Nicu’s life, and in the end, he’ll have to do what his dad wants.

As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can’t be together, forever, and stay safe – can they?

An extraordinary, high-impact, high-emotion collaboration between two Carnegie honoured rising stars of YA. Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Malorie Blackman, Rainbow Rowell and John Green.

Sarah Crossan received the 2016 CILIP Carnegie Medal for her astonishing novel One, which also won the YA Book Prize,CBI Book of the Year Award and the CliPPA Poetry Award. Brian Conaghan’s powerful debut, When Mr Dog Bites, was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, Peters Book of the Year and CBI Book of the Year Award

The Review

Well blow me over with a feather; We Come Apart is bloody fantastic.

We Come Apart is by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan and it is a story compromised of dual-perspective poetry. It focuses on the lives of Jess and Nicu. Both are young offenders and both have their own interesting backgrounds. Jess is from a broken family struggling to get along with those in her life – friends and family. Nicu and his family have emigrated from Romania and he is struggling to fit in with the ways of life in the UK.

The two of them form a friendship and together try and fight the forces that are against them.

We Come Apart is both heart-warming and heartbreaking. I consumed it in one sitting and at times was genuinely holding back the tears. It is a brilliant story that should be read by all.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) please visit youtu.be/0szY-FFsOIQ.

For more information regarding Brian Conaghan (@BrianConaghan) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@KidsBloomsbury) please visit www.bloomsbury.com/childrens.

MoonriseTitle: Moonrise

Author: Sarah Crossan

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Cos people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.

I need you to know the truth.

Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and this might be the last summer they have together.

The astonishing new novel from multi award winning author Sarah Crossan explores life, death, love and forgiveness. It will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

The Review

In stories about murder, the focus tends to fall on the victim and those close to them. But what about the families of those accused of the crime?

This is essentially the question posed in Sarah Crossan’s latest novel Moonrise.

The story is about Joe. Joe was a young boy when his older brother Ed was accused of murder and was sentenced to death by execution. It is the story of how he and Ed reconnect during Ed’s last few months on death row.

It isn’t an easy book to read because anyone who reads it will go into the story with conviction of their beliefs. For me, I am against the death penalty. I have been since I was old enough to have a mature opinion about it and it is due to this opinion that I couldn’t help but feel that this story was harrowing. The magic of Sarah Crossan’s writing is that she says so much in so few words and that truly is a talent.

Moonrise is definitely a book to recommend to young readers or to help get a debate going.

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) please visit www.sarahcrossan.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Children’s Books (@KidsBloomsbury) please visit www.bloomsbury.com/childrens

4 Stars

OneTitle: One

Author: Sarah Crossan

Pages: 430 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

Grace and Tippi are twins ? conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world? A world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined?

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate? Shortlisted for The CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2016

The Review

I bought One by Sarah Crossan a while ago. I had every intention of reading it and then I didn’t. I heard mixed reviews and it lay stagnant on my kindle since October 2015. Then I saw a physical copy in the library in the school in which I work. Again, I pushed it to the side. Then I spoke to a friend whose judgement on books I trust implicitly (Clare over at A Book and Tea) and she, like myself was initially put off the poetry format as it sounded like it might e a challenging read. However, my intrigue had been piqued so I picked it up.

I devoured it.

One is a challenging story both in context and form – the story is told entirely in open verse poetry; however, it is a really easy read. It is a book that I found very difficult to put down.

One is a story of conjoined twins Tippi and Grace and their journey from being homeschooled to having to face the horrors of a normal high school and the cruelty from others that they are greeted with by the outside world.

Historically, conjoined twins have caused media sensation; they have been leered at and made to feel like entertainment for the masses. Sarah Crossan has not approached this subject in a negative way what so ever. She has handled it with sensitivity, maturity and pure emotion.

I always think that it must be ever so hard for writers to put themselves in a position that they have never been in. Essentially though, that is there job and when it is done well it can bring a whole new world to someone who hasn’t been farther than their own front gate. I think that Crossan has managed to do this with One. The fact that One is YA/Children’s literature makes this an important book. It is a book that can help change opinions and halt continuing prejudices. One is a book that highlights differences in a truly positive way.

It is a heartbreaking tale of desperately wanting to be “normal” in a society where every difference makes you a target.

One had be gasping for breath with tears and has blown my mind by presenting me with a world that I knew little to nothing about. Sarah Crossan thoroughly deserves every accolade and award given to this book.

One by Sarah Crossan is available now.

For more information on Sarah Crossan (@SarahCrossan) please visit her official website www.sarahcrossan.com.

For more titles from Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

5 Stars