Title: Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys

Author: Viv Albertine

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Viv Albertine is a pioneer. As lead guitarist and songwriter for the seminal band The Slits, she influenced a future generation of artists including Kurt Cobain and Carrie Brownstein. She formed a band with Sid Vicious and was there the night he met Nancy Spungeon. She tempted Johnny Thunders…toured America with the Clash…dated Mick Jones…and inspired the classic Clash anthem “Train in Vain.” But Albertine was no mere muse. In Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys., Albertine delivers a unique and unfiltered look at a traditionally male-dominated scene.

Her story is so much more than a music memoir. Albertine’s narrative is nothing less than a fierce correspondence from a life on the fringes of culture. The author recalls rebelling from conformity and patriarchal society ever since her days as an adolescent girl in the same London suburb of Muswell Hill where the Kinks formed. With brash honesty—and an unforgiving memory—Albertine writes of immersing herself into punk culture among the likes of the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks. Of her devastation when the Slits broke up and her reinvention as a director and screenwriter. Or abortion, marriage, motherhood, and surviving cancer. Navigating infidelity and negotiating divorce. And launching her recent comeback as a solo artist with her debut album, The Vermilion Border.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. is a raw chronicle of music, fashion, love, sex, feminism, and more that connects the early days of punk to the Riot Grrl movement and beyond. But even more profoundly, Viv Albertine’s remarkable memoir is the story of an empowered woman staying true to herself and making it on her own in the modern world.

The Review

I would be lying if I said that I knew who Viv Albertine was before I read Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys. Don’t get me wrong, I had heard of The Slits but I didn’t know who the individual members were.

I bought Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys based on the cover and fell into this amazing no-holds-barred autobiography that was flush with life experience and honesty that it made me want to know more.

Albertine does not obscure her life experiences. She bears all her scars to the world and it gives the reader an insight into what happens when the music stops.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys is one of the most honest, endearing works of autobiography that I have ever read and I implore you to pick up a copy whether you are a music fan or not.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys by Viv Albertine is available now.

For more information regarding Viv Albertine (@viv_albertine) please visit www.vivalbertine.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com.

Title: I Hate Everyone But You

Author: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: St Martin’s Press

The Blurb

Perfect for fans of “Robin Talley’s What We Left Behind or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl” (School Library Journal, Starred Review), Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s I Hate Everyone But You is a hilarious and heartfelt debut novel about new beginnings, love and heartbreak, and ultimately the power of friendship.

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely, 
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two of them document every wild and awkward moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

The Review

I always fine friendship stories really interesting. I think it is because the relationship between best friends can often transcend romantic relationships. It is this type of relationship that is at the heart of I Hate Everyone But You.

Ava and Gen have been best friends forever but when they both go to college on different sides of the country, their relationship is tested to the limits. Can their friendship survive the distance.

Dunn and Raskin have been really clever with this novel. They have used that time of persona self discovery – freshman year – to show how divides can grow.

Your heart breaks for these two girls – once connecting jigsaw pieces who are now virtual strangers.

Oddly, as someone who has struggled with friendship groups, I found this book comforting because it isn’t just me who has complicated friendships.

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin is available now.

For more information regarding Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn) and Allison Ruskin please visit www.gabyandallison.com.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com.

He Said She SaidTitle: He Said/She Said

Author: Erin Kelly

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/St Martin’s Press/Minotaur Press

The Blurb

Who do you believe? 

He said it was consensual.
The woman said nothing. 
But Laura saw it… 
… didn’t she?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura and Kit interrupt something awful.

Laura is sure about what happened. Later, in a panic, she tells a little white lie – and four lives are changed irreparably.

When the victim turns up on their doorstep, her gratitude spills into dangerous obsession. Laura and Kit decide to run – but Beth knows they have pledged to see every eclipse together. They will never be able to entirely escape her.

As the next eclipse draws near, Laura must confront the fallout from what she saw in the darkness. Confessing will cost her marriage; keeping the secret might prove fatal.

But all secrets, sooner or later, will come to light.

The Review

Oh, there are just some topics in books that are hard to read about and I’m guessing even harder to write about. In this case, that topic is rape. In He Said/She Said author Erin Kelly writes about a case of rape whereby both parties argue different things. He says it was consensual, she says it wasn’t. It is said that in most crimes you are innocent until proven guilty. With rape cases it is the victim who is seen as a liar until proven otherwise. Kelly shines a light on this debate in He Said/She Said.

It wasn’t the fastest paced book which for a thriller I was expecting much snappier timing what I will say is that Kelly has plotted some excellent twists and turn that did leave me gasping out loud with shock.

The paranoia that her character Laura possesses was excellently executed. In fact Kelly’s characterisations across the novel were brilliant. He Said/She Said is just a dark portrayal of how lives can be ruined by lies….but also by the truth.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is available now.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com/smp.aspx.

For more information regarding Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks)please visit www.minotaur.com.

4 Stars

In Real LifeThe Blurb

Hannah Cho and Nick Cooper have been best friends since 8th grade. They talk for hours on the phone, regularly shower each other with presents, and know everything there is to know about one another.

There’s just one problem: Hannah and Nick have never actually met.

Hannah has spent her entire life doing what she’s supposed to, but when her senior year spring break plans get ruined by a rule-breaker, she decides to break a rule or two herself. She impulsively decides to road trip to Vegas, her older sister and BFF in tow, to surprise Nick and finally declare her more-than-friend feelings for him.

Hannah’s romantic gesture backfires when she gets to Vegas and meets Nick’s girlfriend, whom he failed to mention. And it turns out his relationship status isn’t the only thing he’s been lying to her about. Hannah knows the real Nick can’t be that different from the online Nick she knows and loves, but now she only has one night in Sin City to figure out what her feelings for Nick really are, all while discovering how life can change when you break the rules every now and then.

The Review

Ok, so there are two things that I have to say about In Real Life before I get into the nitty-gritty of the review. Firstly, I have said it before and I will say it again – nay, I will keep saying it until people believe me (warning – gratuitous use of capital letters approaching) YOUNG ADULT FICTION IS THE BEST FICTION BEING RELEASED AT THE MOMENT. Good now that is out of my system I can go on to my second point. Having read other reviews of Jessica Love’s In Real Life I can see that is has been described as whiney and chock full of angst – I agree it is…but why is that a bad thing?

I was (what you could consider to be) a relatively “normal” teenager but looking back I can see I had moments of pure petulance; moments when I stomped all the way up the stairs believing that was the way to get my own way. Yes, I even had those romances that felt like the world was going to end if the boy I loved didn’t love me back….and if I am being really, really honest (indeed, if we are all honest with ourselves) then even up until I entered my current relationship (which had freakishly similar roots to that of Hannah and Nick), I still felt like that.

It is for this very reason that In Real Life is utterly wonderful. The story gripped me from the moment I opened it until the very last page. I was fully immersed in Nick and Hannah’s love frennaisance (I am aware that this isn’t really a word but this is my review so what are you gonna do?

Love perfectly encapsulates the feeling of: young bourgeoning love, fear of rejection along with the grassroots of love in the age of the internet. She does this without judgement and without patronising her characters – she allows you to feel what they feel rather than thinking “oh silly little girl/boy, they don’t know what love is.” As someone who works with teenagers on a daily basis I understand that this is what they are looking for, a verisimilitude of what love can be like, what it is. For that, readers must be thankful.

In Real Life was a treat to read and one that I will be recommending to the teenagers I teach.

In Real Life by Jessica Love is available now.

5 Stars