Title: Release

Author: Patrick Ness

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

A startling and tender novel about how to let yourself love and set yourself free by Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls. Today will change Adam Thorn’s life. Between his religious family, unpleasant boss and his ex-boyfriend, the bindings of his world are coming undone. And way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake. Is there time for Adam to find his release?


The Review

For years I have avoided books written by Patrick Ness. You may be wondering why. He is a celebrated author after all; prize-winning even. However, about 8 years ago I read his book The Knife of Never Letting Go and I hated it. I just didn’t get it. So since then I have avoided his books.

I work in a school and spend the majority of my time trying to raise literacy levels; I work in the school library and spend the rest of my time in school discussing books with students and encouraging them to read. Now, with the Carnegie short list announced I decided it was time I gave Patrick Ness another chance. I picked up the book Release as my first read and man I have to tell you my humble pie tastes fantastic.

Release is amazing.

It is not what I expected at all. Ness deals with themes of identity, first love, sexuality, and growing up. His characters are alive on every page. I was transported to this Podunk religious town and I felt the oppressiveness that Adam felt.

Release really is a great story that I urge you to read.

Release by Patrick Ness is available now.

For more information regarding Patrick Ness (@Patrick_Ness) please visit www.patrickness.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksUK) please visit www.walkerbooks.co.uk.

4 Stars

Title: Truth or Dare

Author: Non Pratt

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian’s “writer to watch” Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne.

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

(Amazon Blurb)

The Review

Ever since reading Trouble by Non Pratt I have been a fan of her writing. She did not disappoint me with her recent release Truth or Dare.

Told in two parts, it tells the story from the two protagonists, Sef and Claire’s, perspectives. Sef is determined to get money to pay his brother’s hospital fees. Sef’s brother has recently suffered a brain injury and his care is scarily expensive. Claire and Sef come up with a plan to raise the money. The more time they spend together, the closer they become.

The lines of friendship become blurred and now they are both in way to deep.

Truth or Dare was a fast paced, intense read that I couldn’t devour quickly enough. Page-turner really doesn’t seem a strong enough word to describe just how good it was. Non Pratt is in possession of a really rare gift; she is one of the strongest voices in YA fiction today.

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt is available now.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksYA) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

35 Stars

The Hate You GiveTitle: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Pages: 444 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.


The Review

Holy Cow!

I love it when a book lives up to its hype and The Hate U Give certainly does.

Angie Thomas has tackled a contentious issue (racism and the Black Lives Matter campaign) and packaged it for teenagers. I feel that this was a really ambitious topic to tackle for many reasons but the main one being how do you explain to young adults such a brutal and horrific subject knowing that these things happen in real life. Books are escapism but you have to be real otherwise people won’t want to read on. Thomas does this beautifully.

The story of Starr and her experience of watching a friend be gunned down by a policeman – the people who are supposed to protect you – is beyond comprehension. The Hate U Give deals with the aftermath, how rival gangs influence certain cities, the feeling of helplessness and above all the growing feeling that police in America are being given a free pass to kill people as long as they say they were doing it in self defence.

The Hate U Give packed a massive emotional punch and for a debut novel was ridiculously good. If this is Angie Thomas’s first offering then I can’t wait to see what she will do next.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is available now.

For more information regarding Angie Thomas (@acthomasbooks) please visit www.angiethomas.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksYA) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

5 Stars

the-last-beginningTitle: The Last Beginning (The Next Together, #2)

Author: Lauren James

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about true love and reincarnation.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history?

Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation? For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

The Review

The Last Beginning is the follow up to The Next Together which was, personally, my most surprising read of the year. It was surprising because I never expected to really enjoy a Time Travel Sci-Fi Historical YA Romance but I genuinely did. I also loved the small novella Another Together that accompanied The Next Together. The third in the series is also pretty awesome.

The Last Beginning follows Clove, the child of Matt and Kate. Clove has no idea that her parents Tom and Jen are not her birth parents and when she finds out who her actual parents are a whole can of worms (wormholes) is opened and it is up to Clove to fix things.

I genuinely loved The Last Beginning. I loved it for many reasons; the first being that I don’t feel like James was flogging a dead horse. She did a sequel which introduced a new protagonist but claimed the original story thread. That is impressive as is the ability to plan ahead with a story. Time travel is a phenomenon that when I think about it too much my head gets all lost in the paradox but James addresses this and it all seems to work out. Huzzah.

Seriously though, The Next Together series is ridiculously good. It is clever, witty and engaging. If you like your YA fiction to be a bit different then you must read this series.

The Last Beginning (The Next Together, #2) by Lauren James.

For more information regarding Lauren James (@Lauren_E_James) please visit www.laurenejames.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksUK) please visit www.walker.co.uk.



another-togetherTitle: Another Together

Author: Lauren James

Pages: 59 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

“Are you absolutely certain this is safe?” Matthew Galloway asked. 

A short story of intrigue and murder set in the world of The Next Together series. Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer?

This standalone short story can be enjoyed by new readers and existing fans of Lauren James’s The Next Together series.

The Review

The second instalment in The Next Together series is the short story Another Together. In this short we catch up with Kitty and Matthew (aka Kate and Matt) in Bletchley Park. They are both working as code breakers during the war but alongside their war time adventures they are also embroiled in a deep murder mystery. Code breakers keep mysteriously dying and it is up to them to find out why.

I loved The Next Together and it was the biggest surprise of 2016 for me. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did and this stand alone story is no exception. I love how Kitty seems to find trouble wherever she goes and Matthew follows even though he is the one that has the sense of reason in the relationship; his love for Kitty manages to get him into all sorts of trouble.

My one issue with this stand alone is more of a pre-emptive one. I want to know more about their time in Bletchley Park. If it does not feature in the third book The Last Beginning I will be sorely disappointed…but I am sure that the story will keep me that hooked that I won’t mind too much.

Another Together by Lauren James is available now.

For more information regarding Lauren James (@Lauren_E_James) please visit www.laurenejames.co.uk.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksUK) please visit www.walker.co.uk.