Title: Full Disclosure

Author: Camryn Garrett

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Simone Garcia-Hampton is HIV-Positive… and is positive HIV won’t define her.

Simone is a lot of things: the new kid at school, a supreme theatre nerd, daughter to two loving but slightly overbearing fathers; and HIV-positive.

She knows that celibacy is – technically – the best way to stay safe. Enter Miles Austin: intelligent, funny and way too sexy for Simone to resist. But her classmates don’t know about her condition – and what is the truth worth in the hands of the wrong person?

A smart, funny, sex-positive YA read, perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Jenny Han, Full Disclosure is a heartwarming take on the particular challenges of adolescence, written as only a teen could.

The Review

One of my favourite things about YA literature is that subjects that are often seen as taboo or scary to talk about are presented to a young, impressionable audience and allows the reader (presumably but not always of young adult age) to make their own mind up rather than relying on the hand me down beliefs of older – and not necessarily wiser – generations.

It is for that reason that we should all be thankful for writers such as Camryn Garrett who has written Full Disclosure: a book about – but not limited to – the discussion of HIV. Her protagonist, Simone, is HIV positive. For Simone, it is one aspect of who she is. Besides that, she is a young girl who is trying to navigate her way into becoming an adult. She is dealing with the everyday worries of being a teenager, and a girl, and a student, and a friend, and a girlfriend. Whilst these things may seem like run-of-the-mill things for most, Simone has to deal with them with the added pressure of a chronic illness that has so little understanding and a history of scaremongering.

Full Disclosure is a fantastic story about the brutality of high school and reminds us firstly, how difficult being a teenager can be but more importantly it reminds us to be kind to one another. You never know what another person is going through and you will invariably never know unless you forget your own prejudices.

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett is available now.

For more information regarding Camryn Garrett (@dancingofpens) please visit www.camryngarrett.com.

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

Title: Flirty Dancing

Author: Jenny McLachlan

Pages: 257 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

A warm, hilarious bestseller-to-be. Geek Girl meets Dirty Dancing meets Louise Rennison’s Tights, all rolled into an irresistible story of friendship, bullies and how to steal a heart on the dancefloor.

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It’s just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

The Review

Strictly season is upon us and I wanted to read something dance related so it seemed a natural choice to read Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan. Truth be told the last few books that I had read were kind of heavy reads and I needed something fun, light and that would leave me smiling. Boy did Flirty Dancing make it happen.

Flirty Dancing is the story of Bea ‘Jelly Bean’ Hogg, a young girl who doesn’t really fit in so instead she sticks to the shadows and just tries to survive high school. She spends her days trying to avoid confrontation with her one time best friend (and now school bully) Pearl Harris who seems to have made t her personal mission to make Bea’s life hell.

When a TV talent show starts looking for teenage dancers then Bea really comes into her own. She, by some twisted hand of fate, ends up dancing with the boy of he dreams…and also the object of her worst enemy’s affection.

Flirty Dancing is such a good book. You fly through it and you smile from the first page to the last. If you want a feel good read then you need to pick this one up.

For more information regarding Jenny McLachlan (@JennyMcLachlan1) please visit www.jennymclachlan.com.

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

Title: Allegedly

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it. She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home” – no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted – and their unborn child – to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the gray areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, acknowledging the light and darkness alive in all of us.

The Review

Allegedly is one of those really intense books that messes with your mind. It focuses on Mary, a young girl who is trying to survive a group home for ex-convicts – girls – like her – who have been charged with committing serious crimes. Allegedly.

All throughout the story we are faced with this conundrum. How allegations may or may not be accurate. Whether or not the justice system is right or wrong and at what point does a person earn redemption or a second chance. It really is a lot of heavy subjects for a YA book. However, that is actually Allegedly’s strength. It doesn’t undermine young adults. It gives them a hard hitting and unique story to come to terms with and challenges the reader to have a voice, have an opinion.

Allegedly is one of the most powerful YA fiction books that I have read in a long time.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is available now.

For more information regarding Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) please visit www.writeinbk.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Boy 87

Author: Ele Fountain

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Pushkin Children’s Books

The Blurb

The story of a refugee: one child’s journey stands for the journeys of many and the hopes of even more

Shif is just an ordinary boy who likes chess, maths and racing his best friend home from school. But one day, soldiers with guns come to his door – and he knows that he is no longer safe.

Shif is forced to leave his mother and little sister, and embark on a dangerous journey; a journey through imprisonment and escape, new lands and strange voices, and a perilous crossing by land and sea. He will encounter cruelty and kindness; he will become separated from the people he loves.

Boy 87 is a gripping, uplifting tale of one boy’s struggle for survival; it echoes the story of young people all over the world today.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Boy 87 is another of the books that has been nominated for the Carnegie medal. This book packs an impressive punch. It is the story of a young boy called Shif and his tale of survival from a dictatorship. We travel with him through his travails and feel his pain and loss alongside of him. Equally we feel his hope.

I believe that Boy 87 should have been shortlisted for the Carnegie medal. It shows younger people the harsh realities of life and opens their eyes to a world that they may never have known.

Boy 87 by Ele Fountain is available now.

For more information regarding Ele Fountain (@EleFountain) please visit www.elefountainpen.com.

For more information regarding Pushkin Children’s Books (@PushkinPress) please visit www.pushkinpress.com.