Title: Honor Code

Author: Kiersi Burkhart

Pages: 312 Pages

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

The Blurb

Sam knows how lucky she is to be part of the elite Edwards Academy. As she dreams of getting into Harvard one day, she’s willing to do anything to fit in and excel at the private high school. Even if that means enduring hazing, signing up for a sport she hates, and attending the school dance with an upperclassman she barely knows.

But when she learns the high cost of entry, will Sam be willing to bury the worst night of her life in order to “keep the community sacred”? As the line between truth and justice blurs, Sam must find out for herself what honor really means.

The Review

The things people will do to fit in. That is the initial basis of Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart. When you are faced with the dilemma o being ostracised or being part of something bigger Sam knows the choice she has to make. She is new to Edwards Academy – a high school that pretty much guarantees your acceptance into any elite college. But Sam soon comes to realise that it is easy to lose yourself in the expectations of school life, how easy it is to befall victim to more sinister goings on.

Honor Code is brilliantly dark and twisty. Burkhart looks at the tradition of honor codes in schools along with the current victim blaming culture that is seen in many college campuses in America. She uses alienation and broken friendships to look at the desperate nature that being lonely and alone as a teenager along with the problems that teens face.

This book does not leave you feeling comfortable. You are pushed way out of your comfort zone but it is necessary to get the point across. It does make for uncomfortable reading but it is so damn good.

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart is available now.

For more information regarding Kiersi Burkhart (@kiersi) please visit her Twitter page.

Title: The Burning

Author: Laura Bates

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Books

The Blurb

A rumour is like a fire. You might think you’ve extinguished it but one creeping, red tendril, one single wisp of smoke is enough to let it leap back into life again. Especially if someone is watching, waiting to fan the flames …

New school.
Tick.
New town.
Tick.
New surname.
Tick.
Social media profiles?
Erased.

There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’.

At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…

The compelling YA debut from Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project and bestselling author of Girl Up.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The Burning by Laura Bates is a brilliant contemporary YA Fiction novel that packs a heart and relevant punch. It toys with the ideas of blame, shame, and social media.

The story follows Anna, a young girl who has been persecuted for decisions she has made in the past. Now, away from the life that she once knew, she plans to start afresh and hope that the negativity from the past doesn’t catch up with her.

Parallel to the main plot runs a story about how girls have always been persecuted by narrow-minded people and how they have always been persecuted – especially by men – which mirrors what Anna is going through.

The Burning is a powerful book that I will be shoving into the hands of all the students that I work with. This book needs to be read, the problems within it need to be understood, and the issues it discusses need to be rectified.

You NEED to read The Burning.

The Burning by Laura Bates is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Bates (@EverydaySexism) please visit www.everydaysexism.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Books (@simonschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: Outside

Author: Sarah Ann Juckes

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Here’s the thing about being Inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are.

Ele has never been Outside, but she knows it exists – she just has to prove it.

Her whole world is Inside. Trapped with her books and the Others and Him.
She has never seen a tree or felt the rain but that’s about to change. Ele’s getting out. For good.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes was a really engaging but shocking book. It is a book that borders the line of young adult and adult fiction. It has been described as being similar to Room by Emma Donoghue and whilst I have never read that book from what I have heard about it then Outside could be its sister novel.

The story focuses on Ele. She has lived inside for as long as she can remember but she knows that there is an outside and she is determined to get to it. Except how can someone who has grown up knowing only the four walls around her able to survive in the big bad world?

Outside is a book that makes you hungry to read. You have to read on and you have to know how it ends. It isn’t a book that you sit and savour and plod through because you want to be part of that world. Juckes makes you feel uncomfortable. She makes you want to not be there but she does it in such a brilliantly written way.

This is a book that will make you feel at once: sad, uncomfortable, happy and uplifted. Read it.

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Ann Juckes (@sarahannjuckes) please visit www.sarahannjuckes.com.

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

Title: The Dollmaker of Krakow

Author: RM Romero

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

A timeless fantasy set in the Second World War that weaves together magic, folklore and history, perfect for fans of The Book ThiefThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Goodnight Mister Tom.

One night a little doll named Karolina comes to life in a toyshop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939 and changes the life of the gruff, broken-hearted Dollmaker. And when the darkness of the Nazi occupation sweeps over the city, Karolina and the Dollmaker must bravely use their magic to save their Jewish friends from a terrible danger, no matter what the risks. This powerful story is about finding friendship in the darkest of places and the importance of love in times of great pain.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

This is not my normal kind of book but once again it is one of the Carnegie nominees and I want to read as many as I can.

The Dollmaker fo Krakow is set in Poland at the onset of World War Two and it sees us through the occupation of Poland by the Nazis. It is the story of Karolina – a doll that comes alive for the dollmaker – think mannequin but without romance or a great 80s soundtrack.

It is through their friendship that they try to help the Jewish people who are sent to the ghettos in Poland before being sent to concentration camps.

This story has a magical realism aspect which if I am completely honest, as a reader I am not entirely comfortable with but the charm that exudes from each page makes it a worthwhile read.

The Dollmaker of Krakow is available now.

For more information regarding RM Romero (@rmromeroauthor) please visit www.rmromero.com.

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

Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Dutton Books

The Blurb

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

The Review

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is a story that has many facets. It looks at grief, loss of identity, loss of family and what it means to fully accept yourself for who you are.

It is about Marin, a young girl who has led from her home in California for New York. She has ran away from a past that she barely knows the truth of, ran away from the only home she has ever known and ran away from the people who love her.

For Marin, it is safer to be alone.

This belief is not shared by her best friend Mabel who comes to New York to find her friend.

We Are Okay has a very subdued and quiet kind of story telling which lends to the subject matter of the book. You at once feel calm but overwhelmed by Marin’s story. Her grief is so hidden but equally it drips off the pages. LaCour has done a stunning job of making you feel for Marin.

This isn’t a massive, outrageous novel. It is a stoic read but one that packs a punch.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is available now.

For more information regarding Nina LaCour (@nina_lacour) please visit www.ninalacour.com.

For more information regarding Dutton Books (@DuttonBooks) please visit www.duttonbooks.tumblr.com.