Title: The Great Godden

Author: Meg Rosoff

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

From the incomparable Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of How I Live Now, comes a heady and timeless, intimate and earth-shattering wonder.

One dreamy summer, in a holiday house by the sea, two families fill hot days with food and wine, swimming and games, plans for a wedding and plans for the future. 

Enter the Godden brothers – irresistible, languid Kit, and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in paradise – but which brother is it? And is it love he promises, or something very much darker?

Profound and memorable, crystallising the exact moment at which innocence is lost, The Great Godden is a summer classic-in-the-making that sits alongside Bonjour Tristesse, The Greengage Summer and I Capture the Castle as an essential coming-of-age read.

The Review

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is a quiet novel. Nothing outrageous happens in it but it is a mood. The novel seems very reflective and nostalgic even when events happen that cause sadness. It is almost as if the rose tinted glasses put a soft hue around bad events.

The events of the novel take place over a summer holiday in Ireland when things take an unexpected turn with the arrival of the Godden brothers. Kit Godden is charismatic and quickly captures everyone’s eye whilst brother Hugo lingers in the background. Their arrival changes the dynamic and causes discord amongst the family.

The Great Godden isn’t a fast paced novel but it does wrap its arms around you and carry you through it. You are engaged by the curiosity of this family and you are desperate to read on. Out of all the Rosoff books I have read, The Great Godden is my favourite.

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff is available now.

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

Title: Here’s To Us

Author: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Pages: 472 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

Ben has spent his first year of college working on his fantasy manuscript with his writing partner Mario, who is a great Spanish tutor, and an even better kisser. So why can’t he stop thinking about the fact that Arthur’s back in town two years after they called it quits?

Arthur is in New York for a dream internship on Broadway, with a boyfriend back at home that he couldn’t be happier with. But when he comes upon Ben cuddled up with a mystery boy, he starts to wonder if his feelings for Ben ever truly went away. 

Even as the boys try to focus on their futures, they can’t seem to help running into each other in the present. Is the universe forcing them to question if they’re actually meant to be?

Possibly not. After all, things didn’t work the first time around.

Possibly yes. After all, the sparks are still flying.

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and raise a glass.

Here’s to celebrating old friends!

Here’s to embracing new beginnings!

Here’s to believing in second chances!

The Review

It has been a long while since I have rooted so fervently for a couple of characters. I felt myself getting to the point where I would either a) throw the book in frustration because Ben and Arthur are meant to be together or b) shouting out loud “Kiss him, you fool!”

Okay, so it is always tricky with a sequel. Will it live up to the predecessor? Will it ruin the story? I can genuinely say that Here’s To Us is on par with What If It’s Us or possibly even better.

Ben and Arthur have grown up and so have their problems and I feel they make it a bit more relatable. Ben and Arthur needed a challenge to their almost perfect love story start and boy do Albertalli and Silvera provide it. But oh, how they pull at those heartstrings.

Here’s To Us is phenomenal as is the whole series. My heart was stolen by this book and I don’t want it back.

Here’s To Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera is available now.

For more information regarding Becky Albertalli (@beckyalbertalli) please visit www.beckyalbertalli.com

For more information regarding Adam Silvera (@AdamSilvera) please visit his Instagram page.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@SimonBooks) please visit www.simonandschuster.com.

Title: Death By Society

Author: Sierra Elmore

Pages: 292 Pages

Publisher: Elm Street Publishing

The Blurb

MEAN GIRLS meets IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY when two teenage girls’ worlds collide when one attempts suicide to avoid toxic popularity.

Carter Harper may have created an award-winning app and have a 3.93 GPA, but her successes are overshadowed by brutal bullying, depression, and loneliness. Tired of being treated as the popular girls’ plaything, Carter thinks her only choice is to die by suicide.

Abby Wallace is one of the most popular girls in school, subordinate only to Kelsey, her best friend with benefits. The ambitious poet destroys reputations without care to prove how cool, cruel, and strong she is, all while pushing down her past trauma and secret guilt.

Carter and Abby’s tumultuous relationship comes to a boiling point when Abby stops Carter from attempting suicide. But what happens when they have to protect one another from Kelsey’s harmful antics? If Carter and Abby can stand each other for more than three minutes, they can stop Kelsey from hurting more girls—and maybe become friends in the process.

In the tradition of Courtney Summers and Laurie Halse Anderson, DEATH BY SOCIETY questions how far we’ll go to gain power over our lives—and what happens when we use our voices for both good and to harm others.

The Review

I’m sad to say but me and Death by Society didn’t get along. The premise of the story seems good and I know that this will resonate with a lot of people but it just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure if it is a cultural gap (British vs American) or if it is because I work with teenagers who are often marginalised and suffer with mental health problems but the way the story was told just didn’t mesh with my lived experience. As I say this book will be for someone that person just isn’t me.

Death by Society by Sierra Elmore is out now.

Title: The Nicest Girl

Author: Sophie Jo

Pages: 196 Pages

Publisher: UCLan Publishing

The Blurb

Sixth-former Anna Campbell is the go-to girl when anyone needs anything. Teachers, friends, random strangers… It never occurred to her that she could say no. After all, Anna Campbell’s always been too ‘nice’ to say no. But Anna is sick of being that girl, the nice girl, and she’s going to do something about it. Only, is she prepared to risk losing everything she cares about – even herself – along the way…? A novel for anyone who’s ever struggled to put themselves first.

The Review

What do you do when everyone sees you as a bit of a doormat? This is the question that protagonist Anna Campbell is asking herself. She is there for everybody because she has a pathological inability to say no or to let people down. Not only is she carrying the burden of being a teenager doing her A-Levels but she has to buddy up with the new kid, is pressurised into taking a job that she really doesn’t have time for and deal with a needy best friend and quite frankly it has all got a bit much for her.

We all know an Anna – some of us might even be an Anna – which is why The Nicest Girl is so relatable. We desperately want Anna to grow a backbone and stand up for herself but know that it could come at a cost.

I really enjoyed this short YA story. It was sensitive and handled difficult issues such as toxic friendship in a really approachable way. Sophie Jo got to the crux of the issues whilst still maintaining the dignity of her characters. I did hope for more resolution from other secondary characters like Ryan and her tertiary characters (Sophie’s friends) were interesting enough to have their own plot lines explored – maybe in a multiverse or short story?

The Nicest Girl is a good, solid YA that deserves a place in all libraries.

The Nicest Girl by Sophie Jo is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Jo (@sophiejowrites) please visit her Twitter account.

For more information regarding UCLan Publishing (@publishinguclan) please visit their Twitter account.

Title: Cuts Both Ways

Author: Candice Braithwaite

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

Love is never just black and white…

A sharp and authentic love story about 16-year-old Cynthia, who finds herself caught between two brothers: one who is Black and the other who is white. Tackling the complexities of growing up Black and British, Cuts Both Ways is the first fiction title from the Sunday Times best-selling Candice Brathwaite, author of I Am Not Your Baby Mother.

London is everything to Cynthia, so when her parents move her to a place where there is only one bus an hour and the faint smell of horse manure continuously permeates the air, it’s a culture shock, to say the least. As is transitioning to a private school.

At her new school, Cynthia immediately finds herself caught between two brothers – head boy Thomas, who is white, and his adopted Black brother, Isaac. There is something about Isaac she cannot quite get enough of … but her father wants her to partner up with someone like Thomas, someone who will be ‘better for her future prospects’.

When it turns out the brothers have been keeping secrets from her, secrets that link back to the life Cynthia thought she had left behind in London, she realises that not everything is as it seems.

How can Cynthia follow her heart when it’s being torn in two?

An exploration of race, class, love and the complexities of growing up as a Black British teen, from bestselling author Candice Brathwaite.

The Review

Wow. Where do I even begin with this book. Cuts Both Ways is like an onion. There are layers. On the surface level it is about a boy and a girl who fall in love. On a deeper level it is a Romeo and Juliet tale with a basis in crime. On a deeper level it is about the socio-political and economic values and expectations that the BPOC community face on a daily basis.

It is the story about Cynthia. She is starting a new school and leaving her old life in London behind. The murder of her older brother has had her family moving away from the living memory of the crime but Cynthia struggles when it comes to her new way of life.

In her school she meets a plethora of new people some kind and some not so much. However, it is when she meets brothers Thomas and Isaac that things really start to unravel.

When Cynthia discovers a shocking secret about one of the brothers her whole new life begins to unfold once again. Cynthia is torn between feelings of love and feelings of loyalty.

Cuts Both Ways was a really powerful read and its ending – whilst not ambiguous – certainly allows for more of the story to be told and I really home that Candice Braithwaite turns it into a series.

Cuts Both Ways by Candice Braithwaite is available now.

For more information regarding Candice Braithwaite (@candicebraithwaite) please visit her Instagram account.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.