The FrontmanTitle: The Frontman

Author: Ron Bahar

Pages: 264 Pages

Publisher: SparkPress

The Blurb

Ron Bahar is an insecure, self-deprecating, seventeen-year-old Nebraskan striving to please his Israeli immigrant parents, Ophira and Ezekiel, while remaining true to his own dreams. During his senior year of high school, he begins to date longtime crush and non-Jewish girl Amy Andrews—a forbidden relationship he hides from his parents. But that’s not the only complicated part of Ron’s life: he’s also struggling to choose between his two passions, medicine and music. As time goes on, he becomes entangled in a compelling world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Will he do the right thing?

A fictionalized memoir of the author’s life as a young man in Lincoln, Nebraska, The Frontman is a coming-of-age tale of love and fidelity.

The Review

I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Frontman by Ron Bahar.

To begin with I was feeling a bit put out, maybe that I wasn’t the target audience. Without meaning to offend anyone, it felt that the target audience was leaning towards men but the more and more I read the more I actually started to enjoy the teenage exploits of Ron. I started to feel sorry for some of the more hapless aspects of his personality.

The Frontman really is a good, entertaining and easy read with a kick ass soundtrack to accompany it.

The Frontman by Ron Bahar is available now.

For more information regarding Ron Bahar (@RonJonBahar) please visit www.ronbahar.com.

For more information regarding SparkPress (@GoSparkPress) please visit www.gosparkpress.com.

3 Stars

The Other F WordTitle: The Other F Word

Author: Natasha Friend

Pages: 328 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

The Blurb

Milo has two great moms, but he’s never known what it’s like to have a dad. When Milo’s doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo’s extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he’s always wondered about.

Hollis’s mom Leigh hasn’t been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis’s half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died.

Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.

The Review

I can honestly say that The Other F-Word is the most unique and interesting YA novel that I have read in a long time.

The premise for this gem of a book is that children conceived through sperm donation come together to try and find the donor who brought them to life. The protagonists Milo and Hollis are joined by two other siblings and a friend for this journey.

It is a book about finding yourself. It is a classic coming of age story but with a twist and it has so much heart that it is impossible not to fall in love with this story.

The Other F Word by Natasha Friend is available now.

For more information regarding Nathasha Friend (@IAmMortified) please visit www.natashafriend.com.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

4 Stars

CleanTitle: Clean

Author: Juno Dawson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group/Quercus Children’s Group

The Blurb

A razor-sharp, adrenaline rush of a novel from award-winning author Juno Dawson, Clean is Gossip Girl meets Girl, Interrupted.

‘I can feel it swimming through my veins like glitter … it’s liquid gold.’

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.

She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.

From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.

As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all …

It’s a dirty business getting clean …

Addiction and redemption, love and despair. Clean will have you hooked from the first page.

The Review

Juno Dawson is one of those names that is synonymous with hard hitting YA genre and whilst I have a copy of every book that she has written they are all languishing away on my never ending TBR pile. Why? Because I am a hopeless bibliophile but that is beside the point. The actual point is that I recently read Clean, the latest book from Dawson which has her tackling the issue of drugs.

In what can be described as Junk for a Kardashian era, Dawson setting of an offshore rehab facility is the perfect place to have the drama of Lexi’s life unfold. Lexi is an upcoming IT girl. However, her privileged upbringing has landed her in trouble. She is, for want of a better word, an addict. Forced into rehab by her brother we watch as Lexi struggles to accept that she has a problem.

Dawson’s delivery in Clean is really clever. She manages to make the reader feel very detached from Lexi at the beginning of the book. You don’t go into the story rooting for her but gradually as Lexi comes to accept herself more, so does the reader. What is also fascinating is the way that Dawson doesn’t sugar coat the withdrawal process. Although Clean is a YA novel, she makes sure that you understand the horrific pain addicts go to when they are on the come down. It is reminiscent of A Million Little Pieces by James Frey but infinitely more – ironically – addictive to read.

I will be bumping up the other Juno Dawson books to a higher position on my TBR pile.

Clean by Juno Dawson is available now.

For more information regarding Juno Dawson (@junodawson) please visit www.junodawson.com.

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

For more information regarding Quercus Children’s Group (@QuercusKids) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars

Julia JonesTitle: Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart)

Author: Katrina Kahler

Pages: 87 Pages

Publisher: How to Help Children

The Blurb

The suspenseful and best-selling “Julia Jones’ Diary” series now continues on but is even more gripping and exciting than ever before. For die-hard Julia Jones’ fans as well as those who are new to the series, “Julia Jones – The Teenage Years” will not disappoint.

In Book 1, Falling Apart, Julia is now a typical teenage girl but has abruptly and unexpectedly been thrown into turmoil by the forced relocation of her family back to their old home in the city. She attempts to come to terms with her dilemma by reconnecting with her old friend, Millie Spencer and also the love of her life, Blake Jansen. However, on arrival at her old house, she soon learns that circumstances have changed dramatically during the time she was away and the days that follow seem to unravel in a series of escalating drama and events. Although Julia tries to maintain control, her life seems to snowball towards an all consuming disaster which she appears powerless to prevent.

Julia finds that her choices surrounding love, friends and rebellious teenage behaviour tend to result in dire consequences and repercussions of the worst kind. What is the cause of Julia’s misery and how does she deal with the challenges in her path?

This is a book filled with unexpected plot twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what is going to happen next. Don’t miss out on the suspenseful journey of Julia Jones, complete with romance, drama, friendship issues and much, much more.

This fabulous book for teenage girls contains all the elements of an exciting story that girls of all ages will enjoy.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

With the above blurb I was genuinely looking forward to reading the Julia Jones series. After reading the 87 pages of Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart) I am actually kind of bummed out that I spent time on it.

Our main character, Julia is extremely unlikable. I would go so far as to say she is an insufferable brat. She explodes when things don’t go her way, causes drama, and throws herself on her bed in fits of rage. Then when situations happen around her she comes across as pious and morally righteous; she tries to distance herself from disasters of her own making. Overall, she is a narcissistic whiny little monster.

The problem I have with the series is that it could have been really good. It has all the makings of being like Mean Girls – a fun teenage romp if ever there was one – but it just fails every time a new challenge gets in the way. Unfortunately with such a two dimensional protagonist it was just not likely to happen. I won’t be reading the rest of the series.

Julia Jones – The Teenage Years (Book One – Falling Apart) by Katrina Kahler is available now.

1 star

Children of Blood and BoneTitle: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Pages: 531 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The Review

Ok, so I fell for the hype yet again. There has been so much on social media about Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi that I had to buy a copy and read it. I knew it was going to be an uncomfortable read, mainly because fantasy isn’t my strong subject when it comes to book genre but give it a go I did. I have to admit, I was impressed.

I was sucked into this mystical world of African legend and folklore; into the world of subjugation and uprising. It was just so engaging. Even though this world was so very alien to the world I live in I couldn’t help but empathise with the battle that the characters had.

What is more powerful is when you learn that Children of Blood and Bone is an allegory for society today. Below the surface of the story is an extended metaphor that shouldn’t still resonate but does.

Seriously, if you want a fluffy fantasy drama then Children of Blood and Bone is not for you. But if you want to challenge yourself and to use YA fiction to push yourself to looking at deeper more prevalent topics then you need to pick this book up.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is available now.

For more information regarding Tomi Adeyemi (@tomi_adeyemi) please visit www.bit.lt/2DRI6sc.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

4 Stars