Title: Imaginary Friend

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Pages: 720 Pages

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

The Blurb

A young boy is haunted by a voice in his head in this acclaimed epic of literary horror from the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Christopher is seven years old.Christopher is the new kid in town.Christopher has an imaginary friend.

We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.

Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It’s as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.

At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. for six long days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a treehouse in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.

Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on.

The Review

I bloody loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Yes.

Did I love Imaginary Friend? Mmmm not really. If I am completely honest, I didn’t really understand it.

Let me try and break it down. A boy and his mother moves to a small town and he gets possessed by a spirit who tries to convince him to open a portal to get the evil spirit out…I think.

See that is the thing, after 720 pages I can honestly say I do not know what this book was about. This is a shame because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year.

Sadly, Imaginary Friend did not live up to the expectations that I had for it.

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky is available now.

For more information regarding Stephen Chbosky (@StephenChbosky) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Grand Central Publishing (@GrandCentralPub) please visit www.grandcentralpublishing.com.

Title: Only Dead on the Inside – A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Author: James Breakwell

Pages: 200 Pages

Publisher: BenBella Books

The Blurb

It’s not easy being a parent these days. There are bills to pay. Kids to feed. And hordes of undead monsters to keep at bay.

There are plenty of guides out there about how to survive the zombie apocalypse. All of them assume readers are young, fit, and unencumbered by children. In that scenario, the only living humans left will be smug, outdoorsy Millennials. That’s hell on earth, even without the zombies.

Only Dead on the Inside is the answer for the rest of us.

Written by professional comedy writer and amateur father-of-four James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn), Only Dead on the Inside blends traditional parenting advice with zombie survival tips, bringing together two totally unrelated genres in a book no one asked for but everyone needs.

This step-by-step manual teaches you how to raise happy, healthy children in a world overrun by the undead. Motivated moms and dads want it all, and that won’t change at the end of the world. There’s no reason you can’t be a zombie killing machine AND parent of the year, but you have to work for it.

If you want to make sure your family is apocalypse-ready, Only Dead on the Inside is your best–and only–chance at survival. No pressure, but if you don’t read this book, your children will die.

The Review

I really love James Breakwell’s tweets. He and his family are hilarious. I chuckle so much reading about their daily exploits and the hilarious thoughts of his children. Therefore, I was excited to read Only Dead on the Inside – A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

It was a very fun book which poses the scenario of how to survive an apocalypse. Now, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not survive but now I feel slightly better equipped. Alas, I do not have kids so I won’t be able to use some of the tricks that may one day save my life.

If you are genuinely looking for a survival guide then it is a great start. Let’s face it, there aren’t many out there. If you are looking for a book that will make you giggle then pick it up. It is funny.

Only Dead on the Inside – A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by James Breakwell is available now.

For more information regarding James Breakwell (@XplodingUnicorn) please visit www.ExplodingUnicorn.com.

For more information regarding BenBella Books (@BenBellaBooks) please visit the Twitter page.

Title: At Briarwood School for Girls

Author: Michael Knight

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

The Blurb

It’s 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she’s pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control.

Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a “Technicolor simulacrum of American History” right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the development will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school.

When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust—will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board?

Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness,At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller.

The Review

Hmmm. What to say about At Briarwood School for Girls. I think for me it is a bit of a nothing novel. Nothing really happens in the novel. It is more character driven than plot driven but then the characters felt very unapproachable so I don’t feel that I connected with them.

There were elements of the novel that could have been the driving narrative such as a ghost story or as a teen moral novel but personally I felt that the story didn’t know what it wanted to be.

I was also confused by the constant reference to Disney. It didn’t add anything to the story.

Sadly, At Briarwood School for Girls, whilst it had potential for great things, was not a story for me.

At Briarwood School for Girls by Michael Knight is available now.

For more information regarding Grove Atlantic (@groveatlantic) please visit www.groveatlantic.com.

Title: Loner

Author: Teddy Wayne

Pages: 203 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

David Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. Initially, however, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity.

Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David becomes instantly infatuated. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem.

Loner turns the traditional campus novel on its head as it explores ambition, class, and gender politics. It is a stunning and timely literary achievement from one of the rising stars of American fiction.

The Review

Loner is genuinely one of the creepiest campus novels I have ever read. It focuses on freshman David Federman who is a bit of a social outcast but now that he has reached Harvard he has a chance to reinvent himself. However, the reinvention isn’t exactly the best version of himself that he could be. And it is all because of one girl – Veronica Morgan: David’s new obsession.

Teddy Wayne does a great job of building up the creepiness. At first you feel sorry for avid but the more we see of him, and the more questionable his actions become, the more the reader start to feel uncomfortable.

Loner looks at themes such as mental health, voyeurism, and sexual conduct. It is only a small novel but it really does deal with a lot of important issues.

Loner by Teddy Wayne is available now.

For more information regarding Teddy Wayne (@TeddyWayne1999) please visit www.teddywayne.com.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@simonandschusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

itle: Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart

Author: Alice Walker

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Atria Books

The Blurb

Presented in both English and Spanish, Alice Walker shares a timely collection of nearly seventy works of passionate and powerful poetry that bears witness to our troubled times, while also chronicling a life well-lived. From poems of painful self-inquiry, to celebrating the simple beauty of baking frittatas, Walker offers us a window into her magical, at times difficult, and liberating world of activism, love, hope and, above all, gratitude. Whether she’s urging us to preserve an urban paradise or behold the delicate necessity of beauty to the spirit, Walker encourages us to honor the divine that lives inside all of us and brings her legendary free verse to the page once again, demonstrating that she remains a revolutionary poet and an inspiration to generations of fans.

The Review

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart is a beautiful collection of poetry by the inimitable Alice Walker who looks at race and prejudice. The poems are powerful and evocative and they are a perfect palate cleanser when you are between books.

Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart by Alice Walker is available now.

For more information regarding Atria Books (@AtriaBooks) please visit www.atria-books.com.