Title: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Author: Josie Silver

Pages: 369 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Two love stories. One Impossible Choice. 

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible. 

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a tragic accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

But then something unbelievable happens, and Lydia gets another chance at her old life with Freddie. But what if there’s someone in her new life who wants her to stay?

A heart-breaking, uplifting story for fans of PS I Love You and Me Before You, this gorgeously romantic novel will make you laugh, cry and remind you of what a wonderful gift it is to love and to be loved.

The Review

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird asks the question if you could change the past, would you?

Meet Lydia, she has just lost the love of her life, Freddie, in a cruel accident. When dealing with her grief she finds that she can still see, speak to, live with Freddie but it may come at a cost.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird made me smile so much. It was such a sad story but one that really made me think about what I would do in that situation. It reminded me of the Alan Rickman movie Truly Madly Deeply. It hold a bright light up to just how wonderful and indeed excruciating love can be.

Both heartwarming and heartbreaking, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird is a must read.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver is available now.

For more information regarding Josie Silver (@JosieSilver_) please visit www.josiesilver.com.

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

Title: If This Gets Out

Author: Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Pages: 404 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

One of the world’s biggest boy bands. A secret love. What happens if the world finds out? A queer YA boy band romance from Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich, perfect for fans of Only Mostly Devastated and What If It’s Us.

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartbreakers in front of the cameras and best friends backstage. But privately, cracks are starting to form: their once-easy rapport is straining under the pressures of fame, and Ruben confides in Zach that he’s feeling smothered by management’s pressure to stay in the closet.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe, with both an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, Ruben and Zach come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben start to truly realize that they will never have the support of their management. How can they hold tight to each other when the whole world seems to want to come between them?

The Review

It is a story that we know all to well. A band get extremely popular and before long an implosion happens. Usually due to management trying to control certain aspects of what can and cannot be revealed to the fan base. In If This Gets Out that aspect is sexuality. I’ve seen it several times in my lifetime – Boyzone, Westlife, Steps – it seems a bit insane that the world of entertainment – the fabulous and flagrant world of entertainment – should expect audiences to not understand that some people are gay.

I suppose the premise of If This Gets Out is this very theme. A person’s sexuality doesn’t dictate their worth, nor is it indicative of their talent. The story exposes the motive behind the mindset – money.

As for the love story between Ruban and Zach, yeah it was cute but if I am perfectly honest, it took me a while to care for the characters. Strangely, it was secondary character Jon who I felt was most intriguing and his story needed exploring more.

Overall, If This Gets Out was a pleasant enough read but I didn’t care for the characters in the way I wanted to which I felt was a disservice to the story.

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Gonzales (@sgonzalesauthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Cale Dietrich (@caledietrich) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visitwww.hachettekids.co.uk.

Title: Last Night

Author: Mhairi McFarlane

Pages: 16 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Two best friends. One missed chance. And a night that changes everything.

Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed.

Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too.

Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets…

The Review

There has not been a Mhairi McFarlane book that I have read that I did not like. Last Night is no exception.

On the surface you could read it as a love story which in essence it is but I think it is a love story to friends rather than lovers. It focuses on Eve and her best friend Susie and how certain actions can often do damage that might be unfixable. It is about how when things go wrong those bonds of friendship can often be harder to forgive than the ones in a romantic relationship.

I loved the character of Eve. She was unashamedly herself. Kooky, offbeat, and had a mouth that didn’t always work in conjunction with her brain. She was a fun character to read.

Last Night is not a book that will change your life but it will make your day brighter.

Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane is available now.

For more information regarding Mhairi McFarlane (@MhairiMcF) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Take It Back

Author: Kia Abdullah

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

IT’S TIME TO TAKE YOUR PLACE ON THE JURY.

The victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories.

WHOSE SIDE WOULD YOU TAKE?

The Review

I love a good thriller. Mainly because I am the perfect audience. I never see the twists coming. Take It Back by Kia Abdullah is a great example of a courtroom thriller that takes you on a journey. Abdullah presents you with a contentious issue and then throws in unreliable characters which make you question your beliefs. I love it when a writer can tie their reader up in knots like that.

There are so many levels to Take It Back. Our perspectives on rape culture, our prejudices on religious communities, the roles of women. It has layers and attacks each one with care and consideration.

It is a great thriller to read as the long nights start to draw in.

Take it Back by Kia Abdullah is available now.

For more information regarding Kia Abdullah (@KiaAbdullah) please visit www.kiaabdullah.com.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQstories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: Brave Enough

Author: Kati Gardner

Pages: 280 Pages

Publisher: North Star Editions

The Blurb

Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta Ballet Conservatory. She never really had a choice of whether she learned to dance or not. Her mother, the conservatory’s artistic director, has made all the decisions in Cason’s life. But that’s about to change. Cason has been hiding an injury, and it’s much worse than anyone imagines. Davis Channing understands all too well what it’s like to give up control of your life. He’s survived cancer, but his drug addiction nearly killed him. Now he’s been sober for seven months and enjoying his community service at the hospital. But just when he thinks he’s got it together, Davis’s ex-girlfriend, who is still battling her addiction, barrels back into his life. Cason and Davis are not friends. But, as their worlds collide, they will start to depend on one another. Can they both be brave enough to beat the odds?

The Review

Representation in books matter.

I know that sounds trite but it does. Brave Enough is the story of Cason Martin, a talented dancer destined to be a prima ballerina until tragedy strikes and she is diagnosed with cancer.

We follow Cason as she comes to terms with her life-changing diagnosis and how she adapts to the people and things around her.

There was a time when “illness” became a trope in novels and for dramatic effect it usually ended up in tragedy or love cut short. What Gardner has done is go against the grain with Brave Enough and celebrated living as a person with or who previously has had cancer. She celebrates life. It was absolutely joyous.

Brave Enough was such an easy read even with such a difficult topic at the heart of the story.

Brave Enough by Kati Gardner is available now.

For more information regarding North Star Editions (@NSEditions) please visit www.northstareditions.com.