Title: The Four

Author: Ellie Keel

Pages: 435 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

ONE SECRET COULD DESTROY THEM ALL

Powerful. Sinister. Heart-wrenching. Unmissable.

We were always The Four. From our very first day at High Realms.

The four scholarship pupils. Outsiders in a world of power and privilege.

It would have made our lives a lot easier if Marta had simply pushed Genevieve out of our bedroom window that day. Certainly, it would have been tragic. She would have died instantly.

But Marta didn’t push her then, or – if you choose to believe me – at any other time. If she had, all of what we went through would not have happened.

I’ve told this story as clearly as I could – as rationally as I’ve been able, in the circumstances, to achieve. I don’t regret what we did. And I would do it all again.

The Review

One of my all time favourite settings for a story is in a school. This has always seemed particularly strange to me as in my day job I work in a school so you would think that I would want to escape from that setting. The thing is that when a school setting is explored well – and believe me, Ellie Keel has done this very well – it does become escapism…just not in the relaxing way.

The Four is the story of four young scholarship students who have won the educational lottery. They get to attend one of the most elite schools for free. Here they will make friends and rub shoulders with some of the most important people of the future cultivating relationships that they can use as they grow older. What they soon realise though is that they will always be “other” and will not fit in with the wealthy elite and due to this their lives are made increasingly difficult by their peer and their educators. It is sink or swim for these four teenagers but will the drive to succeed come at a deadly cost.

Ellie Keel has done a masterful job of showing how hierarchy and privilege can be so detrimental and hurtful and this is one of the ways in which I feel that Keel has presented the school setting so well. Whilst my school is not an elite academy you still see these social rules even today.

What’s more is that Keel keeps you on the edge of your seat praying for the underdogs to succeed. She really makes you care for these characters. Equally, she shows the reader that where you start off in life doesn’t always have to be your destination.

I was so eager and excited to read The Four. It was one of the books I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint.

The Four by Ellie Keel is available now.

For more information regarding Ellie Keel (@elliekeel1) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: The Sentence

Author: Christina Dalcher

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

The one decision you can’t take back

Prosecutor, Justine Boucher has only asked for the death penalty once, in a brutal murder case.

In doing so, she put her own life on the line. Because, if the convicted are later found innocent, the lawyer who requested the execution will be sentenced to death.

Justine had no doubt that the man she sent to the chair was guilty.

Until now.

Presented with evidence that could prove his innocence, Justine must find out the truth before anyone else does.

Her life depends on it.

The Review

I absolutely love it when and author becomes a go to trusted author. Christina Dalcher has firmly plonked herself in that category. I have loved all of her books.

The Sentence tackles the very contentious topic of the death sentence. For a person to have the death sentence issued to them then the person who issues it must be 100% sure because if not they have to pay with their life.

Dalcher’s writing in The Sentence put me in mind of Jodi Picoult. She has taken a very divisive topic and makes you question your belief in it. I think when a writer can have you look at a topic in a different way and become empathetic to a characters situation then they have done a damn good job.

This is probably Christina Dalcher’s most powerful book to date and the tension I felt and the need to keep reading was immense. I could not put it down.

I cannot wait for Dalcher’s next book.

The Sentence by Christina Dalcher is available now.

For more information regarding Christina Dalcher (@CV_Dalcher) please visit www.christinadalcher.com.

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

Title: Editing Emma

Author: Chloe Seager

Pages: 330 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

‘According to Netflix, this is NOT how my teenage life is supposed to look.’

When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.

Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.

From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

The Review

Sometimes a bit of mindless YA is what you need.

Editing Emma put me in mind of a modern day Angus, Thongs. Like if Georgia Nicholson had entered the digital world. It was funny and silly and you couldn’t help but cringe for Emma when she got herself into a series of ridiculous situations – it was even funnier as your watched her try to get out of them.

Editing Emma is definitely a book to pick up when you are feeling low.

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager is available now.

For more information regarding Chloe Seager (@ChloeSeager) please visit her Twitter page.

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

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: Ginger and Me

Author: Elissa Soave

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

Wendy is lonely but coping.

All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.

And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.

Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.

But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.

A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…

An unforgettable debut novel from the winner of the Primadonna Prize 2019 which will stay with you long after the last page.

The Review

Oh, Ginger and Me broke my heart just a little.

Ginger and Me is really the story of Wendy. She is the square peg and the world is the round hole. She doesn’t quite fit in. She is travelling through life not really understanding the rules of society. She goes about her day making social blunders, upsetting some people and putting herself in awkward situations. She makes some friends along the way but that doesn’t stop her from getting herself into bother. Wendy has us begging the question of how someone this vulnerable will survive in the real world.

It has been a long time since a character has made me just want to hug them and tke care of them but Wendy was this person for me. She had no one who helped her see the ways of the world and she was just feeling her way around and making the best of every situation. My heart genuinely broke for her. She will be a character I remember for a very long time.

Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave is available now.

For more information regarding Elissa Soave (@elissa_soave) please visit her Twitter account.

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