Title: Guard Your Heart

Author: Sue Divin

Pages: 337 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

Boy meets girl on the Northern Irish border in Guard Your Heart, by Sue Divin.

Derry. Summer 2016. Aidan and Iona, now eighteen, were both born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal.

Aidan is Catholic, Irish, and Republican. With his ex-political prisoner father gone and his mother dead, Aidan’s hope is pinned on exam results earning him a one-way ticket out of Derry. To anywhere.

Iona, Protestant and British, has a brother and father in the police. She’s got university ambitions, a strong faith and a fervent belief that boys without one track minds are a myth.

At a post-exam party, Aidan wanders alone across the Peace Bridge and becomes the victim of a brutal sectarian attack. Iona witnessed the attack; picked up Aidan’s phone and filmed what happened, and gets in touch with him to return the phone. When the two meet, alone and on neutral territory, the differences between them seem insurmountable. 

Both their fathers held guns, but safer to keep that secret for now.

Despite their differences and the secrets they have to keep from each other, there is mutual intrigue, and their friendship grows. And so what? It’s not the Troubles. But for both Iona and Aidan it seems like everything is keeping them apart , when all they want is to be together . . .

The Review

Guard Your Heart is a modern day Romeo and Juliet story set in Ireland that shows the modern day impact of the troubles and how years of prejudice still runs rife in the country. In this story Aiden (a catholic) and Iona (a protestant) are thrown together when Aiden is attacked and Iona films it on her phone. She manages to stop the attack by threatening to go to the police with the evidence. Iona and Aiden’s love story starts with this one act of selflessness.

Among this story of forbidden love, prejudice, and religion is a story of class difference. How a persons station in life is determined by so many different factors and the hopelessness that you feel can be overwhelming.

Overall, I really liked Guard Your Heart. At times, I did feel the pacing of the story was a bit slow but the final third of the novel had me reading as fast as I could and making me lose my breath. The sign of great writing in my opinion.

Guard Your Heart by Sue Divin is available now.

For more information regarding Sue Divin (@absolutelywrite) please visit www.suedivin.com.

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

Title: She is Fierce – Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women

Author: Ana Sampson

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

A stunning gift book containing 150 bold, brave and beautiful poems by women – from classic, well loved poets to innovative and bold modern voices. From suffragettes to school girls, from spoken word superstars to civil rights activists, from aristocratic ladies to kitchen maids, these are voices that deserve to be heard.

Collected by anthologist Ana Sampson She is Fierce: Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women contains an inclusive array of voices, from modern and contemporary poets. Immerse yourself in poems from Maya Angelou, Nikita Gill, Wendy Cope, Ysra Daley-Ward, Emily Bronte, Carol Ann Duffy, Fleur Adcock, Liz Berry, Jackie Kay, Hollie McNish, Imtiaz Dharker, Helen Dunmore, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, Christina Rossetti, Margaret Atwood and Dorothy Parker, to name but a few! Featuring short biographies of each poet, She is Fierce is a stunning collection and an essential addition to any bookshelf.

The anthology is divided into the following sections: Roots and Growing Up Friendship Love Nature Freedom, Mindfulness and Joy Fashion, society and body image Protest, courage and resistance Endings

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate poetry more than I did as a child. However, my love isn’t for the written word it is for the chosen nuances. I like studying the poem, looking at the writer and discovering why it was written. What is great about the She is Fierce collection is that some of the work is already done for you. You have the poem, you have it categorised into what type of poem it is and then you have a breakdown of the writer. Brilliant.

She is Fierce is a wonderful collection that is compromised of fantastic female voices. Some poems are familiar but the majority are ones that I certainly hadn’t come across before. It was wonderful to find some new and interesting voices.

This is a perfect collection for the feminist poetry lover in your life.

She is Fierce – Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women by Ana Sampson is available now.

For more information regarding Ana Sampson (@AnaBooks) please visit her Twitter page.

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

Title: Follow Me, Like Me

Author: Charlotte Seager

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

What do you do when your Instagram romance goes wrong and tries to find you IRL? 

When sixteen-year-old Chloe replies to a DM from a gorgeous stranger, she has no idea what she’s inviting into her life. As her online fan becomes increasingly obsessive, her real life starts to come apart at the seams and Chloe realizes she needs to find a way to stop him before things spiral out of control.

Meanwhile, misfit Amber’s online obsession with her personal trainer begins to creep into the real world. But when she hears a terrible rumour about him, she drops everything to try and prove his innocence – even if it means compromising her own.

The Review

What a fantastic cautionary tale Follow Me, Like Me is. It is the story of how our obsession with social media can actually be very insidious. What Charlotte Seager has done exceptionally well is that she has presented it from various different angles. We have Chloe who is obsessed with the buzz and thrill of how people liking her on social media makes her feel. It is almost drug like but she forgoes her own safety to get that feeling.

We see obsession from Amber’s side as she becomes fixated with an individual and begins to stalk her prey. Although we feel that her obsession comes from an innocent place we cannot help feel a bit creeped out by her lack of social awareness.

Then we see it from the perspective of the faceless stranger who at first seems lovely but becomes more and more sinister as the story develops.

Follow Me, Like Me is a brilliant story that deserves to be put in the hands of every teen who thinks that they are techno-savvy (and even the ones that don’t) to make sure that they realise the real dangers that lurk in the darkness of the interweb.

Follow Me, Like Me by Charlotte Seager is available now.

For more information regarding Charlotte Seager (@CharlotteSeager) please visit www.charlotteseager.com.

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

Title: Queens of Geek

Author: Jen Wilde

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Group/Swoon Reads

The Blurb

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.

Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.

The Review

Queens of Geek is the perfect book for that person who never quite fits in. Sounds a bit dramatic but it is genuinely the vibe that you get from Jen Wilde’s book.

It is the story of three friends who have travelled across the globe to attend a comic book convention. There is romance, hi-jinx and costume competitions. Wilde has kept her cast of characters diverse and helps dispel the myth of what is “normal” in society – and what better setting than a comic book convention? Wilde’s characters are dealing with failed romance and blossoming new romance, celebrity fandom, autism, LGBT, and social anxiety. It really is a lot to read about in a relatively small novel. Throw in a dollop of movie quotes and you have something pretty special.

It is a wonderful story though, one of personal triumph, self discovery and essentially growing up. If it doesn’t help your inner geek rise to the surface then it is questionable if you even have one. It is a story that I will be recommending to many of the young adults that I work with.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is available now.

For more information regarding Jen Wilde (@jenmariewilde) please visit www.jenmariewilde.com.

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

For more information regarding Swoon Reads (@SwoonReads) please visit www.swoonreads.com.

Title: Floored

Author: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

The Breakfast Club meets One Day in Floored, a unique collaborative novel by seven bestselling and award-winning YA authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

When they got in the lift that morning, they were strangers. Sasha, who is at the UK’s biggest TV centre desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s by far the richest – and best-looking – guy in the lift; Velvet, who regrets wearing the world’s least comfortable shoes to work experience; Dawson, who isn’t the good-looking teen star he was and desperate not to be recognized; Kaitlyn, who’s slowly losing her sight but won’t admit it, and Joe, who shouldn’t be there at all, but who wants to be there the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year . . .

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I can honestly say that I have never read a book that has so many authors attached to it. The authors of Floored is made up of seven of the most noteworthy names in contemporary young adult fiction and whilst I cannot claim to have read other books by all of the authors I now know that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick them up because Floored is brilliant.

Six people from varying different backgrounds – socially, economically, sexually, etc – all meet whilst travelling in a lift. After a shocking incident occurs, the six lives become inextricably linked. Every year the motley crew meet and we watch as their lives unfold in front of us.

What I loved about Floored was thee diversity in the characters. They all had some trials and tribulations to get through, they all had something that was breaking them but they managed to deal with it. Each one was strong in their own way. The range in voices really added to the way the story unfolded. The multi-perspective multi-layering was so engaging.

I genuinely hope that this collection of authors collaborates again. They are like Captain Planet –  when their forces combine they become greater than their individual parts which were pretty great to begin with.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Bynre, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood is available now.

For more information regarding Sara Barnard (@saramegan) please visit www.sarabarnardofficial.com.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit www.hollybourne.co.uk.

For more information regarding Tanya Byrne (@tanyabyrne) please visit www.tanyabyrne.com.

For more information regarding Non Pratt (@NonPratt) please visit www.nonpratt.wordpress.com.

For more information regarding Melinda Salisbury (@MESalisbury) please visit www.melindasalisbury.com.

For more information regarding Lisa Williamson (@lisa_letters) please visit www.lisawilliamsonauthro.com.

For more information regarding Eleanor Wood (@eleanor_wood) please visit www.eleanorwood.net.

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