Title: Love Hurts

Author: Malorie Blackman

Pages: 576 Pages

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publishers UK

The Blurb

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

The Review

Love Hurts is an excellent compilation of stories and extracts from some of the most treasured writers of contemporary young adult fiction. What I loved about this collection is that it was broken down into unseen pieces of fiction (short stories) and that the other selection was like a publisher’s sampler which after reading all the extracts I ended up with a list of books that I wanted to find out more about.

I could understand why some people may feel cheated by this – almost like it is a way to make more money but I genuinely found it useful. No point buying every book when I only liked the sample of a few of them.

Love Hurts gets two big thumbs up from me.

Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman is available now.

For more information regarding Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) please visit www.malorieblackman.co.uk.

For more information regarding Random House Children’s Publishers UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.

Title: Ink

Author: Alice Broadway

Pages: 390 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic UK

The Blurb

Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin forever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

As far as unique stories go, Ink by Alice Broadway has won the most unique book of the year for me. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t put it down and straight away bought five copies for the school book club I run. I knew, within the first few chapters that the story of Leora and her father’s death would be one to capture their imagination.

What I genuinely loved about Ink was how you could tell your story and people could know thing about you by looking at your skin. I loved how this seemed both wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Ink’s weird dystopia seemed so normal and I think that is where Alice Broadway’s clever writing comes in to play.

Ink has a glorious ending that makes you (well, made me) instantly buy the sequel – Spark.

Honestly, if you like your fiction to be fresh, engaging and altogether fantastic then Ink is the novel for you.

Ink by Alice Broadway is available now.

For more information regarding Alice Broadway (@alicecrumbs) please visit www.alice-broadway.com.

For more information regarding Scholastic (@scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

Title: The Square Root of Summer

Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel . . .

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past and starts to experience strange blips in time…

Back to the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Back to last summer, when Gottie’s life fell apart. When her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason, the boy to whom she lost her heart wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral.

This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absent, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything.

As life turns upside down all over again, during one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last. Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide – and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

This is what it means to love someone.

This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole.

It’s a little bit like infinity.

With time travel, quantum physics and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut UKYA voice Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

The Review

Ok, I won’t lie to you. I was a bit confused by The Square Root of Summer. It was a very good story of a girl dealing with grief but it has a mathematical time travelling twist that I struggled to get my head round. I am just that dumb.

The story focuses on Gottie who is dealing with the death of her beloved granddad, the break-up of her first real relationship and the abandonment of her best friend. Due to this she has become introverted and seems to have also managed to open up some wormholes. She believes that if she can figure out the math of the worm holes maybe she will feel a little less broken.

Reuter Hapgood has written a good story that deals with grief on a different level. At times you get frustrated with the time travel element – or at least I did but then I have issues with time travel in general – especially doing the same thing over and over again. However, it really is a good read.

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood is available now.

For more information regarding Harriet Reuter Hapgood (@hapgoodness) please visit www.iamnotashamed.bigcartel.com.

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

Title: The Exact Opposite of Okay

Author: Laura Steven

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Electric Monkey/Egmont Publishing UK

The Blurb

A hilarious, groundbreaking young adult novel for anyone who’s ever called themselves a feminist . . . and anyone who hasn’t. For fans of Louise O’Neill, Holly Bourne and Amy Schumer. 

Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .

Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay.

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave and necessary read. For readers of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Doing It by Hannah Witton and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.

The Review

Oh my wow. What a debut. Laura Steven has knocked it out of the park with her debut novel The Exact Opposite of Okay. It is the teen feminist novel that I didn’t have. I never thought I would hear myself say this but it made me want to be a teenager again so that I could have a copy of The Exact Opposite of Okay as my weapon of choice against the douchebaggery that is high school. I’m not even sure that sentence made sense. That is how good this novel is.

The story centres around protagonist Izzy O’Neill who makes some decisions about her life that don’t fair too well for her. Okay. I’m 34 and I will admit that I did judge Izzy for some of the things she did. I frequently said out loud to the empty room “Oh Izzy, you will regret this.” But then I realised this is exactly what this book is about. Judging people by the standards we set for ourselves and the belief that those standards are universally good and right and moral. Laura Steven teaches us in The Exact Opposite of Okay that if you are happy with how you are living your life then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. She does this all the while looking at the disparity in slut shaming and how the privilege of having xy chromosome gives you license to not be judged for doing the exact same thing as the xx card holders.

The Exact Opposite of Okay will go down as one of my favourite books of the year. It is sharp, sassy and makes me excited to see what else Laura Steven has up her sleeve.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven is available now.

For more information regarding Laura Steven (@LaurMSteven) please visit www.laura_steven.com.

For more information regarding Electric Monkey (@EMTeenFiction) please visit their Twitter page.

For more information regarding Egmont Publishing UK (@EgmontUK) please visit www.egmont.co.uk.

My Life As A BenchTitle: My Life as a Bench

Author: Jaq Hazell

Pages: 234 Pages

Publisher: Nowness Books

The Blurb

There are so many benches lining the riverside, each and every one tragic in its own way.’

Unique and haunting, this is a story about love, friendship, a passion for music and what, if anything, remains after we’ve gone.

Ren Miller has died aged seventeen and yet her consciousness lives on, inhabiting her memorial bench by the River Thames in London. Ren longs to be reunited with her boyfriend Gabe, but soon discovers why he has failed to visit. Devastated, she must learn to break through and talk to the living so she can reveal the truth about her tragic end.

The Review

Sometimes a book will stay with you for all the right reasons long after you have turned the final page. I think that My Life is a Bench by Jaq Hazell will be such a book. Not because I overly loved it. It was good but I have read books that captured my heart more but because the story is just so cleverly thought out and so unusual.

It is the story of Ren Miller whose life has been tragically cut short. Her soul however lingers on in a memorial bench that has been bought in honour of her. She’s not alone. She strikes up a friendship with the bench next to her and sometimes she has visitors. However, the person she longs to see the most hasn’t been to see her…yet.

My Life as a Bench really is an inspired story. I giggled all the way through at Ren’s frustration and boredom in death. It was heart-warming in places and it made me hope against hope that I never turn into a bench.

My Life as a Bench by Jaq Hazell is available now.

For more information regarding Jaq Hazell (@jaqhazell) please visit www.jaqhazell.com.

3 Stars