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.

Title: 13 Minutes

Author: Sarah Pinborough

Pages: 406 Pages

Publisher: Flatiron Books

The Blurb

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.

The Review

I am woeful when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. I can never figure out who the killer is or who the bad guy is. Now, I could say that it is my lack of skills that have led to my perpetual confusion or I can be more upbeat and positive and put it down to excellent writing. Reader, I choose the latter.

Sarah Pinborough’s wonderful 13 Minutes had me guessing to the very last page. I (incorrectly) guessed who the culprit was several times only to change my mind the next page. Pinborough masterfully filters in clues, red herrings, and massive shocks throughout. Her multi-perspective tale leaves you unsure who to trust and the way Pinborough slips from traditional narrative to text message adds an authenticity that her target audience (young adults/teens) will appreciate.

I really enjoyed 13 Minutes. It was a brilliant example of a genre that I am not really too comfortable with. If all mystery/thrillers were like 13 Minutes then I would be hooked and never feel the need to read beyond the genre.

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough is available now.

For more information regarding Sarah Pinborough (@SarahPinborough) please visit www.sarahpinborough.com.

For more information regarding Flatiron Books (@FlatironBooks) please visit www.flatironbooks.com.

Title: Nice Girls Endure

Author: Chris Struky-Bonn

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Capstone/Switch Press

The Blurb

Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She’s an avid musical lover, she’s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea’s weight. Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through. Don’t make waves. Don’t draw attention. That’s how life is for Chelsea—until a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea’s world.

As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life. But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve.

Readers will be captivated by Chelsea’s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think. A must-read for anyone who loves to explore the personal but powerful territory of everyday life.

The Review

Oh, what a truly lovely, but awful, but brilliant, but heartbreaking book.

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Stryuk-Bonn is the story of Chelsea, a young girl who is overweight. That isn’t all she is but it is the first thing that people see and the last thing that they seem to remember about her. They don’t know that she loves musicals, shoes, painting her toenails and spending time with her dad. Most people can’t (or won’t) look past her exterior.

When things start to change for Chelsea she learns that sometimes the good comes with some bad – now she has to learn that she doesn’t deserve (or need to accept) the bad.

I was genuinely taken aback by this young adult novel. At times, I felt broken by the cruelty that Chelsea faced. At times I had to put the book down because it was too much to take. I am so glad that I have read it and that I get to encourage others to read it to because in the age of Instagram and body shaming we need to start loving ourselves more and more importantly we need to start being kind to each other.

Nice Girls Endure is a truly spectacular piece of writing.

Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn is available now.

For more information regarding Chris Struyk-Bonn (@ChrisStruykBonn) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Capstone (@CapstonePub) please visit www.capstonepub.com.

For more information regarding Switch Press (@SwitchPressPub) please visit www.switchpresspub.tumblr.com.

Title: Maybe in Paris

Author: Rebecca Christiansen

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

The Blurb

Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother, Levi, and high hopes. Levi has just survived a suicide attempt and months in the psych ward—he’s ready for a dose of the wider world. Unlike their helicopter mom and the doctors who hover over Levi, Keira doesn’t think Levi’s certifiable. He’s just . . . quirky. Always has been.

Those quirks quickly begin to spoil the trip. Keira wants to traipse all over Europe; Levi barely wants to leave their grubby hotel room. She wants to dine on the world’s cuisine; he only wants fast food. Levi is one giant temper tantrum, and Keira’s ready to pull out her own hair.

She finally finds the adventure she craves in Gable, a hot Scottish bass player, but while Keira flirts in the Paris Catacombs, Levi’s mental health breaks. He disappears from their hotel room and Keira realizes, too late, that her brother is sicker than she was willing to believe. To bring him home safe, Keira must tear down the wall that Levi’s sickness and her own guilt have built between them.

The Review

Oh where do I begin with Maybe in Paris?

Ok, so my love of Paris and being a self confessed Francophile made me select this book. The thought of travelling to Paris and seeing the sights and falling in love with the city sounds like absolute heaven to me so understandably I liked the idea of this novel. And whilst I cannot say that Rebecca Christiansen writes in a bad way (because she doesn’t) I cannot say I enjoyed this book.

Pourquoi? I hear you scream.

Well it had such unlikable characters. Let’s start with Keira and Levi’s mum. Within the first few chapters she has basically called her daughter a slut. Makes out that she is some wanton harlot. Now if that was the case then why hasn’t the mother taken some parental responsibility and tried to speak to her daughter before basically writing her off and feeling that it was ok to speak to Keira like she was muck on her shoe.

Then we have Keira who, yes, is a little bit flighty which can be forgiven but she is also incredibly selfish and naive and really takes no responsibility in her actions. She thinks she is right all of the time and acts on instinct which nine times out of ten is wrong.

Then we have the younger brother, Levi. Levi quite clearly has mental issues alongside a potential diagnosis of autism. It feels that, at times, Christiansen uses his autism to justify some of his actions which are just plain arsey which is unfair to those who have autism.

Overall, I feel that the story would have been better if Christiansen had made her characters much more likeable.

Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Christiansen (@rchristiansenYA) please visit www.rebeccachristiansen.com.

For more information regarding Skyhorse Publishing (@skyhorsepub) please visit www.skyhorsepublishing.com.