Month: July 2014

GUEST BOOK REVIEW – Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

Having never read anything by John Green or David Levithan before, I was certainly shocked when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and I don’t know whether in a good or bad way.

As the title suggests, there are two people called Will Grayson, who meet in an ‘unexpected’ place in Chicago; their paths cross and their lives change. The narrative stance alternates throughout the novel, which is something I loved from Nick Hornby’s About A Boy, as it shows the contrast between the two characters, but also changing as time goes on. Having Levithan-Will’s viewpoint written in lower-case was an interesting symbol of how his character feels lower status, but I much preferred Green’s Will, mainly because he didn’t want to kill everyone he met.

Tiny, despite the name, is a very ‘large’ character in the novel – not just in physical size, but his presence in the story did start to annoy me as I read further. I found him too selfish and over-powering at times and if you read the book, you will either love him or hate him. He is a necessary link for the two Wills, but the story wasn’t really about them in the end- it was all about Tiny.

I just didn’t ‘get’ the ending, which is a shame, because the writing is comical, edgy and at times, poignant. The weird ending spoilt it for me and so did some of the ‘wacky’ plot lines, such as Plain Jane’s unrealistic connection with someone from the world of fake ID and lower-case Will’s all-of-a-sudden friendship with Gideon. The writing itself made me feel like something was about to happen, but nothing much did in the end.

Although the story is about teenagers – who, by the way, are spoilt-rotten, made of money, get to go out all night and drive around in their parent’s cars – I wouldn’t want younger teens reading this. This is simply because of the grim depiction of depression, the futile bad language and the *ahem* sexual references. If Green and Levithan were trying to be ‘honest’ and ‘raw’, it made me wonder what life is like for teens in America! An unusual read, but overall fairly enjoyable, even if it didn’t have the same resonance for me that it would for other people.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780141346113

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BOOK REVIEW – Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Solitaire is the story of Tori, the average teenage girl, living in an average world. Like most girls (and boys) of her age she is kind of happy in her little world that she’s created for herself….but she’s also kind of not happy. Its complicated. She’s got her friends, she’s got school and she’s got her future all lined up in front of her, where does she go to Uni? What does she do? How does she decide to take her life in the path that she wants? As if that isn’t enough; something happens one day that changes most of what she’s already decided she wants, her life is flipped upside down and all because of a few ‘little’ things.

Tori is suddenly torn away from her comfort zone after the events of some internet pranks (Solitaire) and the introduction of a boy, forcing her to deal with the real world and her life. This is not just a love story…

The events of Solitaire are fairly easy to figure out quite early on but I think that’s what the author was going for. This isn’t a book that is going to leave you hanging on the edge, trying to work-out the culprit like a whodunnit crime novel, this is a book that is going to make you want to read on and on, page after page, loving every single world that is there in front of you.

Each word you read you really believe…the writing is so real and the emotions that come across brilliantly depict the life of a modern teenager. Knowing that each day could change the rest of your life, whether it’s because of your friends, family, decisions that you make or even something completely out of the blue. I know that a lot of people on Goodreads have been saying this but the fact that Alice is only 19 adds so much to the book. This is why the writing is real and this is the reason that those emotions just are so true to life.

This is an ideal read for fans of the more realistic novels aimed at teenagers, less of the vampires and werewolves and more of the realities of life as a young adult finding their way in the world. If you enjoy this and other books by the likes of John Green and David Levithan then you may also enjoy The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss, which I’ve also reviewed!

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now Harper Collins Children
ISBN: 9780007559220

GUEST BOOK REVIEW – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Having loved the first book Divergent and thinking the second book Insurgent was average, I dived into the final book ‘Allegiant’ with curiosity and an open mind, as I was hoping to rekindle my love for this series that the first book generated.
Tris has now joined the Allegiant and decides to leave Chicago, the city ruined by rebellion and greed. However, what is outside the fence isn’t much better. I felt that my questions about the world Tris lived in were finally being answered, but then as I read on, I got a little disappointed, as I was left with more unanswered questions.

We finally hear Tobias’ point of view, but it is not what I expected. It changes my view of him into someone who is not as fearless as we first think. The writing style is too similar to when we read from Tris’ viewpoint. I was hoping to find out more about the fearless Four and who he really is, but he just kept making the same silly mistakes he does in ‘Insurgent’. However, having his viewpoint does help the reader to sympathise with him, which is necessary for later events in the novel.

However, I was gripped to the actual story and characters. Allegiant definitely has more action than the second book and is far more interesting now that we know what is outside the ‘fence’, but I have mixed views about the ending. I can’t quite work it out. I can’t quite understand whether it is good or bad. Having read lots of negative reviews for this, I can agree with them to some extent about the ending. I even read Veronica Roth’s blog, hoping to get answers. But the fact remains there are no ‘real’ answers. I can say that the ending was a shock, but whether I have disappointment or admiration for Roth, I do not know. Ask me in a week and I might think differently. This is what is stopping me giving the book full marks.

This book is definitely memorable though and the world outside the fence and the problems in it really open up the readers’ eyes to their own lives. It is quite realistic in a sense and I do admire Roth for not being afraid to write a book about humanity’s faults. For the gripping story itself, the interesting characters in the dystopian-yet-believable world created by Roth and the overall compelling series, I do recommend it. Just read it with a box of tissues and an open mind.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Harper Collins Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780007524273