Books You Need In Your Life: April – June 2018

flatlay of four YA books on a white background, along with sunglasses and wooden coaster

It’s that time again! Put down your book, grab yourself a cuppa, and get cosy: I’ve read some absolute crackers this quarter, and I’ve been looking forward to telling you alllll about them. As always, everything is linked by the title (affiliate links- see bottom of post for more information), so have a browse, let me know if anything takes your fancy, and a suggestion or two for what I should be reading next wouldn’t go amiss either. Past experiences have shown that you guys have the BEST taste in YA reads!

Paris By The Book by Liam Callanan (HarperCollins)

“… I didn’t miss him. And part of me, I confess, did not. But the reader in me, the makeshift muse, word-drunk and bereaved, she suffered. And yes, the rest of me, my fingers and mouth and hair and stomach, I missed him like air, like water, like a second skin, like a book you love, you need, but is no longer on the shelf when you go to look because it turns out it was never written”.

I’ll be honest, I completely misjudged this book. Before reading, my first impression was that this was going to be yet another chick-lit romance where a woman having a midlife crisis moves to Paris, has life-affirming realisations about her childhood, and just so happens to meet a handsome stranger who conveniently turns out to be the love of her life. I began reading this book expecting nothing other than for it to follow this set pattern I’m bored to the back-teeth of seeing in romance novels over and over again. However, these first impressions couldn’t have been more misguided, and I rapidly found myself completely taken-in in this beautiful, beautiful book.

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Books You Need In Your Life: October – December 2017

pile of books with candle on top

Throughout 2017, I’ve indulged in some absolutely brilliant reads, and I looked forward to writing this Books You Need In Your Life post in particular: October- December marks cosy reading time, with cosy reading books, being all kinds of cosy reading goals. However, October in particular was a really disappointing reading month for me: I did read a lot, but none of the books I encountered over the month really stood out as ones I’d recommend. There are fewer books in this reading wrap-up than usual, however don’t let that take away from the wonderful works included below: two of them are also two of my favourites of the entire year…

Girlhood by Cat Clarke

‘The Hole is not as bad as it sounds. In the grand scheme of things, it’s definitely not a big deal. But it’s a tradition, and traditions are a big deal in a place like this. And if, to an outsider, it sounds a little bit like torture, all I can say is that boarding school can be a bitch’.

Girlhood was my first experience of Cat Clarke’s writing, and I can now safely say that it certainly won’t be my last. Clarke’s writing style is right up my street, and that, combined with such complex subject matter that I’d never seen tackled in any YA book previous to this, made for a really brilliant, refreshing read. Had I the time, there’s a huge possibility that I would have devoured this entire book, cover to cover, in one sitting.

I’ve always been fascinated with stories set in boarding schools, with Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series being a huge comfort read of mine. In a way, Girlhood is like a 21st century Malory Towers, just with less teamwork and hockey tournaments, and more passive-aggressive friendship drama, vodka shots, and complete disregard for authority figures. The subject matter combines family trauma, mental illness and manipulative friendships into a plot that simply sucks you in: the background information about the characters provided in the first few chapters alone was enough to have me invested in Rowan’s story right from the very beginning. I loved how Clarke was fearless in showing the main character’s faults, with no stone left unturned when it came to Kirsty’s complex background and how this affected the dynamic of her relationship with the other girls. This was such a satisfying read that really took me out of my own life and plonked me firmly within Duncraggan Boarding School, and I strongly invite you to plonk yourself in there with me. I’ll bring the shot glasses.

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Notes On My Family – Q&A with author Emily Critchley

‘I wonder if Mum will be Mum again when she comes home. I wonder if she will remember that she tried to steal clothes from Debenhams and that she burnt our photographs in a saucepan. I wonder if she will remember that Dad is having an affair with a girl who, only last year, was too young to legally drink alcohol’.

Today I’m talking to author Emily Critchley about her debut YA novel, Notes On My Family. As one of my absolute favourite reads of the year, I jumped at the chance to chat to her more about it…

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