Category: HQ YA

#YALC Sampler Round Up One: @MKenneyPR , @akemidawn ,@HoJay92 & @mkhanauthor

City of Dust by Michelle Kenney
HQ
Kindle– 2 October 2018
PB– 13 December 2018
Book of Fire: Review & Buy

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I fell back into this world like meeting up with a friend I’d not seen in forever. For both me and the story time has passed, but it feels like yesterday that I was racing through Book of Fire, as if the character’s chance of survival increased by my speed of reading. In the three chapter sampler, you are quickly caught up with the characters and their lives for the last year before Talia’s life is thrown a curve ball.
The sampler ends on a cliffhanger that will have everyone counting down to that release date.
For those who have yet to read Book of Fire, I suggest you get on it, post haste. It was one of my top reads for 2017 and I’ve been waiting with such anticipation for this sequel.

 

 


Summer Blue Bird by Akemi Dawn Bowma
Ink Road
Spring 2019
Starfish: Review & Buy

Summer Blue Bird

This five chapter sampler has such a powerful opening and lays down a solid foundation for what will be unfolded in 2019. From what I’ve read so far, the set up reminds me of Fly Away Home; my favourite film and worn out novelisation from when I was a kid.
It’s a testament to Bowma’s writing that I’m already attached to her characters. 

 

 

 


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Electric Monkey Press
2 May 2019
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40916679-a-good-girl-s-guide-to-murder?from_search=true

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“We dare you to put it down” states the tagline on the cover of the two chapter sampler. Believe me, I’m gutted I can’t meet that challenge. It’s short, but very effective and I already have so many questions and theories that I need more information to be certain.
There was already a buzz at YALC about this book and even from the pages I’ve had the privilege to read, I can tell this is going to be the big book for next summer.

 

 

 


Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan
MacMillian
19 January 2019
First book: I am Thunder

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I knew nothing about Khan’s second book and I knew that I wanted it in my life. I work as an RE teacher in a diverse school in which some students feel they are almost invisible to society. Unless of course, they’re the subject of negative press. There are others who love reading, but find characters they identify with are tokens and there merely to check a box. It’s wonderful to say ‘here, you are being represented.’
Imagine my delight when I discover that the book will center around a protagonist that loves comic-book heroes. Not only is this perfect for me, I know of at least five students who will be fighting to be the first one to read it come January.

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

Release date: 14th December 2017
Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-Theres-Tomorrow-Jennifer-Armentrout/dp/1848456875/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1512218609&sr=8-1&keywords=if+there%27s+no+tomorrow+by+jennifer+l.+armentrout
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34225450-if-there-s-no-tomorrow

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Description: Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Characters
I don’t trust Lena as much as perhaps I should. I know she’s an unreliable narrator owing to her memory loss; however, even when she regains her memory, she isn’t just pulling away from her friends, she pulls away from the reader too.
Sebastian is a little too perfect for my liking. He’s not an undeveloped character and I doubt for a second he is that perfect. However the things we know about him are from Lena, and I’m afraid she has him on a pedestal.

Plot
The first half of the book jumps around the timeline, allowing the reader to feel the same confusion that Lena does. It’s a weird feeling, but it adds to the atmosphere of the narrative.
The plot follows in the manner as we might expect grief to; nonlinear, progressive with unpredictable pitfalls. It’s wonderful and painful.

Writing
It’s a solid, professionally written novel. So Clear and well written that could handle the time jumps; something other writers would make feel clunky and convoluted.

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager #bookreview

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From Amazon: When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.
Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.
But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.
From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

Commentary
Gah! Just, Gah! As someone who has been using a mental health app called Lyf to anonymously vent about my own break-up sudo-ghosting situation, I loved every character of this book. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. Not telling my friends about the relationship, or the subsequent break up meant I didn’t have an outlet; I totally understand Emma’s approach and not since Gabrielle Zevlin’s Elsewhere have I had a book arrive in my life with such perfect timing to help sooth my broken heart and soul. I felt this book. From cover to cover; I laughed, I empathised and I cried.

Characters
Emma
She’s a likable character. It was like looking at a mirror. Yes, there was an element of self-centredness, but it’s Emma’s blog; that’s allowed. She is also quite insightful about her own behaviour and rather candid about her ‘selfishness’ which makes the flaws rather humbling.
If you want a strong female role model for teens; I present to you Emma Nash. Yes, she has questionable taste in men, but she is a good friend (when not boy-focused) and so very open about her sexual needs; even if at times it’s simply that she’s not sure what she wants. Her exploration of masturbation is refreshing and liberating. While, I won’t lie, I was squirming when it was first approached, however that’s because it’s not considered the ‘norm’ to discuss such things. I have my hang-ups about sex, masturbation and the discussion of such topic. Perhaps had such a book been around, I might not have the same mindset.

Others
There isn’t a stand out character for me. That’s not to say they lack individuality or they haven’t been developed. It’s simply that they are all so crucial to the flow of the book; not as devices, but as realistic pieces on a chess board.
Leon, Greg and Steph are up close and personal within the blog posts. Their personalities don’t pop and shine as they would had the novel been written in another way, but that is the point; we’re seeing them how Emma sees them. Instead, we get Emma’s feelings towards them. I love that. It feels much more intimate.

Plot
The plot is a catalogue of raw thoughts, feeling and actions from the protagonist. There is very little in the way of looking back on the relationship with Leon that Emma was craving to get back. It is always looking forward, through Emma’s attempts to date to her trying to gain some form of closer with Leon.
The plot makes clear use of time; from weekend parties to midweek lessons with friends and stalker victims nicknamed Apple.
It’s Emma’s commentary upon her mother’s dating life that I love the most. While there is more of a story there; obviously she is not going to divulge all the details to her daughter, I really like only having the pieces. The mother narrative draws on parallels in my own life and makes it feel very real.

Writing
I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried I wasn’t going to like the style of Editing Emma. I have never been fond of books imitating letters, emails and texts that sometimes break up the narrative.
I’m so glad I put that aside to allow myself to fall in love with Editing Emma. Yes, it’s a blog, but Chloe Seager has done an incredible job at balancing the structure and style to provided what comes across as a realistic blog without compromising the narrative flow.

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I have already purchased an additional copy and it’s currently finding its way to a dear friend of mine and I intend to have many copies ready for my students when September comes around.

Thank you Chloe for pushing boundaries to bring women closer together.