Everless by @Sara__Holland

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Characters

It’s not often you find a book where you enjoy and relate to most of the characters. From the protagonist to the staff at Everless, each one is fully developed and invite you in to this world. They are likeable, unlikeable and with one in particular you will be utterly conflicted from start to finish.

Jules is strong, angry and the perfect protagonist to be on this journey with. Her voice is clear and strong, even when under pressure.

Interestingly, it is Liam who was my favourite character from the outset. For the first time, I’ve not trusted the protagonist’s opinion. I willed it to be false. I put that down, in part, to Sara Holland’s writing.

Plot

It’s a heroes quest unlike any I’ve read before. It pulls you in from the very start and you’re along for the ride as ? learns about herself and the dangerous world she lives in.

The addition of the time bleeding and blood iron is genius. Elements relating to time can often feel overwhelmingly futuristic. However, we are treated to what I would consider a delightful fusion of steam punk and Historical Britain.

Writing

Sara Holland’s first person narrative unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced before. The ability to develop other characters and imply that there is an alternative view is utterly seamless. It’s only reflecting that I’ve realised I questioned Jules’ understanding throughout the novel.

The only time I stopped reading was when i paused to text my best friend, Gem, to tell her that she has to read this book.

One thing that really hit home with me was this quote: “It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time.”

No one, not even myself, has ever been able to articulate how depression feels to me. Not only has Holland done this, she has done it in such a beautiful and haunting way.

Solitaire- Alice Oseman #bookreview

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Release date: 31.7.2014

From Amazon:
In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden. I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t.

This incredible debut novel by outstanding young author Alice Oseman is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and all unflinchingly honest writers.

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Characters

I relate so much with Tori. She is a very pessimistic narrator and it’s rather refreshing. It’s not teen angst either, it’s something deeper. Something ineffable. Which is perfect for someone like me who has suffered on and off with depression since I was about 12. Of course, at the time I was just a ball of emotion and couldn’t articulate. It’s reassuring as a thirty-something that I wasn’t alone and that any children I teach, or my own will have this platform to explore these feelings that we initially don’t understand, but also are afraid to express.

I was a bit confused by the actions of Lucas, the childhood friend. However, having recently seen Colossal, this appears to be a thing. The old high school trick of; if they’re horrible to you, they like you. At least in Solataire it’s done in a refreshing, original way.

Michael is a solid character, although I don’t believe the bad boy persona for one second and I’m desperate for some material from his point of view. I always have to remember that I’m only getting the view of Tori and she’d not omniscient.

Story

The story for me, being a teacher, is a little farfetched. I can’t switch it off when reading. I always text my best friend once I’ve finished a book and my response when I informed her that I preferred Radio Silence was ‘I’m a teacher, if that was going on in my school I’d like to think we’d shut that shit down.’
That said, removing that I really enjoyed the organic progression of the plot and the impact the pranks of Solitaire were having upon Tori’s mental health. Having the addition of her brother was genius. Tori would perhaps have unravelled a little sooner had she not felt an obligation to keep it together for her family.

Writing

Alice Osemen gives a strong voice to Tori. Her style makes for a very quick and easy read. There aren’t cliff-hangers at the end of chapters, which is good because it is a book you could digest in one sitting.

Osemen is certainly up there with Holly Bourne and Cat Clarke not only in writing, but in her approach to issues that need to be addressed for us to have a happy, healthy and understanding next generation.