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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

GIRLHOOD by Cat Clarke


Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows noone else will ever really understand. 

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died. 

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity. 

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her? 

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. 


I was really looking forward to reading this book, so I got stuck into it shortly after receiving a copy from Hachette Australia.

Harper attends an expensive boarding school in Scotland and is part of a tight group. Rowan, Lily and Ama are her best friends, so she can't wait to make long-lasting memories with them during their last year of school. 

All that changes when a new girl arrives.

Kirsty is nice but doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the group. Yet she has something in common with Harper. They've both lost sisters, and bond over their shared loss because no one else will ever understand the grief and guilt attached to such a devastating experience.

As Harper gets closer to Kirsty and finds herself confiding in her new friend, it comes with a downside--alienation from the others. With the distance growing between the girls and Harper, and her parents trying to move on with their lives, everything around her is changing too quickly. And Kirsty hiding something isn't helping...

Wow. This is such a great book! I really, really enjoyed it. From the beginning, Harper's voice is easy and relaxed, but also dripping with grief. Everything she does, experiences and remembers is measured against the memory of her sister. The twin sister who died several years ago. She feels responsible about what happened, and just can't shake the guilt.

I liked how flawed Harper was, and how easily she compensates for others' mistakes and strange behaviour, but is super tough on herself. She's a good person with good intentions, but lets everything rub her the wrong way and then reacts too impulsively. Her reactions come across as judgement, but that's not what she's aiming for. She's just so weighed down with sorrow all the time.

I also really liked the friendship group, and how they're all so close that they're virtually family. Even though each girl is very different, they are perfect friends, so at times it was hard to watch the slow deterioration of their tight-knit group. I especially liked Rowan, who was headstrong and no-nonsense, but still vulnerable in so many ways.

Yep. There were SO MANY small things I loved about this story that form an intricate and intriguing plot.

Girlhood is a gripping book. A page turner that made me fear the worst the deeper I got into the story. It's a story about the shadow grief casts over the ones left behind. It's about the highs and lows of amazing friendship. It's also quietly wicked. This book definitely got under my skin, so I had to keep reading until everything unravelled.

This is my second Cat Clarke book, and I can't wait to read more.


Girlhood, July 2017, ISBN 9781784292737, Quercus Children's Books

Sunday, 16 July 2017

EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading this odd but wonderful book on my Kindle the other night, and have been captivated ever since.

Nancy slipped into another world and now that she's back, she just can't adjust. She hardly eats, dresses in monochrome shades, and stands so still she practically becomes a statue. These were all qualities she learned and perfected in the dead place she really calls home. Not to mention that her hair is mostly white.

So her parents send her away to boarding school. But Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children isn't an average school. It's a place where these returned kids go to stay and hopefully learn how to deal with adjusting back into the world they were born into but just can't live comfortably in anymore.

When Nancy arrives she's as lost as ever, and slowly becomes friends with the kids who've returned from darker places. But when the bodies start showing up, there's no denying someone is targetting the school...

Wow. This story is quite amazing. And whimsical. Magical. Full of so much pain and wonder. I absolutely loved everything about it. The characters are all fascinating in their very own way. It's also very diverse and challenges gender roles so well. The concept itself is also genius! Kids who were lost after finding and stepping through magical doorways into strange worlds who then can't return to their previous lives, and instead are left haunted and yearning for the other worlds.

Like I said: amazing.

Also, the way the story is told is so nice. It's like a modern fairy tale with a dark fantasy slant that's been cleverly dipped in horror. It's really beautiful and sad and strange.

Yes, I did love this story a lot.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very excited when I found out the library was getting this book. And even more excited when I borrowed it. :)

Gwendy Peterson is twelve and has decided to climb the Suicide Stairs to lose some weight. She's sick of getting teased and now that she's starting middle school she's decided to do something about it.

The day she meets the man in black her life changes forever. He gives her a very special box, one with mysterious buttons, tasty treats and silver coins. She's left in charge of the button box and soon finds it consuming her life. Something that might be obsessive and can be dangerous, but might also offer quite a few unexpected rewards...

Wow. This book is amazing. Intoxicating. Addictive. I read the first chapter yesterday and the rest today in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down.

Gwendy's story is intriguing and wonderful and sad. There's plenty of happiness and excitement, but when there's darkness it's sad and devastating. :( But SO GOOD. I also loved Gwendy so much, she's such a great character.

Stephen King and his co-author Richard Chizmar have written a gem of a story. It's so well written, hooked me in from the first word, and also looks so pretty. Love that cover, and the illustrations inside are lovely too.

This novella is outstanding. Loved it!

Monday, 10 July 2017

ADULTHOOD IS A MYTH by Sarah Andersen


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter's had this book for a while and I've been meaning to read it for AGES. She was sorting her bookshelves today and let me borrow it. Then I picked it up and read the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

It's hilarious--I was laughing my ass off so much--and totally adorable. So cute! And accurate as fuck. I mean the manicure and pedicure thing was SO DAMN TRUE! And so was the bookworm stuff, the PJ stuff and the introvert stuff. Also, the internet connection and the leg hair panels were hilarious. Oh and the slow walkers!!

The artwork is simple but so effective. Comic strips that perfectly portray so much about adulthood and everyday life.

Yeah, this is an awesome book!

 
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