Review: One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus

OOUIL

 4.5 Stars out of 5

(Spoilers Ahead)

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Published on May 30th 2017, “One of Us Is Lying” is the debut novel of American author Karen M. McManus. Described as “The Breakfast Club” meets “Pretty Little Liars”, the novel centres around the murder mystery in a California high school. One afternoon, five students enter detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the creator of a notorious gossip app plaguing Bayview High School, has an allergic reaction and dies in hospital – only the investigative team involved say his death was no accident and that each of the four students in the room at the time had motive to keep Simon quiet.

“One of Us Is Lying” is one of those rare contemporary novels that swoops in out of nowhere and creates a genuinely compelling narrative in which you, the reader, have no idea what is going to happen next.

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Review: The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

CATCHER

1 out of 5 stars

(Potential Spoilers)

The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age novel written by J.D. Salinger in 1951. Set in 1949, the story is told from the perspective of Holden Caulfield – a teenaged boy recently kicked out of his fourth school – as he enters a major existential crisis on his way home.

I have a genuine dislike for this book for so many reasons – and the biggest one is Holden.  Continue reading

Review: Killer Game – Kirsty McKay

KG

3 out of 5 stars
(Spoilers ahead…)

Published in 2015, Killer Game is a YA mystery novel written by Kirsty McKay. Set in a boarding school isolated on a private island, the story follows new student Cate as she is invited to play the school’s traditional game – Killer. The rules are simple: amongst the Guild of Assassins, there is one chosen Killer whose job it is to secretly murder the rest of the guild through a series of pranks until there is either no one left or they are caught out. Unfortunately for Cate, this generation of the game begins to feel like more than just a prank – there is a real killer on the loose and Cate is the next target.

There was something about the synopsis of this story that really drew me in when I first found this book in the store. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Review: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

NAENKL

1 out of 5 stars

(spoilers ahead)

Any great friendship can be as confusing, treacherous, inspiring and wonderful as any great romance.

First published in January 2007, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List is a young adult novel written as a collaboration between Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. It follows the friendship of titular characters Naomi and Ely, how it’s changed and reached a breaking point as they learn how to be apart.

I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I bought it purely because I watched the film adaptation on Netflix and loved it. In many cases, I have enjoyed the source material more than the film adaptation but this was the exception that proved the rule. This book was desperately bad.

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Review: Dream House – Marzia Bisognin

DH

2 out of 5 stars
Spoilers ahead

“I’ve never noticed this house before, and yet it’s always been right where it is. I know that.
Somehow.”

Published in April of 2016, Dream House is the debut novel from YouTuber Marzia Bisognin. The story follows protagonist Amethyst as she finds herself outside of a house she has never seen before but feels drawn to for reasons she can’t explain. Caught in a storm, she is invited inside by the owners of the mansion to stay until the weather’s calmed down. However, when she wakes the next morning, she discovers the owners have left and she is alone, trapped by a feeling that she can’t leave.

I had relatively high hopes for this book; the general concept was something that I found interesting the minute I saw on Marzia’s channel that she was going to be writing a horror novel. Horror is pretty much my favourite genre of all time, and I’ve found some of her short stories she’s made videos of to be pretty creepy. But this fell flat so hard.

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Review: Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas

HOF

5 out of 5 stars
Spoilers ahead.

She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

First published in September 2014, Heir of Fire is the third novel in Sarah J. Maas’s acclaimed series, Throne of Glass. Following the separate adventures of multiple protagonists both old and new, HoF serves as a fantastic continuation of an already amazing series.

Celaena Sardothien returns, but now has one extra trauma following her as she travels to a new continent under the guise of assassinating one of the King’s rival leaders, to seek the aid of the Fae queen, Maeve. Whilst she is away learning the true extent of her powers, Dorian and Chaol find themselves caught up in a plot within the glass palace of Adarlan as Dorian’s newly discovered magic grows and Chaol learns more about the rebel’s plans to help find and raise the missing princess of Terrasen back to power.

A LOT happened in this book, but I was exceptionally pleased to find that at not a single point did I ever feel bored whilst reading it.

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Review: I’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson

IGYTS

5 out of 5 stars

(Slight spoilers)

Published in 2014, I’ll Give You The Sun is the second award-winning novel written by Jandy Nelson. The story is told in two intermingling parts by twin siblings, Jude and Noah, during two periods of their life. Once as thick as thieves, a series of events leads to the twins separating – though each of them only know half of the story. Only by reconnecting can they finally learn the entirety of their story and move forward from the tragic event that completely split them apart.

It’s not often that I find a book that I fall in love with immediately and this was definitely one of those rare moments.

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Review: Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

radio

5 out of 5 stars.
(Possible spoilers)

Released February 2016, Radio Silence is the second young adult novel written by British author Alice Oseman. Though it is not a direct sequel to her debut novel, Solitaire, it is set in the same village following teenager Frances Janvier. Head girl and all-round study machine Frances’ main goal since she was a little girl was to make it into Cambridge university, however there is a side to Frances that she never lets anyone at her school see. For years, she has been a devoted fan of a Welcome To Night Vale-like podcast on YouTube known as Universe City – and out of the blue, she is asked to be a part of the production making art for each episodes. Around the same time she meets Aled Last, the twin brother of her old friend, Carys, and rediscovers the side of herself she’d been keeping secret for so long. Unfortunately, it also means that she has to deal with some pretty heavy consequences and finally open up about why Carys disappeared.

There is something so honest about Alice Oseman’s writing that I always fall in love with her characters. The thing about a good story is it doesn’t have to be poetic or have an immense amount of metaphors – it just needs a main character with a voice that can captivate you, and that is what I found in Radio Silence.

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Review: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

FG

2.5 stars out of 5.

(Spoiler warning)

Fangirl is the 2013 young adult novel written by American author Rainbow Rowell. It follows the freshman year of college for twin sisters Cath and Wren, mainly focusing on Cath’s point of view. Cath is a socially awkward ‘fangirl’ and for many years she has been a devoted writer of Simon Snow fanfiction.

When I first got my hands on this book, I was nervous to pick it up immediately because of how much hype was surrounding it. Literally everywhere I looked that was book related had something fantastic to say about it. I thought that I would be able to relate because I was like Cath – a nerd, a writer of fanfiction, awkward and introverted… But I couldn’t fall in love with this story like I was hoping I would.

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

ADSOM

4.5 out of 5 stars.

(spoilers)

Written by Victoria Schwab, ‘A Darker Shade of Magic‘ is the story of Kell and Lila, two very different yet similar people from two very different Londons. There are four worlds and Kell is one of only two people, known as Antari, who can travel between them. In each world, no matter the name of the country, there is always one constant – there is always a city called London. Kell is from Red London, where magic is in perfect balance with power and Kell lives in the palace as an adopted member of the royal family. After making a mistake in the vicious White London, Kell finds himself in Grey London where he meets Lila Bard – a cut-throat and thief trying to find adventure.

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