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macmillan childrens books

Book Review

REVIEW: Amy & Matthew by Cammie McGovern

You know a novel is truly flawless when you feel as if it’s natural; the words flow into one and you are witnessing the events through the characters’ eyes without fault. That’s how I felt when reading Amy & Matthew.

One of the easiest ways to describe Amy & Matthew is to quote from the text itself: ‘there were many ways to be a freak. Amy had no choice, but other people did. If you worked hard and concentrated, you could hide your freakish thoughts.’ Amy has cerebral palsy, which limits her communication and movement. It’s her senior year and she decides she’s going to replace the aides who usually help her with students. Step in five peer helpers. Matthew has noticed Amy since they were young and so offers to help. The thing is, Matthew has his own problems to battle. For fans of Eleanor & Park and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Amy & Matthew will blow you away.

I think I fell in love with this novel from the first page. It was understanding and meaningful and it had me completely hooked. I can tell this book will touch a lot of people once released, just as it touched me. I was wary before I started reading it, I must admit. Books dealing with such subjects are becoming ever popular (and for good reason) but there is a certain atmosphere surrounding them that isn’t needed. As it’s only a recently emerging trend, it can always be worrying beforehand; you never really know what to expect. I didn’t need to be worried though, because I loved Amy & Matthew.

The thing I loved most about this book was it wasn’t your typical romance book. From the title you would expect it, but it’s really not. To call it a romance novel would be a dishonour because it’s so much more than that. It’s the blooming friendship between two people as they discover themselves at the same time and explore the changes of the world around them; it’s the differences between the two and how they bridge the gap. In two words: truly stunning.

I don’t want to talk too much about both Amy and Matthew because I think the brilliant thing about this book is discovering their personalities and hidden depths for yourself. I thought I knew who they both were but then things would happen and I had to reassess. It was such a refreshing way to read because you don’t often get that.

Simply, you should go out and buy Amy & Matthew straight away. It challenges preconceived notions and will blow you away.

Book Review

REVIEW: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Lately I’ve been going through an unconscious phase. For some reason I’ve been reading a lot of music related books and This Song Will Save Your Life was one of those books. I don’t think I have an expert ear when it comes to music but I have some knowledge and one of the things I loved about this novel was that it was so informative without you realising until afterwards. It’s a book that definitely deserves the hype it’s getting.

Elise Dembowski is one of those people who have never fitted in. She sets out, over the summer, to ‘popularise’ herself, but when she turns up at school for the new year nothing has changed. She’s still the social outcast and she realises she’ll always be the same. So she makes a big decision and walks the many miles home and plans to take her own life. Skip forward a few months and Elise is walking at night when she stumbles across two girls who lead her to a nightclub. It’s only there for one night a week and it could offer her the chance to finally be accepted.

I really liked Elise and grew to like her even more as the book progressed. She was quite a complex character but it was easy to slip into her head and understand her. Sales has written her in such a way that you feel as if you are her and I enjoyed it more because of that.

Vicky was by far my favourite character. I just wanted to give her a massive hug and she was so accepting of Elise. Do you know how sometimes you crave a companion novel to a book? I would love to read a book entirely about Vicky. She was so awesome!

One of the main things I loved about This Song Will Save Your Life was its originality. I don’t think I’ve ever read a similar book before that contained so many different elements. Although music is a large theme, there was so much more going on in the background.

The musical element felt so natural and to hear that Sales is not a DJ herself really surprised me. For someone like myself who knows nothing about it, I was eased right into DJ’ing and didn’t struggle to understand it at all.

I really think you should all pick up a copy of This Song Will Save Your Life because you won’t regret it. It’s a truly beautiful book that will blow you away.