Beautiful Broken Things is the extraordinary début novel from Sara Barnard that showcases what everyone loves most about UKYA fiction.
Caddy and Rosie have been best friends forever, despite them going to different schools. Then Rosie introduces Caddy to a new girl at her school, Suzanne. Suzanne is everything Caddy is not – adventurous, daring and reckless. But she also has a past. Her arrival shakes everything up and threatens to change Caddy and Rosie’s lives. Will it be for the better?
The YA world desperately needs more books with friendship at the centre, so Beautiful Broken Things arrived at just the right time. The relationship between Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne feels so alive and real that when you read it you feel as if you’re a part of it too. It shakes you up and makes you evaluate your own friendships and how important they are.
Beautiful Broken Things is without a doubt Suzanne’s story. Without her, the basis of the book would be lost, but it’s told from Caddy’s perspective. It was refreshing and offered a different side to the story that is typically told, and it added a whole new dimension. I was very impressed by this!
Sara Barnard discusses themes of abuse and mental health sensitively and realistically. Although hard to read at times, I felt for Suzanne and her situation and I was glad that no sugarcoating happened.
I can’t wait to see what Sara Barnard writes next. If it’s half as good as Beautiful Broken Things, it will be amazing!
You’ll Love This If…
You’re looking for a truly gripping tale of a friendship that doesn’t feel like a far-off fairytale.
You love UKYA!
What books have you loved that talk about friendship? Have you read Beautiful Broken Things?
If you’ve been reading Queen of Contemporary for a while, you’ll know how much I loved The Sin Eater’s Daughter and so I was incredibly excited to read the sequel, The Sleeping Prince. It’s always nerve-wracking to start a sequel, but especially so when you have such high expectations. Luckily, The Sleeping Prince didn’t disappoint!
The Sleeping Prince starts where The Sin Eater’s Daughter left off, but this time we get to see the story from the eyes of Errin. Left with the task of looking after her sick mother after the death of her father and her brother Lief’s disappearance, Errin has to resort to making illegal herbal cures to get by, and the threat of the Sleeping Prince looms ever closer…
In this stunning sequel, Melinda Salisbury continues to surprise readers with her imaginative plot and characters who you instantly fall for. It’s impossible not to be in awe of the way that Melinda writes, so intricately and with such prowess.
It was particularly refreshing to have the second book in a trilogy narrated by a different character than the first book was. It meant that so much more of the world could be seen and, although it did take me a while to get used to Errin, I grew to really love her by the end of the book.
The Sleeping Prince blew me away. It has definitely earned Melinda Salisbury a place with the likes of Sarah J. Maas and Maggie Stiefvater for best YA fantasy. It was beyond worthy of my first five star rating of 2016.
You’ll Love This If…
You’re a fan of the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
You want a book that you become invested in from the start and find it impossible to put down. Seriously, I stayed up way too late reading it!
You like your books packed with lore and mythology, with gorgeous maps to go with them and a world seeped in history.
Have you read The Sin Eater’s Daughter or The Sleeping Prince? Let me know your thoughts!
All the Rage is a harrowing look at rape culture and the way we treat people who have been raped. Loosely inspired by the Steubenville case which was in the news at the time of Summers writing the book, protagonist Romy is bullied and thrown out of her social circle because nobody in the small, US town she lives in will believe that she has been raped by the “golden boy” of the town.
The plot line is extremely gripping and so unpredictable – I could have never guessed the massive twists. They had me gasping in shock because I couldn’t believe what had happened! I felt so connected to the story that the events really affected me as I was reading them and I had to read on to find out what happened.
It’s clear when reading All the Rage that Summers is a master of the writing craft. The way that she tells the story is perfect and I was hooked from beginning to end; I kept telling myself, “Just one more chapter!” and then it turned into five and six and then seven… I loved how natural it felt, as if you were in Romy’s town and witnessing the hate she received. Summers’ writing is perfect and works so well with the story; it has its own voice and comes alive with every word.
However, what Summers does best is include diverse characters that blend seamlessly into the story line. It doesn’t feel as if diverse characters are added so that they can be ticked off on a checklist, but because they’re real people too. I loved the secondary characters in this book and how they fitted in to Romy’s story – they had their own lives but also worked towards creating a bigger picture too.
All the Rage is definitely going to be my go-to recommendation for the future. I’d love to see more of Courtney Summers’ books published in the UK soon because the UK needs more Courtney Summers books! I know I’d be the first person to buy them if they were published.
You’ll Love This If….
You’ve read Asking For It by Louise O’Neill! They tie in nicely together as they’re inspired by the same case, and the stories do overlap in places.
You’re looking for a thrilling read that you can’t put down.
You’re a feminist and want to read more YA books with feminist topics!
Have you read All the Rage? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it, let me know if you’re going to!
Let me tell you a story… I’ve always loved mermaids. Ever since I was tiny, I’ve devoured stories, TV programmes, and secretly wished that I could grow a tail. Lorali brought all of my fantasies back.
On the day of his sixteenth birthday, Rory finds a girl washed up on the beach. Naked, confused and convinced that she’s a mermaid. Isn’t she just a tiny bit too weird? With Lorali’s arrival comes freak weather conditions, pirates and even more strange visitors. Maybe Lorali isn’t a normal girl after all…
Dockrill writes with such ease and prowess that it’s hard not to instantly connect with her writing. Each character has been perfectly created so that it feels like they’re taking you along on the journey too. This is why Lorali will appeal to readers and non-readers alike – Dockrill has a way with words that can attract anybody.
By far, my favourite character was Lorali. I loved her perplexity towards the modern world and excitement as she learnt more about it. I craved the sections of the book written from her perspective – they were so much fun to read!
Although it took me a while to get into it, once I began to become familiar with the characters and plot direction, I LOVED it.
One of the most surprising things about Lorali is Dockrill’s wittiness and humour. Lorali really is one of the wackiest books I’ve read this year, and I mean that in the best way possible.
I loved Lorali for fulfilling all of my childhood dreams, and I’m definitely going to be seeking out more YA mermaid novels in the future. I’ve seriously been missing out!
I haven’t read a book in a long time that has completely blown me away and given me an “OMG!” moment. Seed completely changed that, however. It was AMAZING!
Pearl has always lived in Seed, a community that worships Nature. When a new boy and his family are welcomed into Seed, Pearl starts to notice the cracks in her seeminly perfect world. Why doesn’t she know who her mother is? Why aren’t they allowed medical care? Seed is a crazed cult, and Seed will never let her go.
Heathfield has created a dangerous but charming community with enigmatic Seed. I could feel myself sinking into Seed’s mindset whilst reading it and I could feel myself being pulled towards it. The worshipping of nature particularly appealed to me and so it was almost as if I was Pearl fighting to find out the truth behind a seemingly perfect world.
One part I specifically loved was the opening scene because it’s one of the only YA books I’ve read that talks about menstruation, which I think is important to be acknowledged because it barely is for something so major in a teenager’s life.
Whilst Pearl could be frustrating at points, I completely understood why. It was fascinating to see her internal struggle between wanting to love Seed and knowing that it was corrupt.
The ending had me reeling! It was SUCH a shock! You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve read it; I still haven’t quite recovered from it!
I was so happy to have loved one of my most anticipated UKYA reads of 2015 so much and I can’t wait to read the next installment in 2016. Phenomenal!
When you first hold a copy of your most anticipated read of the year in your hands, it fills you with dread. You think to yourself: will I like it? What if I hate it? Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to have a little faith.
In McKerrow’s debut novel, the world is split in two. There is the Greenworld – think environmentally friendly and self-sufficient – and the Redworld. The Redworld is your worst nightmare – filled with gangs, it’s made up of the people intent on finding a power source to sell to the world.
Crow Moon is absolutely, undoubtedly my dream novel. I’ve been searching for something just like it for years and it’s not until now that I feel satisfied that I’ve finally found my ideal book. I devoured it within hours because I was so engrossed in the story and I adored all of the characters, who were so easily imaginable.
It’s an incredibly diverse novel – both racially and religiously.Crow Moon challenges stereotypes put in place by the media, as well as cultural ideas of witches and paganism. I hope it sets the trend for similar books (as well as climate fiction) with a realistic portrayal because it’s so desperately needed in modern fiction.
Danny’s exploration of the Greenworld opened up wonderful doors for the reader, who learns with Danny in a very natural way.
Although Danny is the protagonist, Saba was my favourite character; I could see myself reflected in her and she stood out immediately to me as soon as she was introduced. She’s a reason all on its own to read the book!
I desperately want to live in the Greenworld because it seems like such an idyllic, perfect place. McKerrow has created a vivid land to fictionally escape to. I hope in the future it’s possible to move to fictional worlds!
I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to be able to wait another year to read the sequel! I expect I’ll have to re-read this novel before then because I can’t bear to separate myself from the amazing world!
Crow Moon completely blew me away and I’ll be recommending it to absolutely everyone this year. PHENOMENAL!
Recently I’ve loved reading anthologies, such as My True Love Gave To Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins, so when I came across Love Hurts I knew I wanted to read it.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Here are just a few reasons why:
The majority of the book was made up of extracts from already existing books, and not new short stories.
I had read lots of the books already so there was no need to read the extracts for many of them, and I also had no interest in reading the extracts of the other books. So, really, I found the majority of the book seemed pretty useless to me.
The short stories didn’t stand out.
There was nothing about the short stories that made me want to read them. I couldn’t connect with them at all, and I was left feeling frustrated by the end. They felt so forced and there was no way to connect with them with only a few pages for it to reach its potential.
However, I do think Love Hurts will appeal to readers who are new to contemporary YA and want to explore the genre further. I’m also a big fan of many of the authors’ books, so my review does not mean any harm to them. It just wasn’t my thing, and so I was left feeling dissatisfied with it.