Sunday, 13 July 2014

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky

(Cover Not Final)

Title; Gracefully Grayson
Author; Ami Polonsky
Source; Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Format; Kindle
Publisher; Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date; November 4th 2014

Description; Alone at home, twelve-year-old Grayson Sender glows, immersed in beautiful thoughts and dreams. But at school, Grayson grasps at shadows, determined to fly under the radar. Because Grayson has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: “he” is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender’s body.

The weight of this secret is crushing, but leaving it behind would mean facing ridicule, scorn, and rejection. Despite these dangers, Grayson’s true self itches to break free. Strengthened by an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher who gives her a chance to step into the spotlight, Grayson might finally have the tools to let her inner light shine.

Debut author Ami Polonsky’s moving, beautifully-written novel shines with the strength of a young person’s spirit and the enduring power of acceptance.

My Rating; 4.5*s

Review; This must have been a hard book to write. A twelve year old boy who hasn't grown up feeling accepted isn't going understand that it's normal to not be the gender you were born as. That is such a shame, and this book brings that to life a little bit.

Grayson is such a likeable character. His struggles were so tough and so real. Kids like Grayson are the reason I believe children should be taught about being transgendered and gay, and so on and so forth. Because then people would begin to see it as normal, which is what it is. And real children that are just like Grayson won't have struggle as much.

I want things to work out for Grayson so bad. I want things to work out with school, with his family. Bless Uncle Evan. Seriously. That man was just amazing. As was Finn. Paige and pretty much all of the theatre kids.

This book is so beautiful, and so sad. Kids shouldn't have to be bullied because of who they are or how they look. Grayson is so brave. So, so brave.

I definitely recommend this book. And I would read it again.

Such a tough life led already for a 12 year old... It gets better though. It always gets better.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

Title; The Isobel Journal
Author; Isobel Harrop
Source; Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Format; eBook
Publisher; Hot Key Books
Publication Date; November 7th 2013

Description; THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'.

Resonant of Laura Dockrill's MISTAKES IN THE BACKGROUND and with the powerful naïve illustrative style of cult Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, this is a collector's gift for teenagers and all who have the teenage experience still in their hearts. Readers will emphasise with this witty and honest journal of a girl getting to grips with impending adulthood. A must-have for all hipster teenagers and anyone who appreciates the raw creativity of youth. Enchanting and poignant.

My Rating; 3.5*s

Review; Though this book is a little strange, considering it is pretty much a journal, but with more pictures than words, I still enjoyed it.

It is a very quick read. I enjoyed the pictures, and the little bits of writing. I would pick up another book by Isobel no problem.

Cute and I would recommend it to those who are interested in the description and to nosy people. The kind that like to read journals.

Made me smile and could definitely relate to some of the things said. I do like books that are written differently and in different formats.

Also, the otter and other animal drawings were so cute.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Title; Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
Author; Sara Farizan
Source; Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Format; eBook
Publisher; Algonquin
Publication Date; October 17th 2014

Description; High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

My Rating; 4.5*s

Review; As soon as I read the description for this book I just knew I had to have it. It was exactly what I was looking to read. I could not wait to start reading it as soon as I got approved on netgalley.

Then I started reading it and I just go so absorbed in the story, in the characters. Whilst I must admit that I wasn't really surprised by many of the things that happened, it was still a good read for me. A relaxing kind of read.

It is also nice to read a book that is not only LGBTQIA+, but a book that features a main gay character that isn't white. Too often main characters are white, or ethnical backgrounds aren't explored as much. In this book they were. I liked that. (I am white, but even I get fed up).

Leila, oh how I love Leila. Her struggles are so real. Her problems so real. Sibling jealousy and rivalry, coming out, figuring out who you are, telling your parents about it all. Whilst some of the scenes and characters were a little unrealistic Leila was not.

I would have liked to learn a little bit more about some of the other characters, but I guess then we wouldn't have had as much information about Leila. I mean, I know hardly anything about Greg or Tess. Or the tech girls. Or Lisa.

I really enjoyed this story. It was quite fast paced for me. It didn't feel like 300 pages. I could definitely read more from these characters, but considering the book is not part of a series I will just have to read Sara's other work and keep and eye out for anything new.

I definitely recommend this book. I can't wait till it comes out so I can get physical copy of my own!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1) by Louise Rozett

Title; Confessions of an Angry Girl
Author; Louise Rozett
Series; Confessions, book one
Source; Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
Format; Kindle
Publisher; Harlequin Teen
Publication Date; August 28th 2012

Description; Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)

My Rating; 4*s

Review; Before I started this book I wasn't sure whether I was going to like it or not. It had been a while since I read the description (I am so terribly behind on reviews, sorry!). I wasn't sure if I would find that the main character was angry for no apparent reason. I wasn't sure if I would connect with her or understand her reasons.

But I did.

I connected with her. I understand her hurt and how that turns into anger. Personally, both of my parents, and all of my grandparents (though I don't know one) are all still alive, but that doesn't mean I can't understand that pain.
I understood that pain of starting high school.

Rose is not a bad person, she is just a person that has bad things happening to her.

All I want to do is wrap Rose Zarelli in a blanket and give her a well deserved hug. It also seems like Jamie needs one of those hugs.

I liked Rose, her mum, Jamie, and Peter. Felt kind of bad for Robert. Truly disliked Regina and all the things she did and there were a few "oh no she didn't" moments in there. Ugh. Rose's best friend, Tracy, I didn't like her much, but I feel like she might be able to redeem herself.
So I liked the characters.

I liked the writing, the way Louise Rozett described that opera, there wasn't much detail, but I felt like I was there and I almost cried.

It is such a great story and I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I definitely recommend it.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Ask the Passengers by A. S. King

Title; Ask the Passengers
Author; A. S. King
Source; Amazon
Format; Kindle
Publisher; Little Brown
Publication Date; 23rd Oct 2012

Description; Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love

My Rating; 4*s

Review; Whilst Ask the Passengers was quite what I was expecting, I loved it. I never seem to get what I expect when I read a book by A. S. King, as I found out when I read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. This is a good thing.

Usually when you read a lot of books...they become a little predictable. Person A gets with Person B then realises they love Person C. That or they live happily ever after... Blah, blah, blah.
Whilst I love these kinds of books, the predictable ones, it is so good to have something different come along.

I loved all of the philosophies. I loved Astrid sending her love to people 30,000 ft in the air so that she felt it had a use (though it already had use down here.) Helping people through a thought. Seeing snippets of these peoples lives, short passages from characters Astrid may never meet. Everything about Astrid's relationship with the passengers was perfect to me.
When we feel we have no one to turn to, we all find an outlet. Be it writing, be it pain, be it singing. Or talking to stranger. Or someone who can't hear you. Talking to the passengers, that's Astrid's outlet.

As you may, or may not, be able to tell Astrid is my favourite character in this book. Flawed, unsure, feeling unloved. She is the perfect representation of a teenager for me. Those three characteristics that barely scratch the surface of her character...they are how I felt as a teen. Sometimes, even now. She is a character I can relate to, even though our lives are completely different.

The other characters; Dee, Kristina, her family, I found I couldn't like them as much as I did Astrid.
I really disliked Dee at first, she seemed pushy and I was afraid she would hurt Astrid with her push-y-ness. I didn't like it at all. But, she grew on me, as she changed throughout the book, becoming a bit of a better person, I began to like her a little. Though that doesn't exclude her earlier behaviour.

Kristina didn't seem like a very supportive friend at all. She seemed selfish, she didn't seem to care about Astrid or anyone else. I couldn't find much in me that liked her.

Astrid's family, her mother, her father, and Ellis. Everyone in the family so different from one another. It almost seemed as if they were four strangers thrown together sometimes. But then you'd see the familiarity, the love hidden behind the pain. The few things they had in common.
I didn't like the family much at times, the parents could seem a little distant from the children, the mother seemed way too irresponsible. Mummy-and-Me nights were so spiteful.
Her mother didn't redeem herself to me in the end. At all. I could not stand her character.

Ellis, I grew to like. Even when she seemed like a pain in the ass.

Her father I also liked. A strange man, but one who seemed loving, and kind, and maybe a little stuck.

There was representation of L, G, and Q of LGBTQIA+. Something I was glad for. There were probably more LGBTQIA+ main characters than not.

I would recommend this book. Definitely. It's beautiful, and new, and different. It's refreshing.

Friday, 4 July 2014

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Title; The Language of Flowers
Author; Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Pages; 402
Source; Store Bought
Format; Paperback
Publisher; Pan Publishing
Publication Date; August 23rd 2011


The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what's been missing in her life. And when she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Rating; 3.5*s

Review; Surprise, surprise; it's another book that I am confused about. Currently I have rated this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but I just don't know if that feels right to me.

I mean, I liked the book, connected with the character, I just feel it could have been a little better, maybe? Some things were just too predictable for me. There were things I had seen before, but there were things I hadn't. Honestly, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

Whilst I liked the main character, Victoria, there were times when I just couldn't understand her decisions. Times when I was damn shocked at how she acted or something she did. Some things I could forgive, even understand, but some things were just too much for me. Although I did like her, I feel she could have been a bit better, understood more and maybe not have done some of things she did.

The other main characters, Elizabeth, Renata, Grant, I loved them all. They were all wonderful and they all tried. And I just...loved them all.

One of the main reasons I wanted to read this book is because I have been wanting to learn the language of flowers for many years now, ever since I found out some of the meanings for roses a few years back. And this book did teach me more whilst also giving me a good story to read. I wanted to know what was going to happen and I wished for a happy ending.

You know, I loved the ending. It was not a typical "everything is fine" ending, but it didn't leave you hopeless either. The perfect in between.

I will read more by Vanessa and I would recommend this book. You know, I think it deserves 3.5*s.

I also quite like the cover.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

Title; Almost Perfect
Author; Brian Katcher
Source; Amazon
Format; Second hand paperback
Publisher; Delacorte
Publication Date; October 13th 2009

Description; You only hurt the ones you love.

Logan Witherspoon recently discovered that his girlfriend of three years cheated on him. But things start to look up when a new student breezes through the halls of his small-town high school. Sage Hendricks befriends Logan at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. Sage has been homeschooled for a number of years and her parents have forbidden her to date anyone, but she won’t tell Logan why. One day, Logan acts on his growing feelings for Sage. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she’s actually a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage and disowns her. But once Logan comes to terms with what happened, he reaches out to Sage in an attempt to understand her situation. But Logan has no idea how rocky the road back to friendship will be.

Rating; 3.5*s

Review; There were times when I loved this book and times when I hated it.

Let us start with Logan, our main dude. Now his character was so real to me. I could picture him as an actual person, living in a small town, worried about what everyone thinks. That's why I really did not like him sometimes. He is such a real character, with quite realistic reactions (though I hate them, but quite real reactions for someone uneducated) and, in the end I just could decide whether or not to like him. His character made me so conflicted. I wanted to feel sorry for him, but at the same time he just seemed like such an asshole and all I wanted to do was hit him! He can be such fool.

Now, Sage Hendricks. My lord, I could not love this girl more! She has been through way more than someone should have to at her age, and still life keeps piling more and more on her. If her parents were my parents...I would not be able to handle that. She is a lot stronger that she realises. I wonder what the book would have been like from her point of view. I just...I want more Sage Hendricks. I want more characters like her. And I want more transgendered characters, both male and female.

In this book, a perfectly normal person - Sage - is made to feel different, when she is a perfectly normal person. It makes you think, it makes you see how bad things can be for LGBTQIA+ youth, and LGBTQIA+ people in general. I think everyone should read this book. Because of the issues it deals with, just to make you think.

There needs to be more LGBTQIA+ fiction out there. But for now, this is what I have found.

I have no idea what it feels like to be a transgendered person personally, I have never met a transgendered person in real life either, but this felt quite real to me.

The thing that I was most disappointed with, the thing that ruined the book a little was the ending.

Other than that there are some great supporting characters, and some not so great. There's just so much to love. And some to hate. But I'd still recommend it in a heartbeat. Though it may be slightly triggering for transgendered folks. If you have had to deal with (stupid) bullying and things. Just a warning.