Book Review ♡ The Similars by Rebecca Hanover


title ♡ the similars
author ♡ rebecca hanover
genre ♡ young adult; science fiction
pages ♡ 386
publisher ♡ sourcebooks FIRE
series ♡ the similars, book one
release date ♡  january 1, 2019
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 5 out of 5 ]

Junior year gets cutthroat when clones roam the halls…

Similar teens: This fall, six new students are joining the junior class at the elite Darkwood Academy. But they aren’t your regular over-achieving teens. They’re clones. And the “similar” teens are joining the class alongside their originals.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about: Who are these clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? And who is the madman who broke the law against cloning to create them? Emmaline Chance couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and it’s all she can do to get through each day without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA copy and one of the Similars.

Dark truths and suspense: Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper into their clique. She can’t escape the dark truths about the clones or her prestigious school. No one can be trusted, not even the boy she is falling for with Oliver’s face.

Rebecca Hanover has done the impossible – she’s given me a new appreciation for YA science fiction novels. In all my years of reading, I’ve never quite come across something as wonderful and original as The Similars. It had absolutely everything that I’ve ever wanted in a young adult book: romance, action and mystery – all in one single book! I was very much on edge throughout the story. Rebecca kept me guessing and guessing again, with shocking outcomes.

Though my knowledge of science fiction books are limited, I’ve never come across a story such as this one before. It felt so original and interesting that every page had me hooked. The moment I started reading, I knew I was gone. And that’s what I wanted – I wanted a book that was going to pull me into the pages and have me running through the halls of Darkwood Academy with Emmeline. I was the rabbit and Rebecca was dangling a carrot in front of me for the entire book – but it was a mutual relationship because I am most definitely in love with The Similars.

It’s increasingly rare to come across a story that is completely devoid of any boredom. Even in some of the best known books, I find a chapter or two that just shouldn’t need to exist. Every movement of the book was necessary – keeping me absolutely glued to the spot for an uncertain amount of time. The writing was so smooth, so impeccable that I found the book ending long before I wanted it to. The author has an incredibly fluidity when it comes to writing, that for a debut author, appears to be incredibly natural.

Emmaline was a very powerful main character, with an interesting character development arc throughout the story plot. She was feisty and strong, with an unwavering amount of loyalty and bravery. I am looking forward to watching her grow a lot more in the following instalments. Levi was even better – though a tad stoic at times. I loved his whole angsty, mysterious persona and was pleasantly surprised with his own character progression as the plot unravelled. In fact, all the Similars were complex characters that made me fall in love with them.

It was difficult to believe that The Similars is a science fiction book. I’m not exactly sure how it earned that title, as I would much rather agree that the book is more a mystery or thriller type of story. There are some dark moments in the story, and the tone and pace of the story help to keep you guessing at every corner.

Until the next instalment is released next year, I’m going to be stuck in a constant loop of just wondering what the hell is going to happen to Emmeline. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I expect a lot of big things from Rebecca Hanover in the future. But until the next release, I’m going to be tucked up in bed rereading this one.

You should join me!


Dee

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“I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Orphan Black and especially to teens!”

Claire @ Books, Coffee and Repeat

“This was a fast read, but it didn’t have much depth to it.”

Mandy @ Devouring Reads

“Despite the problems that I mention above, I can tell that the story behind the novel is really unique and I cannot wait to see if there is a sequel for this (which I’m really hoping there is!!)”

Melissa @ The Written Adventure
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Book Review ♡ My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


title ♡ my life next door
author ♡ huntley fitzpatrick
genre ♡ young adult; contemp; romance
pages ♡ 400
publisher ♡ dial; speak; electric monkey
series ♡ nope, standalone
release date ♡  june 14, 2012; january 7, 2016
♡ ♡ [ 2 out of 5 ]

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Finally got round to reading a book I’ve attempted to read for the last five years this week: I’d say that’s pretty damn productive. For some reason, I’d never quite been able to get into Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door. I was never quite sure why, but I will admit that the book reminded me pretty quickly just why I’d never made it to the end. I won’t lie to you, the book is very cutesy, very simple-minded. It felt more like a draft of a book, not the finished piece.

Maybe if I can just sleep for a hundred years, I’ll wake up in a better story.

I can sum the book up in three words – it was fine. It was a simple romance story between two teenage next-door-neighbours who are, in some sort of way, star-crossed lovers. Sure, the book had a pretty decent and sweet plot in following the protagonist Samantha Reed on her journey of first love. The romance was romantic and kinda believable. It was very much a ‘first love’ situation. But there weren’t any really gripping moments or parts of the book that stood out to me. In fact, the real action of the plot happens closer to the end of the book. I enjoyed the romance and thought the outcome was cute. Would I reconsider reading this book? Probably not. Would I advise you to read this book? Yes, if you enjoy super soft romances with little character progression.

The Garretts were my bedtime story, long before I ever thought I’d be part of the story myself.

Samantha is pretty much your stereotypical good girl, with perfect grades, a bad habit of sucking up her mother and being branded ‘innocent’ by those closest to her. For me, I did think she fell quite flat as a main character because there just wasn’t something in her that made me relate or understand her better. I know we say that someone can ‘fall in love’, but Samantha literally hit the floor. Within two seconds of meeting Jase, she was putty in his hands. For some reason, it just didn’t float my boat. Actually, the real saving grace of the book were the secondary characters – Tim, George, Alice: even Nan! Their thoughts, their feelings, their actions were all so understandable and they developed so much throughout the book. Tim, perhaps the second most immoral characters in the book, had such a huge character progression I almost fell for him!

“Did you know that in space it’s very, very cold? And there’s no oxygen? And if an astronaut fell out of a shuttle without his suit he’d die right away?”

I’m a fast learner. “But that would never happen. Because astronauts are really, really careful.”

George gives me a smile, the same dazzling sweet smile as his big brother, although at this point, with green teeth. “I might marry you,” he allows. “Do you want a big family?”

Huntley Fitzpatrick had the opportunity to touch on some much bigger issues in the book. I wanted to see how the friendship between Nan and Samantha panned out. At the end, I felt like I’d been deprived of that opportunity as the book purely focused on the relationship between Sam and Jase. The whole plot, for what it turns out to be, is very long and drawn out unnecessarily. I considered shelving the book far too many times to enjoy it, and just felt like the book was far too fluffy. Normally, I really enjoy fluffy.


dee

Book Review ♡ What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel


title ♡ what kind of girl
author ♡ alyssa sheinmel
genre ♡ young adult; health
pages ♡ 384
publisher ♡ sourcebooks fire; atom
series ♡ no
release date ♡ february 1, 2020
♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ [ 5 out of 5 ]

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the polcie? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?

Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.

What Kind of Girl is undoubtedly going to be one of the most influential books I’ve read this year. This poignant tale of two teenage girls is bound to strike a nerve with almost anyone who picks up the book. It has an important impact and will leave you quite literally shell-shocked.

Told from two perspectives, What Kind of Girl follows two teenage friends – Maya and Juniper. I really liked both the characters. They were well-rounded, in-depth characters with honest thoughts and feelings. I could relate to Maya when she questioned whether her every move would be scrutinised. I felt the air closing around me when Juniper suffered an anxiety attack. Maya was undoubtedly brave, though I could sense that she was still naive. Not as naive as she had been, but it was very clear that though she was developed, she wasn’t fully there yet. This was not a bad thing – Maya is a teenager. It would be strange for her to be fully emotionally developed, with a complete understanding of wrong and right. I know plenty of adults who still struggle with that today – let alone teenagers.

The book does touch upon a lot of trigger warnings, such as dating abuse, bulimia, self harm, anxiety and drug use. Alyssa Sheinmel beautifully portrays both girl’s struggle: from the insanely convincing portrayal of modern day victim blaming to an interesting take on how we allow labels define us in society. For a long time in the novel, the only name we hear is Mike. It’s a complex route to take in withholding the main characters’ names. It worked, because I was drawn in – wondering who the labels could possibly belong to.

“Have you discussed this with your parents?” she asked. I shook my head. “With any of your friends here?” I shook my head again. “Why not?”


It was about then that I began to wonder whether I’d gone to the wrong person.

Though the antagonist of the story, Mike was a character that is needed in fiction today. There is this massive expectation that all the abusive men in the world are drunks, or rude, or a ‘bad boy’. Mike was none of these things: he was charismatic and charming, popular and well loved. He was the golden boy, on track to receive a scholarship and in a relationship outside eyes adored. This speaks absolute volumes to me, as it’s important to be telling people that the nice guys can be just as abusive as the bad guys. It’s important to emphasise that just because your partner is well-loved and sweet to everyone else, you can report them when they do something that’s not right.

I was completely blown away by the novel. It didn’t drag or feel drawn out – each moment having it’s own particular purpose to the story. Every thought was well planned, every character movement progressing the story perfectly. It’s increasingly rare to find a book that can pull you to the side and make you contemplate the seriousness of the issues mentioned above.

When this book is finally published on 1 February 2020, I advise you to buy a copy and give it a read. My review won’t do it enough justice – but this is the kind of empowering book young teenagers need to be reading. Perhaps if there had of been more books around like this when I was younger, I wouldn’t have allowed myself to fall victim to abuse. I wouldn’t have believed that it was love, or that I would be blamed for someone else’s wrong actions.

I think you need to read this book.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡
dee

Book Review ♡ The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

I love, and I really mean it when I say this, mystery novels. Move over Sherlock Holmes, I’m on the case and I’m determined to find the real culprit of the crime before you do. Of course, I only ever get it right 50% of the time, but you win some, you lose some. The Good Girls Guide to Murder was the murder mystery thriller I didn’t even know I needed this year.

This stunning UK Young Adult debut novel tells the tale of Pippa Fitz-Amobi – a determined A-Level student who is hell-bent on proving that Sal Singh did not murder his girlfriend Andie Bell. With a wide list of suspects, there are multiple reasons to follow the story along to the end; with the reveal leaving you reeling.

Pippa is such a feisty protagonist. Though she lacks an overall awareness of the implications of her questioning, she is in no way naive. The girl has mad detective skills, and serious guts to deal with the consequences of reopening the investigation. Jacksoncaptures her characters perfectly through their actions and dialogue. They feel like real people, trapped in between the pages of a book; as if Jackson was writing about real people.

While Pippa was undoubtedly my favourite character in the entire book, I cannot continue the review without mentioning new fictional crush, Ravi Singh. As the older brother of the ‘murderer’ Sal Singh, Ravi has to deal with consequences of his brothers’ actions and suicide. With the town treating him and his family as social pariahs, Pippa’s interest in reviving the case of Andie Bell doesn’t bode down too well with him. It’s really interesting to see the character development and how Ravi interacts with Pippa and the investigation.

I will not sleep on the fact that this book has the perfect mystery factor. There were so many points in this book where I questioned whether Andie really was dead or alive. Until you hit the ending, you don’t even know! Perhaps even more refreshing is that there is absolutely no way you can easily predict the outcome. I’ve read so many mystery novels in my life, and this was undoubtedly gripping.

In no way was this book long and overdrawn. It seemed as if every moment in the story was cleverly placed – each chapter adding something further to the story. When my fingers itched to skip straight to the ending, something else pulled me into the current chapter. I. Was. Hooked. And even better than that, I finished the book within a few hours of buying it. It always makes me happy when I enjoy a book so much I finish it in record time.

I’ll admit that because life has taken over recently, I vary rarely get out to local bookshops anymore. I found this little gem in a little bookshop in Ripon, North Yorkshire when I was visiting my partner. It was great to get back to UKYA after spending so long sticking to mainly American novels. I’m not sure whether it’s just me, but books feel a little more realistic when they’re set in the same country as you.

The gorgeous lady on the left is Holly Jackson, who has absolutely smashed it out the park with her debut novel. The only thing I can add now is that she has to have a strong follow-up novel to top this one – she’s really set the standard high.

So, let’s summarise shall we . . .

Overall rating | 5 out of 5
Characters | 5 out of 5
Plot | 5 out of 5
Tone/Pace | 5 out of 5
Recommend? | Damn straight.
Genre | YA Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller

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Title | The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author | Holly Jackson
Release Date | 2 May 2019 (UK)
Series? | No
Pages | 448 (Paperback)
Publisher | Electric Monkey (UK)

Buy the book @ Amazon (UK) | Waterstones | Book Depository

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

Free eBook ♠ The Sun and Her Star by Dylan Allen

“An absolute MUST READ!”

Shanora Williams, New York Times Bestselling Author

The Sun and Her Star, a beautiful and emotional standalone from Dylan Allen is available now in Audio and to celebrate, the e-book is FREE for a limited time only! 

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If envy is a sin, then let me be damned.

Graham was born to be a star.  
Once upon a time, that star shone only for me.  

Now, I have to share him with the rest of the world. 

For a while, I thought I could do it. Because, beneath the hypnotic smile, gorgeous body and God-given charm that made him famous, I still caught glimpses of my best friend.

Of the boy who called me sunshine and loved me. 

I wore that love like a crown . . . until he placed it on another’s head. 

Losing him was agony, distance felt like the only cure.  

When tragedy reunites us after years apart, it only takes one touch to erase the past. Just like that, I’m back in his arms. 
He promises this time will be different. But I’m afraid to believe him. 

Because behind his star’s blinding brilliance is a darkness that doesn’t want to let him go. 

I know a star that bright can’t belong to just one person, but my jealous heart doesn’t want to share him.

I want all of him . . . even if wanting what doesn’t belong to me leads me to ruin. 

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I haven’t actually read this book yet, but it looks like a cute little read – and it’s 100% FREE for the time being! You can definitely expect a review from me in the near future! However, I don’t know how long that will last, so make sure you grab The Sun and Her Star on sale today.

Audible > < Tantor > < Amazon