Whisper to Me – book review

Whisper to Me

Whisper to Me is a remarkable story of strange beauty and self-discovery, written by Nick Lake.

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love — love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself — can save you after all.Read More »

One Would Think the Deep – book review

One Would Think the Deep

One Would Think the Deep, written by Claire Zorn, is a breathtaking ode to the Australian coast and growing up in the 90s that allows readers to lose themselves in the evocative descriptions of landscape, life and love.

It’s 1997 and seventeen-year-old Sam is mourning the sudden loss of his mum. Sam has always had things going on in his head that no one else understands, not even his mum. And now she’s dead, it’s worse than ever.

With nothing but his skateboard and a few belongings in a garbage bag, Sam goes to live with the strangers his mum cut ties with seven years ago: Aunty Lorraine and his cousins Shane and Minty. Sam soon reverts to his childhood habit of following Minty around and finds himself learning to surf in order to cut through the static fuzz in his head. But the days slowly meld into one another, and as ghosts from the past begin to reappear, Sam has to make the ultimate decision: will he sink, or will he swim?Read More »

Hotel Ruby – book review

Hotel Ruby

Hotel Ruby is a thrilling and suspenseful book, written by Suzanne Young.

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother are on their way to live with their grandmother while their father drowns in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions, including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey finds out about the new people’s she’s met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s town in different directions – between the weight of her past and its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…Read More »

Night Owls – book review

Night Owls

Night Owls is a heartwarming and uplifting book, written by Jenn Bennett.

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she wants to do the only thing that she thinks will help her win a museum-sponsored scholarship contest – drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, mysterious… and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Bex begins to see who Jack really is and tries to uncover the secrets about his past. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Bex’s own family closet tear them apart?

*

This would definitely have to be one of my top ten books that I’ve read all year. It made me swoon and smile, laugh and even cry. It was one of those mixes where each chapter was completely surprising but the warm and fuzzy feeling I got while reading it was constant. Plus, I don’t think I’ve shipped two characters this much together since Clockwork Princess. I finished this book wanting to reread it from the beginning immediately – that’s how much I loved it.

One of the things I loved the most about this book (and something I picked up on immediately) was how beautifully the city of San Francisco was described. The setting was so vivid and it showed me not only the vibrancy of such a sparking city, but also the grit and what lay underneath the exterior. San Francisco was almost a character itself because it felt so alive and so much a part of this novel. I felt like I really got to know this city and understand its rhythm because we spent so much time being whisked around it. The city, particularly the inclusion of the night buses, was as quirky and fun as the characters.

This book wasn’t just sweet and heartwarming, it also dealt with some important issues that I haven’t read much about before. One of the biggest issues that this book brings to the discussion is disorganised schizophrenia, and how someone suffering with can be treated and how this affects their family. I liked how this wasn’t really the main issue in the book. Some books focus mainly on mental illnesses, and that’s good, we need books like that out there, but just because someone may have a mental illness, that doesn’t make it their defining characteristic. So because this book didn’t focus only on this illness, it showed that people have mental illnesses all around us and they shouldn’t be hidden away or treated differently for that. Illness is a part of life and it doesn’t discriminate. I just really liked how this book highlighted that fact.

Meeting Jack was definitely one of the highlights of the novel. I knew straight off where this book was heading from there, but it still managed to surprise me and catch me off guard more times than I would have thought possible. Jack was charming and attractive and he honestly was one of the most real characters I’ve come across in a long while. He melted my heart from the very beginning and I can never resist a guy that pursues someone like he did. As long as being amazing and sweet, he was flawed, like every person. But his flaws made him even more endearing and while I didn’t appreciate his lack of honesty at times, I could understand his reasoning and loved him even more. When he revealed the truth about what was going on with his family and his secret, my heart broke a little for him, but at the same time, I fell in love with him even more.

The only thing that annoyed me a little about this book was Bex in the first few chapters. After she met Jack, she would put on a ‘defensive’ front – which was more of a rude and inconsiderate one, if you ask me. Her actions towards him were unnecessarily mean and I couldn’t understand why she was being that way towards Jack. But I did find that it was sweet how Jack kept chasing after her and tried to get her attention. Once Bex’s hostility wore off a little, I grew to like her more and I fell in love with the relationship she had with Jack. I also loved how honest they were with each other towards the end of the novel. This book emphasised the importance of communicating and understanding one another, because I feel sometimes people need to talk more about their relationships and what they want, rather than just jumping right into things. They were both sensible people and I loved how realistic they felt. The relationship between Jack and Bex was just so refreshing. Their chemistry was undeniable and I loved watching their relationship grow. This book took me on one hell of a fun ride.

Possibly one of the most unique things about this book was the use of art. I loved Bex’s artistic flare and Jack’s secret creative side. I loved how these two forms of art came together in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Their passions were so vividly felt and I could almost see everything they created. Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed reading about was their families. I liked reading about how complex and often messed up both Bex’s and Jack’s family lives were and how this impacted on their every choice. It reminded me a lot of my family and I found a lot of similarities between Bex’s family and my own, which was comforting to read about.

Overall, Night Owls was one of the most uplifting, heartwarming books I’ve read all year. I’d definitely recommend it if you like contemporaries and are looking for a book filled with romance, friendship, family and art! I’d give Night Owls by Jenn Bennett a score of 9.5 out of 10. I’ve done enough typing now – it’s time for me to hear some of your opinions! Have you read this book? Do you enjoy reading books with these themes? Does this sound like something you’d be interested in reading? I’d love to know! 🙂

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

One – book review

One

One is a touching and heartwarming book, written by Sarah Crossan.

Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. When their parents can no longer afford homeschooling, they must venture to into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will the find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace nor Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives more than they could ever imagine.

*

This book was absolutely phenomenal. One of the things I’m most amazed at was how well this book was written. I haven’t read a verse novel in a little while, and never one by Sarah Crossan. I was a touch sceptical, but I really didn’t need to be. Honestly, this book made me really feel for the characters, even with it written in verse. Sometimes it’s a little hard to connect with characters when a book is written in verse because it might not give you enough information or backstory or emotion, but this book definitely did. One was so well-written that a lot of the time it didn’t feel like it was written in verse, except for it’s beautiful rhythm. Surprisingly, this is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Crossan. I’ve been meaning to read Apple and Rain for quite some time, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’m definitely going to have to read more books by Sarah Crossan soon!

So let’s talk about conjoined twins. I feel like before reading this book, I didn’t know anything about conjoined twins, let alone what life would be like for them. There was definitely a lot of research that went into this book to do with not only the physical and mental implications, but also of the emotional and psychological aspect. When I was reading this book, I not only learnt things, I also considered things that I’d never thought about before. I felt truly grateful to be able to experience life with Grace and Tippi. This book covered so many things: the life of conjoined twins, their family’s struggle, the difficulty of fitting in and how hard it is to realise they would never be able to have a real relationship or get married. None of these things had even crossed my mind before I read this book – what it must be like to be two people, not just one – and I definitely think everyone should read this book. It’s not only enjoyable, it’s also very insightful.

Another thing I loved about this book was that Grace and Tippi being conjoined twins wasn’t their defining characteristic. They were complex and flawed and just real. I loved how their personalities weren’t overlooked because what people would see when they look at them and they were honestly so lovely to get to know. Grace is ‘the quiet one’ and Tippi is a bit stubborn, and so naturally they clash a little. It was interesting to see how they managed to live with each other all the time and love each other so much. I can hardly stand people I’m around even for a few hours at a time, so I can’t imagine what life for Tippi and Grace would be like. But I guess that comes back to the core theme of this book – love.

So love. We’ve all felt it. For our family, friends and significant others. For hobbies and foods and TV shows. But there’s nothing quite the same as the love a person has for someone that is literally a part of them, who has always been there for them, and who you could physically depend on. The type of love between Grace and Tippi was unlike anything I’ve ever read about before. I loved reading about their life together and how much they cared about one another. It would definitely be hard to be them at times, but they always got each other through the tough situations and leaned on each other when they needed support. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

All of the other character were really interesting to get to know as well. Yasmeen and Jon were so supportive and kind and they didn’t judge Grace and Tippi. I loved watching them all get to know one another and stick up for one another. Their friendship was beautiful to watch grow and it was interesting to see the complexities that came with it. I also enjoyed getting to be a part of Grace and Tippi’s family. Their home life is tough. I feel like I also got to know a lot about each family member and I cared about all of them. All of the characters in this novel were just so incredibly well-written and I’m so thankful for such an honest book. Sarah Crossan seems to not only understand conjoined twins, but also family dynamics and struggles and how to present life and love and heartbreak in a realistic way that makes us feel just as much as the characters do.

This book is definitely an emotional roller-coaster. I’m not ashamed to admit that I sobbed at the end. In a library full of people. Why do I always manage to cry when I’m reading a book around a lot of people? I’ve had these experiences on buses, in rooms full of people, at a dinner party, the list goes on. If you’ve had any experiences like this, please let me know! Maybe then I can feel better about being overly emotional in books. Anyway, back to One. I felt like this book was so beautifully written that it was inevitable I’d shed a tear. It was poetic and poignant and touching. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. This is One amazing book. Ha ha. See what I did there? I’m so clever with puns… *moment of regret*

I really think that everyone should read this book. It’s beautiful and insightful and shows us how powerful love can be. I’d give One by Sarah Crossan a score of 9.5 out of 10. If you enjoy Ellen Hopkins’ style of writing, such as in Rumble or Crank or Impulse, you should definitely give this book a go. So now it’s time for your opinions. Have you read this book, or any other books written in verse? Do you enjoy that writing style? Should I read any of Sarah Crossan’s other books? Let’s chat! 😀

Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Since You’ve Been Gone – book review

Since You've Been Gone

Since You’ve Been Gone is the stunning and enthralling book by Morgan Matson.

Sloane was the one who pulled Emily out of her shell and made her life an interesting one. But right before what should have been the most epic summer of them all, Sloane disappears without a word. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

One the list are thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily wouldn’t normally dare to try. But what if doing all of these things meant bringing her best friend back? Who knows what she’ll find in the end?

*

I absolutely loved reading Since You’ve Been Gone. This is definitely one of my favourite YA contemporary books I’ve ever read. I loved every second of reading it. I think one of the things I loved so much about this book was just that it was a really easy, cutesty read. I wasn’t worrying constantly about whether certain characters would make it to the end of the book alive, which was relaxing. I was hooked from the very beginning and I could hardly bare to put this book down. It was absolutely stunning.

The characters in this book were all dazzling and unique. I loved spending time with all of them. Emily really grew as a person in this book. At the start, she would be constantly thinking of what Sloane would do. She wasn’t very confident and all she wanted to do was to complete the list, which she was hoping would lead her to Sloane. But during the novel, Emily became a braver person who was confident to talk to new people, make friends, and do things she never thought she’d do before. I loved watching her grow and confront her fears. By the end of the book, she was such an independent, outgoing person and I wouldn’t be able to recognise the old Emily if I hadn’t watched her become this new person before my very eyes. I like how she didn’t feel as though she needed to be with Sloane the whole time in the end and how she started to live as her own person. This journey I went on with Emily is definitely a journey I’ll remember for a long time.

I also loved the little time I spent with Sloane. There were some scenes in this book written from the past. I enjoyed reading them and seeing how Emily and Sloane got along. Sloane had such a vibrant, bubbly personality. She was so confident and she would push Emily to do things outside her comfort zone. I cannot explain how much I loved all the characters in this book. Frank, Dawn, Collins, Emily’s brother, Benji… They were all amazing people to spend time with. There were some really funny parts in this book, and also some extremely cute parts. I laughed, I cried… Everything about this book was perfect.

Another thing that I loved about this book was the plot. I liked seeing how some things that were mentioned early in the book were brought back into it later. People we met before often came back into the story. The things Emily had to do for the list was really amusing to read about. I really had fun doing these things beside her.

I only found one bad thing about reading this book, but I guess it’s not even a bad thing. But… this book made me crave summer. Really badly. Where I am right now, it’s winter. In this book, the characters were on summer holidays. They ate ice-creams, went to the beach, went to parties, and did so many other fun things that people do in the summer. I found myself wishing it was the end of the year so summer would finally be happening in the part of the world I live in. I even started writing a list of things I’m going to do over the summer. Nothing like Emily’s list from Sloane, but a list nonetheless. Minus the bit about kissing a stranger. And minus the bit about skinny dipping. I’m craving the warmth. I could almost feel the heat seeping through the pages of the book. I could almost taste the sweet summer breeze. I could almost feel the heat of the asphalt seeping into my feet. The descriptions in this book were utterly breathtaking.

Overall, this book is one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. I can’t even find a proper fault in this book, that’s how amazing it is. It’s absolutely beautifully written, the characters are stunning and I completely loved the plot. I’m going to have to give Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson a score of 10 out of 10. I definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves a cutesy contemporary!

A huge thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!