Tag Archives: Young Adult

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Overview
Over Sea, Under Stone | Book by Susan Cooper | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

Title: Over Sea, Under Stone
Author: Susan Cooper
Series: Dark is Rising #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Camelot, Fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 27th – 28th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: McElderry Books
Year: 1965
5th sentence, 74th page: But they seemed to go for the books, and I can’t vouch for those.

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Synopsis

All through time the two great forces of Light and Dark have battled for control of the world. Now, after centuries of balance, the Dark is summoning its terrifying forces to rise once more – and three children find themselves caught in the conflict.

Simon, Jane, and Barney, on holiday in Cornwall, discover an ancient map that leads to a grail: a vital weapon for the Light’s fight against evil. The search for the grail becomes their quest, and they risk their lives in a race against sinister human beings who serve the dreadful power of the Dark.

Thoughts

I bought the box set of Dark is Rising ages ago. Partly because it was on sale, but I also have a tv series based on this series and I’ve heard good things about it. But then, because the covers of my versions aren’t the most attention-grabbing, I kind of kept forgetting about them. And wow, am I kind of regretting that fact. This book was wonderful and intense and seriously, wonderfully enjoyable. Most definitely a great start to a series. One that I plan on reading more of in the (hopefully) near future.

In the past year I’ve started to find and enjoy some Camelot stories. I don’t know a lot about Arthurian lore, not anything that isn’t seriously mainstream. But it’s definitely something that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more. A theme and base that is used beautifully in this story. The whole tale is about the search for the Grail. And I’m getting some serious King Arthur vibes from Simon. There was also that nice little crumb at the end of the story about Merlin which I’m really looking forward to unpacking…

From the moment you open this book, you are pulled into this great adventure. As a child, I might have even tried to solve the little riddles and clues that are riddled throughout the novel. But, as an adult, it was just a lot of fun to be pulled along on this adventure. This unexpected journey that takes you all over the countryside pulling you into a story that you won’t forget anytime soon. One that had me smiling and gleefully turning to the next page again and again throughout.

This is a fantastic, wonderful and very, very enjoyable adventure story. One that has introduced me to a whole new world that I can’t wait to sink further and further into. I love that although the battle is over in this story, you can feel all the hints and horrors of the war to come. And now I can’t wait for the next mystery to be revealed!

<- More Susan CooperThe Dark is Rising ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Overview
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin’ #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 1st – 2nd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: And now I know.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’, to her mum) has always been at home in her own skin.
Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body?
Really, the criteria is simple.
Do you have a body?
Put a swimsuit on it.

But life as Willow knows it is about to change. And when this happens, she suffers an unaccustomed and unwelcome attack of self-doubt. So in an effort to regain her confidence, Willowdean enters into the local Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs and a wildly unforgettable heroine – Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. And send you out to buy the bikini.

Thoughts

I bought Dumplin’ a little while ago. Because I loved the Netflix movie, and, so far, all of the books that I’ve read which have been adapted into Netflix content has been glorious. And this was no different. Dumplin’ the movie was amazing, and Dumplin’ the book was also glorious. I read this cover to cover in about a twenty-four hour period, struggling to find a way to actually be productive in the meantime…

I should probably preface most of this review by stating the fact that I’m quite skinny. So the ways in which a “fat girl” or really any of the outcasts in this book feel is kind of foreign. Having said that, I was bullied, just for different reasons. But I love that Murphy is able to place you in Willowdean’s shoes. And show you all of the emotional and insane entanglements which come with being a plus sized girl. One with a beauty queen mother.

There is something that is always glorious fun about those fish out of water stories. The ones in which the outcast who doesn’t quite fit in chooses to stand up and stand out. Willowdean does this amazingly. And it is a great reminder that we should all jump up and grab what we want in life. Without waiting for someone else to tell us that it’s ours. It seems like such a simple choice, but no matter what your status or what the world tells you, sometimes you need that reminder that living your best life starts with putting your best foot forwards.

I absolutely loved this book. The older I get, the more my body changes, and the more I question what I see in the mirror. It doesn’t matter what size your body is, everyone has things that they love and don’t love about themselves. Murphy reminds us that we all have our own issues. And Willowdean is able to remind us that there are so many different ways to find our own strength and identity. Even on the days that we kind of hate the body that we find ourselves in.

<- More Julie MurphyPuddin’ ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Overview
It's Not Summer Without You : Jenny Han : 9780141330556

Title: It’s Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 23rd – 24th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “It’s my prom.”

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Synopsis

When something is perfect, you hope it never ends…

Isabel’s lazy, long hot summers at her family friends’ beach house are over.

Conrad – sexy and unavailable – is the only boy she’s ever loved. He’s left for college, taking her heart with him. Jeremiah, his gorgeous brother, is still Isabel’s best friend – but maybe friendship isn’t enough for him any more…

Isbael just wants everything to stay the same, because change means moving on. But if she stops looking back, will she find a future she never knew she wanted?

Thoughts

I’m very on the fence about this novel. Belly is a bit of a selfish pain. I thought that in The Summer I Turned Pretty but felt that she’d grown up a little by the end of it. And then I started this, and it felt like we were right back where we started. It wasn’t so painful that I had to put the book down, and I’ll still read the final book in the trilogy (because I really want to know which brother she ends up with), but it’s the kind of trilogy that I need a good gap between readings.

The most difficult thing I think I found about this story is the idea of a girl being between two brothers. Love triangles often aren’t my favourite trope, I just can’t understand them in my own little reality. But when the love triangle involves two brothers? That just feels wrong and cruel. I mean, I know that it even happens in real life… but still… how can you kiss one brother and then the other?

Aside from the weird love triangle stuff and immaturity, I did seriously feel for Belly throughout this. Losing someone is always tough, and this story really highlighted the ways in which grief shows in all of us differently. And that there is no right or wrong way to deal with losing somebody. Actually, I think that the way in which Han dealt with this issue and plucked at the heartstrings is why I bought up the rating which I gave this novel.

All in all, this isn’t a book or series that I would give away, because the potential for rereading it far into the future is there. But, it’s also not a series or novel that I’m going to dive into picking up again and again. Maybe when I was younger, and could relate to Belly a little more… but as an adult? She’s kind of frustrating…

<- The Summer I Turned PrettyWe’ll Always Have Summer ->

Image source: BookDepository

Begin, End, Begin edited by Danielle Binks

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Begin, End, Begin
Author: Danielle Binks, Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Alice Pung, Michael Pryor, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer & Jaclyn Moriarty
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 30th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t imagine what they’d think of Diamond Rose Fashions.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all.

With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world eactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection, one that I wish was around when I was finishing high school. It’s all about those moments on the cusp of adulthood when the world is stretched before you and you’re suddenly responsible for yourself. It’s kind of a huge, pivotal point in someone’s life, so a collection on this was completely fantastic. And although I’m not exactly that young anymore, this was still a great journey that reminded me of the decisions we make in life.

I love that #LoveOzYA has come up with a collection of Aussie YA authors. This, and Kindred have introduced me to so many new and wonderful authors to fill my shelves with. Something that I’m always looking for. And the fact that they’re homegrown and often write about the areas that I’m more familiar with? It’s very, very much appreciated. I hope that they come out with a new collection soon!

I didn’t know any of the authors in this collection, other than Melissa Keil when I bought it. Now I have a handful of amazing new Australian authors to add to my wish list. Some that will challenge me, some to enthral, and some just to leave a giant smile on my face.

<- Competition Entry #349One Small Step… –>

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Competition Entry #349 by Jaclyn Moriarty

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Competition Entry #349
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Well done, she said to me.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

It’s a competition to win five time travel trips of ten minutes each. Explain why you should win in 25 words or less…

Thoughts

This is an incredibly meandering and very funny short story. It honestly sounds exactly like a teenager refusing to get to the point and basically telling their life story. Actually, it reminded me a lot of my sister when she was a preteen… she’d start the story at a. Then take about a thousand detours and end up at 10. I was never entirely sure where we were going with a story, or what the point was, but it was always fun.

The format for Competition Entry #349 was completely unique. I have never read a story that is supposed to be a competition entry. It was kind of amazing how Moriarty managed to tell a whole story in a piece that was a competition entry. She got so much history and detail into just a few short pages. You also got to know the character very well in an incredibly short space of time.

Just thinking about this story, the day after I read it to write this review has left a huge smile on my face. It was so light, funny and just downright cute. I am completely intrigued to see if I can find anymore books / stories by Jaclyn Moriarty now…

<- Last Night at the Mount Solemn ObservatoryBegin, End, Begin ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Prom Nights from Hell
Author: Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: We could have; my house was miles from town on an unmaintained dirt road, with no nearby neighbours to complain.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Worried that prom is gonna bite?

In this collection, bestselling authors including Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and Meg Cabot (How to be Popular and The Princess Diaries) take bad Prom nights to a whole new level – a paranormally bad level…

Wardrobe catastrophes and two left feet are nothing compared with discovering you’re dancing with the Grim Reaper – and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look…

From vampire exterminations to angels fighting demons, these five stories will be more fun than any DJ in a bad dinner jacket. No corsage or limo rental necessary – just great, sexy, scary fun!

Thoughts

This wasn’t too bad a collection. It was a bit soured for me towards the end since I don’t really like Stephenie Meyer. And she was the author who rounded out the collection. But, the other four novellas were still great, so, ultimately I really enjoyed this collection.

I’ve always thought that prom was incredibly stupid. I wouldn’t have gone to my own formal, if it wasn’t for the fact that the school told us we wouldn’t graduate if we didn’t go. Luckily for me, this collection proved that prom is stupid. And at least these stories featured some really entertaining and interesting proms. Ones that I might have even been excited to go to.

I liked all of the stories in this collection. I didn’t necessarily jump head over heels for each of them (with Cabot and Harrison’s being exceptions to this). But I did enjoy the majority of the stories. They were fun and quirky and took me on an adventure that I really wasn’t expecting.

Even though this isn’t my favourite anthology on my shelves. I would most certainly read it again.

<- Hell on EarthThe Exterminator’s Daughter ->

Image source: Harper Collins

Hell on Earth by Stephenie Meyer

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Hell on Earth
Author: Stephenie Meyer
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher:Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: He could see Melissa, her head on that stupid jock’s shoulder, her eyes closed.

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Synopsis

Gabe just wants prom night to be good, fun and filled with love. But, there’s a hitch in his plans and he might just be able to save her.

Thoughts

I was so hoping that this novella would begin to redeem Meyer to me. But it really didn’t. partially this is probably because I went into it with a negative expectation. But also the fact that it is, in general just not that well written. Her writing still feels clunky to me. Clunky, not well edited and just not enough to be interesting.

The idea of this novella was kind of brilliant. And I think that most other authors, I would have happily read the novella and actually enjoyed it. But, that is just not destined to be the case for this story.

I won’t write much about this as I don’t have much to say that is positive.

<- Kiss and TellProm Nights from Hell ->

Image source: Harper Collins

Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory by Danielle Binks

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory
Author: Danielle Binks
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 22nd November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Tonight is no different; Em’s legs are in Adelaide’s lap and she’s sitting up to talk to her, their faces so close together that Ravi has to lean round the back to hear, one hand on Em’s shoulder for balance.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

It’s her big brothers last night in town, and she doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Sometimes it’s important to say goodbye.

Thoughts

As an older sister, I’ve never considered what it was like for my younger sister when I left home. And I didn’t move that far away. This was a great story that actually made me stop and think about what that moment was like for her. I can’t imagine that it would have been easy, and I almost wish we had’ve done something special together in that last night that we lived together.

Last Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory sparked all kinds of nostalgia for me. It was a great ode to sibling relationships and the love you can feel for people. It was also a fantastic way to highlight the feeling of loss, but empowerment when you finally leave the place that you know is pulling you down. It’s most definitely a difficult feeling. But it’s also one that we must all go through.

Lastly, the thing that I probably loved most about this story was that it featured someone who has a disability. In the case of this tale, the older brother is deaf. I would personally love to learn Australian Sign Language and this was really a reminder why. It’s always great when a story, any kind of story, features somebody from a diverse background.

<- The Feeling From Over HereCompetition Entry #349 ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Kiss and Tell by Michele Jaffe

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Kiss and Tell
Author: Michele Jaffe
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Superheroes, Young adult
Dates read: 20th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Like little dolls, yeah, he liked to think of them that way.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Miranda just wants to be like everyone else and go to the prom with the boy that she likes. But an awkward encounter and an irritating client are about to make her prom a very interesting and action-packed night.

Thoughts

Being a teenager is super awkward. It doesn’t really matter how you look at it, that’s just a fact. But being a teenager with superpowers? Yeah, that would be particularly difficult. Which is why I loved this story – it’s all about a girl who is just trying to navigate the horrible teenage years. But then has all these extra, added difficulties.

All in all, I didn’t think that this was the worst prom night ever. In fact, it seemed like it would actually be a little bit fun. If it wasn’t for the fact that there were multiple gunmen hunting different people. And, there is a happily ever after moment at the end of this which was seriously sweet.

Sibby is a bit of a pain in this story. But Miranda is a great lead and completely drew me in. They balanced each other well, and I had this image of the two finding a way to be friends long after the ending of this story. I mean, an irritating Kiss Bandit and the Roller Derby Princess? That’s a friendship that I can get behind.

<- Madison Avery and the Dim ReaperHell on Earth ->

Image source: Harper Collins

The Feeling From Over Here by Gabrielle Tozer

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: The Feeling From Over Here
Author: Gabrielle Tozer
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 18th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: That night he’d drafted a text, scribbled a letter, started Facebook message, but he didn’t follow through with any of them.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Lucy Faris is stuck on a bus to Melbourne. Which would be bad enough, if it wasn’t for the fact that the boy she thought she liked, and then decided she hated didn’t just get on and sit down next to her…

Thoughts

This short story has an amazing pace to it. It’s not necessarily quick, and it’s most certainly not all that typical. But it worked. I love that each little segment was split into the time at which it happened. Sometimes large gaps of time, sometimes smaller. It was an absolute pleasure to proceed through this journey, one step at a time.

I love that Lucy is a completely kick ass year twelve. She has definitely got a bit of attitude, and plenty of gumption to herself. She’s fun and a little bit quirky. The messages that she is constantly sending to her friends just help to top off her great characterization. Then, flipping her point of view with Cam’s to show why he has acted in certain ways… well, it helped me to bond with both characters in a very short amount of time.

I imagine that a year from the ending of this story, Lucy and Cam totally got together. And had some kind of happily ever after. Because I’m a sap who totally believes in love stories.

<- Oona UndergroundLast Night at the Mount Solemn Observatory ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia