20 Books of Summer #3 & #4: Young protagonists

What a Way To Go by Julia Forster I couldn’t resist the cover of this book – it was the ghetto blaster (as we called boomboxes then) on the front and cassette tapes on the back that took me right back to around 1979 when I bought one with my holiday job pay from the Read More

Two novellas, vignette style, but oh so different!

I really enjoy a good novella, one-sitting stories. One writing style that seems to particularly suit novellas is a story told in vignettes – each section a paragraph or two, at most a couple of pages. They often cut the story down to the bare bones, leaving you to read much between the lines – Read More

She’s Nailed it!

How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson Allison Pearson’s first novel,  I Don’t Know How She Does It, published in 2002, was an instant bestseller and one of the defining women’s novels of the time about the pressure to have it all.  Her protagonist, Kate Reddy, was a successful fund manager in the City, Read More

A modern classic teen text?

Forever by Judy Blume Blume wrote Forever back in 1975, long before the YA subdivision in children’s publishing had been conceived of.  Her novel of “first love, first sex and first heartbreak” was a brave one then, resulting in it being banned in many schools and libraries. However it became an underground and later mainstream Read More

Two Shorter YA reviews

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher This is the third novel by Pitcher, the first I’ve read, although I own a copy of her prizewinning debut My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. It also fills in the box on my BookBingo Card ‘by an author who shares your first name’… The story is narrated by Tess, a fifteen Read More

Two Mental Health Issue-led YA novels…

Today, I have two slightly shorter reviews for you of YA novels that explore similar themes: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall The pink cover (available in three shades actually, going from medium to full-on shocking pink) does this novel no favours at all. Concentrate instead on the gilded cage and the heart that doesn’t Read More

Paris in July

Paris in July is an annual event hosted by Tamara at Thyme for Tea – it’s now in its seventh year. Given recent awful events in France, reading a French novel seemed a good way to show support. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan Translated by George Miller When first published in English translation in 2010, Read More

An Atwoodian YA tale…

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill It’s rare that a cover quote on a book cover sums up a novel so completely, but the one from Vagenda on one of the paperback editions of Louise O’Neill’s debut novel is near-perfect: ‘Mean Girls meets The Handmaid’s Tale’ But of course I can’t leave it there! The moment I Read More

Shiny New Books Issue 8

I can’t believe that when our next issue of Shiny New Books comes out at the beginning of April, we will have been going for two whole years! The last issue of our second year is out today and features the winning poem in the first Shiny Poetry  Competition – it’s lovely. Naturally, you’ll find a handful of reviews Read More

It’s a break-up novel…

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler Daniel Handler, best-known as the author of the Lemony Snicket series of books for children has also written several novels for adults; I reviewed one of them – Adverbs – here. Like Lemony Snicket, Adverbs was quirky and full of off-beat humour. Why We Broke Up is a little Read More

Trending: Tough Issue Lit for Teens

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s orignal timeline from my lost post archive. See, being an eternal optimist, I can’t even bring myself to say the word ‘suicide’ in my blog post title – yet as a subject of teen novels, I’m seeing it and mental health related illness cropping up more and Read More

A novel of fragile youth and Sylvia Plath…

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Meg Wolitzer is best known for her quirky feminist novels about gender politics. I admit I’ve not read any of them, although the comedy aspects of her novel The Position appeal, in which a couple’s children discover that their parents are the creators of a sex manual featuring themselves, this event having Read More

“We gotta get out of this place…”

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran I’ll start up front by saying that this book is one of the sweariest, wankiest, shaggiest stories I’ve ever read, and it’s narrated by a teenager who is just fourteen at the outset. The Read More

School's out, summer's in, time for Panic…

Panic by Lauren Oliver Scene – a small town in middle America, school’s out for summer. For those who’ve graduated high school, finding a full-time job will be a priority unless you’re one of the lucky few who are off to college. The town of Carp is small and poor – no-one has any money.  But there Read More

A sad beginning and a happy ending cut oh so short by tragedy …

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini While I was doing some research into age appropriate novels for younger teens for a post on the topic back in November, I kept coming across books for older teens Read More

Be of good cheer! (No, not that type of cheer)…

Dare Me by Megan Abbott An image of pony-tailed cheerleaders is arguably the ultimate cliché when we think of the most popular girls at High School in the USA.  Most teen films portray them as bitchy, and not big on brains. They are there to look like clean-living girls next door, to strike poses, but Read More

Old heads on young shoulders, and yet …

Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes Narrated by an eighteen year old photographer, MacInnes’ novel captures the essence of what it was like to be a teenager in London in the late 1950s … Mr Wiz continued, masticating his salmon sandwich for anyone to see, ‘It’s been a two-way twist, this teenage party. Exploitation of the Read More

Come dine on – oops – with me…

The Savages by Matt Whyman Not since I read the wonderful book, The Radleys by Matt Haig, (reviewed here), have I found a YA novel such fun.  Just look at the cover – you know it’s going to be hilarious.  You can sense that the Savages are a close family – like The Munsters or The Read More

‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood’…

The Almost Lizard by James Higgerson I’m twenty-one years old today, and once I’ve finished this little introduction I’m going to kill myself. … Not many can spend their final few weeks on this earth writing their autobiography, a to-the-minute summary of all that has occurred within their lifespan. But most of us leave this Read More

Annabel's Midweek Miscellany

It’s so long since I did a bits and pieces post – it’s only worth doing when you’ve the requisite bits to talk about though… Firstly, advance warning to local quiz fans – The Mostly Bookbrains Literary Quiznight is returning in April, Friday 19th to be precise.  No further details at the moment, but all Read More

Q&A with Sophie McKenzie and a giveaway of her latest teen book…

This week the final part of author Sophie McKenzie’s hard hitting ‘Missing‘ trilogy for teens is published. Missing Me completes the story started in Girl, Missing, and continued in Sister, Missing. The books follow the story of Lauren, who is adopted and has always known that. In Girl, Missing, Lauren is fourteen. One day she Read More

You shall go to the ball …

Invitation To The Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann Florence at Miss Darcy’s Library is hosting a week of reading Rosamund Lehmann. She is another of those authors from the middle decades of the twentieth century that I’ve been meaning to read for ages – and luckily I had one of her books on my shelf. Invitation Read More

Two Naughty Schoolgirls…

Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge Harriet Said was Beryl’s first  work written in the late 1950s.  However it ended up as her third published novel, as its darkness struggled to find a publisher initially.  It is the story of two teenaged schoolgirls and what they got up to one summer holiday… The two girls are an Read More

The bookish equivalent of shouting at the telly!

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers. This was one of the few titles on the 2011 Man Booker longlist that excited me from the short descriptions I’d read. I was familiar with Jane Rogers, having read Mr Wroe’s virgins, and Promised Read More

An Education – See the film, read the book

Usually I always read the book before the film, but in the case of An Education by Lynn Barber, I saw the film on DVD first. In this case it didn’t matter, for the events that were adapted for the film, composed just a chapter in her memoir.  It was originally written as an article for Granta magazine and Read More