Wing Jones by Katherine Webber Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A heartfelt story about family, tragedy, and one girl’s journey towards believing in herself.

Wing Jones by Katherine WebberWell, what a lovely surprise this book was, in every sense of the word. I came back from holiday last week to discover a book-shaped package. I racked my brains, unable to remember purchasing anything. The last thing I expected was an advanced reader copy from my favourite publisher for a book that wasn’t on my radar (It also came with free shoelaces, woohoo!).
I would like to thank the lovely people at Walker Books for giving me this free ARC in exchange for an honest review. I think you know my book tastes better than I do. 😉 I don’t know if I would have spotted this novel on my own, but oh, I enjoyed it so much and the protagonist was such a special little gem.

With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. When tragedy strikes, she discovers an extraordinary talent she never knew she had.
Wing’s running could bring her family everything it needs.
It could also keep Wing from the one thing she truly wants.
Continue reading

YA Book Recs: Novels that Respect Mental Illness

Mental-Health-Awareness-Week-Logo.pngHello, everyone! This week is mental health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation. As this is an area I’m really passionate about both personally and as a psychology student, to do my bit I’ve decided to run a blog feature where I and guest bloggers talk about mental health related topics paired with books and/or blogging to help raise awareness. 🙂 Today I’m welcoming Cristina to the blog!

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Hello, readers! I’m Cristina and I’ve popped over from my YA book blog Girl in the Pages to chat with you today. I’m going to be focusing on YA book recommendations that portray mental illness in a way that is respectful, insightful, and engaging. While it’s great that mental illness is becoming a more prevalent theme in YA, it’s also too often used as merely a plot device or perpetuates stereotypes, doing more harm than good. Finding authors who provide the needed research to effectively write about mental illness as major themes in their books is important not only to bring awareness to the conditions, but to set a standard for the integrity of including such themes in books. I’ve chosen to focus on three major mental illnesses that have novels that portray them with research, respect, insightfulness, and when appropriate, creativity. Continue reading

My Top 5 Books Featuring Mental Health!

Mental-Health-Awareness-Week-Logo.pngHello, everyone! This week is mental health awareness week run by the Mental Health Foundation. As this is an area I’m really passionate about both personally and as a psychology student, to do my bit I’ve decided to run a blog feature where I and guest bloggers talk about mental health related topics paired with books and/or blogging to help raise awareness. 🙂

So the first thing I want to talk about this week is some of the best fiction books I’ve read featuring mental health so far in my reading journey. There are a lot of novels about mental health out there, but only a few I’ve come across that do it well, without romanticising illness or having characters fall into certain stereotypes. It’s a difficult balance to master, but here’s five that do it well!

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Dual Reviews: Discovering J.D. Salinger and Revisiting Charles Dickens

Hey guys, gals and enthusiastic bookworms. I’ve decided to go all highbrow today and review some classics, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger and A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I’m pleased to say that I’ve come to really enjoy reading classics, they make for such an interesting reading experience because even if you don’t end up loving them, you always learn something! I went through a patch last year of not reading many, but my enthusiasm for them has recently been renewed so I picked these two off the Rory Gilmore Challenge to give a go. As always, I am not an English major, but here’s what I thought:

Overall Impression: A fascinating character study of a young teen full of contradictions.The Catcher in the Rye

I don’t know why this book works, but it does. On paper, it sounds oh so boring and like a school child’s required reading worst nightmare. It’s a book where nothing happens, where the main character after getting expelled from his private school, wanders around New York City meeting up with random people because he doesn’t want to go home and confront his parents. It’s a story about a whiny privileged white kid who throws opportunities to have a good life away, and yet somehow, despite sounding like a recipe for disaster and epic hate, it’s absolutely wonderful. But I can definitely see why this book has split so many opinions! Continue reading

Discussion: On Choosing Not to Read a Sequel

Do you ever choose not to read a novels sequel

As a bookworm, I have always been intent on finishing series, in fact, it’s basically a compulsion. I have finished reading series when I’m not that bothered about the characters or how their stories turn out, I’ve finished series that have awful writing, and I’ve even finished series where I’ve absolutely hated everything to do with it by the end. Why do I torture myself like this? I feel the need to see things through to the end. I also don’t like to quit and finishing books gives me a sense of closure. And until now (despite having had previous resolutions to give up series I’m not enjoying) I haven’t come across anything that has contradicted this.

However, recently I’ve come across two books that were incredibly enjoyable, heartfelt and lots of fun where I’ve questioned if I should read the sequel. Continue reading

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A touching, emotional, yet ultimately uplifting story about an unlikely relationship.Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I was very suspicious about this book. In fact, I was sure I wouldn’t like it.
It wasn’t my normal genre AT ALL and its horrendous chick-lit cover (not the one you see pictured, I like this one better) was so cringe-inducing I barely had the willpower to pick it up. BUT, I knew it was a popular bestseller with an upcoming movie, and the book was bought for me by one of my best bookish friends and she had only glowing things to say. So, I took a deep breath, tried to keep an open mind, and settled down with a cup of tea and a blanket.

Lou Clark knows lots of things.
She knows how many footstepts there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now, and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I wasn’t converted by Me Before You straight away, and everything about it seemed unremarkable initially. However, Moyes slowly drew me in. Continue reading

Dual Review: Two Amazing Books that Tackle Mental Health

Overall Impression: A feminism-focused book featuring heavily on mental health, that shows the importance of learning to accept who you are, faults and all.

Am I Normal Yet by Holly BourneAs soon as I knew what this novel was about, I had to have it and bought it the first opportunity, and I’m glad I did, because it’s the most realistic YA book about mental health I’ve ever read. Way to go Holly Bourne!!!

Am I normal Yet? follows the story of Evie, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (the more well-known contamination type where people feel the need to over wash/clean for fear objects and dirt will cause harm) and generalised anxiety disorder (which causes disproportionate worry about many everyday situations). Since being sectioned, Evie’s worked hard to get her life under control, she’s going to counseling, she’s on medication, she’s working on goals and concrete steps. But now she’s starting at a new college, she’s desperate and determined to be normal by keeping her mental health problems a secret. Evie wants to do all the normal things teenage do, having friends, going to parties and most importantly, dating and finding a boyfriend. But as she starts to slowly come off her meds, she’s constantly plagued by the fear that her bad thoughts are creeping back in…and the problem is that wherever you go, your problems go with you. Continue reading