Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

More Than This is a teen novel written by Patrick Ness and follows a boy who is washed up on a beach, naked and confused. As weird as it sounds, More Than This is a world of mystery and this only touches the tip of the iceberg.

A boy drowns. He dies. Then he wakes up. 

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Plot

This story is set in a dystopian future, but it’s not apocalyptic. It’s something else, something different, and this is what makes the story so intriguing. We’re sent on a hunt for answers, and it starts with to a boy we find lying on a beach alone and as naked as a baby. This instantly sparked my curiosity and was actually successful in making me read page after page because of how Patrick Ness writes out the way this lost boy tries to discover more about where he is, who he is and why he’s here.

Now I won’t spoil, but something that has made itself comfortable in our world is the core to this story, and it is shown to have killed our real world while we live in another. It touches a scenario that I could see become real, and installed fear in me. Because of this I wanted to read on and on, never stopping unless I absolutely had to. It was all so scary yet compelling, and I loved it.

The journey that the boy takes is paced lovely, with characters making this plot even more adventurous, with the additional touch of humour that made me burst out laughing yet gripped to know what happens next.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

So, what’s the name of this naked boy on the beach? Well, it’s Seth. Seth Wearing. And I must say, he is an absolute warrior. His determination surprised me because even though he was confused, I was expecting him to be more…desperate. There was something about him that made him different from main characters I’ve encountered in other teen novels. He wasn’t scared but rather utterly confused and wondered why he was alone and empty of memories. His strong and fierce personality made me really like him (he does have one memory/vulnerability, but I’ll let you find that out) and I felt like I was on this journey with him, trying to learn more about the situation. He made the most of what he had around him, and made the brave choice of deciding to venture out to truly understand what had happened.

Once he ventures out into the unknown, he bumps into two other characters who join Seth on his journey and enlighten him on the way with their theories. A teen girl and a young boy, they bring humour, knowledge and tears to the story, and I loved both of them. They added something extra to the story, and I couldn’t help but read more to understand them and their story as well as Seth’s. All of the characters were portrayed as strong youngsters, and their secrets/stories made them so real that I really felt for them and was tempted to shed a tear or two.

Now, there is another character within this book who acts as the villain, trying to get these youngsters for a reason unknown (later it’s revealed) and its name is The Driver. This character is absolutely terrifying (seriously though, I had hairs standing up on my arms!) and although I wouldn’t consider it a main character, it definitely plays an important role in the story. You may also be wondering why I’m referring to The Driver as ‘it’…well that’s for you to find out!

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip 

The mystery of what Seth was doing alone on a beach was just one thing that peaked my interest, and as the story went on, I found myself reading for hours. You can really immerse yourself in the story and imagine yourself walking alongside Seth, wondering about the world you’re in and what’s going on. I think it’s safe to say that the first page was instantly hooking, and I wasn’t satisfied with a few pages a night. I read this book under 2 weeks, so I was reading a few chapters a night!

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, More Than This is an amazing story with unique characters and a gripping plot that sucks you in from the first page. Intense, adventurous and compelling, I highly recommended anyone and everyone read this book and experience the dystopian future that is More Than This. 

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more More Than This reviews and any information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21969786-more-than-this

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below! 

Review: The Good Girl (By Fiona Neill)

Review: The Good Girl (By Fiona Neill)

A dark and captivating read, The Good Girl is a novel all about the secrets we keep, those that get out and the ones that end up tearing us apart.

Written by Fiona Neill, this book promises to give us a dark story with lots of drama and destruction, but is it all that?

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Plot

This story focuses on a high schooler called Romy, who happens to be the ‘good girl’ of her family, but this isn’t the case for much longer. The secrets that her family keeps soon start to come to light, and this causes Romy to change and become that little bit rebellious. Now, I could see this kind of situation happening from a mile away and wasn’t at all surprised, but it was still really compelling and I just had to read on because it all happens at a great pace that manages to trap you beautifully.

Shortly after the first chapter, we are given the introduction of new characters. They provided the perfect fuel for Romy’s family’s quiet fire, and soon this fire is spouting out drama and threatens to destroy the perfect appearance that her family were trying to convey. Secrets were coming out/resurfacing and I loved it! Romy’s damaged family managed to put Romy in a good light, but soon even Romy herself is going to be involved in something so shocking and unbelievable that it threatens to put her in a bad light. The scenes that played out were amazing but all so predictable, and sometimes I thought it was a little exaggerated. Despite this, the drama was something that reflected actual events that happen in real life, so I was happy that Fiona Neill brought these to light.

Plot Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Romy is the main character for this story, and it’s told from her POV (Point of  view). From the moment I first looked upon the sentences that were written, I knew she was completely set on her feelings for everyone around her. That is a fact until she meets her new neighbours. I have to say though, I didn’t like her at first because she seemed so confident of her thoughts and of everyone else, and this made her come across as a judgemental girl. Throughout the story however, she slowly becomes less judgemental and because of the secrets that come out, she changes her views of certain people. Even so, I still didn’t like her. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but she’s just a bit of an over-confident teenager who puts herself first before anyone else.

As for the Romy’s family and the neighbouring family/other characters, I found them to be interesting as each had their own secret, but those secrets were pretty easy to guess, therefore it slightly dulled the excitement that was yet to come.

As for the neighbouring family, they have a young son called Jay, who also happens to be Romy’s age and attends her school. Jay is your average teenager who is desperate to explore the female body and well…I won’t spoil but I wasn’t surprised when I found out his secret. He soon becomes a part of her life, but that is exactly when the fuel is added to her family’s fire. The more interaction that occurs between herself and Jay, the more the fire builds up and soon will cause chaos to both families.

Character Rating: 2½ out of 4 Stars

Grip

This whole story is full of revelations, but unsurprisingly they were easy to guess. Both families have their fair share of secrets and dark sides, but they were so predictable and a little too fictional that it wasn’t exciting. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read and definitely gripping, but not to the point that I was in love.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, it was a good read which undoubtedly started off great but soon became too wild and unrealistic and sadly I found the ending of the book disappointing, and frankly felt underwhelmed with the build up of events leaving you feeling whether you actually liked it or not.

Overall Rating: 3 + 2½ + 2 = 7½ out of 10 Stars

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For more The Good Girl reviews and any information, visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24728721-the-good-girl

Review: The Essex Serpent (By Sarah Perry)

Review: The Essex Serpent (By Sarah Perry)

The Essex Serpent is a novel of historical fiction written by Sarah Perry, who happens to be an Essex native herself. Her inspiration for this story comes from the legend of the serpent, whereby it is said to have lurked in Essex waters in the past, but who really knows, for a legend is forever a mystery…

So, what about this novel? Well, it’s set in the late 1800’s and is centred around Ms Cora Seabourne. Who is she? Well, keep on reading to find out!

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Plot

The first thing I noticed whilst starting to read this book was the style of writing. It was the type that you’d find in books written in the 1800’s, and I found this to be a great fit. It made me feel like I was reading a classic book, and I loved it. And it’s not just the style of writing that made me like this book, but the layout too. The use of letters and journal entries gave an even deeper insight to the characters thoughts, adding a greater understanding and a plot with depth. With everything that was happening, I could never guess what was going to happen next, and sometimes I was and wasn’t surprised.

Additionally, the plot is rich in detail, with descriptions of scenes and the environment written in a way I could picture them perfectly. The personalities of characters made it easier to imagine what they would have worn and what kind of decor they would have in their house or in their hotel room. With such clear and vibrant descriptions, I was able to have a vibrant imagination.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Cora Seabourne is a widow and our leading lady, and I have to be honest here…I love her! She’s unlike any Victorian lady I’ve read in classic books. She’s boystrous, outlandish and does not care about what she looks like, and I found her so refreshing. The only sad thing I noticed about her was that she acted the way she did because her marriage to her deceased husband was an unhappy one. It is hinted that she was on the receiving end of domestic abuse, therefore I concluded she found happiness in being free and not really caring about her character around other people. Even so, she came across as a strong character who only desired love, and I felt for her.

As well as Cora, there were others who occasionally took to the main stage, such as Reverend William Ransome and Dr Luke Garrett. Luke was a character I liked and disliked, but I enjoyed reading his little story because he had such strong affection towards Cora that edged on obsessive and it made me feel excited for what lay ahead. As for William, I found him to be a simple character who slowly began to question his faith once Cora came into the picture, but still he stayed true to who he was despite his urges and I liked this element. He questioned Evolution, but still considered it alongside his beliefs, and I found this kind of progression to be realistic to what would have happened to those in the late 1800’s who questioned faith over fact. Will’s character, and others, were just as important as Cora was because they allowed character progression and change, which was an exciting prospect.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

Upon beginning this book, I found that I was already a little gripped just by learning about Cora and what was happening. It wasn’t excitement that enticed me to read on, but rather curiosity. Things were already in motion once I started to read, and I wanted to know more. Once I was in the depths of this book, I realise that this story is not one that you read because of the main title, but because of the exploration that the characters go through, between themselves and their surroundings. The Essex Serpent is only a small portion of this story, with the characters and their lives being perhaps more interesting than the myth.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, The Essex Serpent is a satisfying read that I highly recommend to those with a taste for the old tales of mystery and unique love. It is packed with such detail that you dare not rush the book in fear of forgetting what happened in the previous sentence/page/chapter. The serpent itself is a mystery, and during this story I kept asking myself ‘What’s going to happen next’ and ‘Is there really a serpent in the Essex Blackwater River?’ Well, now I know. Now you MUST find out for yourself!

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more The Essex Serpent reviews and further information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32075861-the-essex-serpent

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below! 

Review: Extraordinary Means (By Robyn Schneider)

Review: Extraordinary Means (By Robyn Schneider)

Extraordinary Means is a Young Adult novel that tells the story of Lane, who suffers from a strain of tuberculosis which has no cure. He is sent to a facility that is part school and part hospital whereby he bumps into a familiar face, and finds himself making new friends and falling in love, but Lane doesn’t realise that his world will slowly start to fall apart sooner rather than later….

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Plot

The whole story takes place around Lane and his friends at the half school-half hospital facility, and I found that it flowed really nicely. I never felt confused about what was going on and always found myself entertained, whereby I was either wiping a tear away, smiling or/and laughing.

The actions and emotions of characters within the story were understandable, and I felt that I could connect with each character in each situation, even though I can’t relate to them in regards to health. The connection made it easier to feel emotional for characters and I loved it. There was so much humour that balanced well with sadness, and I welcomed this happily.

Overall, the plot was consistent and I liked that TB was never out of the picture, but rather it in lurked in the background and pounced when you least expected it, sometimes mildly and sometimes severe. TB was the reason these teens were in the facility, and that’s one thing that Robyn Schneider doesn’t let sink into the black abyss.

Aside from the TB, the story is packed full of intrigue, youthfulness and hope, and I really enjoyed every page and chapter, savouring each sentence and really thinking about the actions of characters and the events that unfold.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

If not made obvious already, Lane is the main character in Extraordinary Means. My feelings towards Lane were not negative at all, because he was actually my favourite character. At the beginning, I had no immediate thoughts about Lane, but progression into the story made me realise that Lane is your average guy (with an incurable strain of TB) who just wants to left in peace, and I can definitely relate. That is the case, until he sees a girl in the cafeteria who looks awfully familiar. Her name is Sadie and she has definite negative feelings towards Lane, until she actually gets to know him and becomes his friend. I found that the addition of friends to Lane’s character really brought him out of his shell, and I quite liked seeing him open up and become more comfortable with his environment and make the most out of what time he has left.

Now, this next thing was something I saw coming from a mile away, and that was the love that blossomed between Lane and Sadie. The beautiful thing about it was that Sadie made Lane realise that their TB wasn’t going to go away, and that this offered an opportunity that live life as you wanted within the time that was left. She was all about second chances, although I did find her version of enjoyment distasteful. She was set on the thought that alcohol was the way to go, and I thought that other ventures could have been used as a better way of enjoying themselves. Despite this, I thought Lane’s friends were a welcome addition to the story, and the love and sadness that they brought really changed them and the story to a degree that made everything quite sweet.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I think the fact that I read this book in 5 days says a lot about how hooking this was! Humorous, heartbreaking and utterly inspiring, Extraordinary Means takes hold of your heart by the first page and doesn’t let you go till you’re finished. The main message that is embedded throughout this story is about second chances and the realisation of how much time we really have to do the things we love, and I found this beautifully motivational.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, this novel is an extraordinary read and I would definitely recommend it. The youthful lust for excitement plus incurable TB really brings something to this story, and I think I know what it is – second chances.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more Extraordinary Means reviews and information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23149128-extraordinary-means

Have you read Extraordinary Means? Let me know about your thoughts in the comment section below!

Review: Twisted (By Laurie Halse Anderson)

Review: Twisted (By Laurie Halse Anderson)

Twisted is a young adult novel written by Laurie Anderson and revolves around a high school senior called Tyler. Once an average student who faded into the background, he now stands out and attracts the attention of everyone, and this sets off a string of events that no one would see coming.

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Plot

Considering it’s a YA novel, there’s no surprise that it centres around a high school student and his struggles with his home life and his social life. Even though this is the case, I found that Laurie made the most out of this common setting by adding the character’s change from being an average student to becoming a mature and strong teen. This transformation made the plot a lot more interesting because the main character introduced so much accidental drama which made his life a little worse but a bit more juicy. It’s just packed full of drama, romance, and heartbreak, enough to induce emotions for the main character and really allow you to feel immersed into the story.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Tyler Miller is in the spotlight within this story, and I have to say that he was a character I very much enjoyed reading. Tyler gains everyone’s attention because of his physique and his past actions that led him to become a ‘criminal’, but once he’s back at school and trying to be a better person, things are thrown at him that cause him to consider his place with his family, friends and the world. Every emotion that he felt, I felt too. The shock, the sadness and the anger all felt real, but Tyler wasn’t a character that most readers can relate too, so the fact that I felt emotional for Tyler made me feel strongly for the novel.

As for other character’s within this novel, all I felt was a dislike towards them. Tyler’s crush and bully only caused problems for Tyler, but I also felt that they offered Tyler the chance to develop even further as a person.

The bully always managed to put Tyler is a situation where it seemed he was the culprit, but I was happy to see further along in the story that karma made its’ way to the bully. As for Tyler’s crush, I couldn’t have cared less about her. She is a big character in how Tyler develops, but I knew from the start that her behaviour and actions would lead to Tyler learning to not fall for queen bees ever again. The fact that I disliked her also made me feel positive about the book because there were great villains within the story, and you really rooted for the main character.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I found that the plot didn’t really get exciting until you were introduced to Tyler’s crush and bully because all the real drama starts from there. As you read on, the drama unfolds further and it kept me reading on and on, whereby even more drama was going to occur. From this, I learned that every few pages would have Tyler reflecting on what just happened, dealing with it, then being introduced to a new bout of juicy stuff! All of the stuff that was going on kept me hooked, and I loved every single moment of it (from like…page 40 on-wards).

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, Twisted is a brilliant Young Adult novel but can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. It has a great plot line, a main character that you can really feel for, and is very much different from any other teenage book I’ve ever read.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more Twisted information and reviews, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/123106.Twisted

Review: Cookie (By Jacqueline Wilson)

Review: Cookie (By Jacqueline Wilson)

Cookie is a children’s novel written by Jacqueline Wilson, and is centred around a girl named Cookie who lives a very nice life on the surface, however it is not all that it seems.

I was actually gifted this book at 11 years old, but didn’t read it till I was 16. Since then, I have read it three times!

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Plot

The story starts off by introducing us to Cookie and her family, giving us descriptions to their looks and lifestyle. I found Cookie to be quite a lovely character, even though I was only a few pages into the book. She is a girl who loves animals, wants to be happy and wants to be in a loving family, but she also has the insecurities that come with almost every teenage girl. These realistic (and relatable) traits and behaviours made Cookie more real to me, and allowed me to develop sympathy and empathy for her (which is good!).

Reading further on, I found the story more enjoyable as it turned into an adventure that kept me hooked and wondering what was going to happen next. I got to see Cookie handling different situations and develop as a person, as well as to discover what it means to not look back.

Each chapter had me wanting more, and by the end I was really happy for Cookie and the happy ending.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Cookie is our main character, and I must say that I really enjoyed seeing her become a strong girl after leaving home with her mum to start fresh. Cookie is shy with a soft heart, and that’s what I loved the most. Characters of Cookie’s age in other books tend to be confident, brash and a little rebellious, but Cookie is different. She opened up as the story went on, and by the end she was a strong character that I was happy for.

I would also like to mention Cookie’s mum, who I consider a main character as well considering she is the one who starts afresh with Cookie after leaving Cookie’s father. She is very much like Cookie, but her strength has always been present and she uses this to leave her husband in order to escape her unhappy life at home. Ultimately, I feel the same way about Cookie’s mum as I do about Cookie. Both are very likeable characters that really make something of themselves as they start a new life together.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

Having read this book three times, I think it’s safe to assume it’s absolutely gripping!

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, I believe Cookie is an amazing book with a lovely story and a happy ending that leaves a satisfied smile on your face. Despite the target audience being 11 – 16, I believe everyone can enjoy this book. It’s an easy read and easily enjoyable, so pick this up when you see it!

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more Cookie reviews and information, please click the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3293749-cookie

 

Review: Ketchup Clouds (By Annabel Pitcher)

Review: Ketchup Clouds (By Annabel Pitcher)

Ketchup Clouds is a book written by Annabel Pitcher, who also wrote the famous novel ‘My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece’. I had first heard about this book at school, where my Year 11 English Teacher saw a fellow classmate reading it and had told the class how good it was, recommending us to read it. I ended up getting it at a bookstore, and thought that if my English Teacher was recommending it then it must be good.

The story revolves around a girl who has committed a dreadful act. Murder. But then one day she hears of a criminal called Stuart Harris, who is locked up on death row in Texas. Here she finds solace through writing to him, and telling him her story.

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Plot

The plot of this book is written in the form of letters, and I instantly thought this was a nice touch. Rather than our main character just going through the story, it felt like she was TELLING us, as though we were the person on death-row she was writing to. Her re-telling of events was gradual and Zoe went through each interaction and relationship in detail, right up to the murder, which made it flow nicely. Additionally, I found that I had begun to feel emotional for characters and the scenes that played out, making me feel angry for some and sad for others. These feelings made me admire the storytelling more, and because there wasn’t a fairy tale ending, it made it all the more emotional and I actually felt that the end provided unusual closure that was fitting for this plot.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Zoe is the main character in this book, therefore we only saw her side of the story (99.9% of it anyway), however this was a positive feature because we got to see the journey she took from being romantically involved with people, creating great memories, and then eventually murdering someone.

This rocky road made me feel for Zoe, and I really thought that the writing style allowed total immersion, therefore I was committed to reading more and more to really understand what made Zoe finally burst.

There are other characters present in this story, but there was only one other person who took centre stage. At the end of Zoe’s story, there was another page with a ‘letter’ that was written from Aaron, and was addressed to an ‘Alice’. Aaron was a contributing character to Zoe’s murderous act, but his character was one that I didn’t feel any hate for. In fact, I had felt sympathy for both him and Zoe (or was it really ‘Alice’? Zoe was the fake name our main character used, so it may be safe to assume her real name was Alice), and I really liked his letter because it provided closure for the story and showed me that not all tales are either sad or happy, but can be a mix of both.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

The very first page was something that I found humorous, I knew that this was going to be a book I would end up enjoying! Despite not having thriller themes or anything that murder usually takes place in, Ketchup Clouds offers something different to get hooked on, mixing ordinary circumstances regarding teens alongside ones that are not typically found in such YA novels.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, I am glad that this was recommended to me as a 16-year-old, as it offered me a story that I could easily use as transition material to better understand and read novels with crime and murder in them. It is not a love story, nor is it crime, but it is unique and I was thoroughly entertained.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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If you’re interested in more Ketchup Clouds reviews and information, click the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11088150-ketchup-clouds