June 2015 Book Reviews

 

THE ACCIDENT SEASON

Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The accident season comes around once a year, signified by the deaths of family members and a string of both minor and major injuries. During this time, the family – Cara, Alice, Sam, and Melanie – wraps up in extra layers, take precautions, and the house is transformed into a knock, scrape, and accident-free zone. Mostly. But through kept secrets, unexplained injuries, and the mystery surrounding one of Cara’s former close friends, the siblings are determined to break away from their curse and find out what’s really happening to them. 

With a secrets booth, tarot cards, a haunted house, a whispering river, dream catchers in the trees, and dolls on the forest floor, THE ACCIDENT SEASON is bursting with personality and atmosphere. It’s a strange and beautiful book and I was under its spell from the start. The perfect pacing pulled me along dreamily through the story, the romance and friendships, the masquerade and ghost tales. This is a breath-taking debut, something special, and a new favourite for sure.

Though incredibly unique, it will appeal to fans of THE RAVEN BOYS and BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA – dark, magical, and utterly mesmerising. So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season…

LYING OUT LOUD

Kody Keplinger

Sonny and Amy are best friends. When Sonny is kicked out of her house, she moves in with the Rushes, sharing a room with Amy. Sonny uses Amy’s phone and laptop, and accidently chats with a guy from school online . . . who likes Amy. Realising her mistake, Sonny sets out to tell the truth (something she has a hard time with), but after sharing more than she intended, and on more than one occasion, the idea of telling Ryder that he was talking to her and not to Amy gets increasingly awkward. Sonny can’t seem to stay away though, and her lies eventually get her into trouble.

HP quote coming: As the muggles say, truth will out!

I loved this book. It was a sweet, fun story of friendship, boys, and . . . lies. Sonny’s lies made her feel safe at the time, but as they mounted up things became messier and people got hurt. I liked how unsure I felt about where things would go while reading, and I liked seeing Sonny’s character grow. Amy’s too. The story featured some favourites from THE DUFF, which I really enjoyed. I raced through this one. It was fab!

PS I STILL LOVE YOU

Jenny Han

Lara Jean’s love letters were never supposed to be read. When they were mailed out to the five boys, and the boys started approaching her, things got a little awkward. Especially as one of the boys she had a crush on was her sister’s boyfriend. Lara Jean and Peter, another one of the five, formed a deal to help each other. They pretended to date, but things soon started to develop between them. TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE was like a really big hug—full of cute and I couldn’t wait to read its sequel…

Since falling for Peter, Lara Jean figured all the love letter fuss was behind her, but one is still out there and she’s only just getting the reply. That paired with the drama of dating, ex-best friends, social media, and memes, Lara Jean’s life is changing a lot and she begins realising the other things that are changing around her too—like Margot being at college, the idea of her dad dating, and Kitty turning ten. Lara Jean’s getting used to having a boyfriend for the first time as well, and all the questions that come with that. And she’s dealing with more than one person liking her at once, finding herself in a bit of a head versus heart situation. There’s so much to this book, so many layers, it’s just wonderful.

This is the type of story that makes you want to shut out the world, get snug under a blanket and fall completely into it. I could sit and read it in one big gulp. Lara Jean in an absolute delight. I’d never want her to change, not for anybody. There were subtle, positive messages weaved into the storytelling, which is always a plus. I was very impressed by that. Also the food. This is a perfect summer read, but great for winter too—set around Christmastime, with snow and cosy food. Think cake. (Actually, last Christmas Eve I baked some Lara Jean inspired cookies!).

These books make me ridiculously happy. They make me think of being a kid in summer, of first crushes, adventure and promise, of home, growing up, holding onto good memories, and the love and strength of family. PS I STILL LOVE YOU is utterly charming, and captures so much in its pages. Highly recommended.

CIRCUS MIRANDUS

Cassie Beasley

Micah Tuttle believes in magic, in the stories his dying grandfather told him about the circus he discovered as a boy. There, the Man Who Bends Light promised Grandpa Ephraim a miracle, and he’s finally calling in his favour. He sends a message to the Lightbender and Micah goes to great lengths to make sure his grandfather gets his miracle – but do they both share the same wish?

This is a highly praised middle-grade novel with the magical wonder of The Polar Express and Peter Pan, featuring a strange and quirky cast with curious gifts. Micah is not afraid to take flight to help the people he cares about. And his non-believer friend Jenny turns out to be the perfect partner. Their bravery and adventure together makes a delightful story centring around a magical circus and what you can achieve when you believe. Absolutely charming, peculiar in the best way, and imagination at its finest. Be transported to an enchanting world within our own and discover what it means to Micah to love, to lose, and to find a true home. Just listen for the music and follow the wind.

UPROOTED

Naomi Novik

The Dragon, a powerful wizard living in a tower by the Wood and protecting surrounding villages from its danger, chooses a girl every ten years to stay with him in the tower. The whole village believes it will be Kasia, Agnieszka’s best friend. When the Dragon attends the choosing, he surprises everyone with his choice—most of all Agnieszka. But she is capable of greatness, of things she may not have had the opportunity to discover alone, and soon the Dragon doesn’t seem so bad after all…

Set in a magnificent fantasy world, UPROOTED is utterly enchanting with its dark wood, spells and potions, and fascinating cast. I particularly enjoyed Kasia’s character. She was the only one without power or training to draw on and yet, at times, was the strongest and bravest of all. The story has a real classic feel to it, a true fairytale. I did struggle reading it at times as the heavy descriptions slowed the story down, though it was a brilliant story taken overall. And there were parts that were outstanding. The world-building was something I really enjoyed, the writing was beautiful, and the story was very unique.

ALSO READ THIS MONTH:

In the Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach