Books Read April 2016

REVIEWS

THE GIRL OF INK AND STARS

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Harsh rules, severe punishment, a changed island. Joya is not what it once was. Restrictions were put in place when the Governor arrived and took charge, and the cartographer’s daughter dreams of exploring beyond the borders. When Isabella’s friend from school dies in the Governor’s orchard, she blames the Governor’s daughter, Lupe. Lupe and Isabella are close friends, and Lupe wants to prove herself to Isabella so she leaves for the Forgotten Territories alone to find the murderer. A search party follows and what they find is unexpected…

With a real classic feel, this is a magical and beautifully woven tale of a dangerous quest mapped across forgotten lands and the path that leads to a true home. Both gorgeously written and visually stunning, it was a joy to read. A story of love and sacrifice, freedom and discovery.

SWAN BOY

Nikki Sheehan

After Johnny’s dad dies, he moves to a small flat in London with his mum and younger brother, Mojo. He joins a new high school, where he doesn’t fit in. He cares for Mojo while his mum is at work. No one in the family is adjusting well to this change. Then the swans come, Johnny joins the school dance, and something in him awakens…

This is a moving story with a pinch of magic, about the strength of home and finding the courage to fly. Written with gentle beauty and truth, I read it over two days. Readers get to know Johnny as he figures out who he is now and who he was before. Grief, belonging, a new start, a bad beginning, a path to follow and one to lead. Excellent.

PAPER BUTTERFLIES

Lisa Heathfield

June has a dark home life with a cruel stepmother and stepsister and mostly absent father. She’s trapped by fear, wrapped up in secrets. Then she meets Blister in the woods. And he becomes her secret, a piece of her life that is only for June and not controlled by anyone else. In Blister she sees freedom, a way out.

A battle of fear and hope, truth and lies — I loved this book with every piece of my shattered heart. The author writes heartbreaking situations with such a gentle touch that feels so real and completely pulls the reader in. June battled with telling others if only they asked the right question, if only they did the right thing. The words were waiting to come out, right there, but something always held them back. And it was so sad and frustrating that no one could see, that what others witnessed was a cleverly twisted version of the truth. I couldn’t stop thinking about it long after the last page. Achingly brilliant.

Also read this month:

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

(See all reviews on Goodreads here)