Review – Unconventional

32820770Title: Unconventional
Author:  Maggie Harcourt
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st February 2017
Pages: 464, paperback
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance

Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…

***

Unconventional was the first book I read as part of my YALC reading last month, and it was such a perfect way to start! From my first quick skim of the blurb, I knew this would be a fun read, and I was right; this book is like a little ray of sunshine, and proved to be a lovely summer read.

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Why YA?

Note: this was one of my English coursework pieces for GCSEs, and I thought I’d publish it on here now that results day is over (and also I got full marks for this so yeah).

YA literature. What is it? It’s astonishing how many people have no idea what I’m talking about when I say I’m a YA fan. YA (Young Adult) literature is aimed at anyone aged from twelve up to their early twenties, although it often reaches a wider audience. It is the bridge between literature for children and for adults, and whilst its readers understand the importance of YA fiction, many would barely consider it ‘proper’ literature. It’s topical, it’s accessible, and in my opinion it gets people reading more than any other genre. So why is it belittled by so much of the literary world?

Reading is important. This is a fact that is almost universally acknowledged by society; it helps to build our vocabulary and literary skills, to broaden our imaginations, and to expand our knowledge and understanding of the world around us. For these reasons, children are encouraged to read from the moment they are physically able to, and rightly so. However, the very people who preach about the importance of reading to children throughout their childhood look down on the widest, most relevant genre in literature for teenagers, which is most likely to inspire them to read.

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a thing about belonging

I just got back from holidaying abroad, and I recently spent five days in a beautiful hotel resort with some family friends. I’ve been to this place eight times before; we visit almost annually. The first times I went, I was about seven years old, and I now look forward to this trip all year round. As well as it being my favourite place in the world, I also love the group we go with; there’s eleven of us, five adults and six children. We have started a tradition, and there’s just something about tradition that’s so . . . warming, if that makes sense.

A group of us all climbing into bed early in the morning, with our rooibos teas and coffees; this has gone on year after year, with us growing too big for just one double bed, but squeezing in nonetheless. Sitting on the beach as the sun set, with wine for the adults and cool drinks for the young’uns (a very big deal to child-me, who was usually limited to water and orange squash). And every year, we would collect cowries on the beach, as many as we could find. I think we were told as children that cowries were rare, and from that moment on they were like gold to us. But now, the value comes from the tradition. Tradition and words spoken to young, spongy minds. That’s what causes us, fully grown almost-adults, to scour the beach for tiny shells that we know will be lost as soon as we’re home. I have found nine cowries this holiday.

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is it worth finishing a bad book? | discussion

Reading books, reviewing books, blogging about books – books take up a huge amount of our time. As readers we consume plot after plot, filling our heads with new stories on a regular basis. But how often do we find ourselves reading something dull? Or farfetched, or poorly written, or just bad?

Honestly, this doesn’t happen to me as much as it used to, as since starting this blog I pay much more attention to the books I’m choosing to read. And when it does, before I even worry about whether to review the book or not, and how many stars to give it, I have to think about if I even want to finish reading.

On the one hand, it is important to read books you don’t like so much – it helps shape your tastes as a reader, and in future you’ll know what genres and plots to steer away from. To a degree, it also depends on the book, and where it came from; if you’re a blogger, maybe you requested the book for review, and so feel obligated to finish it. Or maybe a friend gave it to you to read, and you want to see it through to the end for their sake. If a book is problematic, it may be worth finishing it so that you can voice your opinion in a review (although, is always the option of a DNF review). And if it’s a ‘marmite’ book, personally I would want to read it, if only to form my own opinion. There’s also another plus, one that’s quite simple: it will count towards your Goodreads total – because if you’ve made a start, surely it’d be a waste of time to give up?

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Review – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

the loneliest girl in the universeTitle: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author:
 Lauren James
Published by: Walker Books
Publication date: 7th September 2017
Pages: 290, paperback
Genre: 
YA, sci-fi, romance

‘Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?’

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

***

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe has been one of the most-anticipated 2017 releases for so many people in the YA community. I too, was dying to read this – I loved Lauren James’ The Next Together, and her newest book sounded just as amazing (as well as having quite possibly one of the most beautiful covers ever). I will say now that I really did enjoy this book, but unfortunately not as much as I was expecting.

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The Social Media Tag

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I was tagged by Emillia @ Emillia Blog to do the Social Media Tag – this is not a book-related tag, but I think it’s a really great opportunity to share lovely blogs and bloggers, and so I have been looking forward to doing this so much! Thank you so much to Emillia for tagging me (you can check out her answers here!), and thank you to Chloe, the original creator of this tag.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the person who tagged you.
  2. Choose a Blog or Blogger per category and explain why you chose them.
  3. Tag others to do this (up to you how many)

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