Review – Damage

Warning: this book/review contains reference to self-harm which some may find distressing.

Tdamageitle: Damage
Author:  Eve Ainsworth
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 288, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health

How can you heal if you can’t face your past? Confident, popular Gabi has a secret – a secret so terrible she can’t tell her family, or her best friend. She can’t even take pleasure in her beloved skateboarding any more. And then one day an impulse turns to something darker. Gabi has never felt so alone. But then she learns that not everyone has wounds you can see. A searing look at self-harm and acceptance from hugely talented author Eve Ainsworth. Warning: includes content that some readers may find upsetting.

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I have been looking forward to reading Damage since I heard about it back in January, at Scholastic’s Bloggers’ Book Feast. This is a book about a girl struggling with self-harm – having read Eve Ainsworth’s previous two books, Seven Days and Crush, I know that she is an author I can trust to write about such an important topic in a way that is both sensitive and interesting. And I was not disappointed.

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Review – Optimists Die First

32310961Title: Optimists Die First
Author:  Susin Nielsen
Published by: Andersen Press
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 272, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health, romance

Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only…
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

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I read this book about a week ago as part of my WiFi-less Readathon, and I did it in almost one sitting! I’ve been itching to read it for a very long time, and was delighted to finally have the chance.

Starting with the title: I absolutely love it. I didn’t really think about it at first, but when I did my first thought was ooh that’s so funnyOptimists Die First, in my opinion at least, is a really intriguing title (also, my head teacher recently gave a weirdly motivational speech on why it’s logical to be optimistic, so that was also fresh in my mind). But my point about the title is more that it is relevant. Something that often irritates me is when YA novels are given quirky, charming titles which then turn out to have no relevance to the story; Optimists Die First was full of Petula’s random analogies of optimism and pessimism – it was clearly a huge theme. Which really pleased me.

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