Sunday, 24 April 2016

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman Review and Giveaway

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What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside. But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself.

Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets. It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness. Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has. (Publishers' blurb)

Publisher: Harper Collins (25th Feb 2016) 
It goes without saying that I read a lot of YA. Most of it is excellent (because I’m very picky) and some of it is not so much. ‘Radio Silence’ is by far the best YA I’ve read this year and in my top 5 of all time. I loved it so much that I bought an extra copy to give away and share the joy (details below).

I was slow to jump on this one because I’d read so much hype about it. Sometimes I find hype really off-putting, as I build a book up only to find that I just can’t get into it. ‘Radio Silence’ is deserving of all the hype and more.
My favourite part about this was the voice. I can’t remember another book for teens that so accurately captures the teenaged voice. This authenticity goes for the first person narrative and the dialogue, all of which struck me as super realistic. I remember those feelings of working out who I was and who I wanted to be all too well and this book captured that beautifully. ‘Radio Silence’ delved into issues like gender, relationships and identity in a way that felt really authentic and honest.  
I usually have mixed feelings about social media in YA. It can make a book feel current and authentic but too often feels forced in or in danger of dating a book. In ‘Radio Silence’, social media was woven into the narrative in such an integral way that the book would’ve fallen apart without it. Rather than making the book feel dated, Radio Silence’s use of social media has created a snapshot of what it’s like to be a teenager in 2016.
I like to say something that I didn’t like about a book to give a balanced perspective but for once I can’t think of a single thing. I loved everything about this book and I can’t wait to see what Alice Oseman will write next!
 


Now for the giveaway! Simply follow me on Twitter (@yaundermyskin) and retweet the pinned tweet about this review for a chance to win. The giveaway is open internationally and ends Sunday 1st May, on which date I will let the winner know and announce it on my blog.
Good luck!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan - Review


Publisher - Clarion Books (5th April)

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets. Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men's deadly connection and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth. Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy or herself? (Publishers' Blurb)

I received an advance reader copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

After reading the blurb on Netgalley, I was excited to be approved for this. The premise really intrigued me and I loved the concept of a book based on 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens.

One of the main strengths of this book was that the rationale behind magic was explained creatively and the world was as darkly intriguing as I hoped it would be. In places, the plot turned disturbing and I think this was necessary for the volatile circumstances of this world. The pacing and the author's writing style also kept my interest. Lucie's family background and her experiences of both light and dark magic were more of my favourite aspects.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It ticked a lot of my usual boxes, including the well-realised world, plenty of action and romance. There was just something about it that left me not quite as invested as I like to be. I think this was a combination of the plot feeling quite familiar and Lucie's character not fully winning me over.

I've read other work by Sarah Rees Brennan and I would read more of her books, although this isn't my favourite.

 




Sunday, 10 April 2016

Starflight by Melissa Landers - review

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Publisher: DISNEY-HYPERION (18 Feb. 2016)

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it's not like the law has ever been on her side. It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home - and the eccentric crew that feels like family. (Publishers' Blurb)

The blurb of this book ticked so many boxes for me - I love anything Western-like and the hinted romance was promising. I took it on holiday hoping for a fun, fast paced read and that was exactly what I got.

I haven't read a lot of YA set in space so this was a refreshing change. The sci-fi elements and the Western feel of a lawless realm complimented each other. My favourite part of this was the ship's crew: a flawed mixture of characters that were all interesting and well developed. The romantic elements were suitably drawn out and incredibly enjoyable (although a tad predictable). 

The dialogue in this book was another strength, as it was witty and believable (not unlike the TV show Firefly, which shares a lot of elements with this book)

This was a thoroughly entertaining, action-packed read. I'll definitely check out the Alienated series by Melissa Landers after reading this. 



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If you liked the sound of this, now try:

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff