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If Noah Can’t Even were a TV Show…

It’s Thursday 18th May and it is my turn to host the Noah Can’t Even Blog Tour! Thank you to Scholastic for inviting me to participate and Simon James Green for writing the book and this blog post!

 

If Noah Can’t Even was a TV show…

This is good fun! What if Noah Can’t Even was a TV show? Who would my dream cast be? Casting a TV show is actually quite a long and complicated process, so I’m going mainly on visual references here, or actors I’ve seen play similar types of role, who I love.

Noah

The casting of Noah would be crucial. In my head, he looks a bit like Asa Butterfield – especially in shots where he’s wearing glasses. Noah is geeky, but sweet, with dark hair – and, of course, he’s a bright, intelligent boy. Asa’s maybe a little younger than 16 in some of these pics, but you get the idea…

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Harry

Harry’s a bit taller than Noah, has slightly cooler hair, and, as Noah mentions, ‘the beginnings of proper arm muscles.’ He’s a real ‘boy next door’ type – very sweet, with beautiful eyes. I’m thinking someone a bit like Logan Lerman – but a British, 16-year-old version.

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Josh Lewis

Josh is 19 and the hottest lad in school… only there because he’s agreed to put Uni off for a year to help out the sports team… obviously. Everyone looks up to him and admires him. He’s pretty much perfect – physically, anyway. Definitely has very distracting abs. Oh, it’s really awful having to search the internet for pictures like this… um… how about someone like KJ Apa? (But again, KJ Apa doing a British accent, or else a Brit version of him!)

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Sophie

Intelligent and sophisticated Sophie takes Noah under her wing and doesn’t mind when he’s massively awkward with her in all sorts of situations. Everyone needs a Sophie in their lives. There’s a fab British actress called Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness (she was in the Ab Fab movie) who might just fit the bill…

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Eric

Short, greasy, and pretty disgusting in so many ways – Eric is bad news. He’s the school blackmailer, with underworld connections and a habit of knowing what everyone is up to and using it to his advantage. He’s not like this in real life at all, but Craig Roberts in this role in Being Human, has always been my reference for how Eric looks.

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Jess Jackson

School ‘bad girl’ Jess Jackson is bad news for Noah. But, boy, is she popular with everyone else! She spends a lot of time making sure she looks great, and she’s got a super-mean streak. This actress is American again, and her hair colour doesn’t quite match the description in the book, but I rather like Madelaine Petsch, who can currently be seen playing Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale.

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Gran

Good old Gran! Always there for Noah, she’s great at giving him good advice… most of the time! She’s not old enough, but maybe with make-up and her great acting skills Julie Walters would be a good choice here? I’m a huge fan and she’s so funny, I think she would play Gran brilliantly.

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Huh. All this talk of casting has got me excited for a TV series or movie of Noah Can’t Even! Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?!

Simon James Green

Simon James Green

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

http://www.simonjamesgreen.com
@simonjamesgreen

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I did! Noah Can’t Even is out now, published by Scholastic.

annalsie

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Review: The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself in this One
The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, and I finally got to read it, and it is seriously beautiful.

Amanda Lovelace crafts some beautiful, relatable poetry from her own experiences. I’m always amazed at how poetry can make you feel *something* in such a short space of time.

My only hesitation with this book is that I read it so quickly. Lightning fast. The art of Amanda’s poetry means that there are actually very few words, and so this book is a very fast experience. It was also fairly expensive (£10 in the UK).

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annalsie

Review: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm
Animal Farm by George Orwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m finally on winter break and reading a tonne – I think (fingers crossed) I’m over my reading slump! I have a load of reviews to catch up on and hopefully will be posting more regularly over the coming weeks.

Animal Farm is a novella by George Orwell which was written during World War Two (in 1943, to be exact). What at first appears to be the story of farm animals rebelling against their farmer and setting up their own farm, is underneath a political statement about communism and Stalinist Russia. Really, this book is an education – if only you can understand the metaphors and relate the actions of the characters in the book to what actually happened in Russian history.

I genuinely loved this book – it’s clever and educational as well as being relatively easy to read and understand. I did have to look up who each character is playing (e.g. Napoleon as Stalin, Snowball as Trotsky) and the significance of the events in the book (e.g. the Battle of the Windmill is an allegory to the Battle of Stalingrad).

Animal Farm is a quick read (it’ s just over 100 pages) that is an interesting observation of society and human nature, as well as a statement on Russia in the early 20th century.

Definitely worth a read, especially if you’re trying to read more classics!

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annalsie

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**Disclaimer: copy received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

3.5 stars

And I Darken is the first in a new trilogy by Kiersten White, whose Paranormalcy I have previously read and enjoyed, but just didn’t carry on with. It follows Lada Dracul, the gender-swapped version of Vlad the Impaler. Pretty awesome, right?

I loved the concept of this novel from the outset, and knew I just had to read it. I love Dracula, and I love alternate histories.

The novel begins with Lada’s birth and childhood, which I really enjoyed seeing – we rarely see the background of a character, and this beginning felt very different. We’re dropped into Wallachia, gaining an insight into the upbringing of Lada and her younger brother, Radu, from whose perspective the story is also told. Lada is boistrous and violent, whilst Radu is quiet and timid, and these were fun roles to explore.

We slowly see Lada and Radu grow up, and soon they are traded and betrayed by their father to the Sultan, whose son, Mehmed, they soon grow close too. I actually really liked the character of Mehmed, who struggles with politics and power. The only problem with Mehmed is that everyone and their dog appears to be in love with him. The romance between Mehmed and Lada is interesting, simply because she struggles with wanting to be her own woman, and also with jealousy of Mehmed’s wives and concubines, which I thought brought an original and refreshing twist on a typical romance. She also rebuffs his advances which I liked – many girls in YA simply fall for the handsome prince when he dares to look their way.

My problem with Lada is the same problem I had with Celaena Sardothien in the first Throne of Glass novel – for a character advertised as cutthroat, murderous and ravenous for blood, she doesn’t do much killing. In fact, she’s left behind while the men go off to fight, and she never kills except for in self defence. I think there’s a hesitation with authors to write a character, and especially a female character, who actually is a bit evil, and does actual killing without remorse. Lada really did show promise at the beginning of the novel, but she just didn’t live up to her promise.

Another problem I had – and this is perhaps my own fault – is there were so many characters in this, and I forgot who they were and what had happened previously to them. I did put this book down about 1/3 of the way through in early June and pick it back up to finish it a few weeks later, but some of the characters just weren’t memorable, and then became important. I loved almost all of the female characters, but I just became confused about who a lot of the male characters were and when they had been introduced.

What this book really needs at the beginning is a map and a timeline – I got confused when time skipped ahead quickly, and had no idea what year it was or how old the characters were, although this would have been easier with a real life copy of the book.

What ultimately led me to give this book 3.5 stars was the voice – this book is written in third person limited, and so we don’t really get to see the feelings and motivations of the characters, and I felt a bit disconnected from them.

This book did however inspire me – I really want to see more alternate (or not) historical fiction, especially in unusual time periods and locations like this one. It genuinely is an original book, and I’d love to see more books like this on the market. I also really appreciated the inclusion of religion in this book – it’s a topic often shied away from, and it certainly wasn’t here.

Overall, a really refreshing read with an original concept, but that fell a little short of excellent.

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Annalise x

Review: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale

Sunny Side Up
Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Disclaimer: Review copy received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

Sunny Side Up is my first Geek Girl novel (and it’s technically a special novella) although the first book is waiting for me at home – and I can’t wait to dive in.

Harriet Manners, the ‘Geek Girl’ of the series is a geek turned supermodel, and Sunny Side Up is the story of her debut at Paris Fashion Week. Harriet is intelligent and fascinated by facts – I love how there’s so much interesting information packed into this book and I loved the Paris setting. I believe we see a lot of the characters from the main series in this novella.

I loved this Summer Special, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the main series – this is such a fun summer read, and definitely one to pick up if you are a fan of the main Geek Girl series.

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Annalise x

Review: My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

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My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

**Disclaimer: Received from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review**

First off, the cover design is gorgeous – it looks great on my bookshelf and the cover is so summery!

My Favourite Manson Girl is the story of Anna, who, when faced with family breakdown and being forced to move schools, steals her stepmother’s credit card information and flies from Georgia to California, to stay with her sister, Delia, a struggling actress. Soon she is thrust into the Los Angeles scene, researching Charles Manson and his ‘Manson girls’ for her sister’s ex-boyfriend’s indie film, whilst spending time on set with her sister’s current boyfriend as he writes for a cheesy kids show.

Alison Umminger’s writing is funny and fresh, and the whole book feels summery and original. The story turns dark at times, and seems to be a true reflection of Los Angleles (not that I would know, having never been there!). I loved the interesting family dynamic and the flawed characters (in particular, Anna’s mother, her sister Delia, and Anna herself) – each character had good times and bad times, times when they were unlikeable and others when they were perfectly nice. I particularly liked how Anna, the protagonist, was unlikeable at times, making judgments about other people and bullying a girl with her best friend.

The entire book is thought-provoking, with comparisons drawn between the seemingly crazed Manson girls and Anna’s own friends and family, as well as people in general. Anna also questions her own judgments and fascination with celebrity – the rash judgments she makes when first meeting people tend to be wrong, and Umminger perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to be a teenager, making decisions and judgments which feel right, but ultimately tend not to be. The romance especially challenges Anna’s preconceived ideas and was a sweet seam through the story.

Overall, a dark, summery read and a great addition to YA – original, fresh, and true to life. Definitely one for the summer TBR list!

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Have you read My Favourite Manson Girl? Will you be reading it? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x

Review: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**Disclaimer: copy received from NetGalley and Hachette’s Children’s Group in exchange for an honest review**

Wolf by Wolf is the book you get if you mix motorcycles, The Book Thief, The Man in the High Castle… oh, and just a little sprinkling of shape-shifting. It is an alternate history in which the Nazis have won World War II, and the Holocaust has continued – and the experiments at one particular concentration camp have led to Yael, a young Jewish girl, developing the ability to shapeshift. Driven by the memories of the loved ones she has lost, Yael takes upon herself the task to shift into the only female winner of the Axis tour, a motorcycle race from Germania (Berlin) to Tokyo, so that she can get close to the Fuhrer… and kill him.

Yael, posing as Adele Wolfe, must keep her identity secret and battle against others seeking victory and glory – and make some difficult choices along the way.

I really enjoy alternate histories, especially realistic ones – and so this book was right up my street. I wasn’t too sure on the premise of a motorcycle race, but it works well, and it allows Yael to meet interesting characters and question herself. I loved the flashbacks to the people Yael had lost and her ‘origin’ story – it’s a little dark at times, but that should be expected in a book centered around the consequences of the continuing Holocaust.

I really loved the twists and turns in this novel, and it felt about the right length. There was a good story resolution, but a few loose ends were left – which will presumably resume in the second book, which deals with what happens after this story ends.

Overall, a fresh young adult take on World War II alternate history, and an original addition to the young adult genre. I look forward to the second book in the series, and I may need a physical edition of this book to add to my bookshelf.

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Will you be picking up Wolf by Wolf? If you have, what did you think? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x

Review: V for Violet by Alison Rattle

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V for Violet by Alison Rattle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: Review copy received via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.


Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…

V for Violet is the story of Violet, a working-class girl in the early 1960s, stuck working in her family’s fish and chip shop. Her life is shadowed by the loss of her older brother during the war, and her arrival into the world a year later largely went unnoticed – the loss of Joseph still hangs over the family, 16 years on.

Violet is also drifting away from her best friend, Jackie, who has a new job at the sugar factory, and with it, a new gaggle of friends.

And then there’s Beau – the rocker who Violet can’t help being attracted to.

First off, I loved the setting – I loved all the little historical details, and this book really does feel like a fresh addition to the YA market. This is a book which makes you feel like you’re immersed in the 1960s, and the plot involving Joseph was really well executed. I loved the murder mystery element to the story – it really adds a tone of suspicion to most of the characters, and again, it feels different to a lot of YA novels today.

Most YA characters tend to be middle-class, with no money worries or a care in the world – but not Violet. Still being bossed around by her parents, she rebels with rocker Beau, your typical bad-boy and suspected murderer. Even though the bad boy rhetoric has been done a thousand times before, Violet’s attraction to him in understandable, and the murder mystery aspect of the novel adds a darker edge which makes Beau stand out.

I also enjoyed the sub-plot with Jackie – both Jackie and Violet are growing up – and apart – which is a story that I think most people can relate to but is rarely touched upon in YA. Often the heartbreak of losing a dear friend can be more than losing a love interest, and the difficulties in Jackie and Violet’s friendship are realistic and relatable.

If you’re looking for a new UKYA novel that will sweep you off to the swinging 60s, V for Violet is available in all good UK bookshops from 7th April, 2016.

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Annalise x