ya literature

MOXIE by Jennifer Mathieu

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!


I just loved this book…

I bought Moxie a few weeks ago, and after a Twitter poll earlier this week, my followers decided it should be my next read. This was a book I spotted in WH Smith a few weeks ago when the #Zoellabookclub was announced and had decided it wasn’t my cup of tea – but then I heard good things and picked it up along with After The Fire by Will Hill the week before YALC. Proof copies were available at YALC (for a book that is technically still not out yet but exclusive to WH Smith…

Then last week I caved and bought a Kindle (my old Kindle broke a few years ago!) and I saw that Moxie was 99p. To save myself carrying around Moxie, I bought the Kindle edition and let me tell you now… go buy it. It’s 99p. And this book is amazing.

Vivian Carter is fed up of her sexist high school – all the money being funnelled into the boys’ football team, the sexist dress codes, the ‘gross comments from guys during class’ being unpunished. Inspired by her mum, a former punk rock Riot Grrrl, Viv creates Moxie, a feminist zine, which she posts in girls’ bathrooms around her school. Soon, Moxie is taking off, and the girls at her school start to stand up and shout out the sexism around them.

I loved the portrayals of friendship and family in this story – I thought Viv’s mum’s new relationship and previous history as a Riot Grrrl were great and made you think, particularly about being in a relationship with someone with differing political views, and adjusting to life back in a small town after a wild and adventurous youth. I also loved how Viv was very similar to her mum and inspired by her – I thought this made the characters so much more realistic (and I always love present parents in YA!).

I was a little conflicted about the relationship in the book – I think it served a purpose of talking about how men can be feminists too, and nobody can be a perfect feminist, but I’m also tired of very heterosexual relationships being a mainstay of YA! This book could have easily stood up without the romance – and Seth was a little too classic swoony book boyfriend for me.

The feminism in this book was done well – I really related to the girls’ issues at school with sexist dress codes (having had one at school myself!) and nobody was a perfect feminist. Viv’s best friend also shunned feminism which I thought was a nice touch (and another example of characters with differing political views managing to get along and understand each other!).

I also loved the portrayal of American high schools in this novel – it was so enjoyable in addition to being a very important book.

The drawings inside (the Moxie Zines) added some more fun to this novel and they were perfect for this novel!

One gripe I do have is about the cover – I love the design but the finish of the UK cover (at least the Zoella edition) is matte and papery to make it more like a zine – but despite having not read the paperback, my book has started to look a bit tatty!

This book is so inspiring and thought-provoking (it handles a lot of interesting arguments about feminism today very well) that I must implore you to go out and read it. Now.

annalsie

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Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

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Frostblood by Elly Blake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a proof of this book in a Fairyloot box last year and can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up!

Frostblood is the story of Ruby, a Fireblood. The Firebloods and Frostbloods have been at war for as long as anyone can remember, and the Frostbloods are currently in power. The Firebloods have been hunted and killed, and Ruby has to stay hidden to stay alive. When her safety is compromised and her mother is killed, Ruby has to work with rebel Frostbloods to topple the throne.

This is an absolutely stellar debut novel from Elly Blake, with beautiful world-building and compelling characters. I really submersed myself in this world and loved the storytelling. The book definitely has elements of the Throne of Glass series and other YA fantasy novels, but it’s all done so well. I was gripped by the romance and there were so many twists and turns that made the story shocking and exciting.

The romance was done particularly well in that it wasn’t the main focus of the story and was pretty swoony. I really enjoyed the romance and the main characters were fleshed out particularly well.

If you’re looking for a YA fantasy with a fully immersive world, definitely check out this debut by Elly Blake. I can’t wait for the second book, Fireblood, which is due out in September 2017.
View all my reviews

Annalise x

YALC Reading List Part 8!

I’m back! June was a really busy month for me, with the end of university and having to pack and move – but it’s not less than a month to go until YALC and so I’m here to complete the reading list!

You can catch up or re-read the first seven parts here – one, two, three, four, five, six and seven!

Let’s get back into it…

57. Nat Luurtsema

Book to read: Girl Out Of Water

I’ve seen a lot of this book around lately on the Twittersphere, and it looks like a great read for fans of Rae Earl, Holly Smale and Jenny McLachlan (think My Mad Fat Diary, Geek Girl, Flirty Dancing…). When Lou Brown’s best friend swims though to the Olympic time trials, she had to adapt to a new life post-swim without her best friend… and a chance encounter with three boys could change her life forever. This one has some really great reviews, so if you’re looking for something to read that’s fun and summery, give this one a go.

58. Sarra Manning

Book to read: London Belongs To Us

I’m a big fan of Sarra, and have loved some of her adult novels – I recently read and reviewed her most recent young adult novel, London Belong To Us, here. It’s a really fun summer read and a beautiful ode to London, brimming with diverse and realistic characters. It’s such a quick read too, so perfect to pick up before YALC.

59. Taran Matharu

Book to read: The Novice/The Inquisition

I was really impressed with Taran last year at YALC, where he appeared on the panel for young authors. His first book, the Novice, found fame on Wattpad, and was published last year, with the sequel, The Inqusition, was published in May this year. The Summoner series revolves around an apprentice blacksmith who learns he can summon demons, and is put through gruelling training to fight in the war against orcs. The third book in the trilogy is yet to be released.

60. Julie Mayhew

Book to read: The Big Lie

Julie’s debut novel Red Ink was nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award. Her most recent novel, The Big Lie, is set in Nazi England and is a coming-of-age novel. Jessika, a future world champion ice skater and all round good girl, is threatened by the beliefs her best friend, Clementine, who is outspoken and radical. The Big Lie sounds really interesting, tackling the issues of sexuality, belief and loyalty.

61. Anna McKerrow

Book to read: Crow Moon

I attended a workshop run by Anna at last year’s YALC, but haven’t picked up any of her work. Crow Moon follows a boy, Danny, who finds himself suddenly powerful and in love with a powerful sorceress, Saba. The second book, Red Witch, came out earlier this year and follows Melz, who runs away from the Greenworld and finds that she is special, desired. Red Witch picks up where Crow Moon left off, but follows a different protagonist.

62. Jenny McLachlan

Book to read: Flirty Dancing

I read the first book in this quadrilogy this year – review here – and really enjoyed it. Each book focuses on one of a former group of friends, and the first book focuses on Bea, who enters a talent competition dancing with the school hottie, Ollie, who happens to be her ex-friend Pearl’s boyfriend (Pearl also has her own book!). These books are so fun, and would again be a quick read to pick up before YALC.

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63. Meredith Miller

Book to read: Little Wrecks

This one isn’t out quite just yet – it’ll be out in Summer 2017! (I guess there’s a small chance of ARCs?) No cover just yet but this one sounds very promising! The novel tells the story of three teenage girls living on Long Island in 1979, and explores themes of sexual violence and mental health.

64. Patrick Ness

Book to read: A Monster Calls

Admittedly, I haven’t read any Patrick Ness – I’ve looked into buying some of his work but nothing has screamed out at me (probably a good thing looking at the state of my TBR). A lot of people are big fans though, and he has won every major Children’s book prize, including the Carnegie medal – twice. He’ll be talking about the film adaptation of his book A Monster Calls (of which he also wrote the screenplay), which is about a monster that turns up at Conor’s doorstep – it’s just not the monster he expected from his nightmares. If and when I pick up a book by Patrick Ness, it’ll probably be this one.

That’s it for this week’s installment – I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll be back next Sunday with more recommendations for this year’s YALC!

Annalise xxx

Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

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The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

Firstly, I would like to that NetGalley for the preview of this book.

Secondly, I’m going to start with a disclaimer. I kept on falling asleep reading this book. I don’t know whether that’s because I had an exam this week (hence the short hiatus from reviews), but I’d guess it has something to do with the fact that the pace of this book is extremely slow (almost whimsical) and so don’t be fooled by the fact that this book is ‘only’ 300 pages – it took me a lot longer than usual to read (perhaps due to the aforementioned nodding off problem).

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Gottie Oppenheimer is a prospective physics student, who loves science. Last summer she had a summer romance with her brother’s best friend, Jason (her brother doesn’t know), and then her grandad died, and it took its toll on her. This summer, her childhood best friend is moving back home, and Gottie starts uncontrollably time travelling. Cool, huh?

I loved that Gottie loved science (a LOT of characters seem to love English Lit, hmm) and that science was theme through the book. STEM subjects are way underrepresented in YA literature, often because female characters are a little stereotypical – artsy, creative, usually not unlike the author themselves. I also loved that Gottie was in that AS/A2 gap (similar to Frances in Radio Silence, review coming soon) and trying to decide what to do with her life.

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I was also surprised to learn this is set in England (i’m too used to US-centric YA) and I liked the setting and backdrop to the story. The little droplets about UCAS applications, etc. really appealed to me, and I’d love to read more UKYA in the future (especially when they’re definitively set in the UK rather than some nameless place).

Something I find a lot of novels lacking is period talk. There’s a scene which I really appreciated – Gottie gets her period unexpectedly and stuffs her knickers with toilet roll to avoid a leakage. It’s a short and sweet passage, but there are no ramifications – periods are often only mentioned when they’re missed and a surprise pregnancy occurs. Please can we have more candid period/body talk – it’s something a lot of people experience and which is never discussed in literature (perhaps it doesn’t need to be explicitly).

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I loved the character of Gottie’s father – particularly that he was German, a real live parent with an interesting story. Firstly, often parents in YA novels are mysteriously absent, and they rarely have a backstory of being an immigrant – they tend to appear to have lived where they do their entire lives.

On the story of parents, it appears being the parent of a YA protagonist has a very high mortality rate. This isn’t necessarily a problem with the book, more of the genre in general – parents are always mysteriously absent (and often conveniently dead) and Gottie’s mum is no exception.

I also found that Gottie had a severe lack of actual friends – especially good female friends – as she shut everyone out. I’d love to see more female friendships featured in YA.

The love triangle didn’t feel forced or unnatural, and it was dealt with really well. Love triangles (or chevrons, as they should be called) are cliché, but this was different, and realistic.

Plot-wise, the time travelling got a little confusing – sometimes I’d imagine the characters one place, and then it’d turn out they were somewhere completely different.

Overall, a sweet time-travelly read which made me feel like it was actually summer (but it’s still March).

View all my reviews

The Square Root of Summer will officially be released May 5, 2016 (in the UK).

Annalise x