This week’s reviews are a little later than normal as I’ve been away visiting relatives in the land that internet forgot. Sometimes it’s quite nice to switch off for a while. Other times, it’s annoying and you eat all your data allowance trying to load one tweet.
I’ve managed to read some great books since my last round up.
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
For months, people told me to get hold of this book. When I finally did, I soon discovered why it was so highly recommended. I love the cover, which is brilliantly designed!
When David Piper was 8, he told his class he wanted to be a girl. Now he is older, only his closest friends know this, and he’s working up to telling his parents (they think he’s gay). He is bullied at school by Harry for being different, a “freak show”. Leo Denton arrives at Eden Park school with a reputation and a desire to keep himself to himself. He only seems interested in finding his dad. Then he steps in to defend David from Harry and find himself the centre of attention and forming an unlikely friendship with David.
Hearing the story from both points of view gave a great insight to both character’s inner thoughts and feelings. At some points this is really poignant and makes you feel the emotions of the characters.
The Art of Being Normal is a heart-warming story of being transgender at school and discovering how to be who you really are, in spite of the expectations of those around you.
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
It’s tricky to review the second book in a series without giving away spoilers for the first, so if you want to be totally sure to avoid any information about Throne of Glass then don’t read any further.
Crown of Midnight continues the story of Calaena Sardothian. Calaena was my favourite character in Throne of Glass, so enjoyed learning more about her and her life before Endovier. She is a fascinating character who developed a lot in this sequel: her actions and the revelations about her past were pleasantly surprising and added a new, more mystical aspect to the story. We also learn a lot about Chaol and about the Prince and enjoy a burgeoning and dramatic romance.
I found Crown of Midnight captivating, both in terms of the story and the writing. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered the rest of the books in the series as soon as I finished reading. Definitely one to read if you enjoyed Throne of Glass.
Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Sam and Hannah are between A levels and university, waiting on results, attending parties and trying to lose their virginity, killing time until they find their lobster. Their friends are in much the same position.
Lobsters is narrated by Sam and Hannah and it was interesting to see how they both interpret the same experiences in different ways. It also adds a sense of frustration for the reader as you find yourself urging them to just talk to each other.
It’s not a story that generally reflects my own experiences of early romantic relationships, but I certainly identified with the stress of waiting for results and the tensions within Hannah’s friendship group, especially Hannah’s relationship with Stella, and I enjoyed seeing how the groups of friends negotiated the changes in their lives.
At times I very much felt my age as I was reading it and at others it mademe laugh so hard I cried. But it also conveyed the tension and angst of that life stage very well and I am sure many readers will identify with the story.
Have you read these books? What did you think?