Yesterday, I shared the first half of my recent reads. Make yourselves comfy for another round up of the next three books I read!
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Everyone (especially Steph) has been telling me to read this book. Thanks to it being the Northern Bloggers book choice for November and the #SundayYA book last week, I finally got round to picking it up (don’t judge me, I have over 300 must reads on my TBR).
Simon Kelleher, founder of a gossip app, is killed in detention. The other 4 pupils are suspects, but who did it? I’ll confess, I guessed the actual suspect early on because my brain is weird like that, BUT One of Us is Lying is so clever that I did doubt that guess on several occasions and, of course, there was so much more to the story than just whodunnit. When the big reveal arrived it was more than I anticipated, and parts of it were a shock (and yet somehow also obvious in hindsight).
The story is told from the viewpoint of the four suspects: Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper and Nate. One of the things I loved most about this book was how distinctive each of the four voices was. I never had to check whose chapter I was reading. Each character had their own intricate backstory, all had things they were hiding and motives to kill Simon. I enjoyed the suspense: it really could have been any of the four who killed Simon.
I loved how the story also focused on them individually and how they formed unlikely friendships, united in their desire to be cleared of suspicion. Each had something they needed to face up to and Simon’s murder forced them to do this.
I don’t want to say much more for fear of ruining an excellently written book. So let me just add: One of Us is Lying absolutely lives up to all the hype and rave reviews, so if you still have it on your TBR, you really should pick it up!
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Frances is quiet and studious and has a secret obsession with a podcast called Universe City. When she is asked to do the artwork for the show, she is thrilled. Then she realises that she has met the show’s creator and things change. In Aled, Frances finds a life outside of study and someone around whom she can be totally herself, and Aled finds a friend who really understand him. When the two fall out, both find their worlds an emptier place. I adored both these characters and their unlikely friendship.
I also loved Frances’s mum who is now my parent goal in life: completely supportive and wondefully sarcastic. She’s a strong contrast to Aled’s mum who is…something else entirely.
Radio Silence is a book about discovering who you are and being true to yourself in the face of societal pressures. The representation of bisexual and asexual characters was fantastically written, as was the dilemma of chosing a path in life (to university or not?) Aled acts almost as a cautionary tale for Frances and shows us the dangers of doing things to keep someone else happy.
Radio Silence has a really unique narrative voice; I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like it. Frances really stands out and all the characters are very well-written.
This is one of those many books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, and now I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner. I hope that many others will pick it up and love it as much as I have!
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Stop what you’re doing and get your hands on a copy of this book.
Do I have your attention now? The Nowhere Girls is such an important story and everyone needs to read it. I do have to add a trigger warning for rape and sexual assault, so be mindful of that if you are likely to be affected.
It tells the story of Grace who moves to a new town, into a house where the previous inhabitant has left messages on the walls. Lucy was raped. Noone believed her.
Grace forms a friendship with Erin (who has aspergers and her own story) and Rosina (who is struggling with family and is subject to unwanted attention because she is “brown and gay”). The three form The Nowhere Girls: a group determined to change the sexist attitudes and rape culture at their school. They start small and soon every girl is a Nowhere Girl.
It is a story of a school’s collective guilt. We see the effects of everyday sexism on the girls at the school, as well as the sexual assualt and rape elements. The Real Men of Prescott blog made me equally angry and sick: one “alpha male” talking about his conquests and how to get girls to sleep with you.
I was completely prepared for this book to be a call to action, to make me want to fight the patriarchy. I wasn’t prepared for the reaction the Nowhere Girls faced in the book. The teachers side with the boys. The head herself says:
“I think the girls involved in this need to stop for a moment and ask themselves what their part is”
The extent of the victim blaming is at once outrageous and completely realistic.
The story is written mainly through the voices of Grace, Rosina and Erin and each has a unique voice and experince to share. Other chapters are titled “US” and these were the chapters I enjoyed most; they gave us an insight into so many different girls and their viewpoints and experinces, putting a spotlight on how widespread these issues are.
The ending is tentatively hopeful. The Nowhere Girls have started something, and it’s up to all of us to carry it on.
If you’re looking for an outstanding feminist read with a really important message, The Nowhere Girls is where it’s at.
That’s my wrap up for another week. What did you think of my choices this week?