Welcome to a new little mini-series of mine that I'm starting called Little Book Reviews where I'll review 3 or 4 books with a theme. All spoiler-free(because there are twists so good that if you go in to them with your mind pre-blown it's like, what is the point?) Today the theme is simply Young adult and I think it just so happens that the authors are both American too.
I'll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson*
Published 2015. Read April 5th 2015, 5 stars.
"Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world."
This was my second Jandy Nelson novel (the first one is the next one on this post) and I absolutely fell in love with this book for so many reasons. So, the characters are so amazingly real to me and everything that happened to them and the way they reacted was just 'so Jude' or 'very Noah' of them which backs up the idea that these characters are so bloody real as well as Jandy just being such an awesome writer. In the back of my book (I had a proof so I don't know if it's in the printed version) where Jandy says she went to an art gallery and thought the characters were so real she was thinking things like "I wish Noah and Jude were here". Aah. Jandy has this wonderful way of writing where the characters are in such horribly tragic situations but these teens are dealing with it in real ways. It's the metaphors that lighten the mood for you, and not
fucking putting the killing thing between your teeth and not let it kill - just wonderful overexaggerations thanks to the imaginations of teenagers who get anxious, cringey and are so intense. I felt young reading this book (and I'm only 22 but I suppose if you were to peel away my skin you'd find my true age to be a happy, tubby 66 year old or something on the inside.)
I gave this 5 stars because I got emotionally invested and just couldn't put this down until I got to the ending. I highly recommend you go to your nearest book store and buy this.
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson*
Published 2015. Read March 26th 2015, 4 stars.
"Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to centre stage of her own life - and suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two boys. One boy takes Lennie out of her sorrow; the other comforts her in it. But the two can't collide without Lennie's world exploding..."
I was lucky and managed to pick up two Jandy Nelson proofs some time ago at work without even knowing if they'd be any good. I'll Give You the Sun is my favourite of the two, but I still enjoyed The Sky is Everywhere. Again, it's a character in a tragic situation that you'd never wish on anyone but it's a wonderful read with a lot of humour - I feel weird when I say those two things together, like I'm so twisted (to be fair, I did describe Castaway with Tom Hanks as hilarious when it's really not) but if it was a sad book then that would just be no fun. The characters are quirky and brilliant again and what's more is that these novels are easy reads and are different on the inside too. The Sky is Everywhere has so many pages of poems and notes by Lennie tucked at the start and end of chapters. It's different, and wonderful.
Another great one, like seriously, I'm so excited by Jandy Nelson's novels. I want her to make another bright book (with a red cover, I'd really like to get all the primary colours together on a shelf, it would be beautifully) because I would definitely pick that up. She's one for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, so what are you waiting for?
Dead Ends by Erin Lange*
Published 2014. Read January 28th 2015, 4 stars.
"Dane Washington and Billy D couldn't be more different. Dane is clever and popular, but he's also a violent rebel. Billy D has Down's Syndrome, plays by the rules and hangs out with teachers in his lunch break. But Dane and Billy have more in common than they think - both their fathers are missing. Maybe they'll just have to suck up their differences and get on with helping each other find some answers."
I really enjoyed Erin's writing style, especially when writing about something so bold. Even though I've just basically fangirled over two romance books, I'm not so much a fan of romance. Dead Ends stood out to me because it's not really a romance book at all, the sole focus is on two unlikely friends who are looking for answers, looking for dads. Erin has wonderful characters too, the big thing for this book is that the fantastic Billy D has Down's Syndrome so we see how he handles school and his home life, which is similar to Dane's - both single working mum's looking out for their sons. Dane is refreshing too, he's essentially a bully with anger problems - normally the victim is our MC in books but we get to see both sides of the coin. this book was shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children's Book Prize too, meaning a lot of people thought it was great too.
If you're looking for something different then give Erin Lange a read. She also has a novel out that I'm dying to read called Butter about a boy who is going to eat himself to death live on the internet.
Lately I've felt a lot of pressure, thanks to my growing sidebar, that I need to write big long posts to fill the space. This has put me off writing reviews a little bit because sometimes when it comes to books and talking about them I get so excited I just word vomit everywhere. But then I got a brilliant idea for a new little mini-series that I'll write whenever I can; Little Book Reviews is going to be me giving little happy reviews to books I've read (some recent, some not so recent) because I want to review every book I read. Blame Goodreads for this urge to review everything. This post will hopefully be the first of many!