Despite my wildly inconsistent posting schedule, I’ve somehow become an interesting enough person to have read FOUR WHOLE BOOKS out this month. Before they came out in a shop! Wow! I had a couple of thoughts on them.
THE BUTTERFLY SHELL by Maureen White (3 Aug, O’Brien Press)*
Marie has just moved up to secondary school and is having trouble adjusting. She spends the days being bullied and the nights being haunted…
Teenage girls being awful to each other is a mainstay of YA fiction. We tend to forget that bullying can be just as harmful at a younger age. I read this book right after reading Blubber by Judy Blume, and The Butterfly Shell holds its own against that classic depiction of bullying and its effects.
The Butterfly Shell is quiet and understated, much like its narrator Marie. This is a sweet, strange little book about love, pain, grief and family. It’s well worth a read if you like character-driven stories that deal sensitively with tough issues.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
AM I NORMAL YET? by Holly Bourne (1 Aug, Usborne)
I LOVED this book, and I am beyond excited for the rest of the trilogy. It made me laugh and want to punch the air. Evie’s narration is wonderful; as unsettled and anxious as I felt being inside her head, I grew very fond of her, her humour and her strength. Holly Bourne writes some of the most important teenage girls I’ve never met.
HOUSE OF WINDOWS by Alexia Casale (6 Aug, Faber)
House of Windows hasn’t supplanted The Bone Dragon as my favourite Alexia Casale book, but the writing is every bit as beautiful as you’d expect from the author of that novel. The cast is varied and charming, and the main character Nick is a perfectly, endearingly prickly teenage boy with a complicated kind of family. The setting feels vivid and lived-in, with the author’s affection for Cambridge evident in each gorgeous line.
THE BIG LIE by Julie Mayhew (27 Aug, Hot Key Books)
I just finished this last night, so my take is pretty raw. Startling, harrowing, and heartbreaking, The Big Lie is also meticulously researched. This is speculative fiction at its most potent, building an entire alternate history and making it utterly convincing, and then placing characters inside and letting them breathe. Or struggle to. The writing is so complex and layered with details, I think this will really reward a reread. For those of you who haven’t heard about The Big Lie (where have you been?) it’s about girls kissing in Nazi England, and it goes about as well as you’d expect.
And now… GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT
THE BUTTERFLY SHELL (which I reviewed at the top of this post) fluttered its way into my letterbox not once but twice, meaning I have one copy to give away! Interested in a FREE BOOK? You can enter by reblogging this post on tumblr, or filling out the form below.