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Library Loans: May 2017

It's been a relatively quiet one for me this month when it comes to library books I've loved but there's some real crackers in my list ...

The upside of unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

My thoughts 
I loved this book and the more I read the more I loved it. It's a super cute YA romantic story full of awkward teenagerness and it felt really real. I loved the main character and all of her friends and I loved the relationship that develops between Molly and Reid. If you love contemporary YA you'll love this.

The Woman at Number 24 by Juliet Ashton

A house holds the hearts of the people who live in it. Under the roof of The Blue House, a now shabby but previously grand Georgian villa in West London, the subdivided space is home to five separate families and five very different lives.
Sarah has just divorced her husband, Leo, and she's feeling bruised and lonely. And it's not helped by the fact he has moved in with his new girlfriend - Sarah's neighbour Helena who lives in the same house. Her loneliness is compounded by hearing their happiness floating up through the floorboards.
Jane and Tom have just moved in to The Blue House, and there's an instant attraction between Tom and Sarah. But it's too soon for Sarah to jump into a new relationship, and she wouldn't dream of breaking up a marriage as Helena did to her.
Mavis has lived in The Blue House for years. She's the oldest resident by several decades and she's not one for socialising. Then her sister comes to live with her, to spend her dying days under the same roof, and Mavis finds she cannot hide away forever.
As the stories of the different residents intertwine, Juliet Ashton weaves a story of love and friendship and community that will move you to laughter and to tears.

My thoughts
I've been enjoying some adult fiction over the last few months as a bit of a break from my constant diet of YA (not that I don't love YA but a change is as good as a rest). The book splits itself between the intertwined stories of the residents of number 24. I love books that do this and seeing how the stories connect and overlap over the course of the book. I particularly enjoyed seeing the friendships that developed between the women in the story.

Sister Sister by Sue Fortin

Alice: Beautiful, kind, manipulative, liar.

Clare: Intelligent, loyal, paranoid, jealous.

Clare thinks Alice is a manipulative liar who is trying to steal her life.

Alice thinks Claire is jealous of her long-lost return and place in their family.

One of them is telling the truth. The other is a maniac. Two sisters. One truth.

My thoughts
I picked this up on a whim because the cover caught my eye. It is far creepier than anything I normally read and was completely compelling to the point where I didn't want to put it down because I needed to know what happened next. I can't say much without spoiling it but I will say if you are after a really good thriller this would be a good place to start.

Everything Beautiful is not ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

Ingrid has made a deal with her mother: she gets to go to the school of her choice as long as she completes a three-week wilderness programme. But when Ingrid arrives, she quickly realizes there has been a terrible mistake: there will be no marshmallows or cabins here. Instead, her group will embark on a torturous trek, with almost no guidance from the two counsellors and supplied with only the things they can carry. On top of this, the other teen participants are “at risk youth”, a motley crew of screw-ups, lunatics and delinquents. But as the laborious days go by, and as memories of her complicated past come flooding back, Ingrid must confront the question of whether she shares more in common with these troubled teens than she’s willing to admit. 

I saw this on twitter a while back probably when the publishers were sending out review copies but other than that it passed me by until I saw it appear on the library catalogue as being available to reserve (I spend far more time than I should on that catalogue). I'm really glad I did reserve it because it's awesome. Ingrid, the main character, has been coerced by her mother to go to a wilderness camp. When she gets there she's on the camp with a variety of interesting characters and it's much more wilderness than camp than she was led to believe. I really enjoyed seeing how see coped with the situations and seeing how determined she was to do the camp even when it was really hard. I also liked the flashback scenes which gave real insight into why Ingrid had agreed to the camp. A really fab YA read.

Girl's Cant Hit by Tom Easton

A funny, feminist teen story about knowing when to train . . . and when to fight.

Fleur Waters never takes anything seriously - until she turns up at her local boxing club one day, just to prove a point. She's the only girl there, and the warm-up alone is exhausting . . . but the workout gives her an escape from home and school, and when she lands her first uppercut on a punching bag she feels a rare glow of satisfaction.

So she goes back the next week, determined to improve. Fleur's overprotective mum can't abide the idea of her entering a boxing ring, why won't she join her pilates class instead? Her friends don't get it either and even her boyfriend, 'Prince' George, seems concerned by her growing muscles and appetite - but it's Fleur's body, Fleur's life, so she digs her heels in and carries on with her training.

 I loved this book. It is the story of Fleur a teen girl who isn't particularly sporty but finds herself joining a boxing gym and taking on sexist stereotypes and proving those around her wrong. This book particularly reasonated with me because it reminded me of the time around my late teens when I was kick boxing and went to some classes at a particularly rough gym in the city for some of my sessions and when I was reading the scenes with Fleur at classes I could picture her in that spit and sawdust gym with all the interesting characters I used to encounter there. I particularly liked what the book had to say about girls doing sport. All so often as a girl you are classed as either being a sporty girl who is on the school teams or you are not sporty. There never seems to be that middle ground which is a real shame because school PE doesn't reflect the sort of exercise most adults do. I therefore loved seeing this girl getting out there and doing her thing without being one of the "sporty" girls in her school. As always I also loved the friendships between the main characters and her friendship group but also the friendships she starts to develop with other members of the gym