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May favourites

This past month there have been four stand out reads for me in a month. I loved them all.

The sight of you by Holly Miller

Joel is afraid of the future.
Since he was a child he's been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what's going to happen - the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again.

Callie can't let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie's been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn't know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.

Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today.
And though they're not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing.

Until Joel has a vision of how it's going to end . . .

This book was incredible. It is one of those books that I can't even really say that much about because I worry about spoiling it for anyone as so much of the book revolves about things that came as a surprise. The romance in this story is so pure and emotional. You can see exactly why Callie falls completely for Joel and you root for them from the start and over the course of the book you feel absolutely everything with them. I loved every page and cannot wait for Holly's next book.

Thank you Hodder and Stoughton for the review copy

Heartstopper Volume four by Alice Oseman

Charlie didn't think Nick could ever like him back, but now they're officially boyfriends. Charlie's beginning to feel ready to say those three little words: I love you.

Nick's been feeling the same, but he's got a lot on his mind - not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

Contemporary UKYA will forever be my bag. I crave it and devour it quickly despite always saying I'm to savour every one. I cannot get enough (which is particularly annoying when there seems to be less and less of it available - but that's another blog post). I've been awaiting the arrival of this book for ages and was utterly delighted when my preorder appeared. As expected I devoured it in one sitting and loved every single page. This series is just so very lovely and this instalment was just as lovely as previous ones with some really hard hitting topics included and handled in a sensitive and thoughtful way. I loved it.

Tremendous Things by Susin Nielsen

We all have moments that define us. For the comically clueless Wilbur, his moment happened on the first day of middle school, when someone shared his private letter with the entire student body. It revealed some of Wilbur's innermost embarrassing thoughts that no one else should ever know.

Now it's the start of ninth grade and Wilbur hasn't been able to escape that major humiliation. His good friend Alex stuck by him, but Alex doesn't have as much time since he started dating Fabrizio. Luckily, Wil can confide in his best friend: his elderly neighbor Sal. Also, Wil's in the school band, where he plays the triangle. They're doing an exchange program with students from Paris, and Wilbur's billet, Charlie, a tall, chic young woman who plays the ukulele and burps with abandon, captures his heart. Charlie likes him, but only as a friend. So Alex, Fabrizio and Sal host a Queer Eye-style intervention to get Wil in shape and to build his confidence so he can impress Charlie when their band visits Paris, and just maybe replace humiliation with true romance in the City of Love.

I really loved this book. I always know I am in for a treat when I get a new book from Susin Nielsen and this was no exception. It’s a perfect example of all the things Susin does so very well.

It had brilliant characters and relationships. I loved the main character Wilbur and the whole host of people around him. I loved his two mothers, his two best friends, one of which being his elderly neighbour, and the main love interest in Charlie. 

Susin's books and always funny and heartfelt. I loved what it had to say about being yourself, the importance of good friends and standing up to bullies. I loved some of the one liners from various characters. I loved how Wilbur loved playing Carcassonne and how he went to old ladies aqua aerobics with his elderly best friend. I loved How his queer eye intervention helped him to see the person he could be without changing him as a person.

In short I loved it and didn't want to put it down.

Thank you Andersen Press for the review copy

Tunnel 29 by Helena Merriman

He's just escaped from one of the world's most brutal regimes. 

Now, he decides to tunnel back in.

It's summer, 1962, and Joachim Rudolph, a student, is digging a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. Waiting on the other side in East Berlin - dozens of men, women and children; all willing to risk everything to escape.

From the award-winning creator of the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 podcast, Tunnel 29 is the true story of the most remarkable escape tunnel dug under the Berlin Wall. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews with the survivors, and thousands of pages of Stasi documents, Helena Merriman brilliantly reveals the stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious group of student-diggers, the glamorous red-haired messenger, the American News network which films the escape, and the Stasi spy who betrays it. For what Joachim doesn't know as he burrows closer to East Germany, is that the escape operation has been infiltrated. As the escapees prepare to crawl through the cold, wet darkness, above them, the Stasi are closing in.

Tunnel 29 is about what happens when people lose their freedom - and how some will do anything to win it back.

This was a brilliant read. A prime example of why I still an more than a little bit of history obsessed because this showcases one of those incredible true life stories which are almost too extraordinary to be real except that it definitely is.

I was familiar with the story of tunnel 29 from the intrigue podcast but this book was no less engaging for having know about it previously. I liked how it set the scene a bit more for the reading giving you the history of the events from the end of World War Two and the early years of The Cold War which led to the Berlin Wall being built in the early 1960s.

The main story of tunnel 29 is fascinating when you read about the lengths in which the tunnellers went to and the great risk being involved posed not only to themselves but also to their friends and families. Even more extraordinary was the fact that they were filmed by an American new network.

I can't recommend this highly enough. If you love history, spy stories, anything to do with post war Europe and the Cold War you'll love this even if you aren't normally a non fiction reader.

Thank you Hodder and Stoughton for the review copy