Book Review

My Week In Books. [1]

Each Monday I review the books I’ve read in the previous week in drabble form – exactly 100 words excluding title and publishing details.

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts. Orion Children’s Books.
Emily Vole makes headline news in the first weeks of her life, when she is found in an abandoned hatbox in Stansted Airport. Then, only a few years later, her neighbour Mrs String dies leaving Emily a mysterious inheritance: an old shop, a small bunch of golden keys and a cat called Fidget. It’s the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime as the old Fairy Detective Agency comes back to life.

This is the first book in a new series, Wings & Co, aimed at young readers. I thought it was a great read, it introduces the characters and the magical version of the world that the book’s set in really well. There’s enough adventure and excitement to balance out the scene setting, I think it’ll capture the imagination of most young readers. I love the illustrations included in the book, they really add to the experience. Emily is a wonderful lead character, I’ll be looking forward to reading about her adventures in the next book. A definite thumbs up from me.

Undone by Cat Clarke. Quercus.
A video appears online. And a boy jumps off a bridge. Jem is determined to avenge the death of Kai – her beloved best friend who was driven to desperation after being ‘outed’ by the popular crew at school. Transforming herself from introverted emo to in-crowd acceptable, Jem becomes part of the clique. She’s going to take down those responsible, one by one. But what if Kai was keeping secrets from Jem? Could her quest for revenge be directed at the wrong people? And can Jem find out what really happened before someone else gets hurt?

I was the lucky winner of Cat Clarke’s ARC giveaway, as soon as it arrived I knew I had to read it next. I read it cover to cover in an afternoon, it’s absolutely gripping and I had to know how it ended. Undone is a story of grief and loss, and of trying to find a way through it – in Jem’s case that’s exacting vengeance. The characters are so real, they’re insecure and self-focused and flawed making them seem to leap off the page. It’s a bold, wonderful book that packs a real emotional punch, a fantastic read.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond. Strange Chemistry.
And finally a little bit of a cheat for the first week, I won’t make a habit of it – I reviewed this book for Book Angel Booktopia. You can read it here.

Book Review

Book Review : Entangled by Cat Clarke.

‘The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?
AM I GOING TO DIE?’

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper – and no clue how she got there.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she’s tried to forget. There’s falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there’s something missing. As hard as she’s trying to remember, is there something she just can’t see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?
A story of dangerous secrets, intense friendships and electrifying attraction.

Within the first few opening lines of this book I was completely hooked, Grace is locked in an entirely white room with minimal furniture and pens and paper. She has no idea how she got there or why she is there, and her only contact with the outside world comes from Ethan who brings her food. She’s confused and scared and angry, and so turns to writing which seems to be what’s wanted from her.

Grace’s writing takes us back into her life before she ended up in the white room, and we get to know her, her friends, and her world. We get a real insight into what makes Grace tick, and how hard it is being her. Grace is such a well drawn teenager, she’s stroppy and difficult and feels everything so strongly. She’s hard to like, but at the same time completely captivating and I found myself really caring for her.

In addition to Grace we get to know Sal, her best friend, and Nat, her boyfriend. We only get to see these characters through Grace’s eyes, but this means we get to really see how she feels about them and what they mean to her. The fact that Grace is writing this all down means she is really open about everything and doesn’t censor herself, I loved this level of honesty.

Whilst we’re drawn into discovering Grace’s life before she was kidnapped we’re also reminded regularly of where she is, and that neither we or Grace know why she’s there. I came up with theory after theory of what was going on, when I reached the conclusion and the reveal I was really pleased to discover that whilst I’d got partway there I hadn’t worked it out entirely – I always like being surprised by a plot reveal.

This was Cat Clarke’s debut novel, her second novel Torn is out now and already getting great reviews. I know I’m really looking forward to reading it and whatever she writes next.

Entangled is published in paperback by Quercus in the UK.