Every Day – Book Review

Every Day by David Levithan

Blurb + Goodreads Summary

  

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else. It has always been like this.
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day…


That was the blurb, this is the Goodreads summary.


Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day. 

Review
I liked this book. It was different, but a good different. Of course, it was not perfect, there were details that annoyed me, but it was good!

It’s about a sixteen year old boy, called A, who wakes up in a different body every day. However, his inside, his mind and soul stays the same, it’s only the body that changes. A knows that he changes body every day, therefore he knows he shouldn’t get too close to friends, lovers, family or pets, because he will lose them the next day. However, one day, he meets a girl called Rhiannon, and like that, all the rules he made for himself vanish.

I should warn you, the first few pages can be a little confusing. I don’t think A’s whole…’situation’ is explained very well. It gets slightly clearer later on in the book, but it’s still pretty confusing, so don’t expect it all to be explained in the first chapter. In fact, the first chapter was so confusing that I kinda just wanted to stop reading right there and then, because it the lack of explanation means the book doesn’t really hook you in. However, I decided to read on, hoping it would get better as the book progressed.

I liked the characters. A was an interesting character, and I don’t know why, but right from the start I kinda just got the feeling that A was a boy. I mean, the book never really specified his gender, but I just thought he would be a boy – just by his personality and the way he spoke. So, for the rest of this review I’m gonna refer to him as a he, because I’m just too lazy to go ‘he/she’ every time A’s mentioned 😂. I thought Rhiannon was a great character, too. I mean, in real life, she’s not the kind of person I’d be friends with, but I liked her, she was interesting! Different, and a lot of other people may think of her character as weak, not a strong female protagonist, but I don’t. She wasn’t weak, even though it may have seemed like it. And I thought that she was in fact very strong, for fighting against Justin, in the end. All she needed really was some encouragement from A, someone who would help to open her mind a bit more.

However, I want to talk some more about A’s character…you see, I’m kind of confused about whether I absolutely hate his character, or not. Because I understand how tough it must be for him, seeing as he can basically never have a life of his own. He needs to do what the body he’s in has to do, otherwise it’ll just end in terrible consequences for that person. However, I really don’t like him. It’s sooo selfish, how the minute he met Rhiannon he just went a little crazy, bunked off school, missed exams, dates and even holidays. Okay, I know it must be really hard for him to control his feelings, seeing as on the inside, A is really just a normal person, but it just annoyed me so much, because he basically ruined everyone else’s life. So I’m confused, because I know what he did is wrong, but I also think it’s right….and I kind of like that. David Levithan has made the characters so deep and three-dimensional, that you have to make up your own mind about them. It’s no ‘good or bad’ like a normal book would have, a set character, it’s kinda down to you. There are so many sides to the character, it’s your decision what you think about them, it isn’t just decided by the author. The confusion was one of the reasons that I finally decided to pick up the sequel, Another Day.

You may have read my review on Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, where I expressed my dislike for ‘love at first sight’ stories. Well, same goes here! Here’s A, who has an unusual life that could potentially be put to use for a bad cause – he could use the body to do terrible things, like murder, and easily get away with it. However, he is good, and lives by a certain set of rules to ensure nothing like that happens. Then he meets Rhiannon, and everything he’s worked towards all his life has been thrown out of the window. Not just the rules, but the secrecy. It’s just ridiculous, because he falls in love with her in a day, and bam. Everything changes. I know some people do like to read books where ‘love at first sight’ occurs, but I’m not one of those people.

Also, there were so many unanswered questions! I mean, usually I’m all for unanswered questions, it makes you think about what might have happened, let you create the rest of the story, but honestly? There were wayy to many unanswered questions. And the lack of answers, like I said earlier, just made it so confusing and annoying. It really needed an extra chapter or too.

Let’s talk about the ending. No spoilers, I promise. I just want to warn you – I thought the ending was a complete let-down. It’s like, say the book was a graph. The chapters would be a line escalating and getting higher and higher, because it’s so amazing, it’s getting better, the reader is enjoying it more. Then it reaches the last page, and that line comes crashing right down. It felt exactly like that. I was completely hooked into the last book, I didn’t even realise that I was nearing the end. I turned the page, and bam. The acknowledgments. No more left. It just….ended. Wayy to abruptly. Like an amazing build-up, all for a disappointing finish. I think it needed some more, another chapter, even just a few pages more. It was just sooooo disappointing, because the book was amazing, I was expecting and incredible ending, where everything pulls itself together, or causes an unexpected turn. But no, it just stopped! Aaargh!

So that was my review! I realise it was much longer than my usual reviews…way longer than my other reviews…whoops! Anyways, if you like David Levithan’s other books (he’s written a lot) then you should definitely try this one out, although I didn’t think it was as…’David Levithan’ compared his other works, if that made any sense. Therefore don’t use this book to judge the rest of his books, as it was very different to how he usually writes. Also, if you like John Green, Jennifer Niven, or any other contemporary YA authors, then this book is definitely for you.

I’d rate it 3 stars…because I liked it…and yet I didn’t. However, I am swaying more towards the ‘like’ side, so 3 stars it is!

⭐️⭐️⭐️

– V

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Faceless – Book Review

Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel

This review is slightly longer than my usual reviews, as my opinion was quite mixed about it.

Blurb + Goodreads Summary

  

When Maisie is burnt in a terrible accident her face is partially destroyed. She’s lucky enough to get a face transplant, but how do you live when you can’t even recognise yourself anymore? As Maisie discovers how much her look shaped her relationship to the world, she has to redefine her own identity, and figure out what ‘lucky’ really means.

That was the blurb, this is the Goodreads Summary.

When Maisie Winters wakes up, she’s in the hospital.

The last thing she remembers is running through the hills of her neighbourhood one misty morning. Slowly, she puts the pieces together. Before she could make it home, a storm gathered. Lightning hit a power line and sparks rained down, the hot-burning electrical fire consuming her. Destroying her face. Where her nose, cheeks, and chin used to be, now there is…nothing.

Maisie’s lucky enough to qualify for a rare medical treatment: a face transplant. At least, everyone says she’s lucky. But with someone else’s features staring back at her in the mirror, Maisie looks—and feels—like a stranger. The doctors promised that the transplant was her chance to live a normal life again, but nothing feels normal anymore. Before, she knew who she was—a regular girl who ran track and got good grades, who loved her boyfriend and her best friend. Now, she can’t even recognise herself.

New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel has created a gripping and gorgeously written tale of identity and love. This is a story of losing yourself and the long, hard fight to find your way back.


Review
I enjoyed this book! I wouldn’t say it was amazing or anything, it did have some problems, but it was good! There have been several people comparing this book to If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, but personally, I thought the two books weren’t very similar at all. It may just be the fact that I read If I Stay 2 years ago, but the only similarity I found between the two books was the fact that the protagonist suffers a life threatening injury and goes into coma. Even this, is different, as in If I Stay, the main character, Mia, is in coma throughout the whole book, whereas in Faceless, we only see Maisie before and after the coma, which lasts less than a chapter. Both If I Stay and Faceless are both great books and are both different, nothing like each other.

To start off, let’s talk about what happened to Maisie. Maisie basically lost half her face in an electrical fire accident. As she put it herself, her face ‘just melted off. She’s lucky enough to get a face transplant, a rare occurrence, to heal her face. I like that the author Alyssa Sheinmel wrote about face transplants. It’s a surgery that not many people know about. Before reading this book, I didn’t even think face transplants were possible, let alone that they existed!

I really liked the message it was giving out too. It showed just how much appearances affect how society acts around us. The book’s basically saying that we’d probably be more likely to be accepted if we were pretty, or didn’t have any obvious injuries like Maisie did. And that’s probably true, and we need to change that.

The main ‘plot’ is on Maisie’s journey to loving herself, no matter what obstacles are in the way. It’s a nice, inspirational message, especially today when everything is about looks. Maisie basically tells you that you must love yourself no matter what and embrace changes. I think there should have been more to it, though, than just being accepted by her classmates and herself.

Okayyy now from the criticisms…I have a lot…

I was kinda shocked about the way people treated Maisie. After her face transplant, she went to school, and of course she didn’t look like she did before. On her first day back she was treated by people staring at her in the halls, laughing or just gaping at her with their mouths hanging open. Does this sort of thing really happen in real life? I highly doubt that people would treat classmates like that, it just seems slightly over-exaggerated. Sure, there will be a few people who’d treat Maisie like that – but the whole school? I don’t think so.

I also thought that the characters were slightly stereotypical. There’s Maisie, a pretty girl, sporty, on the school track team. She’s clever, a straight-A student. Her boyfriend Chirag is ‘perfect’, everyone likes him. He’s also clever, calm, likeable, kind. Best friend Serena’s been friends with Maisie since they were little, she’s funny, excitable, pretty. This all seems pretty unimaginative to me. The characters needed more personality than just that. Sure, they were likeable characters, but they were sooooo stereotypical!

I found the actual style of writing quite bland and simple. It wasn’t particularly exciting. I don’t know if the author Alyssa Sheinmel intended it to be like that – seeing as it is in the POV of Maisie – or if that’s just the way Alyssa Sheinmel writes, but I didn’t like it. It could’ve been a bit more “wow”, there was nothing great about it, that would make you remember the book.

To be honest, I found Maisie, the main character, really annoying. I understand that being on medication must have made her tired and angry, but it just made me really frustrated on how ungrateful she seemed to be to her doctors, friends and parents! Despite being in a life threatening injury, and partially losing her face, all she seemed to moan about was how her boyfriend didn’t accept her! It just made me really frustrated…but I guess that’s just my opinion on her character!

There were a lot of unanswered questions, but I won’t talk about them as most of them are spoilers. I just think that there could have been an epilogue, or an extra chapter, as several things just went unanswered.

So overall, I thought this book was OK. It was neither good nor bad. If you’d like to read a book that will make you cry and laugh, then you should certainly go ahead and read this, especially if you like to read dramatic, real-life books. It’s definitely a book that once you start you cannot put down, until you have finished it.

I’d rate 3.5 stars!

(Just assume that the sparkles are a half star😀)

⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

– V

Everything, Everything- Book Review

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

  
Blurb + Goodreads Summary

Live life in a bubble? Or risk everything for love?

Maddy is allergic to the world. She hasn’t left her house in seventeen years.

Olly is the boy next door. He’s determined to find a way to reach her.

The blurb was pretty short so here’s the Goodreads summary.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


Review
Wow. This book was just, wow. You know how on the cover, other authors quote something about the book? Well, for this book, Jennifer Niven (who wrote All The Bright Places – great book) said: ‘Heart-wrenching…I devoured it in one sitting.’ 

I completely agree with her. I couldn’t put it down. Also can I just comment on how beautiful the cover is? It’s so colourful and vibrant, you just cannot tear your eyes away from it. There’s so much to see, it’s gorgeous.

“I’ve read many more books than you. It doesn’t matter how many you’ve read. I’ve read more. Believe me.”
Anyways, onto the actual review…When I began reading, I was slightly taken aback by the fact that there were illustrations and diagrams in the book. Generally, I’m not really a big fan of illustrations in fiction novels, I prefer a novel with just words throughout. However, for this book, it was different. The pictures made it all the more funny and engaging, so don’t be put off by the fact that there are drawings in the book!

“I am not lonely. I am alone. Those are different things.”
It’s told in the POV of Madeleine, who is an 18yo diagnosed with SCID, an extremely rare disease which means that, to put it simply, she’s allergic to the world. Therefore, she is locked up in her house, unable to leave it. Anyone who enters needs to go through intense decontamination that can last up to an hour. The only entertainment she has are books, the television and her nurse Carla. She’s unlikely to ever meet anyone, to ever fall in love – or even have any friends. That is, until she meets Olly, and her life turns upside down.

Yeah, I thought that bit was slightly clichéd, too. I get that she’s alone, but the whole ‘love at first sight’ thing didn’t really work, in my opinion. Well…it wasn’t really ‘love’ at first sight, more of a ‘Oh no! I don’t know how I feel!’ at first sight. I just think that maybe it should have been left until later, rather than the moment they first saw each other through a window. But maybe that’s just me…😀

“What are you talking about?”

“The humuhumunukunukuapuaa.” 

“What is a humu-whatever?”

“The state fish of Hawaii”

His smile broadens. “Of course it is.”
It was really funny, too. Especially during their emails and messages. The smallest, stupidest things they say to each other made you smile, just because they are so cute!

A problem I had with the book was that the plot was unnecessarily delayed. The real “plot” plot – if that makes any sense – only really happened in the later half of the book, and everything in the first half was just…the “other” bit. Yes, the “other” was just as important to read, and the build up to the plot, but maybe it could have been shortened.

A final thing I should mention – if you love plot twists, definitely read this book. Because woah, the plot twist in this was VERY unpredictable. It completely took me by surprise. It’s one of those books where all along you think that you know exactly what’s going to happen in the end. But no. Nicola Yoon completely twists everything until you’re left with your mouth hanging open, wondering how on earth everything (,everything -hahaha, yes, I did just do that) changed this way.

I’m still not quite sure why title is called “Everything, Everything” – but oh well! If you like John Green, or The Fault In Our Stars, then definitely read this book – do I need to explain why? It’s a teenage romance also revolving around a life threatening illness, that’s why! Also, if you enjoy contemporary romances, and are in need of a book that will make you laugh, cry, feel angry and annoyed, then this book is perfect for you!

I’ll give this book 4.5 stars – it’s close to a 5, because I really loved it, but there were some flaws in it, so it’s not quite a 5.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

(There was no half star!)

– V

The Art of Being Normal – UKYA Book Review

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
  

 Blurb

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.

On the first day of school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of the plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…


Review
This was such an amazing book – I sped through it in a day, I just couldn’t put it down. It absolutely hooks you in, and the fact that it’s written in 2 perspectives makes it all the more amazing (get to that later).

So the book is set in England, and follows to boys, David and Leo. The book starts of with a prologue about David, and it’s one of those paragraphs which start off normal, and then all of a sudden – bam. One line just twists everything upside down. The first few chapters were a little confusing, which made it slightly harder to read as you kept wondering what on earth was happening, but it did pull itself together further on in the book. 

I said earlier about how the book had 2 POVs. I really enjoyed reading from both Leo and David’s perspective, and it was soooo infuriating when the author ended the chapter on a cliffhanger, and you couldn’t continue on because it was a new POV! It’s easy to read and follow, as each POV is marked with a different font. I really appreciated the change of fonts, as I’ve come across books (*cough* Allegiant *cough*) which have nothing to show that it’s a new perspective, except for a tiny header underneath the chapter title, which you’re certain to miss.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the POVs is how well positioned they were in the storyline. The author really thought about which character it would be better to hear the story through. For example, one of the bullying chapters is told through the eyes of David, as he is the victim, rather than Leo, the onlooker. Therefore, this evokes emotions in you, which David feels – the embarrassment, fear and anger. When Leo is brought into this scene, the POV stays in David’s perspective, which I liked as you don’t know why he’s doing what he does. I realise that last bit made no sense whatsoever, but I was trying not to give away too much!

I really liked the different topics the author brought into the story. Apart from David’s struggles in being transgender, there is also lots of bullying and problems with family relationships. David also finds it hard to be in school. He only has 2 friends, Essie and Felix – and to most of the other students in school, he’s known as ‘Freak Show’. It’s great that one book has managed to carry so many important topics, and it’s amazing how the author Lisa Williamson wrote in first person, in the shoes of 2 boys who are struggling so much.

Right, that was the positives of the book… now it’s time for some of the problems I had.

I think that the author should’ve given Leo a bit more purpose and reason for being in the book. He should have had his own ‘big’ problem to fight, rather than just the smaller problems such as bullies and relationships. I realise he helps David a lot, but apart from that, I think he should have had his own personal problem, that links in with the rest of the book, rather than just finding his dad. In a book about transgender issues and bullies, I just thought that David’s dad was slightly random!

Another problem I had was with Leo’s family. It was slightly unnecessary, it didn’t really play a very important part in the book…the family was just kind of…there. It’s not like they really helped him – except for Amber, but even that was just words of ‘Oh, go make some friends, you’re too lonely.’. They were just unhelpful, with discouraging clichés like – ‘Life’s never fair.’

However, it is Lisa Williamson’s debut novel, and despite the flaws, it was definitely worth reading. If you want a break from YA novels set in America, then definitely read this (set in the UK). Also, if you enjoy David Levithan, John Green, etc. authors, then this book is perfect for you.

We haven’t done star ratings for our book reviews before – but I’ll do a rating for this book. I’d give this book 4 stars!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– V

Playlist For The Dead

Playlist For The Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Sam woke up to find Hayden dead. The only clue left was a playlist and a note. But Sam doesn’t understand why Hayden committed suicide. He had a happy life, there was nothing wrong going on, there was no reason for him to commit suicide…so why did he?

Playlist For The Dead is one of my favourite books. I absolutely loved it. I loved to see how Sam not only uncovers the truth about Hayden, but also discovers more about himself. He finds himself and who he truly is, and if anything, Hayden’s death changed Sam for the good. As Sam tries to piece together why Hayden died, you being to wonder why he died yourself, you begin to piece together clues from what you already know.

Playlist for the Dead would be a mystery/romance. I think it’s a good book for anyone who likes YA books, so read it now!!!

-V

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars is a beautiful novel about a girl named Hazel-Grace Lancaster, who has terminal lung cancer. Her parents decide she is depressed, and force her to go to support group. Hazel is convinced nothing can be worse. But that’s before her friend Isaac brings incredibly hot cancer survivor Augustus Waters along. Then, Hazel’s whole life is transformed, as she fights to have the romance she deserves against the ticking clock. With deeps quotes, romance, Venice, champagne, tears and an incredible ending, this is possibly John Green’s greatest novel yet. No one understands heartbreak until they have read this book.

There is also a TFIOS film, starring Shailene Woodley (played Tris in Divergent) as Hazel and Ansel Elgort (Caleb in Divergent) as Gus. This film follows the book, and is amazing. I cried for fifteen minutes after watching it, and as for the book, well, I still haven’t stopped crying! So, head to the book shop and get reading!

-M

Fangirl – Book Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cather didn’t really want to go to college; it was Wren’s idea. Their lives had always revolved around fictional characters Simon and Baz, but now that was all changing. Wren wants be out partying and meeting boys with her new best friend Courtney. Cath prefers a more quiet, introverted lifestyle. But without an older twin to rely on, Cath must make her own way in a life that she doesn’t want and make some room in her world of fanfiction, for new friends, like Reagan and Levi. Coming to university has brought Cath out of her shell, as she falls in love, makes new friends and changes completely.

With romance, partying, university struggles and fanfiction, Fangirl is a must read for fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven. Fangirl keeps you hooked on with every turn of the page, and we definitely recommend it.

– V and M