Victoria Stitch – Bad And Glittering

Victoria Stitch – Bad and Glittering is written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster, and published by Oxford University Press.

Firstly, the title of this story is amazing, from that alone you can just tell how awesome the character is!

Victoria Stitch – Bad And Glittering is about two sisters, born from the same diamond and destined to become royalty. However, their diamond had a stitch and so it was decided they weren’t allowed to become princesses. One sister accepts this and enjoys the life she has, whilst the other believes that she is the stitch, that they deserve to be royalty despite this, and is willing to do anything to get them their crowns.

Although this book is technically too young for me, I am a firm believer in reading whatever you want and this was a really great story, whatever your age. It’s a really fun concept and I love the world the twins live in. Reading all the little things that make up their world, compared to the human world is really cool. I especially like the food choices and outfits. I really craved their hot chocolate for hours after I read about it, and all their clothes sounded so pretty you can’t help but imagine yourself wearing them.

The story is really well written, so that you feel as if you’re right there with Victoria and Celestine. You absolutely feel what they feel, and as if you’re living in their world. Because of that, when things start to go wrong, you just want to be able to fix them.

I would probably recommend this book for age 7+ to read by themselves, and also think it would be a great story for parents to read to younger children.

Feminism in YA

If you follow me on Twitter, or know me in real life, or even probably just talked to me once, you will know I am a feminist.

Now, the problem with feminism is that, as soon as most people hear the word they immediately think you are a man-hater or something, or they use the term as an insult. But, fortunately, this generally isn’t the case in YA literature. In fact, I would say that although there is a way to go (there always is), feminism in books is pretty good. For instance, a lot of books are centred around teenage girls lives & aren’t all centred on her finding a love interest. Often they focus on her fighting for things, or growing and learning as a person.

Feminism, in YA especially, is so important because it is generally (though not always) teenage girls who read YA, and being a teenager is really hard, and being a girl is really hard. A lot of the time girls won’t even realise something is sexist until it’s pointed out to them, or won’t realise that they have the right/ability to stand up for themselves, or sometimes they have just already given up. YA books can change that. Reading is amazing. Reading transports you to different worlds, it also empowers you and makes you feel strong – if you read the right book.

Some of my favourite feminist YA books are The Hate You Give, Girls Can’t Hit, Forge, Meat Market, A Girl Called Shameless, & Moxie. I strongly suggest reading all of them because, as well as having amazing women in them, they are also just really great reads from really great authors.

All The Things We Never Said

All The Things We Never Said is written by Yasmin Rahman, has a front cover designed by Alex Allden and is published by Hot Key Books.

This book is beautiful, terrifying and heartbreaking. It’s an amazing book that is so important.

All The Things We Never Said is about three girls; Mehreen, Cara and Olivia all of whom, for different reasons, cannot face their life and so they all go to a website called MementoMori.com. Here, they got matched up and made a pact to help each other commit suicide. But when the girls start to realise that maybe they do want to live after all, the website won’t let them go.

We need more books like this, I loved it, even though some parts were heartbreaking. It was an amazing story that faced some incredibly serious issues head on, and showed how much they can affect people; especially teenagers. It managed all of this whilst also being funny, and showing how a powerful friendship can save a person.

I love all the girls in the book for different reasons, but I probably like Olivia the most – though it takes a while for her not to seem like a ‘rich girl’. Then, not only is this book heartbreaking and heartwarming (how do you even do that?!), it’s also kind of terrifying. Yasmin Rahman consistently has your heart racing, and you wanting to cry.

Oh, and I should mention that the lovely Yasmin Rahman didn’t seem to mind signing my copy for me, after I missed her signing line and chased her round YALC in July!

I think everybody should read this book; teens – to show them they aren’t alone in how they’re feeling but that there is always a reason to keep living and fighting, and parents – to show them how hard being a teenager can be, and that even when it seems their life is going great, that there is no guarantee. So yes, I love this book. Buy it and read it, it’s great.

I suggest this book for age 12/13+, and think it’s a book which schools and libraries have to have, because the message in the story is so important to spread.

The Hormone Diaries

The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods is written by Hannah Witton, designed by Thy Bui, and published by Wren & Rook.

Books like this are so important. We need more of them, and for people to read them and encourage others to read them. And the fact that this one is really funny helps as well.

The Hormone Diaries is about exactly what it sounds like : hormones, vaginas, periods and all the fun stuff like that. It is both educational and just a sharing of knowledge, experience and pain. It covers everything from infections to periods to pregnancy to menopause. And is better than the education I get in school to be honest.

I love this book (maybe not the topics because some of them are quite sad or frustrating), it’s amazing and so so important for people everywhere; boys, girls, teenagers, adults, whatever and whoever – because the world is not educated enough, and this book covers so much of the stuff that people need to know. The great thing is, it’s not presented in a boring, clinical, medical way or with the awkward horror of high school sex education, it’s funny and explanatory. It was so interesting to read about all the problems periods and hormones and all that can cause. There were parts that I could go “OMG YES!” and agree with, and also things I’d never heard of before.

There’s also another amazing book by this author called Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex, which covers sex and is also so important, and another must have for everyone.

ALL secondary schools, libraries and homes should have this book, and all parents get your kids to read it and all kids get your parents to read it …and siblings and friends and partners whoever. I recommend it for age 13 upwards.

Home Girl

Home Girl is written by Alex Wheatle, has a front cover by Dan Evans, and is published by Atom.

This book wouldn’t be suitable for anyone particularly sensitive, just so you know. It’s a really great book but, has some very strong opinions that can be quite controversial.

Home Girl is about Naomi, a teenage girl in the foster system, who’s had more homes than she can count and who’s had to grow up faster than anyone should have to. Despite this, at 15 she knows what she wants. She wants to “meet a sweet bruv and start a life for herself out of the system”. But, what happens when she’s put with a family who seem different to any other she’s been with?

There were definitely parts of this book where I basically did a double take, thinking did she really just do/say that, but then I had to realise that I am a very privileged person, who has been raised by some extremely patient parents, whereas Naomi wasn’t. Also, that Naomi actually makes some pretty great points.

The story is amazing, and my favourite characters are definitely Colleen, Sharyna and Pablo. I think this book is really great, because the foster system is both a really amazing thing and a huge problem that people outside of it don’t often think about. Home Girl gives a very interesting perspective on it, whilst also just being a really funny and emotional book.

I world probably suggest this book for age 13+, and think that all high schools should definitely buy it, and all teenagers should read a copy.

Black Flamingo

Black Flamingo is written by Dean Atta, has a front cover by Anshika Khullar, and is published by Hodder.

A beautiful book with a beautiful message. It’s a triple threat; I love the cover, the book and the author.

Black Flamingo is about Michael Angeli, a black, queer, beautiful, eternal, iconic, futuristic, black flamingo …all by his own admission. And this is the story of how he comes to this freedom, of being himself – from a closeted misfit to a fierce drag queen.

So, this book could probably be described as an “awe inspiring anthem to queer black kids” or something like that, however I feel like a bit of an idiot saying that, which is why I don’t usually say things like that about other books either, even if they deserve it, because I think I sounds silly (however true it might be!). Instead, I will say this book was amazing, it gives me a perspective I physically couldn’t experience (as I am neither male, gay, a drag queen, or black), without going to an alternate universe, and it’s a really strong perspective – real and honest, and shares the highs and lows of what a person like Michael might have to go through.

Pretty impressively, Michael is definitely my favourite character in the book, where usually it’s the sassy sidekick or something.

So I actually got this book at YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention – check my last post), where I also got to meet Dean Atta the author and hear him speak on a panel, and I have to say he is funny and fabulous just like his character. He also managed to do something near impossible… which is to make me like poetry because, honestly usually I hate poetry (Sorry poetry lovers everywhere), I just find it really hard to get into – but this poetry wasn’t bad, in fact I enjoyed it.

So, well done Dean! Everyone should buy this book. It is an amazing, eye opening, read, and I’d say that schools desperately need it in their libraries, as most schools seriously lack diversity in their books.

YALC 2019

If you are a bookworm, or a publisher, or an author, or just anyone who loves books, this is something you just have to do, because it’s book heaven.

YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention. It’s been going for about 6 years now, and was started by Malorie Blackman when she was Children’s Laureate (I actually finally got to meet her this year!!). There are bookstalls, workshops, signings and panels galore.

I have been to YALC for the past three years now and I’ve loved it every time. I’m not a big fan of crowds, or cities, so being in London, and in a place so incredibly busy, is really nerve wracking for me but it is worth it. Especially because I am pretty much the only bookworm in my school, or at the very least I’m the only one in my year, so I don’t often get to share my book craziness. Plus, YALC is such a welcoming place that I feel at home there, and u can be just a bit more wacky than usual, and I even wear things I wouldn’t usually wear.

It’s brilliant getting to see so many authors of books I’ve read, and even getting to talk to them (if I can work up the courage to ask a question that is) and also getting to see authors and publishers I know, and have met before, to chat with them.

The workshops are really fun, they have a mix of everything, from activism to arts and crafts, and of course, it’s all related to books. I love the workshops and did a lot of them this year.

Then there’s the panels which are quite long, so you have to make sure you’re interested in what they’re talking about (because you don’t want to be one of the people walking out half way through!). When you pick the right panels though, the talks are great because, you can hear new opinions on subjects you’re interested in, and you get to hear some of your favourite authors opinions in things.

There is also the agents area, I’ve never been to any of the activities there but, it’s a great idea and I’m sure it would be really helpful for anyone interested in trying to publish a book.

Lastly there are the stalls. There are such a huge variety of publishers and other stalls at YALC – you have a big Waterstones stand selling all the books by authors attending, then alongside loads of publisher stands you also get other stalls, like the one this year that was selling book covers, or the ones for Fairy Loot and Illumicrate, or the one that was selling hand drawn posters. But, whatever stall you like best, expect to be spending a lot more money than you probably should!

Oh, and not forgetting that YALC is on the floor above the London Film & Comic Con, so you can always go downstairs and see some celebrities, and look at everyone’s crazy cosplay, because those people are seriously dedicated. And this year I got a picture with Tom Felton, which is amazing, but at the time it was terrifying and I was slightly worried I would pass out because I’m not a fan of people (as in talking to them, or looking at them, or anything like that), so having to take a picture with this stranger who was in some of my favourite movies of all time was horrifying, however I am now VERY glad I did it

So yes, YALC is amazing and I do suggest it for every book person, but i guess it’s probably best for Young Adults as that’s what it says in the title …but honestly it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Meat Market

Meat Market is written by Juno Dawson, has a cover image by Daniil Kontorovich, and is published by Quercus.

This book is very honest and real, and faces some serious issues – because guess what, the modelling industry is a problem!!!!!

Meat Market is about 17 year old Jana Novak, a teenager who’s spent her life being bullied for her ‘giraffe like’ height and androgynous features, but when a model scout pulls her out of the shadows Jana finds out that being a model isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And that maybe she was better off with her friends.

This is a really good book. Like all of Juno Dawson’s books it faces some really hard issues head on and gives you the painful truth, but it’s an amazing read with wonderful characters and a brilliant storyline.

I love Jana and her boyfriend, because despite the fact that Jana makes some pretty stupid decisions (which I may or may not have been yelling at the book about – and what are you talking about? Yelling at books is completely normal!), but she’s real and acts like a normal human, unlike some book characters, who are just picture perfect lovely people.

Jana and her boyfriend’s relationship is so sweet throughout the book, and most of Jana’s friends are amazing and everybody, especially teenage girls should read this book because it has some very important messages.

I would suggest this book for probably age 13+, and think it would be a really good book for all high schools, libraries and homes.

The Paper And Hearts Society

The Paper & Hearts Society is written by Lucy Powrie and published by Hodder.

I am not in a book club but, if I ever join one I really hope that I get to go on a road trip to bookish places because it sounds awesome.

This book is about Tabby Brown. She is an extreme bookworm with a deep love of Sylvia Plath and her book The Bell Jar. She’s staying with her grandma, whilst she and her parents move house, and she has to find the courage to open up to her new friends, even as some old friends refuse to leave her alone.

This was a really good book and I loved Tabby and Ed because Tabby is a lot like me -worrying about nothing- and Ed is really sweet and really funny and has a cat, and you know what, animals make pretty much anyone a good person. Also, even though Cassie is quite rude I don’t think I can judge her, as I am also very moody, and despite her actions she had good reasons, and she’s an amazing friend.

This was an amazing book, about people who love amazing books, and also it was written by a 19 year old (only 4 years older than me) so that’s pretty impressive I think!

I recommend this book for age 11+, and I think it is a great book for libraries and schools, and it’s a great lighthearted read for any teenager

Twilight ~ Thoughts From A 2019 Teen Reader

Don’t judge me! (actually, I judge me for liking this book so, I can’t really say anything if you’re looking down on me). I’d also better warn for spoilers ahead.

So for anyone who somehow missed the phenomenon that is Twilight, and it’s many hardcore fans, here’s a summary. The Twilight series (4 books) is about a teenager called Bella Swan, and it follows her as she moves to a town called Forks, to live with her dad. It soon becomes clear that a boy in her school, Edward Cullen, is a vampire and that she may have accidentally fallen in love with him. Over the four books she almost dies a few times and discovers some other mystical people but, she also gets a cool vampire family so, who cares?(!)

I both love and hate this book. I love it because it’s a cheesy romance and it’s fun to read, and I just really enjoyed it when I first read it aged 12, but then I hate it for pretty much the same reasons.

Because, my love for it exists, despite the fact that Bella is completely useless and relies completely on Edward – which is a terrible example to set to any young girl. And then, Edward is kind of possessive and stalkerish which isn’t great. So my message here is, don’t read this book if you’re looking for good moral lessons, only if you want a fun story to read …oh, and if you like werewolves and vampires.

Personally I much prefer the werewolves in this book to the vampires, I think they’re much less creepy (except for the imprinting on a baby and a two year old – that’s creepy as hell), and also they’re much more fun to be around. Plies, with a werewolf, you get your own personal hot water bottle for the winter, and a dog that understands everything your saying so, all wins in my opinion.

I suggest this book for age 11+, although maybe I’d be a bit careful with the last book as that has more mature themes. I think this is a fun book to read, just don’t give it to anyone who’s easily influenced by books.