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Posts Tagged ‘teenage relationships’

My Life as A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams

May 28, 2017 Comments off

hashtagMy Life as A Hashtag by Gabrielle Williams. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

I regard this novel as one of the most important novels for teens and young adults that I have read. Why?  Because it deals with the whole way that teenagers and the young communicate using social media and the serious problems that can occur when things go wrong.

Social media can be a vicious forum where people can say what they like and the word or concept “friend” is a misnomer like no other.

MC is an ordinary girl with good friends who go to school, party and text and communicate with each other all day every day. It is the social norm.

Misunderstandings over a boy between MC and her friend Anouk cause a ruckus on Tumblr that goes viral and shakes everyone concerned to the core. And the boy wasn’t worth it. After MC has been left out of a party at Anouk’s she uses an App that uses any face to deliver a message. MC picks celebrities including Justin Bieber and the Queen with a corgi on her lap, to humiliate Anouk, and it goes viral.

MC doesn’t realise that what she has done is bullying and her life falls apart. Can she recover and sets things right? Read this amazing story and find out.

Lots of amusing girl talk, some of it bitchy, and some laugh out loud moments. Dialogue between characters is particularly strong and there is a total scoundrel of a boy character.

The message from Gabrielle Williams is loud and clear. Cyber bullying is not ok. You cannot go back once you press that enter button. What you write is always there and can be very damaging to everyone.

It ends positively fortunately. There is a better way, it is just matter of finding it.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

May 21, 2017 Comments off

chemical heartsOur Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland. Pub. Hot Key Books, 2016.

There is a Japanese art form called Kintsukuroi in which you take a bowl or plate or a pot break it into pieces and stick it back together again so that it becomes more beautiful for having been broken.

This really is a metaphor for the relationship that develops between Henry Page who narrates the novel and Grace Town a beautiful, mysterious, damaged and thoroughly weird girl. Henry wonders what it will be like to fall in love and when he first sees Grace he knows he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame.

Henry struggles to get anything going with Grace, they text each other, work together on the school newspaper but one day she is hot the next cold. Then he finds out about a deep sadness that Grace is carrying around. Henry wants to care for Grace and for her to recognise that they are an item but Grace slips into the abyss and forgets the world exists. Grace tells Henry that “stories with happy endings are stories that haven’t finished yet”.

Henry finds out that this is true. The novel also asks the question do men feel romance?. Do they crush on girls and go through the same heartbreak as girls do over boys?

Brilliantly written in a style that draws on film, book and music trivia with bold dialogue and great depth on what it is like to be growing up and seeking love. I read this in two sittings I couldn’t put it down. Thank you Linley for recommending it to me.

For teenagers and young adults who like the novels of John Green and grew up with Harry Potter, The Twilight series and the music of the Strokes and the Pixies.

Don’t miss this one you will kick yourself if you do.

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

February 9, 2017 Comments off

tragic-wonderfulA Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom.  Imprint HarperCollins, 2017.

This is a senior Young Adult novel from a brilliant writer who knows how to unlock and discuss serious emotional and mental conditions in young people. It is positive.

When Mel was thirteen her older brother who lit up her life died. The family shifted house, the parents separated and Mel never told any of her friends that she had had a brother.

Mel had a breakdown and now takes a whole lot of drugs including ritalin to level her out. Now she is sixteen in a new school with new friends and working in an old peoples home called Silver Sands.

Every chapter is headed by the same four headings of animals beginning with H. Hamster describes her head condition, Hummingbird her heart, Hammerhead her physical condition and Hannigananimal whether she is up or down.

Mel sees herself as an antisocial underachiever, but she is not. Her manner at the Silver Sands retirement home is outstanding. She is caring and perceptive and she is going to get better.

Mel narrates the story of her life at school and with her friends and family and between these chapters there are chapters written in italics that tell about her brother and her arguements with friends that get to the heart of her mental state.

Battles are never won. Only survived. The dialogue between characters and the relationships between teenagers and adults are excellently handled.

Beautifully written in short sharp chapters that will keep you in the book. I couldn’t put it down. Eric Lindstrom also has Not If I See You First reviewed on this blog.

Nightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

January 18, 2017 Comments off

nightfallNightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski. Pub. Hot key Books, 2015.

This highly original book on survival in a dark world is for teenagers and young adults.

Set on the island of Bliss, a name that is far from the truth because life is far from easy. The island is surrounded by cliffs with no easy access to the sea and the cycle of life is dictated by 14 years of daylight followed by 14 years of darkness. The hinterland is forested and nobody goes there for fear of wild animals, monsters and demons.

The years of daylight are almost at an end and the islanders are preparing to evacuate to the desert lands of the south where the cycle of life is 3 days light and 3 days dark.

Marin and Kana are 14 year old twins, both share a friend in Line but the relationship is changing as Line notices Marin’s curves and she notices his muscles. The islanders are going through a ritualistic preparation to leave. They are cleaning their houses, removing locks and setting tables with heavy plates. There is talk of spirits and monsters coming with the dark and an urgency to leave before the night falls and the sea withdraws.

Through circumstances that you will have to read the book to find out, Marin, Kana and Line are left behind on the island and on their first night alone  they learn that what their parents and elders said was true.

Then in an unexpected surrealistic twist in the plot Kana takes his boots off and discovers an astonishing transformation.

Tensions are high and the action swift and often brutal. If you have a fear of the dark then this book is not going to make it easy for you. Confront your fears and read one of the most absorbing novels I have read for a while.

Great cover and structured in short easy to read chapters that make you want to keep reading. If you miss this you will kick yourself.

Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

December 7, 2016 Comments off

delicate-monstersDelicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn. Pub. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015.

If you have ever done something really bad that has deeply hurt or affected others, and you have kept it a secret and carried the guilt of it all around with you, then this is a novel for you.

The teenage years can be wonderful and they can be mixed up. Many teens struggle to find out who they are and worry what others think of them. The three main characters in this novel have a lot of these feelings in them.

Sadie Vu is from a wealthy family who live in the wine growing area of California. She has been expelled from many boarding schools, cares about nothing and sees herself as pathological. She does things because they are bad and she has been responsible for the near death of Roman, a boy who really liked her.

Emerson is a 6ft 4 inch basketball player whose father committed suicide in his ’64 ford mustang, a car Emerson still drives. He is sadistic in behaviour and carries around secrets that he needs to resolve. His brother is a sickly soul called Miles, a boy who has allergies, who is often sick , has visions that appear to come true and is bullied mercilessly.

Mix these characters together and you have a stunning story that will keep you reading and wondering where it is going. It is disturbing, chilling and disconcerting but you must finish.

This aptly named novel is splendidly written in four parts  by an author  with a degree in sport psychology who is working towards  a doctorate in clinical psychology. She doesn’t miss a trick with the ending being open and powerful.

Definitely for mature students and young adults. Those who have read All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven will love this novel

Lonesome. When You Go by Saradha Koirala.

July 11, 2016 Comments off

lonesomeLonesome. When You Go by Saradha Koirala.. Pub. Makaro press, 2016.

Thoroughly enjoyed this novel about rock bands, music, school and teenage angst. It was like, and I quote from the author, opening a hot meat pie and having all the meatiness flood out at you.

The main character and narrator is Paige, a cool bass player for a school Indie band called Vox Pop.The band aspire to win the Rockfest competition for high school bands, they think they are pretty good but life does not go smooth for them. They have musical differences and personal differences and of course problems about school and in their family life.

Paige has a best friend Lily who is flighty, another friend Molly who has an eating disorder and a sister Rose who has relationship problems but is a really good older sister.

The bass players role in any band is to keep a steady rhythm and Paige does this in spite of the chaos all around her. Two male band members have a thing about Paige and she doesn’t know it. Cool chicks never do.

The drama derives from the Rockfest competition, will they won’t they, then the ultimate crisis when a band member has to be replaced on the eve of the final.

Musos will love this book and it will fill a gap in many school collections.

Structured in day by day accounts during all 4 school terms and in the first term of the following year. Well written, witty, perceptive and real. As Bob Dylan once wrote “get sick get well, hang around the ink well”.

Coming Home to Roost by Mary-Anne Scott.

May 24, 2016 Comments off

home to roostComing Home to Roost by Mary-Anne Scott. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2016.

..”the thing about parents. They usually come to the party – it’s like it or lump it with kids…” If there is a definitive line in this novel than this is it.

Elliot is 17 and he’s cruising. After a spell away from home with a wild punk chick called Lena he is back with  an anarchist tattoo on his neck after a wild night with Lena. His parents are not happy and his father ships him off to live with an old navy mate, Arnie, in Wellington and train as an electrician.

Elliot is not well pleased but his family including brother Rick are. They regard Lena as a slut. Elliot knuckles under but on a return home for New Year’s eve party with his mates, Lena seeks him out again and has her wicked way in the back of a ute. It rained too.

a couple of months later the chickens come home to roost. Lena is pregnant and emphatic the the child is Elliot’s. Elliot tells Arnie and his mates but not his parents. Then there is an accident at work and the plot changes course.

Great story, great ending, very well structured and written, believable characters and strong themes for teenage readers. Get this it will be popular.