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Sunday, 26 January 2020

#Adults @emjaneunsworth @BoroughPress

About Adults

Jenny is unloved, unemployable and emotionally unfiltered. Her long-suffering friends seem sick of her and whilst her social media portrays her life as a bed of roses, it is more of a dying succulent.

Adults is what you want it to be. A misadventure of maturity, a satire on our age of self-promotion, a tender look at the impossibility of womanhood, a love story, a riot. And Emma Jane Unsworth is the only voice to hear it from. Adults is excruciating, a gut punch of hilarity and a book laden with truth that you will read again and again.

My review of Adults

Adults is a huge gulp of fresh air. I absolutely ADORED this book for its honesty, its humour, its frank commentary about how we live our lives on social media and the reality of modern day relationships while trying to achieve that work life balance when we find it so difficult to switch off. This book has a LOT to say and I devoured every word. It's a thought provoking read that makes you laugh on one page and cry on the next. It's a pure delight.

Adults is Jenny's story and even after reading only the first few chapters i found that I had a real sense of who she was and how she lived her life. I found her to be funny, insecure, ambitious but ultimately a nice person who had made some bad decisions in her life and who was trying to find her way in the world. This book works because she has such a powerful and distinctive voice. This is her story and we stay with her every step of the way as we don't want to miss a single second.

Jenny works, but this word should be used very loosely, as it is not exactly made clear to us the reader, or to Jenny herself, exactly what it is that she does for a living. Her day seems to involve posting photos on twitter and Insta, creating interesting hashtags and detailing every aspect of her life in her weekly column. But at what cost? That's the question that is being asked here. What happens when the lines between reality and online presence become blurred? What happens then? But just to add that I found her twitter posts incredibly current and funny.

We then read about Jenny's relationships. Throughout the novel we read about her past experiences and present day life, so that her relationship with her mother, best friend and now ex boyfriend become perfectly clear. What we read is both funny and tragic in equal measure, and in learning about her relationships, we learn more about why Jenny relies so much on social media. 

Adults is such a tender, honest and heart-warming read. It really does cover every emotion.  It is a compulsive and all consuming read. I found it hard to put down. It's hard to explain how so very important this book is for today's modern world of online profiles and trying to live that ultimately unachievable perfect life. I loved this book, I really did. And, I will never quite look at a croissant in the same way again.

Adults is published by The Borough Press on Jan 30th.

With thanks to the publisher for the advanced reader copy.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

#TheOtherPeople @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks

About The Other People

Driving home one night, stuck behind a rusty old car, Gabe sees a little girl's face appear in the rear window.
She mouths one word: 'Daddy.'
It's his five-year-old daughter, Izzy.
He never sees her again.

Three years later, Gabe spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, searching for the car that took his daughter, refusing to give up hope, even though most people believe that Izzy is dead.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, also put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people who want to hurt them.
Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe's daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows what they will do if they ever catch up with her and Alice . . .

My review of The Other People

The Other People is a book that you won't be able to put down. Once you read the opening chapter you will be hooked, just like I was. Gabe is driving home when an old rusty car grabs his attention, along with the bumper stickers. Inside he sees a fleeting glimpse of a little girl, his little girl, mouthing 'Daddy', and then she is gone from view. This scene is the premise for the book. Was the little girl really Izzy? Why was she in the car? What happens is that Gabe finds himself alone in life, the victim, and his life then starts on a different path. That of the search for his daughter.

I LOVED this book. Once i had finished I went back to the beginning, devouring every single word. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to these characters, because they had sunk their hooks in to me and wouldn't let me go.

Ultimately I found this to be a book about a man and the love he had for his daughter.  a love so fierce that he was prepared to do anything to find her against all the odds. The relationship between father and daughter is at the heart of this story. which is ultimately a dark and unsettling read. We meet Gabe at his very lowest. He is a man with no fixed address, living in a van, travelling up and down the motorway looking for his lost little girl, three years on from the event that changed his life. He is in limbo and my heart ached for him.

There are so many wonderful characters in this book. Some you may not particularly bond with, but all are relatable They get under your skin. Fran is utterly compelling and just wait until you meet the Samaritan. What I really liked was that all of these characters are troubled, they are all flawed, but all are interesting and a few you will grow to love.

The Other People is a book about seeking justice, protecting your family and unconditional love. It's a book about past regrets and learning to live with the past. Most importantly it is a book that is about hope and love, but be warned, The Other People will haunt you long after you have finished reading.

The Other People is published on 23rd Jan.

With thanks to the publisher for the early review copy.

Monday, 13 January 2020

#MixTape @SandersonJane @randomhouse

About Mix Tape

You never forget the one that got away. But what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?
Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape.
But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past.
For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind.

And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs – some new, some old – across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…
Because what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

My review of Mix Tape

I'll just start by saying how much I enjoyed reading this book and that I was so very sad to say goodbye to these characters. I found it to be captivating, joyful, poignant and incredibly beautiful. It's a love story for our modern times.

I am old enough to remember mix tapes which is a central theme in this book and to relive the joy of making and sharing them. The fact that a person chooses songs and then painstakingly creates a mix tape of these chosen songs is such a beautiful thing. Songs stir up emotions while creating new ones, and this is perfectly explored in this novel. The nostalgia of music and what it means to these characters.

The story is told from two points of view. We have Alison's story, who now lives in Australia, and Daniel's story who resides in Sheffield. A world apart but connected through the power of twitter, and so the story begins.

I loved this story for its rawness, for its truth and because it explores how our past events shapes our future. The two central  characters  captivated me from the very moment I met them. Alison's vulnerability shone through, even though she is a successful author. As for Daniel, I found him to be thoroughly likable, the boy next door with a good heart. I loved them both.

Mix Tape is a delightful read. It is full of love and hope and joy. It's about living life, taking risks and doing the right thing, even when it scares you. It's a gorgeous book. 

Mix Tape is published at the end of January.

With thanks to the publisher for the early review copy.