In lieu of about six month's worth of reviews, I bring you one big post containing some of the stuff I've enjoyed recently. You may have noticed that this is not a 'YA Review Round Up' because it is not exclusively YA (trying to broaden my reading a bit here). But it's still mostly YA. There's no way I'm cutting down the YA intake.
If you remember my review of Pantomime then you've got a great memory - well done. If not, the gist was that I loved it and it brought me out of a reading slump so top marks all around. So of course I read the sequel Shadowplay and loved that too - more Micah, more Drystan, more magical sexual tension than you could shake a stick at (not that I would shake a stick in the face of sexual tension - that would be very odd behaviour). As a result of my love for these, I was very sad to hear that the publisher of these fine books, Strange Chemistry, was folding. However, I also love a good silver lining and the author Laura Lam has already self-published a short story, The Snake Charm about Drystan before he met Micah, with more stories to follow and perhaps a third book in this series...
I'm not quite sure how I can sum up reading a Courtney Summers book. I finished Cracked Up to Be a while back and I barely said a word about it because I couldn't form a coherent sentence that summed up my feelings, apart from perhaps 'I would saw off my right arm to be able to write a book like this.' Jo buys the best presents and she didn't let me down at Christmas with a copy of This is Not a Test. Just read it. Please. You'll know what I'm on about then. Oh, and there's going to be a sequel.
THERE'S GOING TO BE A SEQUEL
I've been increasingly drawn to middle grade books (do we call them middle grade in the UK? Apologies if we don't) and they've been another thing that has rescued me from many a reading slump recently. My eldest daughter is just getting to an age where she's starting to enjoy chapter books and I'm getting great satisfaction out of stockpiling titles that I'll probably foist upon her at some point in the future. First one? Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St. John. Think Enid Blyton but as contemporary as they come. I would have adored this when I was nine or ten because I adored it when I read it a couple of weeks ago. Proper good mystery, topical, beautifully written, just ace.
I'd been meaning to start a book by CJ Skuse for ages because she is one of the funniest people on Twitter and now I feel stupid for leaving it so long - Dead Romantic is very amusing, very British, very icky and very very very very very good. A YA contemp with an undercurrent of The League of Gentleman, if you can imagine such a thing. Go read now please.
Talking of YA contemp, if you haven't read Trouble by Non Pratt yet, I think you need to have a good long think about your life choices. Please do not think this is an 'issue' book and you must therefore avoid. Because as we all know, when books that are written about the big stuff (teenage pregnancy in this case) are well written (as in this case), then that's a good as books get (as in this case).
Do you remember where you were when you found out that Robert Galbraith was none other than JK Rowling? Ok, so we didn't have a clue who Robert Galbraith was but still, the news that she had written a crime novel was a welcome one. It took me a criminally long time to get around to reading The Cuckoo's Calling but as I suspected, she does this sort of thing very well indeed. And the fact that a novel written by JK Rowling contains the word 'pubehead' pleases me greatly.
Beautiful Ruins was the first bit of literary fiction I'd read in quite a while and it was my 'dipping into when on the bus or tube' book. It wasn't until about a third of the way through that I really started to get lost in it and this is why I don't read literary fiction that much anymore - I have the attention span of a gnat these days - but then again, it makes it all the more satisfactory when a title holds me within it's grip like this one did. And it made me cry on the bus. 'Nuff said.
Better finish here because this post is getting far too long but I promise I'm going to start writing proper reviews again soon...