2018 Book Review Roundup - YA Fiction
Last year I read so many books and I told myself I’d review them as I went. Did I do that?! Did I heck! So here we are at the start of 2019 and I’m having to go back and review all the books I read in 2018! They won’t be super in depth because it would take me until next Christmas to do that many, and I also think it can be a good thing to just do a little teaser. Also, the only time I seem to have with a 6 week old baby is when he’s feeding, so these reviews will be written with a small baby attached to my breast. #mumlife. I’ve tried to put the books in various categories to make it a bit easier if you only want to look at books in a particular genre. Okay, enough rambling, Let’s go!
Young Adult Fiction
Words in Deep Blue - Cath Crowley ****
This is a really bloody lovely book. It’s dual narrated by Henry and Rachel who were once best friends, but drifted apart when Rachel moved away. Now she is back, grieving for her brother, and living with her aunt, while working with Henry in the bookshop that his family owns. The bookshop is a real star of the story, it’s cute AF and there’s a Letter Library where people write each other letters.
This book is really lovely. Of course it has a love triangle but its not a boring one, the characters are likeable yet authentic, there is plenty of angst, family issues and frustrating miscommunications. This is a good YA book for lovers of the genre.
Kindle - https://amzn.to/2G7ArdI Book - http://tidd.ly/914621d8
Aftercare Instructions - Bonnie Pipkin *** (ARC)
TW: Abortion and suicide
We meet Gen as she is about to have an abortion and has been abandoned at the clinic by her boyfriend. Gen is also dealing with (or perhaps not dealing with) the suicide of her actor father and the subsequent mental health struggles of her mother. It’s a lot to deal with.
Gen’s love of the theatre is translated into some of the book being written as a play which is a really interesting stylistic choice and creates a bit of a distance between the characters and action which I really liked. I love that not only did it discuss abortion, but it wasn’t the main point of the story.
The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven ****
This is one of my favourite books of 2018. I see a lot of myself in Izzy, firstly she’s hilarious (like me, of course), secondly, she makes some decisions around sex that see her being called out and labeled a ‘slut’, which she tries to laugh off, until things get a little more serious. I bloody love some of the messages in this story - slut shaming, revenge porn, and friend zoning for a start. I don’t want to give too much away but this book turns a lot of the basic YA tropes on their head and I am HERE FOR IT y’all.
The writing is really bloody, laugh out loud funny. For example ‘He lets his eyes drop to the ground. [Again, not literally. That would be deeply uncomfortable for him. Nobody wants gravel in their corneas. I mean, maybe you do. I don’t know your fetishes.]’.
The characters are real, flawed but loveable, (well, some of them. Some of them suck. But BFFL Ajita is an amazing character) and the story touches on some bloody real issues. I wish teenage me had been able to read this. Just a really great book.
Kindle - https://amzn.to/2HKEZIM Book - http://tidd.ly/4a7a3542
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas ****
This was one of the biggest books in 2018 and I think one of the most important in recent years. We follow Starr, a 16 year old POC as she struggles with her identity - going to a posh, predominantly white high school in the suburbs and the poorer neighbourhood where she was born and raised. Her unarmed best friend is killed by a police officer and Starr is the only witness.
This book stayed with me for ages. I felt as though I was being let into a world that I knew nothing about and it was terrifying - I genuinely found myself upset and scared several times for the community in this story. In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, this story is so topical and raw. Once again showing that YA Fiction has the power to change the world by discussing things that everyone else shys away from.
Kindle. - https://amzn.to/2GaS3pt Book - http://tidd.ly/fc672c69
Hope… Anyway - Lisa L Walsh **
This story was... fine. A solid 2 stars, no more, no less, because nothing much really happens. We follow Heidi who writes lists, her brother Bean (who FYI seems like the more interesting sibling! I’d read a book about him for sure) and their mother Joy who is an alcoholic. It was an okay read but nothing about it excited me. This is the only book in this post that I wouldn’t really recommend to anyone.
Kindle - https://amzn.to/2HOMzCl Book.- http://tidd.ly/b8d9abb0
The Accidental Bad Girl - Maxine Kaplan **** (ARC)
Our 'hero', begins her senior year without any friends, having been kicked out of the popular gang after being caught very publically making out with her best friend's ex. This is only the beginning of her troubles, as she gets framed for stealing from a drug dealer. Suddenly, she's a "bad girl", trying to deal with new friends, enemies, detectives and the underbelly of drug culture at her private school.
This was a really fantastic book, which tackled issues from drugs and friendships to slut-shaming and rape culture. It's like an edgier version of Mean Girls, and doesn't take the direction you expect. It showcases the way that no one is fully 'good' or 'bad', There are some really fun characters and great friendships in this book, and some thoughtful takes on gender inequality. A really interesting read.
So there you have some quick reviews (quick to read, but writing between feeds, nappy changes and very brief naps has taken me forever) of the YA books I read last year. Let me know what you think, if you read any of them on my recommendation. I love talking books!
Kindle - https://amzn.to/2HONenj Book - http://tidd.ly/503f2bbf
I’ve still got posts to come on the Women’s Fiction books, Mystery and Murder and Miscellaneous, plus the four Cat Clarke books I read, which will need to be its own post! Phew! Hopefully they’ll be done before 2020!
*Some of these books were sent to me for review. I have marked those ARC. The links in this post are affiliate links which means if you buy the books using these links, it won’t cost you anything extra but I will get a little dollar dollar back. Which will inevitably be spent on more books.