Epic 2017 Book Review Roundup!
I freaking love books! I’ve tried so many different ways of reviewing them, from writing a review every time I finished, to doing season round ups, to my short-lived 60 second book reviews on Youtube, but it was so busy this year, I thought I would do a supersize post of a summary for every book I read in 2017. Grab a cup of tea/gin/Diet Coke and get your ‘to be read’ list ready to go!
If you fancy grabbing one of these to read, clicking on the photo will take you straight to Amazon (oh, the power of the internet!). If you then buy it, it doesn't cost you any more, however, Amazon will throw me a penny or two that I can put towards buying more books - Yasss!
(Not in the order I read them. I don’t know why)
What you wish for - Mark Edwards
Not my fave Mark Edwards book, but still pretty great. This one looks at UFOs and aliens and cults, with the added drama of murder and love. We follow Richard, a newspaper photographer, while he tries to find his girlfriend Marie who appears to have completely vanished.
It Only Happens in the Movies - Holly Bourne
A cute and easy read. Audrey’s parents have split up, she had a crappy boyfriend and now she is falling in love with the classic artsy-player. Not as predictable as it could be. A super easy read.
Turtles all the Way Down - John Green
Classic John Green. Deffo not one of my favourite JGreen books, but perfectly enjoyable. We follow Aza who has OCD as she and her best friend Daisy (who is arguably the more interesting character) try to solve the mystery of a billionaire whose son just so happens to be their friend.
I Hate Everyone But You* - Gaby Dunn
Intense and full of feels. We follow best friends Ava and Gem via texts and email. Interestingly Ava had OCD, which was odd as I read it just after Turtles. Anyway, they go off to college and Gem comes out and dates… well, everyone! A teacher for a start (who happens to be quite abusive) and a trans student. Turns out that Ava is p gross, homophobic, transphobic and generally awful. Neither of them are very likeable.
Holding Up the Universe - Jennifer Niven
Unique and yet predictable. Libby Stroud was ‘America’s Fattest Teen’ and Jack Masselin is the coolest guy in school. Fate throws them together (as it often does in YA fiction) and it turns out that Jack can’t recognise any faces and Libby is pretty cool.
Me Mam, Me Dad, Me* - Malcolm Duffy
Funny, sweet and surprising. Written in the voice of 14 year old Geordie Danny, this story covers first loves, domestic abuse and absent parents. There are moments of humour but also heartbreak too.
Wilde Like Me - Louise Pentland
An enjoyable light-hearted holiday book, with a more serious side. It is clear that Louise has used her own life experiences to write this book, but that’s not a bad thing. Her honestly about being a single Mum is depressing although her dating life is frustrating.
A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares* - Krystal Sutherland
A quirky, dark and unique look at mental health. Esther’s whole family believe that they are destined to suffer from one great fear in their life. Her twin brother can’t be in the dark, her Mom is terrified of bad luck and her dad lives in the basement. Esther is scared of everything. Along comes Eugene who wants to help her face her fears. There are twists, emotional moments and a touch of humour.
36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You* - Vicki Grant
An okay, but predictable book. There are apparently 36 questions that can be used to make 2 people fall in love. Hildy and Paul are both very different people who are taking part in a University study. Through texting, Q&As and instant messages, they explore these questions. Neither of them are particularly likeable, nor do they make sense as a couple but it’s a short, easy read.
My Not So Perfect Life - Sophie Kinsella
Sophie Kinsella does it again. I love Sophie Kinsella and this book follows the trend. Katie gives off the impression on Instagram that she is living the dream in a glamorous flat in London, with a high-powered job. The reality is not quite the case. Featuring an awful boss, a potential love interest and her Dad’s new glamping business. The story is a fun romp, with some frustrating twists - and the workings of the glamping business was weirdly fascinating to me!
We Come Apart - Sarah Crossan
Dual narration verse with two completely opposite characters. Nice is a Romanian teen, whereas Jess lives in a violent family house. I listened to this on audiobook and I won’t lie, I don’t actually remember it being in verse at all - it’s not until now that I am researching the book and writing this that I realised and that’s only because it’s what it says on Goodreads… A quick read, although not necessarily an easy one.
Spontaneous* - Aaron Starter
Bizarre concept but fun, unique execution. In this book, students are literally exploding. Spontaneously combusting. We follow Mara as she tries to make it to graduation without falling to the same fate and along the way has her own adventures, loves and losses. The ending is so frustrating however, I kinda wanted to scream.
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen* - David Clawson
A fun (but potentially problematic?) teen take on sexuality, gender and social status. So Chris is a modern-day Cinderella, looking after his step-family whose riches are quickly depleting. His stepsister falls in love with a political heir and all things go crazy when he and Chris fall in love. Add a super sassy drag queen, some questionable stereotypes and a few comments that were a little ignorant and that’s what this book is all about. There were some great teachable opportunities that were skipped in exchange for humour.
Troublemakers - Catherine Barter
Bringing together terrorism, family politics and being a teenage girl. This is certainly a unique idea for a story, as we follow 15 year old Alena who lives with her older brother and his boyfriend in London as her Mum died when she was just a baby. Her brother is working for a controversial politician, while Alena is trying to discover more about her political activist mother and London is being terrorised by a bomber. The characters are flawed, which is quite endeering, but there are certainly parts where they seem a little flat.
The Blissfully Dead - Louise Voss & Mark Edwards
Murder occurs around a 1D-esque boyband in this very realistic book! We follow our pal DI Patrick Lennon as he tries to solve a hotel room murder of a teenage girl which seems to be related to the girl’s love of a boyband, as well as juggling his rocky home life. This was a predictably wonderful read.
The Lucky Ones* - Mark Edwards
A creepily optimistic murder story. Again with the twisted murders, this book was fantastic. Single Dad Ben feels like his luck is changing, although around him there are serial murders where nothing seems to tie them together, other than the creepy smile that is found on their faces after their death.
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - Alire Saenz Benjamin
An emotional rollercoaster exploring friendship and first love. I listened to the audiobook of this story because it was read by Lin Manuel Miranda, and I didn’t regret it, although at times it felt as though it dragged a little. Dante and Ari meet at a swimming pool, and the opposite teenaged boys become friends. They learn a lot about themselves and each other, their families and their heritage. This is a really unique YA book.
One of Us is Lying* - Karen McManus
A mysterious YA novel that will have you suspecting everyone. This book was described as “The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars” and that’s the best way to sum it up. Five cliche students are in detention, when one suddenly dies. It seems as though it was a murder, and all the teens are suspects. Lots of twists and great characters.
The Upside of Unrequited* - Becky Albertalli
Despite being quite predictable, this is a really lovely story. Molly and Cassie are twins, although, in true YA novel fashions, they are very dissimilar. Cassie falls in love with a girl, and Molly struggles with sharing her best friend with another girl, as well as trying to lang her first kiss herself. A really heartwarming read.
From the Cradle - Louise Voss and Mark Edwards
An absolutely terrifying, heart wrenching book. Children are going missing, and DI Patrick Lennon has to solve the case, while struggling with the fact that his own wife had attempted to kill their baby daughter in the past. Even without children you will find your heart hurting in this story.
Cheater* - Rachel Van Dyken
Simple and predictable but weirdly pretty lovely. Our “hero” Lucas, cheated on Avery’s order sister on the night before their wedding. He now sleeps around with a different girl every night and Avery has come to work for him. The obvious ensues, but all is not as it seems…!
Windfall* - Jennifer E Smith
An okay book with a pretty dull protagonist. Alice’s best friend Teddy (who she is of course in love with) wins the lottery when she buys him a ticket. Everything changes for the both. This is a pretty easy read, with nothing too exciting going on but it’s perfectly nice.
Get Well Soon - Julie Halpern
Not a great mental health book, but an okay young person novel. Anna Bloom is depressed and ends up in a mental hospital, where she engages in hijinks with the other people on the ward. No actual treatment ever seems to happen, but hey, she falls in love, so that’s cool right? It’s fine, but nothing amazing in such a promising genre.
Angie Baby - Terry Kerr
Creepy supernatural horror story. Hayley and Graham have a miscarriage and mysteriously the ghost of a young girl seems to appear in their house. Graham is a sceptic but Hayley is taken in and things get dark, very quickly!
Optimists Die First* - Susan Nielsen
A really great take on anxiety, well-written. Although it seems like a cliched YA fiction book, I really enjoyed reading this. Petula is 16 and after the death of her little sister she is terrified of everything and is sent to a mandatory art therapy class. Of course, she meets a guy (Jacob, with his prosthetic arm) and they are forced to do a project together.
Someone Else’s Summer* - Rachel Bateman
A typical YA story but really wonderfully enjoyable. Anna’s older sister Storm (side note: how can you name one child ‘Storm’ and then one ‘Anna’?!) dies in a car crash and Anna is understandably heartbroken. She finds her sisters’ summer bucket list and with her sisters’ best friend Cameron, she decides to tick off the list over the summer.
When Mr Dog Bites - Brian Conaghan
A sweet, honest look at Tourettes. I listened to this on audiobook, which was a nice way of hearing Dylan’s accent and ticks. Dylan is 16 and goes to Drumhill Special School, where he tries to find someone to take his virginity. The way Dylan talks is hilariously unique (eg., “Wowee zowee plus twelve!”) but the story is sometimes quite tender and heart-wrenching.
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded - Hannah Hart
A loveable voice telling quite dark tales. I love Hannah Hart, so of course, I enjoyed this book, but I did feel like a lot was missing. It’s amazing to hear how Hannah managed to come from such a low position in her life to who she is now, and how many people she helped along the way.
MindFuck Series, Books 1-5 - S.T. Abby
The best series of books I read in 2017 for sure. I read these 5 books so quickly and was left wanting more. Our “hero” Lana is the most incredible murderer (and really lovable!) and just so happens to fall in love with an amazing detective who is investigating her crimes. I am going to re-read these books as I loved them and they are dead cheap on Kindle!
The Last Thing you Said* - Sarah Biren
Equally parts sad and romantic. Lucy’s best friend, and Ben’s sister, Trixie died last summer, while the three hung out on the lake. Moments before Lucy and Ben were finally going to kiss. Now, they are both having to deal with their grief and guilt a summer later. This was really raw at points, but a good read.
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn* - Marianna Baer
One of the worst books I’ve ever read. Review video here - spoiler alert, it was awful!
Bluff* - Julie Dill
Interesting concept but dragged a little. Living in a rich area, Chelsea and her father are left in debt by her Mom’s disappearance. Chelsea takes up gambling as a way to fund her life, and soon she is addicted, despite only being 17. It’s quite stressful to read at times as things get pretty tense but overall quote forget-able.
So there you have it! 36 short book reviews to hopefully help you add to your #TBR list! Let me know what you think in the comments. This year I’m going to write this as I go along because this post has taken me weeks!
Books that are marked with ‘*’ were sent to me before publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.