in which I share some things I've read and liked.

Hey there blogosphere! What's that you say, you need something to read? Then this could be the blog post for you, because in a fit of boredom whilst The Boy was at the cinema this week, I took to the iPad (my preferred blogging device) and made a little post of books I have read recently and rather enjoyed.

Hang on a little minute first though. Have you read The Bookshop Book? No? Okay, but why? Go away and read that and come back to me.


Excellent. Then let's go.

Firstly, Cassandra Parkin’s The Summer We All Ran Away needs to take it's perfect self and disappear, frankly. It's unfair for it to hang around being that good and making the other books jealous. Seriously, this is such a good concept that has been flawlessly executed. I could not put this down and I am so excited for Cassandra's new novel, published next year.

When nineteen year old Davey finds himself drunk, beaten and alone, he is rescued by the oddly-assorted inhabitants of an abandoned and beautiful house in the West Country. Their only condition for letting him join them is that he asks them no questions.
More than thirty years ago in that same house, burned-out rock star Jack Laker writes a ground-breaking comeback album, and abandons the girl who saved his life to embark on a doomed and passionate romance with a young actress. His attempt to escape his destructive lifestyle leads to deceit, debauchery and even murder.
As Davey and his fellow housemate Priss try to uncover the secrets of the house's inhabitants, both past and present, it becomes clear that the five strangers have all been drawn there by the events and the music of that long-ago summer.

I finally got my hands on the second of Kat Zhang’s Hybrid Chronicles, Once We Were. (And did a small happy dance.) I pretty much devoured the first in this trilogy, so I’m not entirely sure why it’s taken me so long to get round to book two, other than somehow, like a crazy person, I thought it wasn’t published yet. Book three was released in September of this year, so if you’ve not read any of these yet, then you can read all three in one go. You’ll want to.

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.

Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

The Shock of the Fall won Costa Book of the Year in 2013. I can see why. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, – it’s a long long way from being that, but it’s a good read. It’s well written and well paced and I am a fan of the back and forth stream-of-consciousness type writing style. The book tells Matt’s story – he’s a 19 year old boy with schizophrenia struggling to come to terms with the death of his brother Simon on a camping holiday ten years earlier. It’s honest and perceptive and dotted with just exactly the type of humour a book like this needs. S’good.The story is told by Matt Homes, a 19-year-old schizophrenic haunted by the death of his Downs syndrome brother, Simon, ten years earlier when the boys were on a family camping holiday. A tragic accident or did Matt kill his brother? 


The Girl With All the Gifts. Read this book. That’s all. Read it. It’s excellent.

I am such a sucker for pretty words and this book is full of them. It’s beautiful and intriguing and completely gripping.  E. Lockhart asks that people who have read the book don’t go all spoilery on the asses of folks that haven’t:

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

And so spoilers here there are none. Sorry. I shall just say that this is a book that you should read

I love Khaled Hosseini so much. So very much so I was practically giddy with excitement when I came to read And The Mountains Echoed. It didn’t disappoint. The thing about Hosseini is that his books are wonderful and devastating in a billion different ways. He explores relationships so well, he travels through time so well, and he makes you empathise with his characters, even the ones you don’t care for all that much. The imagery is so vivid, each character so well developed and the threads of the narratives so intricate they take your breath away.  

...a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

It was in the tender, slightly panicky way he spoke these words that I knew my father was a wounded person, that his love for me was as true, vast, and permanent as the sky, and that it would always bear down upon me. It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice; either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.

Two Boys Kissing

I found Levithan thanks to Will Grayson, Will Grayson which he wrote with John Green. I read Every Day, which I liked a whole lot, and then Jen (being a love) sent me this (which I need to send back actually, but anyway, not a thing anybody needs to worry about but me…) and again, I liked it a whole lot. Like Every Day, and like Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Two Boys Kissing is honest and thought-provoking and relevant. It’s everything a good YA novel should be.  

Seventeen-year-olds Craig and Harry are trying to set a new Guinness World Record for kissing.

Around them, Ryan and Avery are falling in love, Neil and Peter are falling out of love, and Cooper might be somewhere, but he is also, dangerously, nowhere.

Narrated, Greek-chorus style, by the generation of gay men lost to AIDS, this novel is a thematic companion to David Levithan’s groundbreaking Boy Meets Boy, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2013.