Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

Header (21)
Release Date:
March 2nd 1997
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 355
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I still have my childhood copy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the brutal world of Shade’s Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? He is a sworn enemy of the Overlords, but his use of the children to gain knowledge and power seems uncaring and ruthless. Finally, Gold-Eye and his new friends set out to destroy the Overlords–with or without the enigmatic, dangerous Shade. Garth Nix, author of Sabriel, blends suspense, action, and high emotion in this excellent, fast-moving science-fiction story.

Review

Copy of book cover (22)Shade’s Children was a book I read and loved as a child and I thought it would be fun to revisit it as an adult. It was just as bleak and terrifying as it was all those years ago, and I absolutely loved rereading this childhood favourite.

Shade’s Children is set in a world in which everyone above the age of fourteen has disappeared. Now when you turn fourteen you are taken to the meat factory to be harvested. The story follows Gold Eye, a young boy who escapes the dormitories before he can be taken to the factory. While fleeing the monstrous creatures who mean to return him, he teams up with a band of Shade’s Children, and together they fight to survive against Overlords.

I honestly just adored this book. It’s dark and gritty and absolutely stands the test of time. It was just as gripping and absorbing as the many times I read it as a child. The world is completely fascinating and I loved learning about this unique dystopian world that Nix has created. While everything isn’t necessarily explained, the world building is solid and the plot exciting. Despite this book being published over twenty years ago, it definitely still stands up as a brilliant YA story.

Shade’s Children is just over the three hundred page mark, but I absolutely raced through this. You’re dropped right into the action in this one and it’s an absolute roller coaster ride. This story has such a tense, eerie atmosphere as Gold Eye and the gang fight to survive. If you’re looking for a dystopian tale that will have you reading long into the night, you definitely need to check this one out.
5 Stars

Book Review: The Cold Is In Her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale

Book Review: The Cold Is In Her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale

Header (12)
Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

Review

Copy of book cover (29)The Cold is in Her Bones is the dark and compelling Medusa retelling you didn’t know you needed.

The story follows Milla a young girl who lives on a remote farm. She’s not allowed to go into the village and her whole world is her brother and parents. When a young girl named Iris comes to live on the farm as a potential match for her brother Milla learns about the demon who possesses the young girls in the village. When Iris is becomes possessed by the demon and taken to live in an asylum, Milla must use all her courage to rescue her friend and the town.

This is a beautifully told story, and I really enjoyed Arsdale’s writing style. It was dreamy and very fairy tale like. She creates some really fascinating and compelling characters, both Milla and Iris are fascinating and I was really intrigued by Hulda and her story. The story particularly focuses on relationships – Milla’s relationships with her mother, wiht Iris and with her brother. It was so interesting to see those relationships adjust as Milla continued to uncover the mysteries of the demon and why she possessed girls in the village. The characters all felt well fleshed out and it was easy to root for Milla as she fought to safe the village.

While I enjoyed this story overall it is a slower paced story and I did feel it dragged a little in some parts. It is a very loose Medusa retelling, so if you’re looking for something close to the original tales this probably isn’t it. If you’re looking for a fair tale like tale, full of haunting imagery and lovely writing I’d definitely recommend giving this a go.
3 Stars (1)

Book Review: Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

Book Review: Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

Header (10)
Release Date:
June 2nd 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day, and her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down.

But then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T140551.502Little Creeping Things is a dark and compulsively readable thriller from Chelsea Ichaso. The story follows Cassidy, a teenage girl struggling with the guilt of starting a fire that killed her neighbour when she was a child. On top of the guilt she is frequently bullied by Melody Davenport, one of the most popular girls in town. At party Cassidy jokes about murdering Melody and days later Melody goes missing in the exact way Cassidy suggests. As Cassidy begins to panic she receives a text – I’m so glad we’re in this together. Cassidy must race to discover who murdered Melody and prove she had nothing to do with it.

Little Creeping Things is a fun and really solid YA thriller. Cassidy is a fascinating unreliable narrator, constantly questioning if what she’s seen is real. She is plagued by her guilt over the fire and it’s interesting to watch her tangle herself deeper and deeper in this mystery. The story also has plenty of typical high school drama with crushes and mean girls in this small town. There is also a romance plot which I found a little on the irritating side, being much more interested in the murder and the mysteries surrounding the fire.

Little Creeping Things is an addictive read. It’s one of those books you sit down to read a chapter or two and you look up and you’ve been reading for hours. I read this nearly in one sitting, it’s such an easy story to get lost in. There are a few twists and turns and although I guessed who did it pretty early on, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you love fast paced YA thrillers (with delightfully creepy covers), this is a perfect summer read.
4 Stars

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

Header (4)
Series:
Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-28T161834.015Girls of Paper and Fire is a book that has been on my TBR for absolutely ages. I’ve heard incredible things about it so going in I had some pretty high expectations. The story follows Lei, a young girl forced to become a courtesan for the Demon King. Being a Paper Girl is the worst fate imaginable for Lei, who wants nothing more than to remain at home with her family. While forced to learn skills befitting a woman at court, Lei falls in love – a forbidden romance that if discovered, could be her death.

Girls of Paper and Fire has a really fascinating premise and while I really enjoyed it, I had expected to love it a lot more than I did. I really enjoyed Ngan’s writing style, but felt the world building could have been a little stronger in this book. There is quite a bit of info dump at the beginning and it took me a little while to wrap my head round the castes and rules of the world.

The story is well paced, and the last hundred pages are incredibly gripping as the action heats up. Girls of Paper and Fire ends with the promise of even higher stakes and more drama in book two, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Girls of Storm and Shadow will bring. The characters Ngan has created in this book are probably what I enjoyed most about this story. I really liked Lei and the other paper girls, it was fascinating seeing them come from different backgrounds and cope with the horrors of being a paper girl. The romance is well done too, it doesn’t overtake the main plot and Ngan gives it plenty of time to develop. I would have liked to learn a bit more about the Demon King. He felt like a bit cookie cutter for me.

Natasha Ngan has weaved a clever tale full of action, political intrigue and romance. A word of warning that the story is quite a dark one, and will have trigger warnings for rape and abuse. It’s an impressive start to this exciting YA fantasy series, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Natasha Ngan. Though it didn’t completely live up to my expectations I still really enjoyed this one, and if you’re curious about picking it up I’d recommend trying it out!
4 Stars

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Header (3)
Series:
One Of Us Is Lying #2
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.

But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.

The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T172732.088One Of Us Is Next is the sequel to YA thriller smash hit One Of Us Is Lying and returns to Bayview High a year after the events of the first book. A game of Truth or Dare has started among the high school students, but with a lethal twist. The students must work out who the mysterious person behind the game is and why they’re so determined to get vengeance on Bayview students.

I really enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying when I read it last year so I was really interested in the sequel. The story follows some new characters as well as Bronwyn’s younger sister Maeve who we meet in book one. The characters were well fleshed out and I really liked Maeve as a main character. She was one of the characters I was intrigued by in book one so it was nice to read a story from her perspective. We also get to see snippets of the characters from book one and what has happened to them since the story finished. I really enjoyed seeing where they had ended up.

Like McManus’ other books, the story is action packed and full of twists and turns. It’s a fast paced story and perfect for binge reading on a quiet afternoon. The story is a little predictable – I’m not really one for guessing plot twists and I figured it out quite early on – but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you’ve read the first one it’s definitely worth checking out the sequel and If you haven’t yet tried them out these books are perfect for YA thriller fans.
4 Stars

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Header (2)
Release Date:
May 7th 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this through Tandem Collective
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?

Review

Copy of book cover (20)Burn is the latest release from acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness. The story is set in world where humans and dragons co-exist and the story follows Sarah Dewhurst, a young girl whose father has hired a dragon to help on their farm. Sarah soon learns the dragon has other reasons for coming to the farm and she finds herself entangled in a prophecy to stop a war that could threaten the whole planet. But Sarah and Kazimir aren’t the only ones who know about this prophecy, when an assassin arrives at the farm Sarah must fight for her life and those she loves.

Burn is my third Patrick Ness book and definitely my favourite. I loved this unique and engaging idea – 1950s America where dragons and humans have to tolerate each other. It’s a fascinating tale and tackles a whole range of themes from racism, homophobia, grief and family. The world building in this book is truly superb. The dragons and humans idea worked so well and felt very natural. I loved that Ness gives the reader a chance to learn a bit about dragon history too. I found this really intriguing and added another layer to this complex tale.

The story is quite a fast-paced one, with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I ended up reading the book pretty quickly, especially the latter half of the book as the tension began to climb. Ness has created a gripping tale with quite a few surprise twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.

Burn features a really fascinating cast of characters. I really liked our main protagonist Sarah, as well as scholarly dragon Kazimir. Assassin Malcolm is probably the character I liked most. His story arc is really engrossing, as he goes from a member of the cult like Believers to an assassin. There is an immense amount of character growth in this book and it really kept me hooked.

Burn is an addictive read than fans of Patrick Ness are absolutely going to love. I definitely didn’t want it to end and if you’re curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up!
4 Stars

Six For Sunday: Series I Want to Get Into

Six For Sunday: Series I Want to Get Into

Header (1)
Six for Sunday is created by Steph over at Alittlebutalot. This week the topic is series you want to get into and for me there are absolutely tons of them. I’m forever behind on big series and there are so many I want to read.

Copy of book cover (14)1. The Bone Witch – Rin Chupeco
In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price.When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice.

Copy of book cover (15)2. Three Dark Crowns – Kendare Blake
When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Copy of book cover (16)3. Empirium – Claire Legrand
The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

Copy of book cover (17)4. Shades of Magic – V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Copy of book cover (19)5. The Wounded Kingdom – R J Barker
To catch an assassin, use an assassin…

Girton Club-foot, apprentice to the land’s best assassin, still has much to learn about the art of taking lives. But his latest mission tasks him and his master with a far more difficult challenge: to save a life. Someone, or many someones, is trying to kill the heir to the throne, and it is up to Girton and his master to uncover the traitor and prevent the prince’s murder.

In a kingdom on the brink of civil war and a castle thick with lies Girton finds friends he never expected, responsibilities he never wanted, and a conspiracy that could destroy an entire kingdom.

Copy of book cover (18)6. The Witchlands – Susan Dennard 
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

So those are six series I would love to get into. If you’ve read any of them I’d love to know your thoughts, as well as some series you’re dying to read!

Book Review: Seeker – Cate Tiernan

Book Review: Seeker – Cate Tiernan

July 23, 2019
Series:
Sweep #10
Release Date: April 1st 2002
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 172
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: I still have my childhood copies!
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s a time of joy for Hunter as he is reunited with his father, who vanished mysteriously years before. Only Morgan senses that something is wrong, that Hunter’s father is hiding a dark secret that could threaten them all.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T180003.028Seeker is the tenth instalment in the Sweep/Wicca series, a set of books that I absolutely fell in love with as a child. I read them over and over and I thought it would be fun to revisit them as an adult. I’ve slowly been working my way through the series and on reaching book number ten I was looking forward to reading from Hunter’s perspective, rather than our main protagonist Morgan. This instalment follows Hunter as he continues the search and is reunited with his long lost Father. However their reunion is not all he was hoping and his father is hiding many things. Combining that with a mission he has been sent to do for the Witches Council, Hunter will need all his wits to unravel what is really going on.

The Sweep series is such a fun and quick paced series to read. The story of Morgan Rowlands is an engaging one and I find myself still falling in love with the story all these years later. While Seeker is an interesting addition to the story, I found myself missing reading from Morgan’s perspective and was more interesting in revisiting her story than the one of Hunter and his father. The characters are complex and fascinating and I love seeing them attempt to find balance between all powerful witches and everyday life as a high school student.

The series is a long one (fifteen books total) but they are all under the 250 page mark. On reading them as an adult I definitely think I would prefer them to be condensed into three or four books, as I often found the books bringing up something that had happened in previous books again and again. Of the books in the series this has probably been my least favourite so far, but it was fun to get to know Hunter a bit better. If you’re a fan of witchy books this is definitely one to check out, and I’m definitely looking forward to revisiting the final books in the series.
4 Stars

Book Review: The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman

Book Review: The Devouring Gray – Christine Lynn Herman

July 23, 2019 (26)
Series:
The Devouring Gray #1
Release Date: April 16th 2019
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133429.980The Devouring Gray is the dark and eerie tale of a small town called Four Paths and the founding families that strive to protect it from the mysterious beast known as The Gray. As newcomer Violet moves to town The Gray grows stronger, taking more and more people, but will the bickering families be able to work together to stop it from escaping its prison and destroying the town?

The Devouring Gray has pretty much everything I love in books. It has this gorgeous, atmospheric setting. I loved the quaint little town with this deep dark secret, steeped right into the towns history. The founding families with magical powers is another trope I just love and the whole book gave me serious Riverdale/The Vampire Diaries vibes.

The story is pretty quick paced and Herman has a really lovely writing style which I really enjoyed. She has created a diverse cast of characters that are full of depth and each is dealing with their own complex issues as they strive to safe the town from The Gray.

The story is mysterious and full of reveals that I didn’t see coming, and I definitely found myself turning the pages faster and faster to see how the story was going to end. This is a duology so I’m really looking forward to picking up The Deck of Omens to see what happens next. The Devouring Gray is certainly a book that’s received a lot of buzz, but if you’ve been hesitant about picking it up I’d absolutely recommend giving it a shot.
5 Stars

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

July 23, 2019 (15)
Release Date:
February 11th 2020
Publisher: ZunTold Publishing
Pages: 280
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

14-year-old Holly is lonely. Her parents are never around after Gran’s Crisis and best friend Amy to Canada, loved-up with her new boyfriend, Gabe. Holly has no-one to hang out with at school apart from moody Ellen and misfit Tim.

Home alone in Brighton with no-one to talk to, Holly is at rock bottom. That is, until she finds Jay. Caring, funny and with so much in common, Jay is the perfect guy. They chat online, but Holly knows to be careful, she’s heard the horror stories. As they grow closer and closer, chatting with Jay is all that makes Holly happy. Mum and Dad’s rows get more intense and Amy’s radio silence continues; the only one who understands is Jay. As Holly lets her guard down, is Jay all he seems? Is Holly in too deep? And is it too late?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174939.477Always Here For You is the tense and gripping tale of a young girl named Holly who is struggling with being lonely. Only fifteen, her best friend has moved to Canada and is having the best time without her, and her parents are preoccupied with Holly’s ailing grandmother. Looking for companionship she begins talking to a stranger online. She knows not everyone is who they say they are online but as she begins to feel more and more isolated, Holly feels like she only has Jay to turn too. When they decide to meet face to face Holly begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake, and if Jay is all that he seems.

Miriam Halahmy has created a fast-paced and timely tale about how easy it is to fall victim to someone on the internet. The brilliantly depicted characters highlight the unnerving realty of how chatting to a stranger for a few minutes can change your whole life. The story is a tense one, with the tension ramping up the closer Holly gets to meeting Jay face to face. I thought Holly was a really fascinating protagonist, she’s aware of the dangers of the internet, but it doesn’t stop her from being unknowingly groomed.

Always Here For You does a fantastic job of raising awareness for something that occurs all too frequently. A well written contemporary story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s a pretty quick read too, so definitely one to recommend if you’re looking for a story to get lost in for an afternoon.
4 Stars