Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

S4S – Authors I’d love to see collaborate…

STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN! 

Hello there! Wecome to another installment of #SixforSunday! This week sees me take on something that took an AWFUL LOT OF THOUGHT. Mainly because I needed to get it right. And I didn’t want to miss out anyone who I loved. Mainly, I have too many choices! 

Today we take on:

Authors you’d love to see collaborate

Now… the majestic book that is Floored came along and saw many of my faves ACTUALLY collaborate in an EPIC way, so if you’ve not got on that yet, I’d really like you to. 

  1. Melinda Salisbury and Sara Barnard
    This is a YA collab I will shout about forever. LADIES I NEED THIS TO HAPPEN. (C’mon, none of you will be surprised by this at all)
  2. Kiran Milwood Hargrave and Piers Torday
    I think this MG book would break my heart and be the most beautiful book ever!
  3. Sara Barnard and Alice Oseman
    This one literally just came to my brain and I think my brain is a genius. I think this could be such a brilliant combination!
  4. Sara Barnard and Laura Steven
    GUYS. I need this to happen… I just think these 2 would boss a YA contemporary that punched me in the face and made me cackle with laughter.  
  5. Maz Evans and Lisa Thompson
    I just think this would be a BRILLIANT MG book pairing… happy to read WHATEVER!
  6. Melinda Salisbury and Alice Broadway
    I think this would be such a brilliant meeting of minds… 

So if there’s anyone reading this who can make these things happen, that’d be amazing thanks!

Remember to share your #SixforSunday posts with me and I look forward to going “OMG YES THAT WOULD BE A MINT PAIR THANKS!” at all of your suggestions! 

S x 

The 90s Movie Tag

Hello there!

How are we all? It’s Friday again! It is FINALLY half term. My first half term over as a teacher – prepare yourself for quite a mammoth blog post next week about what I got up to in my first 8 weeks as a teacher!

Today I’m taking on the ’90s Movie Tag’ which I saw on my brilliant friend Aoife’s blog. You should go read her post and follow her blog! I loved the premise of this tag, so thought I’d take it on.

She’s All That – Name a book couple that is an odd pairing but they still fit perfectly together

Lukas and Nell from The Hurting by Lucy van Smit. He’s pretty much a rich wolf boy and she was brought up with a drunken dad, a poorly mam and a little sister. They have an interesting dynamic. The Hurting is one of those books that pushes you to think for a while after you read it.

10 Things I Hate About You – A book/series you have a love/hate relationship with

OH MY WORD. For me, there is only one candidate. Gone Girl. I have SUCH a complex relationship with this book. I HATED the characters. So much. Man, I think I need to write a blog post about my feelings about this book. However, I did think it was so cleverly written. But yeah, this book makes me want to shake my fist (yknow, like the gif of the little girl?)

Clueless – A character who is totally clueless but you love them anyway

I don’t know that I have a character who is Clueless quite like Cher. I’ve gone for Citra and Rowan from Scythe. They had NO idea about the corruption and horrendous acts in Scythedom, but I loved them.

Titanic – Name a book that made you cry

LOLOL. Hello, do you know me AT ALL? I could list almost every book I’ve ever read. I am a crier. You’ll get used to it. However, if we’re going for books that have had a lasting impact on my emotions, I’d have to go with Countless by Karen Gregory. I can’t think about that book and not tear up.

American Pie – A book that makes you laugh

This was another one where I was like ‘I KNOW THE ANSWER STRAIGHT AWAY’. Guys, if you’re yet to read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven, then you need to get on it. I remember reading the first chapter of that book and cackling SO SO MUCH. Izzy O’Neill is just remarkable and hilarious. Everyone needs her in their life.

Can’t Hardly Wait – A book with a crazy party

I don’t know that I can recall many books with parties in (which, considering I read a lot of YA books, does blow my mind slightly). But, after some thought, Clean by Juno Dawson features some wild parties. It must, right? It’s all about drugs and alcohol and sex.

Cruel Intentions – Name a character you can never fully trust

I 100% do not trust Mael from State of Sorrow (by the Queen Salisbury). I am still suspicious of him. I won’t say what it is, incase you haven’t read it, but if you have and wanna know… hit me up. I NEED SORROW 2 NOW PLZ THANKS.

Drive Me Crazy – Name your favourite “boy next door” or “girl next door” couple

I mean, Simon and Blue from Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda are pretty much “boy next door/boy next door” vibes for me. I adore them. I want a book of just Simon and Blue romantic fluff.

Scream – A book with a memorable villain

Every time I do one of these tags and a question about vilains comes up, I think of the SAME character. J from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I mean, that’s gotta be some memorable character.

The Craft – Name a book with witches

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw was my first thought. A brilliant book about witches and falling in love and being who you really are.

Why don’t you take on this tag? I’d love to know your thoughts on my choices!

ALSO, if you do a tag you’d like me to take part in, let me know! I’m loving tag life!

Speak to you soon!

S x

The Superlatives book tag

Hello! Happy Tuesday everyone. 

Today, I’ve been tagged by the lovely Kelly (of Kelly’s Rambles) to take part in the ‘Superlatives book tag’. Now, as many of you know Kelly is one of my best friends and we share quite a similar bookish reading taste, so when I read her post I was like “YOU’VE STOLEN SO MANY OF THE BOOKS I WOULD CHOOSE”so if you’re interested in knowing other choices that I would’ve made, then check out Kelly’s post

I’m a big fan of a tag because I think they’re super fun! Don’t forget I’ve created my own tag – The Friends Tag – that you can join in with, or you can guest post on my blog too!

Here we go… I’m going to go with books I’ve read in 2018 to fulfil these prompts!

MOST LIKELY TO BE IN THE MOVIES: THE BOOK THAT WOULD MAKE THE BEST MOVIE

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I can’t not say Six of Crows. I would ABSOLUTELY love to see this made into a film. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and I would love to see Kaz on screen. Kaz and his merry bunch of Dregs. I think Six of Crows would make an incredible film. Can someone make this happen please?

BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN/KING: THE MOST (OVERLY) DRAMATIC BOOK OR CHARACTER

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There’s characters in All of this is True that I couldn’t get away with because they were just a bit OTT for me. Like, this book never did quite catch up for me. 

BEST DRESSED: THE BOOK WITH THE BEST COVER

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I can’t not go for Clean. I mean, look at that rose gold goodness. *swoon*

MOST CREATIVE: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST UNIQUE PLOT, CHARACTERS, & STRUCTURE

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I don’t think I’ve read anything quite as spooky, sciencey and underwater-y as The Secret Deep. I absolutely adored it. Lindsay Galvin has written an ABSOLUTE winner here. I implore you all to read it. 

MOST POPULAR: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST RATINGS ON GOODREADS

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I finished Northern Lights recently and it has a whopping 1,082,925 ratings on Goodreads! 

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: THE BOOK THAT IS GOING TO BE APPRECIATED FOR MANY YEARS TO COME

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Matt Haig writes the most amazing books. I think his books have incredible staying power and as long as there’s technology in our lives, Notes on a Nervous Planet also has a place in our lives. 

CLASS CLOWN: THE BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

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Maz NEVER fails to make me laugh. Who Let The Gods Out? series is one I could’ve used to answer the prompt before too. Beyond the Odyssey is hilarious. Everyone I know who I’ve made read the series have said they’ve loved them. Please go out and check them out. They will, I promise, make you laugh, a lot. 

MOST IMPROVED: THE BOOK THAT STARTED OFF SLOW, BUT REALLY PICKED UP

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It took me a WHILE to get into The Smoke Thieves, but once you’re into the action, it’s very much there. There’s a lot going on in this book, with many points of view, but stick with it… 

CUTEST COUPLE: CUTEST COUPLE IN A BOOK

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Holly and Ed from My Box-Shaped Heart are just lush. I can’t say any more than that. Their whole situation made me smile a lot. 

BIGGEST HEARTBREAKER: THE BOOK THAT BROKE YOUR HEART

(LOL, they all do, all the time)

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Ah man. A Thousand Perfect Notes? More like a thousand tears of sadness. Even now thinking about it makes me a bit emotional. It’s just harrowing. 

And there we have it! My 2018 books I’ve read superlatives list! 

I’m not going to tag anyone because everyone I know has already been tagged… but if you fancy it, have a go!

Let me know in the comments if you agree with any of my choices, or what you’d change!

S x

S4S – Books that made me want to shout

Hello my friends!

How are you all? What does this fine Sunday have in store for you? Are you partaking in a cup of #SixforSunday on this day? 

We’ve been though a lot of emotion with #SixforSunday this month so far, crying, laughing, anger… today brings us:

Books that made you want to shout

Whether its shouting in anger, joy or just sheer frustration, books that make you want to shout can be excellent. Or maybe its those books that you want to shout about them because they’re SO GOOD.

  1. Clean – Juno Dawson
    Oh Lexi. Poor little Lexi.
  2. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven
    Now I wanted to shout about this because IT IS SO SO GOOD, but also Danny. What a doylem.
  3. State of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
    If you read this book and don’t want to shout at the dad, then we need to talk. (But also, you all know how much I love Mel, so I needed to shout about how awesome this book is!)
  4. One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
    This book though… SO VERY GOOD. The shouting for this book is “I want everyone to read it”
  5. Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton
    ALWYN WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING TO US? Ahem. 
  6. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
    I want to shout at Leigh Bardugo and ask her how DARE she write a character as brilliant as Kaz. How dare he be fictional. 

There you have it! 6 of the books that have made me want to shout. (Let’s be real, a lot of books make me want to shout at their brilliance!)

Remember to join in and link to me, or tag me on twitter! Use the hashtag #SixforSunday so I can check out your posts… I love reading them all! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back next week for…

Books that made me fall in love!

 S x

S4S – Metallic books

Hello my loves!

How are you? What has been going on in your lives this week? Any good books? 

Today brings another #SixforSunday post. This week is a cover type that is VERY close to my heart…

Metallic books

I AM SUCH A LOVER OF A SHINY COVER OK. They are precious to me. I am such a magpie for shiny, metallic goodness. 

  1. ALL of Sara Barnard’s books 
    These books have the most amazing metallic features on the covers. I hope her books are forever somewhat metallic, because I love her books.
  2. Rebel of the Sands trilogy – Alwyn Hamilton
    This trilogy is close to my heart and not just because they have shiny covers.
  3. Spark/Ink – Alice Broadway
    I couldn’t NOT include these could I? They’re BEAUTIES. I can’t wait for book 3 to see what it’s like… 
  4. Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo
    Shiny features on the cover of this book made me VERY happy.
  5. Clean – Juno Dawson
    THIS BOOK IS ONE BIG SHINY. I adore it massively.
  6. Fandom – Anna Day
    The beautiful shiny details on this cover make me feel such heart eyes. 

So yeah, I like shiny covers. I bet you’d never guess this.

Remember to share your ideas using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I LOVE you all dearly for joining in! 

See you next week for July – the month of the books and the feels – starting with “Books that made me cry”.

S x

BOOK BLOG: Juno Dawson

Clean: dark, delicious and deceitful

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“When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all … 

It’s a dirty business getting clean …”

Clean came into my life via a proof from the lovely humans of the publishers, and my word, WHAT A BOOK. This book is dark, gritty and hard to read at times. Possible trigger warnings for drugs, but it’s an INCREDIBLE book that I definitely need more of.

This book doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty. You’re thrown into the world of Lexi’s addiction. You live it. You see it in her flashbacks. You see what she goes through. The people she hangs around with. The cocky attitude she has. The lifestyle she lives. Parties. Drugs. Men, or one man in particular. 

Brilliant flashbacks paired with Lexi’s story of rehab make for very interesting reading. Lexi is admitted to rehab by her brother. Her lovely brother. I really liked him. He wanted what was best for his sister. It’s great to read a positive brother/sister relationship. Obviously, she initially hates him because he’s sentenced her to rehab, to being better, to getting clean. He’s a constant force of good in her life. He wants to look after her, even when that looks like sending her to the hardest place in the world for an addict. 

The people she’s in rehab with are brilliantly endearing characters. They’re not all there for addictions to drugs like Lexi. There’s sex addicts, food adicts, fellow drug addicts. Learning about their own vices and their stories, as well as seeing them interact with Lexi over time, made for brilliant reading. The scenes of Lexi struggling with her first few days were hard to read, but I needed to know how she got on. Watching her learn to trust these fellow rehab patients made for intrigue. Their friendships kept my interest level up and I wanted MORE. I wanted more from their interactions. I wanted more scenes of them together.

Lexi makes some STUPID decisions – both in the past, and then in the present narrative of the book. I was on the tube reading Clean and genuinely gasped and had to say to my book “Oh Lexi, you fool” at one point (which made my friend Kelly laugh a lot!) You live the whole process with Lexiwithdrawal, pain, falling, friendship, anger, love. Watching Lexi’s growth from a complete addict at the beginning of the book to the end was touching. She does a LOT of growing, but that nagging voice of addiction is always there. That slither of want. 

A small shout out here to the romance in the book – for me it was a welcome addition and it gave me moments of warmth in an otherwise really harsh and dark book. I really want them to be happy. I’m not sure that’s what Juno has in store for me though… you’ll have to read to know who I mean! 

This book is hard to read but it is endearing and you will soon be addicted (lol soz) to it after a few chapters – I know I was! I can’t wait for more from Lexi and the crew! Bring it on!

Have you read Clean?
Do you have a favourite patient?
What do you think is next for the gang?

Talk to me! I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x

 

#SamplerSunday

This past weekend, my friend Kelly (over at Kelly’s Ramblings) decided we would get some of the samplers we got at YALC read! It was really tough choosing the 5 we would read but in the end we came up with these:

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(I was in my trusty Starbucks, at the window, as usual on a Sunday!)

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First up, we read Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. It was a great, very fast paced book. I was on edge the entire time reading the sampler! If the book is as fast paced as the sampler, I’m not sure my brain will be able to cope! The story seems to be very intriguing – a woman, who constantly changes her identity, running away from something and someone. The MC (Jule) is intense. I think she might be a polarising MC. I want to know more about her though, the glimpses we got I enjoyed. I will keep my eye out for this.

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Next, we read Clean by Juno Dawson. I love the look of this sampler! It was so hard to get a picture of though. The thing that struck me was the interesting dynamic between Lexi and her brother. He’s trying to help her. She’s mean and devious and doesn’t want his help, whereas he SEEMS TO BE just trying to help (blackmail does help!). Reading it I was interested and then her age is brought up and I was VERY interested. There’s quite a bit of swearing in this and I LOVED IT. This one definitely peaked my interest – I have so many questions: why is she addicted to drugs? What happened? I will definitely be buying this as soon as it comes out! 

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The third sampler we read was Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan. I picked this up after hearing her talk at YALC in the Fairytale panel and knew I needed to read it. I love a good fairytale. This one is based on one of my favourite fairytales of all time… one which is SO UNDERRATED – Rumplestiltskin. It took me a minute to get into it, but once I was in I was HOOKED. I loved that there was some back story and the illustration at the end was creepy and perfect. The other thing that struck me was that the girl in the story was imperfect: she has this incredible hair but she describes herself in such imperfect words. This is definitely one I’m going to be watching out for: it’s so atmospheric and beautiful that it needs to be in my life.

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Then we moved on to one of our faves, Holly Bourne. This sampler is of her new book It Only Happens in the Movies. Holly is one of my faves, she always gets it right and this sampler shows that this book should be very much of the same. There’s a brilliant speech by the MC in the sampler about women in films and it is so spot on that I wanted to cheer. Women in films are NEVER imperfect. Holly always gets this right. I really liked LouLou too. She seems like she’s going to be a great character. I have a suspicious eye on Harry. I can’t wait for this to be out in October. It’s going to be a good one. I can feel it in my bones. 

THE GRAND FINALE OF #SAMPLERSUNDAY.

For those of you who follow me on any of the social media you’ll know that Melinda Salisbury is my fave. When I heard there was going to be a sampler of her new (currently untitled) book #SorrowBook, I needed it. I needed it straight away. I have put off reading it because I knew that once I had read it, I would want to read the rest. And man was I right.

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I won’t embarrass myself by showing you the texts between Kelly and I, but suffice to say we absolutely adored and devoured this sampler. I was hooked in the first page. “A bridge built of starlight” just had me. I absolutely love Mel’s ability to instantly create a world: I always get sucked in. This world is no different. I know this is going to be an incredible book – I have a feeling there is going to be some MAJOR event happening in the book and that Sorrow will grow up to be quite the young woman. I am VERY EXCITED and March can not come soon enough. I could ramble on about this for hours. Just know I loved it and that you need to get your hands on it… if you can! (side note: I found out today it’s a duology and YAAAAAAAAAS)

Did you pick up these samplers at YALC?
What did you think of them?
Which of these 3 are you most excited about?

Let’s talk! I want to know your feels about these and any other samplers you picked up at YALC. Talk to me in the comments or on twitter! While you’re at it… take yourself over to Kelly’s post and see what she thought of these samplers – clicky click

S x

BOOKBLOG: Juno Dawson

Margot and Me: heartbreaking, soul filled and beautiful.

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The first I heard of Juno Dawson was when I read the Crisis ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ short story anthology and I absolutely loved her short story about a Geordie boy (see my review here: BOOKBLOG: Tom Becker) and as soon as I heard there was a new book coming up I KNEW I had to read it! A few of my friends and I agreed to read it at the same time and we all started it on the same day… I am so glad we all started it together, despite the fact I was one of the last to finish it! I love my online group of bookworms, they’re my favourite people.

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“Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery… and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart…”

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I picked this book up with very little knowledge of what it was about and I’m pretty glad I didn’t know! It was an absolute revelation to read it totally blind, to discover the characters and the story without any previous knowledge. I had read the blurb, but it had fallen out of my head. 

The story starts out with an introduction to Felicity, who is being made to move away from her life in London to a secluded farm in Wales run by her grandmother. Initially Fliss hates her life in Wales: the girls are horrible, she can’t do anything right, her grandmother isn’t your typical grandmother, she hates the farm and then eventually things start to turn. Fliss discovers her grandmother’s diary from when she was evacuated to Wales. 

For me, Fliss was quite a hard character to like at first… I don’t know what it was, she just didn’t sit well with me, but as you go through the book (as my friend Aoife said) “she’s a grower”. She will grow on you, she grew on me. Her grandmother was the biggest surprise to me. I found her hard, cold and abrupt initally but once you learn her story you’ll find that she is like an onion, there are so many layers to her. Her diary extracts became the thing that I was reading on for. I absolutely loved learning about her life through the diary extracts. You’ll meet so many incredible characters through the diary extracts – my favourites including Ivor, the gentle giant – and eventually it is the diary that saves Fliss and her grandmother’s relationship. 

This story blew me away. I wasn’t expecting it to. But it made my heart so so so happy. I cried an awful lot. The ending broke me. I had grown so attached to these characters – both in the now and the characters of Grandma’s 1940s life – that I wasn’t ready to let them go. The amazing thing about this story is that it came out of nowhere. The relationships between the characters are so complex yet so brilliantly sculpted. The story is beautifully weaved and deals with some incredibly hard hitting subjects: death, bullying, evacuation, war, sexuality, racism, grief, love, heartbreak and pregnancy. (It’s scary to read this book and realise that during the 40s there probably were people who thought the way that people thought in Margot’s diaries.)

I implore you all to read this. It’s incredible.
If you don’t believe me check out my friend’s review: Kelly’s Ramblings: Margot and Me

S x

BOOKBLOG: Tom Becker

I’ll Be Home For Christmas: honest, frank and emotive.

This collection of poems and stories by some of the leading UK YA authors is a brilliant book and it’s for a BRILLIANT cause – with each book that’s bought a donation is given to Crisis. Lovely idea. Well done Stripes publishing! This collection is all about homes and families – both those which are chosen us and the ones we choose.

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Now I’m not going to review the whole book in loads of detail because you’d be here forever and I would run out of words eventually but there are some that I totally want to highlight and talk about! 

Ghosts of Christmas Past (Non Pratt)
This story was gorgeous. Told a tale of how one person’s past can be someone else’s future. I didn’t see it coming. It struck me a bit and it was powerful. I loved it. 

The Afterschool Club (Holly Bourne)
I’m a massive Holly fan so was super excited to see that she’d written something for this collection and I was not let down! The main characters were both equally loveable. I love a story where I like both of the main characters. There was no need for anyone else to be involved. It was complex, haunting, dangerous but hopeful. I adored it. I want more from these two. They made my heart happy. 

Homo for Christmas (Juno Dawson)
OH MAN I WANT TO CHAMPION THIS STORY SO MUCH. I COULD TALK ABOUT IT FOR HOURS (I won’t). I must’ve sent Juno about 100 tweets during/after reading this story and I am so glad it exists in my life. There are SO MANY reasons why it’s incredible.
a) A Geordie protagonist – a likeable Geordie protagonist, who doesn’t get drunk all the time. We are not all like that. 
b) So many references that made me laugh – the northerners don’t wear coats thing, yes. So much of this tale made my poor little Geordie heart happy.
c) The relationship between the main character and his mam – I know this is probably true of everyone and their mam, but it made me so happy to see a functioning, supportive mam.
d) THE USE OF THE WORD MAM. Yes. That’s the word we use in these parts and it’s so good to see it in a book!!
e) His coming out – mams are incredible people. I don’t wanna spoil it for you, because READ IT. But know that mams are incredible.
This particular story hit a million nerves with me. I just can not champion this short story enough in my world. Everyone needs to read it. Juno is an absolute goddess for putting this into the world. I need more stories with Geordie protagonists like him. 

Those were 3 of my highlights but I think everyone should read this story because it was such a diverse collection of characters and stories, and situations. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories – I always crave more – but this was a fantastic one to read! Go on, you’re doing a good thing buying this book! 

S x