BOOK BLOG: Bethany Rutter

No Big Deal: a book that means a very big deal!

21eba24b-9c6a-4906-86d0-bf42bfc98cae(gorgeous proof copy sent to me from the publishers… see final cover further down)

“Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.”

No Big Deal tells the story of Emily (gorgeous, brilliant, wonderful), a teenager who is going through it all. She’s a girl who the world judges based on one thing: her weight. Emily doesn’t see her weight as a problem, but the rest of the world does. The rest of the world expects her to change because of who she is. Emily has this brilliantly unfaltering confidence in herself, but as you go through the book, as friendships fall apart, as boys come into the picture, as society wears her down, this unrelenting confidence risks changing forever.

I loved this book. Like hands down loved it.

Emily is an absolutely astounding MC. She’s stylish, she’s hilarious. Her perspective is absolutely mint. I laughed A LOT at some of the things she gets into because I’ve been there. Getting stuck in a dress in Topshop? God, I know that feeling so much. Doubted your worthiness because of your weight? Yep. Been there. I loved that she bossed life and was stylish and cool and brilliant. Her weight wasn’t the thing that defined her. She showed that it doesn’t need to. She had interests. She was a ROUNDED character. 

For so long, the fat character was the funny friend, or the one who never got the boy, but in this book, that’s not the case. This book shows that it doesn’t matter what size you are, you matter and that your story isn’t dependent on your weight. Your story is important: even if society doesn’t think so.

I’ve struggled to write this review, not because I didn’t love this book (because trust me, I loved this book an awful lot), but because every time I come to write this review it turns into something about my life… and y’all don’t need that.

This book is brilliant. It’s funny, it made me cry, it made me think, it made me want to shout: so many emotions. It’s interesting. It has a refreshing voice. It’s written in a brilliantly readable way. I’d love to think that Bethany Rutter will be around for MANY MANY BOOKS introducing us to a whole range of characters who are as badass, brilliant and body positive as Emily. This book, its character, its story is going to hit a chord with so many people. Whether you’re the fat friend or not, it’s going to matter. It’s so much more than a story about a fat girl: it’s a story about the importance of loving yourself and how much of a BLOODY HARDSHIP that can be at times. 

I think this book hit a note with me because I WAS Emily. I am Emily now. I’m on that journey of self acceptance, of loving myself for whoever and whatever I am that day. I’ve been there. I’ve doubted every single thing in my life because of the status of my weight. It’s just a thing.

PLUS. Look at this cover man. I proper love it. I can’t wait to have a finished copy in my midst. It’s going to have pride of place on my “favourites shelf”.

No Big Deal

My Goodreads review:

If I could swear, I would. This book is exceptional. I am/was Emily and there’s nothing more important that seeing yourself in a book. I hope every young girl gets a chance to read it. Loving yourself is SO IMPORTANT. This book made me laugh, cry and want to shout. Just bloody marvellous.

And because I loved it so much, I made a mood board. To me, this moodboard represents so much of what the book talks about. Style, fierce, brilliant women, loving yourself, owning life.

NBD mood board

Thank you so so much to Bethany and the brilliant humans of Macmillan Books/MyKindaBook for getting me a proof copy. I GENUINELY think this book is going to hit a chord with so many people.

Have you read No Big Deal?
Can you name another book that has a fully-realised fat MC?
Who is your favourite body positive person?

Talk to me! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Floored

Floored: what happens when you put some of YA’s biggest names together? Brilliance.

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“When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most. And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year”

So I think I’ve been talking about this book ever since I found out about it.
A while. A long time.
When I was offered the chance to read a review copy, I JUMPED AT IT.
But then again why wouldn’t I want to?
7 brilliant UKYA authors, including 2 of my all time faves?
A contemporary with 7 perspectives?
A brilliant sounding concept?
A cover which makes my eyes VERY happy?
I just… yes please. SIGN ME UP.

What Floored brings to the table is an incredible story, with memorable characters and an honest look at life, relationships and friendships, all wrapped in 7 authors who you know you can trust. Add to that the fun of guessing which author wrote which character and you’ve got what is a sure fire winner. 

(This is one of those book reviews where I’m really struggling to write it because I just want to say I LOVED IT SO MUCH OK?)

One of the things that stood out to me was the comparison between how individual their lives were at the beginning of the book, but then as the book develops you notice that they are part of each other’s lives and then by the end they become each other’s lives. They are all integral parts of each other’s lives. Friendship is a MASSIVE part of this book, but as you go through it, it’s not all plain sailingjust like life isn’t all plain sailing. Things happen that make the friendships hard; the relationships change and develop and fall apart; people naturally are drawn to one over the others. All of these dynamics are explored and for me that’s what’s so brilliant about it. I see so much of my own friendships and relationships in this book. 

I can’t go through this review without expressing my sheer ANGER at Hugo and some of his actions. Oh, this man. Hugo, Hugo, Hugo. I think I could talk about Hugo for a while. But I won’t as his actions, especially at the beginning of the book, do not deserved to be spoken of. As questionable as some of his actions are, he made me laugh. 

While we’re talking characters, I just think they’re each lush. 
Hugo – questionable morals, made me laugh.
Kaitlyn – a brilliant badass young woman who won’t let anything stand in her way
Sasha – poor Sasha, I just wanted to hug her.
Dawson – oh complicated little Dawson, I feel you so much my friend. Let’s talk.
Velvet – don’t let them get you down my friend, you’re wonderful.
Joe – keep that ambition about you my friend, keep being lovely.

I just adored this book. It made me laugh, cry, angry. It’s EVERYTHING I hoped for in the celebration of all that is wonderful. 

Massive MASSIVE thank you to the wonderful publicist Bea for sending me a copy – I love you forever and a day! 

Have you read Floored?
Have you had a guess at which character matches which author?
Which Floored character do you think you are?

Talk to me! Comment! Tweet! Pigeon! Postcard!

OH and come back tomorrow where you’ll see my post for the Floored blog collaboration group I’m part of! 

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S x

p.s. I did so well not to use the floored pun. Are you impressed?

BLOG TOUR: Children of Blood and Bone

Today, I have a very special blog post… 

Today, I’m celebrating the incredible Children of Blood and Bone with a mood board, which I think encapsulates all of the different kinds of maji there are in the book. 

Children of Blood and Bone is one of the most hotly anticipated books I’ve known for a LONG TIME. People have been talking about this for a WHILE. I can’t wait to share my review with you in the coming weeks… guys, it’s incredible. 

“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.”

I was delighted to be invited onto this blog tour as the prompt was “be as creative as you wish”, so I was. I went back to my trusty Pinterest and came up with this mood board, which I just adore. 

CBB

I subconciously went with all hands. I think hands are what all of these maji would’ve commited their magic with – their hands. Hands are important. There’s a whole host of maji which could be represented by the different hands, some which are specific. The golden hands speak to me of welders, using their hands to bend and manipulate metals. Black and white hands with light coming from them speak to me of lighters, able to use their hands to manipulate light and darkness.

The picture with the 3 generations of hands spoke to me of seers, those who can see the past, present and future. The hand with bird told me the story of tamers, using their hands to control and transform animals. The hand with galaxies/moons in them spoke to me of dreams; people who hold the world in their hands, the connector maji, those in control of other’s dreams. The varying pictures of light coming from hands spoke to me of healers (healer and cancer), those who have the power to do exceptional good, let light come from their hands to heal people. 

I think my favourite image is the man controlling the fire with his hands. For me, symbolising burners. Exceptional danger with fire. Controlling the air and the earth (winder and grounder) come next. The image representing the tiders speaks to me of those who control the waters with the touch of their hands, followed by an image for me, which represents reapers – those who have the power to access the spirits of the living and dead, an image of old and young hands

Which maji are you? Take the quiz and share it on twitter using #ChildrenofBloodandBone! I’m a Burner! Excellent! 

COBB Quiz UK

Thank you so much to Bea of MyKindaBook and PanMacmillan for inviting me on this blog tour!! I had such fun making this mood board… certainly got my creative juices flowing! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect: hello brilliance

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“Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it’s the last person she would have expected. Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts. As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.”

Hello, my name is Steph and I think Sara Barnard is one of the most incredible authors ever. Her books are just WONDERFUL and Goodbye Perfect is absolutely NO EXCEPTION. I was lucky enough to receive a proof a few months ago and I am STILL thinking about it now. It is STILL in my head. Eden, her crew, her story, her choices, her sheer brilliant, are all still in my head. That’s HOW GOOD this book is. If you like SHEER BRILLIANT stories then please check it out. 
My initial review of this book is just: OH MAN. I LOVE IT. But I think you guys probably want a bit more than that, ha! 
So, Goodbye Perfect tells the story of Eden and her best friend Bonnie. Best friends. Have been best friends forever. Spend all of their time together. Total opposites, but it works for them. Eden is “all edges” (a quote from the book which I absolutely adore), Bonnie is her “perfect” best friend – she never does wrong, works hard in school, everyone likes her. Eden loves her best friend. They are the qunitessential best friends. They do everything together. When Bonnie starts in a new relationship without telling Eden, things start to spiral out of control. Bonnie’s new boyfriend, unbeknownst to anyone is their music teacher, Mr Cohn. This blows Eden’s socks off. Bonnie ends up running away with Mr Cohn saying they’re going to be together forever. For everyone in her life this is a toal shock, it’s totally out of character. Eden goes on an incredible journey to try to rescue her best friend, to get her best friend back.  
One of the things that stands out and hits me in the gut every single time I think about this book is that ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is incredible. It’s so real. It’s so raw. I definitely cried, quite a lot. When I read it, I emailed Sara and sent her an incredibly long email saying “Yes. That was totally the right call“. Just now thinking about the ending, the story, the progression, the changes, it’s making me a bit emotional.
Eden has this incredible support network around her that she doesn’t even realise she has because Bonnie is her life and she sees Bonnie as her all. Once Bonnie is gone, Eden crumbles a little (only natural, we all have that best friend!) She’s got an incredible boyfriend, Connor, who I absolutely adore. Her big sister, Violet, is a brilliant big sister. Eden falls into a hole and feels initially like there’s no one to support her, but she’s picked up and pulled out of the hole when she needs it most.
One of the things I always love about Sara’s books is the use of an interesting layout. She always includes texts and interesting layout features in her books. Goodbye Perfect features texts and bullet points/newspaper articles. I love it when books have quirks like that. It makes them so much more readable. Text messages are my favourite, they can convey so much about a character in their texts. Sara is the queen of that – Queen of Text Messages with Friends in Books. The newspaper articles included in the book add another level of interest into the book – they give a scandalised version of the story. They are probably a pretty accurate interpretation of our media too… sometimes, while reading, they made me infuriated, but let’s be honest, in real life people read them. People believe them. Seeing the story for real and the story in the paper, sensationalised version vs real version was an interesting spin on things. It certainly gave me a lot to think about.
I adored it. It is definitely one of those books I will reread. I love that it touches on quite a taboo subject, but it’s handled with care. It’s not overly scandalised. I just can’t praise this book enough. It’s just brilliant. Sara Barnard keeps knocking out absolute winners. If you’ve read A Quiet Kind of Thunder or Beautiful Broken Things and loved them then Goodbye Perfect is just as brilliant. if not my fave of the three. 
My Goodreads review encapsulates this whole book so well:
“This book is perfect.
There’s a tough and “all edges” MC, her “perfect” best friend, her increidble family, a gorgeous boyfriend and a lot of trouble.
I love everything Sara Barnard writes and this is no exception. Possibly my favourite thing, I just adored it.”

Have you read Goodbye Perfect?
What would you do if your best friend ran away with a teacher?
Could you stand by and let it happen, or would you intervene?
Talk to me on twitter, or in the comments. I have a lot of passion for this book. I need to talk about it. I also need everyone to buy it. So please do. 
S x