So, as per my last blog entry, my reviewing pretty much came to a halt, and I’ve spent most of the year reading what I wanted to read, when it suited me.. and I’ve read some great books so far! I’ve still dabbled in reviewing though, and when I went to YALC this year, I was lucky enough to pick up 3 proof copies from publishers, and thankfully they were really rather good!
Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes
Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.
This book deals with the aftermath of a school shooting, but through the eyes of his younger brother. It focuses on the bullying that Sam experiences himself, the media pressure, and the stress on his family.
It’s a part of the story I doubt many think about.. as a parent, or a brother, how are you supposed to feel about someone so close committing such an horrific event? Sam can not understand how the brother he knew could do such an unthinkable thing, and as readers we’re not given this insight either, but Sam’s journey in accepting events is emotional.
The book also shows that whatever happens, life needs to go on. His parent’s struggle with this, but Sam makes himself go back to school, and find friends. Despite events, he’s still a 16 year old boy growing up.
It’s fast paced, and held my interest all the way through, and it has a lot to offer.
Gilded Cage by Vic James
This is the start of a trilogy and I fell in love with the world. For me personally, I loved the world building from the author.. this alternative present-day England immediately felt real to me, and I dived straight in.
It tells of a world where there is a small ruling class, the Elite, but their power comes from the magic they hold. All other citizens live normal lives, aside from the fact that they have to give up ten years to become slaves, many in heavy industry, some serving the Elite.
The Elite live in their own blinkered world, with their own power struggles, whilst the decade of slavery turns out to be worse than could be thought.
The other great thing is that the author doesn’t focus on just one of these groups, but she shows us the depths of both, with fascinating characters within both.
Abi makes a decision to try to keep her family together during their decade, by getting them all into the service of an Elite family – which she almost achieves. Both her and her younger sister find themselves wrapped with the families world, whilst her brother gets separated, and sent to a brutal factory town, where he starts to believe in revolution.
Meanwhile, the three brothers within the Elite family have their own stories, struggles and relationships, and they are more complex than you would expect.
This first book moves at a fast pace, and it certainly has plenty for both YA and older readers. It wraps up this particular story enough, whilst opening the way to the next volume. Thankfully the gaps between books is short, but also far too long, because I’m excited to get back into this amazing world!
Contagion by Teri Terry
I love the Slated series by this author, and just the brief details on the proof caught my attention, and I was very happy when someone at YALC managed to get me a copy. It would appear the publication has been pushed back a bit, but I’m still going to mention it, because I want it to go on people’s radars and wish lists.
There are two main aspects to the story.. the first being the mysterious illness which starts to sweep the county, highly contagious, and in most cases fatal. However, there’s also the second layer.. the fact that those who fall ill and survive appear to be changed by the illness, in ways which scare others.
Again, this is a fast paced book which should appeal to many. The characters are YA, but the storyline certainly kept this older reader intrigued. There is plenty of story within this first book, but it does feel like a trilogy, with a frustrating wait for the next part.
As I said, I loved all three books, and I’m very grateful to those who allowed me to get my hands on them early. All highly recommended.. keep your eye out for them!