Countless by Karen Gregory ~ A Review

‘Love means holding tight
Love means letting go’

Countless is a moving and emotional novel that follows the story of Hedda, a girl very much controlled by her mind. She struggles with her eating disorder on a day to day basis, and until she takes a pregnancy test, her life has quietened down. She knows deep down that she cannot give up this baby, but she is also terrified of the weeks that will follow.

Countless is raw, and treats mental health the way any teenager would who has been fighting one as long as she can remember. It felt uncomfortable at times reading parts of the novel, but I understand that it is an important issue to tackle today in society. Gregory uses this novel as an allegory to show that many other girls are facing similar problems which they find themselves struggling alone. Countless reminds the reader that we are not alone and things will get better.

I loved the characters and Hedda in particular – I feel like her character was already developed from the start which added to the plot and gave the reader a reason to carry on. Why has her life ended up like this? Will she be able to cope with the bump and her eating disorder at the same time? At first, I had my doubts about Robin, the boy next door. He sounded very cliche to me but as the novel progressed he reader learns more about his character that sets him apart from other characters.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy Countless as much as I thought I would, but it is an acquired genre and I felt myself likening to Hedda as I read more. A sensitive topic that Gregory captures successfully through Hedda’s fight story.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

A simple concept that not many people take the time to think about: what would you do if you won the lottery? And I’m not talking about the standard lottery winnings- I’m thinking of the jackpot. Millions upon millions of pounds are won across the world by few lucky individuals. But what many don’t consider is if it is luck or if it’s something else entirely? Smith explores this in her new book, Windfall, when Alice buys a lottery ticket as a one-off for her best friend’s birthday. The events that unravel are so spectacular that I found myself thinking that fate isn’t such a weird idea any more. I read this book (bearing in mind it was over 400 pages) in less than a day- it was so easy to read but funny and engaging at the same time. I recommend any young adult to pick it up as it’s the type of book you could leave on the side and would still be loved months later. I found myself laughing out loud and pining for the characters as if they were my friends. Loved it!

*this review was for lovereading (link on the side)*

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

I received We Come Apart, a novel narrated in poetry from LoveReading (their link is on the side) that I have been excited to read for a while now. The cover is effective and stylish, but as I’m sure you’re all aware it’s what inside that counts! Fortunately the content matches the cover and exceeds all my expectations of Crossan and her amazing writing. The introduction of Conaghan and a very different writing style brings the two characters to life on the page. With Sarah’s being quite brutal and honest, Conaghan depicts Nicu as sweet and loved-up. Two very different personalities ending up in quite similar circumstances proves that we can all do wrong, but can also find love within ourselves. We are all capable of loving, and being loved, however hard it may be. I loved Jess’ and Nicu’s relationship; young love is displayed here as raw as it can get and I love that. I love reading about things that can relate to me and I think this book can relate to all of us- whether that be children or adults trapped in our society where there is nowhere to run when it’s all too much. We Come Apart is a refreshing read that brings to mind the hardships people face everyday and the fact that we do NOT have to face them alone. Brilliant.

The Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Here’s a review of the book I’m currently reading and my thoughts of it so far (reviewed for Love Reading, link on the side)

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The Bone Gap is a unique and fascinating book that, can I just add, has an amazing front cover! I know covers don’t mean everything but generally when you get a cover this good, with an intriguing title and questions left for the reader in the first chapter, you know it’s going to be a good read. Despite it being an obvious young adult’s book, it is relatively easy to read. Ruby creates magic through the words – every character and plot twist is there for a reason and this becomes more apparent as the book progresses. I really like the quote, ‘the bones of the world were a little looser here… leaving spaces one could slip into and hide…’ – I think this one quote depicts Ruby’s beautiful use of language and the powerful world she creates with it. Whimsical and fantastical, this tale is perfect for a winter’s day read.

I hope everyone’s having a great day! The Sweet Review x

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake | The Sweet Review

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Hi everyone 🙂

Today’s post is another review for you all – Whisper to Me by Nick Lake. I was very excited when I received this book from lovereading, as I have read a lot of his books, like There Will Be Lies and In Darkness. In Darkness is one of my favourite books and There Will Be Lies was also really good, so of course I was expecting great things from this book.

And let me tell you, Whisper to Me DEFINITELY lived up to my expectations.

The book is actually in the form of a love letter, from Cassie to a certain ‘you’, whom we don’t find out about until a bit later on. I was immediately gripped because of the unique format – it made me want to know more about Cassie and what happened for her to ‘hear voices’ and ‘miss you’.

As the novel progressed and Cassie revealed bit by bit about the past, I fell more and more in love with her as a character and the other protagonists. I think a lot of people can relate to Cassie, or maybe learn from her. She is extremely wise and I found myself storing what she said in my head for future quotes. I especially liked when she said, ‘We can’t keep anyone safe… so we just have to cling onto people when we can’.

Cassie and the other characters in this book, especially Paris and Julie, were very well developed. I almost feel like they could be real people, because they have flaws just like everyone else. They’re all a bit broken in some way, and I like that. I hate when books have very cliche and perfect characters because it affects the person reading them. By having a book with people who aren’t okay but fight through their problems, gives the reader hope.

I would give Whisper to Me 5 stars except for a few teeny things holding me back. Firstly, the title. I feel like it does relate to a lot of aspects of Cassie and can be seen as quite clever if you look at it through that perspective. But, I also feel like it could be improved upon. Secondly, the cover and the blurb. The cover, in my opinion, lets the book down a bit. Of course it looks pretty, but it doesn’t relate to the book at all. Whisper to Me contains a lot of gritty issues and I think that needs to be seen in the cover. To me when I picked it up, I thought it would be a YA romance. But Whisper to Me is so much more than ‘the most screwed-up love letter ever’, which is why I’m not giving it a five star. Instead, I think a four should do it!

Whisper to Me was fast paced and heart-racing – I never quite knew what was going to happen next. Although a long read, I became almost attached to the characters, and I must admit, a bit emotional towards the end. A book I won’t forget for a long time.

~The Sweet Review

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Kook by Chris Rick – A review

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‘Jade got me in trouble from day one.’

Sam knows nothing other than living in London- his only memories of the coast were from a long time ago. Fifteen years old and barely in trouble ever, Sam hated even the idea of moving to the coast – but once there, things happen. Extraordinary things. Like for one, Jade. Once in love with her, he knew he could never turn back to the life he once had.

So. When picking up Kook, I was impressed with the cover, but the words, ‘A boy. A girl. And the wave that sweeps them away’. imprinted on the front put me off – just because it sounded so cliché. When I’m looking for a book, I’m looking for something different, something a bit unique, and though the blurb and quote at the front is gripping, it sounded similar to a lot of stories I have read.

However.

After reading the first chapter, I realised that it wasn’t going to be a cliché teenage romance. I was hooked, and stayed up a bit later and woke up a bit earlier to read ‘just one more page!’. I really did like the relationship between Jade and Sam because there were complications which kept them apart – of course that frustrated me at times but in a good way!

On the surface, anyone can see that this book is essentially about love and loss, and how the two are closer linked than you think. If you delve a bit deeper, you can see that Kook isn’t just about surfing, but also about facing your fears. I especially love the message that ran through it, ‘Fear makes the wolf look bigger’. You know you’ve found a good book when certain quotes stay with you, and Kook did just that.

The age range for this book is 13+ and I agree – I don’t think anyone younger than 13 should read it. Teenagers and young adults would appreciate it the most because I could relate to a lot of the situations that the main characters were in.

Just because it was difficult to get into, I’m giving Kook 8/10. But Vick’s writing really drew me in and after reading, I really wanted to start surfing! His descriptions of Sam and the rest on their boards was fantastic – it was like I was there surfing myself.

~ The Sweet Review

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