Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett

Name: You Don't Know Me
Author: Sophia Bennett
Author's website: http://sophiabennett.com/
Publisher: The Chicken House
Date published: 2013
Number of pages: 344
Rating: 5/5
When is it available?: Now
Spoiler warning: Minor


You Don't Know Me really made me feel the emotions of the characters - especially Sasha - and it takes you on quite an emotional journey. I felt so frustrated and angry and upset for Sasha in her worst moments, and in her best I felt so happy. I felt angry at Rose for not getting in touch, especially when Sasha just kept trying to apologise and get in touch, and then I found myself becoming worried about what was happening to Rose and angry at her management team and what they put her through, and finally I was so happy and relieved when the four girls were all back together and talking again. I think it was especially emotional that Sasha could see Rose's potential right from the beginning, she always thought she was beautiful and amazing, and I could really feel how conflicted Sasha must have felt when Rose won Killer Act because she was so proud but also so hurt and confused.
I think this book had really good character development and by the end I really felt that Sasha, Rose, Nell and Jodie were real, wonderful, funny, strong people. I loved it when Rose wouldn't go online to check the Killer Act votes partly because "she noticed the misplaced apostrophe in 'it's 3rd year'" and consequently also had no faith in the competition because of that. I really related to her in that moment, misplaced apostrophes are so annoying (hopefully there aren't any in this review, otherwise that would be slightly hypocritical). I was glad that the whole experience ended up bringing Nell, Jodie, Sasha, and, eventually, Rose closer together and that it made Sasha learn more about herself. And I was glad at the end when Rose put her foot down and just did what she wanted to do.
The book had some really important lessons, one being that things can become so distorted by the media and that you shouldn't believe everything they say and you shouldn't make judgements until you know all the facts of the situation because of the way the media twist things so much. The story also showed how social media can have its bad sides and what 'hating' on people can actually do to them, how it can affect their minds and emotions. It showed that people may not be what they seem (for example, Roxanna, who I severely disliked by the end) and it showed how difficult school and relationships with your friends can be at 15 and 16.
Overall, You Don't Know Me was just a really exceptional book. As well as what I've already written about, there are a few more things I really like about the book. You can really sense Sophia Bennett's love for fashion through things like the description of clothes throughout the book, which is something I liked because it reminded me of Sophia's other books, all of which I enjoyed reading. However, I also liked the book because it was different to Sophia's other books because it didn't have exactly the same setting; her other books were mostly set in London, if I remember correctly, and that isn't a bad thing, but it was interesting and fresh to see a story mostly set somewhere else. I also liked the chapter titles, as well as the fact that the story focused on friendship. Finally, I liked that a love for music really shined through every page.
Even though I didn't want this book to end (which is definitely a sign of a good book), I did adore the ending. It was so happy, wonderful, and perfect.
And I have to mention that I loved it when Taylor Swift was mentioned a couple of times in the book (I really am made happy by little, simple things).

Friday, 18 April 2014

Review: How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Name: How I Live Now
Author: Meg Rosoff
Author's website: http://www.megrosoff.co.uk/
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date published: 2004
Number of pages: 210
Rating: 4/5
When is it available?: Now


I thought this book was especially interesting because of Daisy's narrative voice. She was straight-to-the-point, blunt, and honest. This made things funny, in a way, but also relatable and almost painfully raw and emotional. Daisy doesn't tell you everything, and what she does tell you she doesn't say all at once, but she never lies, which results in the narrative being mysterious yet real and confessional. Because of this narrative style, it is easy to get a sense of the way Daisy feels isolated at times because of the little she knows about what is really going on.
How I live Now reminded me of The Hunger Games in that it has the same fight for survival and roller coaster of emotions, and also in that it is completely different to anything I've read before, what with its narrative style and plot line. Speaking of the plot, it was unexpected and no matter how you think it will end, or what you think will happen next, you can't imagine what actually happens.
This is a book with a lot to take in, but I managed to read it in a day because it was almost addictive. It is one of those books that makes you sit back and think once you've finished it. I couldn't start reading another book straight after this one, I had to let it sink in.