March 2021 Mini Reviews

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson
Published: 4th February 2021 by Bloomsbury 
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I hadn't heard of Watson prior to reading Love Is a Revolution but I absolutely loved her writing style; I flew through this book! One of my favourite aspects of this book was how the characters, particularly the teenagers, were written. As I grow older and slowly start becoming less of a technically-still-teenager and more of a fully-fledged (ahh!) adult, I've noticed how young some teenage characters can read as being, but Watson's representation was refreshing, and allowed her characters to be their own people while still being young. I enjoyed the format, with the lists being interweaved with the story, as it helped to reinforce the main plot points. I really liked Nala as the main character, but the lying did stress me out while I waited for the inevitable fallout, so I was glad to see some proper growth in her by the end. All in all, I really enjoyed this and I will be looking forward to whatever Watson comes out with next!
4 stars

Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton
Published: 4th February 2021 by Random House
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

This book was such a nice surprise! I went into it with no expectations whatsoever, but I think it's such an undiscovered gem that I haven't heard anyone talking about it and I think it deserves more love. I really enjoyed the dynamic straight away; not just the back and forth between Alice and Alfie but all the other patients on the ward too. The whole concept of these patients and nurses becoming a 'found family' for both the main characters, but more so for Alice, was lovely and something I really like reading about. Overall the pacing of the story was good; I did find myself flagging a bit towards the end before the resolution, but Alice opening up seemed to come at the right time, as did Alfie's growth and coming to terms with things. The whole time while reading it I thought it would make a great film - this doesn't normally happen for me so someone should buy the rights up quickly! Excited to see what Houghton has in store next.
4 stars

The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe
Published: 4th February 2021 by Hodder Children's
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

To be honest, big reason for me requesting s copy of this book is the fact that I heard that it is going to be made into a film, and I always like to read it before I watch it. The premise itself also sounded really interesting, but I ended up being slightly disappointed by The Girls I've Been. The writing style was jarring at times, which was understandable, especially in the beginning, but it made for the not-greatest reading experience. However, I did appreciate that Sharpe brought the reader immediately into the action, rather than wasting time with a massive build-up. In terms of pacing overall, however, I found the story to drag in the second half and then the ending felt very rushed. I feel like that could have been more evenly spaced instead of aiming for a smooth conclusion. I found the twist on a 'typical' love triangle interesting, and nicely refreshing. I did enjoy this enough to keep an eye out for Sharpe's next work.
3.5 stars

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson 
Published: 4th February 2021 by Penguin
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

This book completely blew me away! I fell in love with the writing style almost immediately and couldn't put it down. I hadn't heard anything about Open Water before seeing it come up on NetGalley, but the premise interested me enough to give it a go - two young people falling in and out of love in London will never cease to intrigue me. The vulnerability and intimacy of their budding relationship was written so well, and I thought this was very well-placed within the context of race, both within their relationship and in their lives in general. I was very glad that Nelson didn't shy away from any difficult topics concerning race, as I feel like the more it is talked about, the better! Open Water really read like a beautiful, long love letter and my only complaint is that I wanted more! Definitely the most I've highlighted a book in a very long time.
4.5 stars

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken
(Passenger #2)
Published: 12th January 2017 by Quercus
I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affects my review.

I did re-read Passenger before starting the sequel since it had been such a long time since first reading it. I remember that I felt confused when initially reading it, and unfortunately that didn't get any better second time around! This also continued into my reading of Wayfarer, which just led to me not really being interested or invested in any of the characters or what was going on in the plot, to be honest. I think a big part of this came from Nicholas and Etta moving around to so many different locations that I physically lost track of where they were or why it was relevant to the story. I also felt sad that it seemed that Etta always needed a male character by her side - I genuinely couldn't understand the relevance of Julian except in physically keeping her company. I skimmed the last 100 pages at least, but it was probably a lot more.
2 stars


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