YA Book Review: My Life Next Door

My Life Next Door crop

This beautifully written contemporary romance is a treasure. A rich, sensitive story with incredible depth combined with humour, shines the light on two very different families. One for my favourite’s shelf.

5 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

My Life Next DoorTitle:  My Life Next Door
Series: My Life Next Door – Book 1
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Publication Date: 13 June 2013 (1st published June 2012)
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?                                            — Extract from Goodreads.com


Children’s Book Review: The School for Good and Evil

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The School for Good and Evil

With an unlikely heroine and a seemingly twisted beginning, this story, set in a fairy-tale land you’ve never seen before, will take you on a roller coaster ride like no other. You’ll have no choice but to hold on until you are flung off at the end, gasping for more!

Amazing read, it is no surprise that the book is in popular demand in our school library.4 Star

Recommended age: 11+

School Good & EvilTitle: The School of Good and Evil
Series: The School of Good and Evil – Book 1
Author: Soman Chainani
Publication Date: 14 May 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book: Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
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“The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.”

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains….

-  Extract from Goodreads.com

YA Book Review: Paper Towns

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A disappointing story. I loved The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, so was expecting to love this story too. I just didn’t feel connected to the characters despite laughing out loud at some of the humour, which is probably what saves this book from a measly two star rating.3 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: Paper TownsPaper Towns
John Green
Publication Date: 16 October 2008
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon US, Amazon UK
 or Kalahari
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.     

— Extract from Goodreads.com


YA Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

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This is a fun, light, feel-good story that has one of the nicest book boyfriends I come across – Go Team Cricket!

A perfect summer holiday read.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title:  Lola and the Boy Next DoorLola and the Boy Next Door reduced
Series:  Anna and the French Kiss –Book 2        
Author:  Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: 9 July 2013 (1st published 1 Sept 2011)
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon US, Amazon UK 
or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari

Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

— Extract from Goodreads.com




YA Book Review: Under the Never Sky

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This book was hard to get into initially, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although this is a storyline that has been done many times before, the characters were believable and the story well told. I was totally engrossed, unable to put the book down until the end.4 Star

Recommended age: 12 +

Under the Never SkyUnder the Never Sky
Series: Under the Never Sky – book 1
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publication Date: 3January 2012 (first published 1 December 2011)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Purchase this book:
Amazon US, Amazon UK or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:Goodreads or Shelfari

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland — known as The Death Shop — are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent energy storms will. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild — a savage — and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must come together to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
 — Extract from Goodreads.com


Book Review: The Trouble with Flying

The Trouble with Flying 3

Perfect for the summer holidays, The Trouble with Flying is a sweet, romantic, feel-good story. I loved the witty dialogue between the characters, who I wished were my BBF’s.  The end of their story came too quickly – I wasn’t ready to say goodbye!

I love that that the story is set in Kwa-Zulu Natal, my corner of South Africa. Thank you Rachel for making our beautiful country come alive in the pages of your book. I am counting the days until the release of the next book in the series: The Trouble with Flirting.

Although marketed as NA (New Adult), this story would be suitable for YA (Young Adults) and I know it will be a big hit in our school library.4 Star

Recommended age: 13+

The Trouble with Flying 1Title:  The Trouble with Flying
Series:  The Trouble Series – Book 1        
Author:  Rachel Morgan
Publication Date: 26 June 2014
Publisher: Rachel Morgan
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review
Purchase this book: Amazon US or Amazon UK
Add to your shelf: Goodreads or Shelfari

When nineteen-year-old introvert Sarah boards a plane to fly home after an overseas holiday, the last thing she expects is Aiden, the guy sitting next to her who’s never flown anywhere before and refuses to shut up.

Hours of random conversation later, they part ways. Sarah can’t stop thinking about Aiden, though, and wondering if she made a terrible mistake letting him go. Should she abandon her safe, predictable life and go in search of him, or would she be chasing a happily ever after that could never exist in real life?
 — Extract from Goodreads.com

The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

See my review of Rachel Morgan‘s novella  Forgiven, the prequel to The Trouble Series and The Faerie Guardian, the 1st book in The Creepy Hollow Series.


YA Book Review: Pivot Point

Pivot Point crop

This was a brilliant, unique story which I loved. It reads almost like a story-within-a-story as each chapter alternates between the two possible outcomes of the choice Addison faces. It could have been confusing, but I knew which story I was reading by the very clever ‘clue’, a dictionary extract at the head of each chapter.

I loved the characters and felt I really got to know them during the story/stories. I hope we get to see a lot more of Trevor in the sequel…4 Star

Recommended age: 13 +

Title: Pivot Point Pivot Point   
Pivot Point– Book 1
Author: Kasie West
Publication Date: 12 February
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Purchase this book:
Amazon US, Amazon UK 
 or Kalahari
Add to your shelf:
Goodreads or Shelfari

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s no

— Extract from Goodreads.com


Odd ramblings of an obsessed reader


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