Brief blogs for busy bees

Tag: young adult

Blogtober Day 17: Review: Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon

Blogtober Day 17: Review: Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon

Rosie Loves Jack begins with a newspaper article detailing the story of a teenager with Down’s syndrome who has gone missing after running away from home to be reunited with her boyfriend. When we join Rose, it’s before she embarks on her cross-country adventure to Jack, […]

Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Blogtober Day 12: Review: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

‘You can plot a course that will get you to your destination, but you can’t predict what you’ll find along the way.’  Zorie has a plan for the summer, and it involves staying as far away from the Mackenzie family as physically possible. But when […]

Blogtober Day 5: Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say by Leila Sales

Blogtober Day 5: Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say by Leila Sales

When Spelling Bee champion Winter Halperin tweets an ill-advised joke about the skin colour of the latest winner, she finds herself the most hated person on the Internet… For a little while. But while the rest of the world are infuriated for a couple of days, they quickly move onto the next person to commit an online faux pas. Meanwhile, Winter’s life is shattered: the college of her dreams revokes her acceptance, and the Spelling Bee committee disown her, handing her rightfully earned victory to the boy who came second.

Winter’s mother – mummy blogger extraordinaire, the mind behind Turn Them Towards The Sun – finds her reputation damaged, too. In desperation she suggests hiring a company whose job is to flood the internet with good news stories about people who’ve said bad things, pushing their infamy onto the second or third page of the search results. This doesn’t sit right with Winter: she wants to BE better, not just LOOK better.

That’s how Winter finds a Reputation Rehabilitation Retreat. While all of her friends are packing for their first semester in a new town, Winter heads to Revive in the hopes that she can look inside herself and discover how she could be mean enough to say that in the first place.

I LOVED Leila Sales’ Tonight The Streets Are Ours, so when I saw her latest offering in the library eBook catalogue I hit the borrow button in the blink of an eye. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say sounded like it was going to be a relevant examination of the outrage culture we’ve all experienced in some way, shape or form, and I felt certain that I was going to be on Winter’s side. If you’re hoping to show the bad side of internet shaming, you need to have a cast of characters who are sympathetic and easy to relate to, right?

Wrong.

This book is the definition of great concept, poor execution.

First of all, it’s hard to write a book like this when you’re explicitly stating the tweet that your character put out, rather than simply alluding to its poor taste. You can’t say anything too risqué, because there’s a chance you could damage your own reputation as an author, so you need to put a dash of terrible alongside a whole heap of not that bad. Due to this, Winter’s tweet is vanilla. I’ve only been on Twitter for five minutes this morning and I’ve seen a couple of tweets worse than Winter’s, so the internet exploding and her life imploding doesn’t seem realistic. Honestly, I think most people would accept Winter’s explanation – all be it begrudgingly – and move on.

Sales’ message is further undermined by the motley crew of characters Winter meets in Revive. Half of them shouldn’t be focusing on rehabilitating their reputations but should instead be taking legal action against the people who wronged them (particularly apparent in the case of the politician whose relationship was ruined by a data leak á la Ashley Madison, or the young girl coerced to give sexual favours to a band in return for them making her a member), while a couple of other characters seem like they need actual rehab, not just a place that will shift the way other people view them.

The last chapter is the most infuriating bit of the novel, so if you don’t want spoilers look away now. I was enjoying the story, even if I didn’t completely agree with the way that Leila Sales had chosen to deliver her message, and then came Winter’s big revelation. She decides to start offering her support to those who receive the same internet hatred that she did, sending emails telling people that things will get better. This sounds nice and harmless… Until Winter emails a journalist who catfished and outed gay politicians, saying that everything will get better and he’s not really a horrible person. Yeah… Nah. That guy is the WORST. Pretending to be gay and outing people is a heinous crime, and one that deserves immense levels of hatred.

That was the final nail in the coffin for me. I’d been questioning aspects of If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, but I’d still been enjoying Leila Sales’ writing technique, so I thought I’d found enough to merit giving it three – or possibly four – stars. I was so close to dropping this to one star due after that inclusion.

It feels as though Sales knew what she wanted to say, but couldn’t think of the right examples to give her a good reason to say it. Perhaps the moral of this story should be: if you don’t have anything to add to a conversation, don’t say anything at all.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

Alyce

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Review: SLAY by Kim Curran

Review: SLAY by Kim Curran

‘Slay did two things, and they did them well. Play killer music and kick demon butt. Music done. It was butt-kicking time.’  If you love One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer and McFly, you’ll love Slay. JD, Tom, Connor, Niv and Zek are the next […]

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

Review: Because You Love To Hate Me anthology

‘Villains. Stories are nothing without them.’  It’s been difficult to approach writing this review, because I’m conflicted about Because You Love To Hate Me. On the one hand, I think it’s a brilliant idea – making the villains into characters which it’s hard to resist sympathising […]

Review: Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

Review: Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Nowhere Else But Here blog tour! First things first, I’d like to say a huge thanks to Ink Road for allowing me to get involved in the tour for this exciting contemporary debut from a very promising young author.

I’m going to share some more information about Nowhere Else But Here before I tell you what I thought of it, so if you haven’t heard of it yet I promise you’re going to be adding it to your TBR very shortly…

Nowhere Else But Here by Rachel Cotton

“He was reckless. He was exciting. He was Theo. And he was a breath of fresh air in my otherwise extremely dull life.”

What if the missing person is your missing piece?

Rose has always played by the rules – now it’s time to break them.

Life’s easier when you stay away from other people. Rose Valentine knows that. But some people are impossible to ignore. Take Theo Lockhart. He’s handsome, funny and beyond intriguing. He’s a mystery; one that Rose dreams of solving.

Then one night the mystery deepens. Theo turns up on Rose’s doorstep, desperate to hide out at her house. He’s keeping secrets, and Rose has a million questions. Not least – why did he choose to run to her?

If Rose lets him in, she’ll be going against everything she holds true. It’s reckless, risky – and definitely not in the rulebook. But Theo makes Rose long to break the rules. After a whirlwind week of brat-pack movies, midnight snacks and non-stop chat, where do Rose and Theo go from here?

If you’d like to learn more about Nowhere Else But Here, click on the cover above to check out its Goodreads page.

So, what did I think?

Nowhere Else But Here blog tour review header

I was so close to giving Nowhere Else But Here four stars because it’s an absolutely adorable contemporary, but the pace was a little too slow for my liking. While Theo is still hidden at Rose’s house the story moves unbelievably quickly, but when he leaves and their story continues things start to crawl along and I found myself getting a little restless. This might be because I’m entering a bit of a reading slump, though, so don’t take my word for it!

I’ve read a lot of contemporary YA, but this novel is far less angsty than most releases in its genre. If you’re a fan of a slow burning romance which experiences some ups and downs (but mainly ups) you’ll fall head over heels for Nowhere Else But Here.

Theo is swoonworthy, while Rose is extremely easy to relate to (not least because she’s also an avid reader!). They’re very strong characters, and although some of the background characters aren’t as fleshed out as they could be, Theo and Rose come alive on the page and it’s impossible to resist rooting for them.

Rachel Cotton is talented at writing dialogue, with some of the exchanges causing me to laugh out loud. Dialogue is one of the hardest things to get right, so it’s impressive that an author with so few years under her belt has managed to surpass most other writers in the field. I’d love to get some tips from her!

The best thing about Nowhere Else But Here is that it shows potential. Cotton began writing this novel on Wattpad while she was only thirteen, and that’s absolutely astounding. I can’t think of another contemporary that starts with a missing boy turning up on his chemistry partner’s doorstep asking for help, that’s for sure! It’s going to be exciting to see what Cotton writes next, and I’m going to be first in the queue to purchase a copy of whatever she releases.

If you decide to buy a copy of Nowhere Else But Here, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

About the author: Rachel Cotton

Rachel Cotton is the author of Nowhere Else But Here, a debut novel out in May 2018. She was born in the summer of 2000, but her writing life began as a thirteen-year-old on the self-publishing forum Wattpad, where she attracted more than 1 million hits and her dreams of becoming an author were truly ignited. Now that dream has come true, Rachel is working on her second novel for Ink Road. When she’s not writing, she can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee, reading and binge-watching TV box-sets. Rachel also enjoys going on long walks with her dog, Cassie.

 

I hope you enjoyed my stop on the Nowhere Else But Here blog tour. Be sure to check out some of the other bloggers on the schedule, because there are some really awesome people taking part.

Alyce

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Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

‘Look, you probably bought this book because you read the blurb about how I’m an impoverished orphan and also at the heart of a national slut-shaming scandal, and you thought, oh great, this is just the kind of hart-wrenching tale I need to feel better about […]