Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8 Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex fights a daily battle to decipher what is real and what is not. And after an extremely unfortunate incident, Alex is ready for a fresh start at a new school where no one recognises her. Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love. But her inability to separate her delusions from reality is always just under the surface, and it could have disastrous consequences for the people closest to her.
I got Made You Up for Christmas, and it’s taken me all this time to finish it. (Mainly because I read a bit, put it down, and got distracted by life and other books before grudgingly deciding I should probably start reading it again.) I managed to get through it quite quickly, but not because it was a page-turner, but because I was keen to get through the thing. Because if I’m completely honest… nothing about it really grabbed my attention.
The premise intrigued me. I liked the idea of trying to work out if the people and situations Alex encountered were real or not, but this presented itself as a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gave an insight into the mindset of someone suffering from schizophrenia and what a terrifying experience that must be, but on the other, it was difficult to get invested in any of the characters on the chance they might only exist in her head – helped along by the fact some weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. (I did have a theory on one character which turned out to be true, but like I said, I was suspicious of all of them.)
I hoped there’d be a stronger storyline to run alongside Alex’s personal struggles…but what was the plot, exactly? Vague suspicions based on paranoia without any definitive crisis? Exciting.
Continue reading MADE YOU UP
On her birthday, Nessa finds out the terrible truth about her homeland, Ireland – the truth that will change her future forever. That she and her friends must train for the most dangerous three minutes of their lives:
That any day now, without warning, they will each wake in a terrifying land, alone and hunted, with a one in ten chance of returning alive.
And it is Nessa, more than anyone, who is going to need every ounce of the guts, wit, and sheer spirit she was born with, if she – and the nation – are to survive.
The book’s cover is adorned with skulls, and the intriguing tag line: ‘You have three minutes to save your life.’ It sounds dark and urgent, more thriller than fantasy…but is it a little misleading? Maybe a bit, but I wasn’t disappointed.
The faerie folk (or Sidhe), and the grey land in which they reside are suitable terrifying. O’Guilin has created an imaginative and horrifying world, full of terror and suspense. Nothing makes you read on with bated breath, quite like the concept of a hopeless cause in a fight for survival. You sympathise with every character unlucky enough to receive ‘the call,’ and hope they survive until the end. These sections are nicely interspersed throughout the novel, picking up the pace where it’s needed, and keeping the sense of urgency going from beginning to end.
Continue reading THE CALL
On one side of a high wall lies a narrow alley; on the other, a sunlit garden; and between them, a small black iron door.
You just need to open it.
Welcome to Slade House.
First of all…how gorgeous is that cover?? Certainly a testament to the artist, because its what drew me to it. I’ve never read any of David Mitchell’s other work, so had no idea what to expect from it, and the blurb wasn’t willing to give too much away either. A risky move, but I was intrigued (in part, because it’s a brief 230 pages long), but within the front cover lies a fleshed-out brief on what to expect. A supernatural tale with a touch of the old gothic style definitely caught my interest.
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Not everyone has to be the chosen one.
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death.
What if you were Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
And what if there are problems bigger than this weeks end of the world and you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life?
Even if your best friend might be the God of mountain lions.
Minority groups have always been pushed into the background of novels, particularly where fantasy is concerned.
They reside in the bulk of stock characters, and hover on the outskirts of the action. On occasion one might crop up as a secondary character, as part of the group that trail after the protagonist as she/he saves the day, but rarely being in the limelight themselves.
In The Rest of us Just Live Here, Ness explores the typical events of a YA fantasy novel from the perspective of these overlooked characters, representing different sexualities, disability, colour, size, age. From this turn in perspective, the background characters have flipped to consist of the ‘chosen ones,’ of which we are normally used to following as the novel’s protagonist. Rather than being unique and special, they’re indistinguishable from each other, as Ness satirises the stereotypes of the blank, one dimensional characters, usually reserved for characters of minority.
Continue reading THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE