History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
More Happy Than Not

Synopsis:

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. 

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. 

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Thoughts:

I enjoyed More Happy Than Not but this book completely surpassed it in my opinion. It was such a touching read. I knew it was going to be a heart-breaking one as I had heard as much, but I didn’t expect it to have such an impact on me. Adam Silvera is a truly beautifully writer.

History Is All You Left Me centres around Griff who has just lost his first love and ex-boyfriend in a tragic accident. Theo had moved to California for college and started a new relationship with a guy called Jackson. Griffin always thought that Theo would come back to him, but now the future has completely turned around for Griffin. The only person that understands his heartache is Jackson. Even though they begin to open up to one another, Griffin is spiralling out of control. His compulsions are getting worse and secrets are tearing him apart. To move on, Griffin is going to have to face up to his history.

I loved that this story flipped between past and present times. I’m always tentative when I know a book jumps about between time periods, but for this book it really did work. I loved reading about their history and how they were doing in present times. It really made me feel like I could get to know the characters. The characters are so well written. They are absolutely messed up which is understandable considering a very special guy to them has died. I could feel Griffin’s pain through the pages and although I don’t agree with everything he did, I could understand why he had acted in that way.

As for the representation of OCD? A round of applause to Adam Silvera. I don’t have OCD myself, but have several friends who do and the representation was so well done. I could really sympathise with Griffin.

There is romance in this book. A lot of romance. I have mixed feelings about it. I loved Griffin and Theo’s relationship and was rooting for them at the start. Then when he moved away to California everything started to get a little messy. Actually I lie, very, very messy! There was a lot of heartache between many characters and so much hurt. This certainly isn’t an ‘easy’ read.

This book is heartbreaking, but so very worth reading. It’s a beauty that’s for sure and I can’t wait to read Adam Silvera’s most recent book!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A beautiful read. I didn’t expect to like this one as much!

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The Treatment by C.L Taylor

The Treatment

How did I get it?
NetGalley- many thanks to HQ/Harper Collins

Synopsis:

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

Thoughts:

I have been intending to read C.L Taylor’s books for the longest time. I don’t know why I haven’t yet, but I will soon be rectifying that after reading her fantastic YA debut! I was utterly gripped by The Treatment and finished it within a day.

The Treatment centres around sixteen year old Drew Finch. Her younger brother, Mason, is expelled from school and sent to a residential reform academy in Northumberland. It is from then that the problems really occur. Drew is followed by Doctor Cobey with a message from Mason. Mason tells Drew that he’s worried about the ‘treatment’ that’s going on at the reform academy. He needs her help. After some googling and finding a former resident, Drew needs to get into the school to discover exactly what’s going on for herself before it’s too late.

I thought this book was utterly gripping. Right from the start it had me intrigued and didn’t let go of me until the last page. The story is really easy to read. It has some interesting characters, ones you hate and ones you root for. I loved to hate some of the characters in this story. There really is a great range of well written characters. The pace was fast and short chapters really helped this.

I really enjoy psychology reads and I loved how C.L Taylor used psychology in the story without it becoming too bogged down. It was incredibly clever and engaging.

I’m not the desired age for this book, but I absolutely lapped it up and I’m pretty confident that this book would appeal to adults as well.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I will definitely be reading C.L Taylor’s adult thrillers after thoroughly enjoying this book!

No Shame

No Shame

How did I get it?:
I received it from the publisher in exchange for a honest review!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

Thoughts:

This book follows No Virgin. I think you can read this book without reading No Virgin but it enhances your reading experience if you do read the previous book. Ultimately, this book has the same message as No Virgin. It encourages victims of rape to speak out and seek justice for the terrible thing that has happened to them.

In No Shame, Stacey has reported the disgusting man to the police and the trial is looming. Stacey is trying to carry on with her life. She’s thinking about her future and works a part time job. As well as this, she has to be prepared for standing against the man who raped her. I found the man in question incredibly creepy and arrogant. Every single time he smirked in court, it made me mad. I was desperate for him to be charged. I won’t ruin what happens but things aren’t easy, that’s for sure!

This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one. Anne Cassidy is wonderful at creating characters that you feel empathy for. The book is short and fast paced. It really packs a punch. I think both books have such an important place in YA literature. I’m so pleased I read it because it does make you think about keeping yourself safe and speaking out when you’re uncomfortable!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

I thought this was a fantastic companion novel that shows that there can be many bumps in the road in your life!

Then She Was Gone

Then She Was Gone

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

The Girls

Synopsis:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her.  And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter. And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? Who still has secrets to hide?

Thoughts:

I’m a massive fan of this genre, which you’ll know if you’ve been around my blog for a while. My sister Beth and I recently read Lisa Jewell’s The Girls and really enjoyed it so I was intrigued to read this one. Especially after Beth raved about it. I found Then She Was Gone to be such a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down and easily could have read it in one sitting if I had the time!

It follows the story of Laurel whose fifteen-year-old daughter disappeared one day. Laurel and the rest of her children were so close to Ellie and her loss affects the whole family. Ten long years later, Laurel finds out that there’s updates on the case. Unfortunately for the family, Ellie’s remains have been found. With some closure, Laurel begins to move forward. She meets a man called Floyd who brings back some joy into her life. Laurel is introduced to his girls and is struck by the similarities between his daughter Poppy and her Ellie. The truth about what happened around the time Ellie was missing comes to light. Laurel isn’t sure whether she should be trusting Floyd but she’s desperate to find out what happened.

As I mentioned, I have read so many thrillers. So many are a bit samey, but I was impressed with Then She Was Gone. It kept me turning the pages. Although I had guessed what had happened to Ellie, I was still compelled to keep reading. Desperate to see if I was right. I also didn’t know exactly how the thing I thought (sorry, no spoilers!) had happened. Therefore guessing the twist didn’t affect my enjoyment. 

I loved the narrative! It’s broken up into different parts, thinking about then and present day times. As a reader, you get to read from the main character’s point of view and I love that. I felt like it gave a really well rounded look at the story.

Lisa Jewell’s writing is exceptional. I am seriously considering checking out the other books that she’s read as I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve read so far. I love getting into the minds of her ‘bad’ characters. It’s fascinating!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book comes highly recommended if you’re a fan of the thriller/mystery genre!

Together

Together

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Dear Thing

Synopsis:

This is not a great love story. 
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Thoughts:

Beth absolutely loved this book which she demanded that I read as soon as I could. So I bumped it up my TBR and got to reading it near enough straight away! I really enjoyed this book which was such a lovely romance with a hint of a secrecy that kept me turning the pages.

Together is a love story between Robbie and Emily. At the beginning of the book, we find out about their relationship at an older age. They’re struggling with some health issues. From then, we learn about their relationship in reverse. I loved reading about their relationship in this way. The reader gets to know about the ups and downs in their relationship and you really feel like you know them. I loved how a secret was teased from the start. I knew it was going to be a big one that could destroy their relationship. I was intrigued and it kept me turning the pages.

I won’t reveal anything about the secret, but it’s something that I didn’t see coming. I love it when an author surprised me and Julie Cohen definitely does that. I just had to keep reading to find out what on earth was going to happen. I’m happy to say that I hadn’t predicted what was going to happen. I had some ideas about what it could be but I was by far wrong.

I enjoy Julie Cohen’s writing. I found Dear Thing to be a touching read and this book was too. Julie’s writing is absolutely beautiful and her characters are so well developed. I would definitely read more from her in the future!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A lovely read! Worth checking out if you’re into contemporary reads!

No Virgin

No Virgin

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.

Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey’s story.

Thoughts:

I was approached to read the sequel of this book No Shame and decided that I needed to read No Virgin first. I’m glad i did because I think No Virgin is important to read before you read the next story.

It tells the story of Stacey Woods who was raped. Stacey has a falling out with her sister (who has a child at 14) and her mother. She leaves the house determined not to go home. Stacey meets a boy that she feels instantly connected to. She goes back to his house, but she doesn’t expect things to turn out the way they do. Stacey doesn’t feel like she can tell people, but ultimately she works out it’s the best thing to do.

I loved how this story promoted speaking to others about rape something which is never acceptable. Stacey seeks help from her friend, family and a rape crisis helpline.

If you find reading stories around these themes then I wouldn’t recommend this book. It’s not as intense as Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (it’s been compared to it) but it’s an important story that I believe should be told!

Would I recommend it?
Yes! 3.5 stars

An important, though dark read!

Look out for my review of the companion novel, No Shame next week!

This Is How It Is

This Is How It Always Is

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

Rosie and Penn always wanted a daughter. Four sons later, they decide to try one last time – and their beautiful little boy Claude is born. Life continues happily for this big, loving family until the day when Claude says that, when he grows up, he wants to be a girl.

As far as Rosie and Penn are concerned, bright, funny and wonderful Claude can be whoever he or she wants. But as problems begin at school and in the community, the family faces a seemingly impossible dilemma: should Claude change, or should they and Claude try to change the world?

Warm, touching and bittersweet, THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS is a novel about families, love and how we choose to define ourselves. It will make you laugh and cry – and see the world differently.

Thoughts:

This book came into my hands from the book pusher that is Beth. She said she thought I’d really enjoy it, so of course, I pushed it to the top of my TBR. I thought This Is Where It Ends was such a touching read.

It centres around Rosie and Penn who have had many boys. They’re desperate for a baby girl. However, when Claude is born he adds to their group of boys. Claude is different though. Claude wants to be a girl. It starts with him wearing dresses and using ‘girly’ accessories. As time goes on, it’s clear Claude is serious about being a girl. It’s not just a ‘phase’. Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever they want to be. Soon problems start to occur at school and in their local community. Rosie and Penn are wondering whether Claude should change or should Claude continue being whoever they want to be. Does the world need to change?

This really is such a touching read. It is easy to fall in love with the family. I loved how Rosie and Penn accepted that Claude wanted to be Poppy. I loved that they embraced his sensitive side. Even though it was clear that Rosie and Penn were struggling with people’s reactions and what the future meant for Poppy, it was lovely that they still gave Poppy the opportunity to be themselves. The ignorance that Poppy and the family encounter, is totally believable. Even in 2017, many people still experience ignorance because of their differences.

I loved how the book didn’t try to pretend that everything was rosy for the family. It really wasn’t. The siblings suffered and struggled, although they did have love for Poppy…life wasn’t easy and isn’t that just right?

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fabulous read, I highly recommend it!