This Week In Books #122

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Bonjour Girl The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (Virginia Shreves #2) Mother: A gripping emotional story of love and obsession

NOWBonjour Girls Isabelle Lafleche– I’m currently reading this book. I’m not blown away, if I’m honest. I requested it because I’m a fan of books about blogging. I’ll keep reading it and see if it gets any better.

THENThe Universe Is Expanding And So Am ICarolyn Mackler– I did enjoy reading this book. It’s a balance of serious and light-hearted!

NEXTMotherHannah Begbie– I need to get through my current read so I can get to this one. I love psychological thriller and this one looks great.

What does your week in reading look like? Let me know!

The Universe Is Expanding And So Am I (Virginia Shreves #2)

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (Virginia Shreves #2)

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things

Synopsis:

Six months ago, Virginia decided to ignore the ‘Fat Girl Code of Conduct’ she used to live by and make her relationship with Froggy Welsh the Fourth official. But now things are getting complicated. She’s not sure she still likes Froggy, her mum has betrayed her to the meanest girl in school, and her brother Byron – she’s not she’ll ever know how to feel about him. And then she meets Sebastian. He funny, sweet and he doesn’t want to talk about family, and Virginia’s fine with that. But then a terrible secret comes out that could ruin everything. 

Thoughts:

I initially read The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things as part of a Banned Books feature that you can read here. I was intrigued to see where the follow up went.

The Universe is Expanding and So Am I follows Virginia and her relationships. Virginia isn’t sure she likes her boyfriend Froggy anymore. She has a difficult relationships with her family and then there’s Sebastian… a boy that intrigues her. Virginia’s family are dealing with the repercussions of what her brother Byron did.  I don’t want to say what he did in case you haven’t read the first book!

I’m not sure what I make of Virginia as a character. I think she’s relatable to many, for sure. I also like how she’s unashamedly herself. She is confident in her appearance even though she’s criticised by others for being curvier than her peers. However, I feel like she does body shame slimmer people and that’s never okay for me.

I do appreciate that this book covers some very important and sensitive topics. I like that it doesn’t shy away from topics that should definitely be discussed in Young Adult literature. I just wish the book was longer so it could have explored them in more depth.

This book is a fast paced read and it is easy to get through due to some light hearted humour alongside the more serious content.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

This book was so easy to read. It’s a balance of serious and light-hearted. A wonderful follow up to The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things.

Looking Ahead- This Month’s TBR (September)

I can’t believe it’s September already! Where is this year going?

In August, I managed to read all of the books on my Looking Ahead list.

Here are this month’s books! Thanks to Tina over at Reading Between The Pages for hosting!

The Universe Is Expanding And So I Am- Carolyn Mackler

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (Virginia Shreves #2)

Goodreads Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Virginia Shreves’ life is finally back on course: she’s accepted who she is inside and out and is rebuilding her relationship with brother Byron, whose date-rape charge shattered everything.

But just as she adjusts to her new normal, her world turns upside down again. Sparks with boyfriend Froggy fade, her best friend bombshells bad news, and then the police arrest Byron. As Virginia struggles to cope, she meets Nate, an artist with his own baggage. The pair vow not to share personal drama. But secrets have a way of coming out, and theirs could ruin everything.

I read Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things a few years ago so I’m intrigued to read this one.

Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Lafleche

Bonjour Girl

Goodreads Synopsis

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design, she knows that she’s found
her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and glitzy fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog, Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair quickly catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and public humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection.

This intrigued me when I came across it. I’m always excited to read books about bloggers.

Mother- Hannah Begbie

Mother: A gripping emotional story of love and obsession

Goodreads Synopsis

Cath had twenty-five perfect days with her newborn daughter before Mia’s deadly illness was diagnosed.

As her life implodes, Cath’s despair drives her to a parental support group where she meets a father in a similar situation, the dangerously attractive Richard – charming, handsome and adamant that a cure for their children lies just over the horizon: everything Cath wants to believe.

Their affair – and the chance to escape reality – is unavoidable, but carries catastrophic consequences: the nature of Mia’s illness means that Cath’s betrayal endangers not just her marriage but the life of her baby.

Can she stop herself before it’s too late?

I am so excited about this book!

The Promise- Katerina Diamond

The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4)

Goodreads Synopsis

When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father.

As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

I didn’t realise this book was part of a series…I’ll see how it goes!

September’s Banned Book Read

Taming The Star Runner by S.E. Hinton

Taming the Star Runner

Goodreads Synopsis

Travis is the epitome of cool, even when he’s in trouble. But when he’s sent to stay with his uncle on a ranch in the country, he finds that his schoolmates don’t like his tough city ways. He does find friendship of a sort with Casey, who runs a riding school at the ranch. She’s the bravest person Travis has ever met, and crazy enough to try to tame the Star Runner, her beautiful, dangerous horse who’s always on edge, about to explode. It’s clear to Travis that he and the Star Runner are two of a kind: creatures not meant to be tamed.

I haven’t heard of this book before, so I’m intrigued to see it and see why it’s banned! (Or rant at why it is banned…) Look out for the Banned Books feature on the last Monday of the month!

September’s Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit book

Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing- Judy Blume

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Fudge, #1)

Goodreads Synopsis

Life with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Whether Fudge is throwing a temper tantrum in a shoe store, smearing mashed potatoes on the walls at Hamburger Heaven, or trying to fly, he’s never far from trouble. He’s an almost three-year-old terror who gets away with everything, and Peter’s had it up to here! When Fudge walks off with Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw. Peter has put up with Fudge for too long. Way too long! How can he get his parents to pay attention to him for a change?

I read this book years ago and can’t wait to see what it’s like to read as an adult!

What are you reading this September? Let me know!

BANNED BOOKS #2: The Earth, My Butt And Other Big Round Things

banned books

Every month for the rest of 2014, ChrissiReads, Bibliobeth & Luna’s Little Library will be reading one Banned / Challenged Book a month. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged. How/If things have changed since the book was originally published and what we actually think of the book.

This month the choice is The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.

253106

First published: 1st January 2003
Most recently in the Top Ten of Frequently Challenged Books in 2009 (
source)
Chosen by: Luna’s Little Library
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

****
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged originally?

BETH: Okay, so the reasons for it being challenged originally is the offensive language, it being sexually explicit and unsuited to the age group. Some things I kind of agree with, some I don’t. I don’t really remember instances of very offensive language to be honest so I don’t agree on that level. After all, teenagers may hear more foul things in the streets or on television (or maybe in their own homes?) than what is written in this novel! And as for it being unsuited to the age group I completely disagree with this. Some teenagers read at a more mature level, others at a more immature one and you can’t really put everyone into a nice neat little box and tell them what they should be reading and at what age. 

LUNA: I have this feeling I’m going to be permanently moving into the NO Camp for the all books we read (you can read my previous rant here) but upon finishing The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things I thought: “Are you kidding me?”

1) “offensive language” – There is one scene where Virginia’s brother swears at her and yes is real swearing but it’s completely within context. Be it in 2003 or now I promise you that teens will have heard and used that word themselves. They’ll probably know a lot more.

2) “sexually explicit” – *sighs* I wasn’t sure which part of the story this was referring to but regardless it just made me roll my eyes. Either it’s the beginning of the book when Virginia and Froggy are making out and she’s talking about her ‘bra’ and shock horror the word ‘nipples’ is used or it’s to do with what her brother Bryon does.

SPOILER ALERT Virginia’s older brother is suspended from university following a date-rape allegation which is upheld. The rape happened but this is Virginia’s story so as the reader you know of it but you never actually read about the experience. Carolyn Mackler doesn’t include a first person account from the victim.

3)  “unsuited to age group” – shall we just pretend I gave you the long version of Don’t underestimate teenagers! Yes? Excellent. Moving on…

CHRISSI: I somewhat understand why it’s challenged. This isn’t necessarily to do with me agreeing that the content should be challenged. It’s a tough one. I DO think that teenagers need to be reading about this sort of thing and I completely support that. However, I think it has to be a very brave teacher that takes on this book. Not because it’s ‘bad’ but mainly because I can imagine parents would get very uptight about their children reading about these issues. I think Luna’s right, we do underestimate teenagers. They can read this material. They should! But should they in school? That’s where I begin to wonder. I think if I was about to train to be a secondary/high school teacher instead of a primary school teacher, then I’d definitely recommend this book to my class. Would I read it with my class? No. I’d be scared of the reaction from parents. That’s a wimpy way of looking at it, but I wonder if parents are part of the problem with books like these. Can we as educators, suggest books for teenagers to  read in their own time to get around this problem? Perhaps.

How about now?

BETH: This book has a relatively recent publication date (2009) and I don’t think things have changed much in the past few years but I think regardless of what year it was published my opinions would still be the same. I do think this book should be read by teenagers, especially those that may pick on someone slightly larger than average. (Hey, what’s average anyway?) But should it be taught in schools? Quick and easy answer to this one… I don’t think so. I think I have valid points to back this up though. Virginia shares with the reader some of her diet tips, like drinking a lot of water to feel fuller so you don’t eat so much and puts pictures of skinny girls on the fridge for “thinspiration.” Now, do we really want to be reading these kind of things to vulnerable kids that may feel they need to lose some weight?! And yes we might not give a lot of credit to how sensible teenagers can be etc but there only needs to be one that is slightly more naive or less worldly and BANG – welcome to eating disorder city. 

LUNA: *pfft* see above answer and yes I said this for Perks but we’re already teaching classic literature that deals with the same themes in schools.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is on the GCSE reading list in the UK (source) and taught in the US. It’s strongly implied that the monster rapes Frankstein’s wife on their wedding night. While not nearly as frequent as Frankstein I did still find Tess of the D’Urbervilles as recommend reading for High Schoolers and despite the fact that Thomas Hardy is ambiguous on purpose the general opinion is that Alec rapes Tess.

I’m repeating myself but if we’re already dealing with the reasons The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things was challenged in “classic” literature (that are being taught in schools) then why is this a problem for a modern book?

Romeo and Juliet has teenage sex, plenty of violence and suicide. Shakespeare is pretty graphic so why is that ok but not a book written in the last fifteen years? Somebody explain this to me because I just don’t get it.

CHRISSI: Again, like Luna… see my answer above. I really wish we could read more contemporary books in schools. I think the problem with contemporary books is that they seem much more explicit compared to the classics. The classics do deal with issues as well, but I guess in some ways they don’t seem as relevant to teenagers as contemporary reads do. I think it’s a good thing that there’s relatable literature out there for teenagers.

What did you think of the book?

BETH: Despite my earlier rant I do think this is a good young adult read. Virginia is a likeable character that I think teenagers will love and I hope that they will take home all the positive messages in the novel, of which there were plenty.

CHRISSI: I thought it was a decent read! I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I felt like she dealt with the issues really well with a relatable, likeable character.

LUNA: I really liked The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things. I previously read The Future of Us and loved it.

Virginia is such a relatable character, especially for me. I thought that Carolyn Mackler handled the issue of weight/self-confidence really well. Even though her parents fail at the beginning there is character growth (be it small steps) for them and it was good that Virginia has positive adult influences, Dr Love and her teacher for example.

I went through a lot of emotions while reading this book: sympathy, heartache, joy, rage, hope, etc. but the overriding feeling was that of pride for Virginia – you girl are awesome. 🙂

Would you recommend it?

BETH: Probably!
CHRISSI: Yes!
LUNA: Absolutely

NEXT UP FOR OUR SEPTEMBER READ:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

WWW Wednesday #82

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday! To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

•What are you currently reading?
•What did you recently finish reading?
•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book cover to get to the Goodread’s page for the book.

What are you currently reading?

253106

I am currently reading The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things as part of the Banned Books feature that I’m doing with my sister Beth and my friend Luna!

What did you recently finish reading?

20505127

I recently finished Daughter by Jane Shemilt. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really blow me away. My review for this book is coming up later today!

What do you think you’ll read next?

18189606I’m reading Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson as part of my Compare feature with Luna. The review will be coming up towards the end of the month. I’m really looking forward to reading this book after adoring Second Chance Summer.

So what are you reading this week? Feel free to leave your links in the comments section below or answer the questions! Happy Reading!

Stacking The Shelves #30

Click on the image to take you to Tynga's blog to learn more!

Click on the image to take you to Tynga’s blog to learn more!

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

As ever, click on the book image to get to its Goodreads page!

I have a HUGE haul this week. This comes from Random House’s blogger brunch, NetGalley, the Amazon kindle sale, my friend Luna lending me books and spending too much time in Foyles. Oops.

BQMJzIlCAAESkcT

This is me simply sitting behind Luna and I’s book haul after spending time in Foyles book shop in London.

So first things first- Random House. To read my account of my time at Random House click HERE

17456967

This book is out now! I’ve finished it and reviewed it already, it’s an incredible read.. review HERE.

16070143

I haven’t read any Lauren Kate before, so I’m intrigued.

17614644

I’m very intrigued about this book. I’ll try to read it soon!

NetGalley:

11940384

I like a crime/thriller read every now and again and this seems like a great choice!

18213013

I’m so excited about this one. I did a little happy dance when I was approved.

18186807

I love Jojo Moyes, she’s one of my auto-buy authors.

Bought in the Amazon Kindle Summer Sale:

16279773

I adore Lindsey Kelk. Her books are so easy to read!

9591398

13538708

These books just look like FUN and they have awesome titles.

Borrowed from Luna’s Library:

403673 6574102 7422080 8685622 9741685

Thanks to Luna for these beauties!

Foyles haul:

7893725 12317877 12962924 13406425 17210540 17741066

A lot of these were recommended by Luna. So if I don’t like them I’ll blame her 😉

Gifts:

16925847

A book from the queen of chick-lit. Don’t mind if I do!

17164399

I’m intrigued by this book!

Phew! So that’s it for this week! Please feel free to leave links to your hauls and I’ll come by and see what you’ve got!