It Only Happens In The Movies

It Only Happens in the Movies

How did I get it?:
It was a gift!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone

The Spinster Club 

Synopsis:

Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…

The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.

Thoughts:

I have been meaning to get around to this book for ages, so I made sure I had time for it recently. Holly Bourne is a terrific YA writer and I highly recommend reading her books if you haven’t done so already. I devoured It Only Happens In The Movies and I’m going to make it my mission to read the books I haven’t read of Holly’s by the end of the year.

It Only Happens in the Movies centres around the main character named Audrey. She has a summer job at the local, fancy cinema. Audrey has always been into drama, but when her own personal drama got too much with her ex boyfriend, she decided to not audition for the school musical and throw herself into her job. Her job was also an escape from her home life. She’s dealing with the aftermath of a messy divorce in her family. She’s concerned about her mum’s mental health after the divorce. Audrey has so much going on in her life, that her job helps her concentrate on something else. The trouble is, Audrey has become so jaded about love. She scoffs at romance movies and believes love like that only happens in the movies. Audrey meets Harry, a film maker, at her job and their relationship goes from strength to strength. Drama follows Audrey though and it’s not long before secrets begin to affect their relationship.

Romance does play a huge part in this story, but it was an interesting take because I felt it was more focused on how the relationships developed despite the struggles that both Audrey and Harry had in their own lives. They were both facing struggles but somehow managed to get together despite their own family drama. I thought I was going to predict where this book went, but I didn’t. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s not your typical romance ending and I bow down to Holly because of that. It’s real and raw and that’s what I want from my books.

Holly is also one of my favourites because she talks about issues that are often neglected in many YA reads. I loved how it addressed how movies have unrealistic expectations about romance. So many romance movies have either unhealthy or controlling relationships and they put this out as something ‘normal.’ That’s a big no.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are some laugh out loud moments alongside some very poignant and heart-breaking moments.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Holly Bourne isn’t your average YA writer. Her books are a lot deeper than you’d expect and she’s not afraid to show that life can be messy. Highly recommended!

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The Nowhere Girls

The Nowhere Girls

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re every girl. But they start with just three: Grace, the preacher’s daughter who unwittingly moved into the old house of a victim whose pain adorns the walls. Bold Rosina, whose heart has become hardened by all of the straight girls who broke it. And misunderstood Erin, the girl who finds more solace in science and order than she does in people.

They are brought together by the idea of changing the narrative of a girl they had never met, Lucy Moynihan, the victim of a sexual assault who was victimised further by people who found it easier to believe she had cried wolf than to confront what had really happened to her. A girl who, through the course of one evening, went from an excited teenager who felt wanted by a boy for the first time, to someone else entirely, with ‘a voice in the darkness, giving her a new name: Slut’. Together, they form the Nowhere Girls, and decide to avenge the rape of a girl none of them knew.

Thoughts:

I knew that this book wasn’t necessarily going to be an easy read. It’s about rape culture. We know right from the start that this book is going to be heavy-going read. Yet I think it’s absolutely sensational. It is so harrowing, so raw, but so importantly, sadly, today. Especially with the #MeToo movement. The Nowhere Girls follows three girls, but includes snippets from many girls within the story.

Grace, Rosina and Erin are the girls we hear the most from. Grace is new to the city after moving when her Mum needed to find a new job. Rosina’s a strong character but with so many family duties and an ‘interesting’ relationship with her Mother. Erin has Asperger’s, her Mother is constantly trying to find ways to help Erin. All three girls may seem like an unusual friendship group, but their friendship works. Together, they form The Nowhere Girls. The Nowhere Girls join together to give the girls at school a voice. It encourages the girls to really think about what consent means.

I think it was clever how elements from others were slipped into the story. We got to see perspectives from many different viewpoints. Some of the girls felt very different to one another about sex and it was interesting to read such an open and honest dialogue between the female characters. There were also snippets from a male blog that did make my blood boil. Some of the comments about females were disgusting. However, this isn’t a male bashing book. There are some lovely male characters within the pages too.

I found this book quick to read but it certainly wasn’t an easy read. I went through a range of emotions including disgust, horror, heart-break and pride at how the girls were determined to stick up for what was right. It’s an incredibly powerful book which deserves to be read widely!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!- with caution. It involves some very heavy content, so be prepared!

Heavy going but powerful. I was blown away by this book!

Moxie

Moxie

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Truth About Alice
Devoted

Synopsis:

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond and spread the Moxie message. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realises that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Thoughts:

I have really enjoyed Jennifer Mathieu’s writing in the past, so I was intrigued to pick up Moxie. Jennifer writes about some quite contentious subjects. This time, it looked like she was tackling feminism and I absolutely loved that. It was more than that though. It was about a girl growing as a person and fighting severe injustice. I love it when people fight against injustice, be it male or female.

Moxie centres around a girl called Vivian who very much just got by at school. She was good, compliant and had a nice group of friends. Vivian was annoyed by the blatant sexism going on at her school. She decided to create a feminist zine to respond to the sexism. She distributed it anonymously to her classmates. Something she’d never have done before. However, Vivian takes a risk and finds it really pays off. She becomes closer to her new friend Lucy and gets to know the new guy at school. The zine has consequences though and Vivian finds herself in a sticky situation that she would have never had previously been in!

I loved that so many people were inspired by Vivian’s actions even though they didn’t know it was her. I think Vivian grew so much in the space of the story and I bloomin’ love character growth. I have to admit to being a little dubious about the prospect of romance in this story. I didn’t want a romance to take away from main story of empowerment. I needn’t have worried though, the romance is sweet and he’s a good guy who doesn’t agree with the sexism.

The strong female relationships in this book just make it such a wonderful read for me. I loved that the girls didn’t delight in tearing each other down. I loved that they found common ground even if they didn’t always necessarily agree with one another.

I highly recommend this book if you’re into strong female characters and a sweet, supportive romance!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Asking For It

Asking For It

How did I get it?:
It was a gift from my sister Beth.

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Only Ever Yours

Synopsis:

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

Thoughts:

It has been said that Louise O’Neill ‘writes with a scalpel’ and boy does she. Only Ever Yours was a disturbingly raw read for me and Asking For It is very much the same. Asking For It does contain rape and the aftermath of rape, so be prepared for that if you are particularly sensitive to the subject matter. Asking For It cements Louise O’Neill as one of my auto buy authors. Her books are hard to read but they’re raw and real. Louise completely understands young adults and portrays them so honestly.

Asking For It centres around eighteen year old Emma O’Donovan. Emma seems to have it all, she’s beautiful, clever, wanted and has a great social life. Her life completely changes when she is found out on her doorstep, bruised and feeling pretty rough. She can’t remember how she got there, although she has some recollection of a party with lots of alcohol consumed. She begins to remember taking a pill as well. When Emma goes to school the next day, no one talks to her, except to call her names. Everyone is talking about her and she doesn’t know why, although she’s sure it’s something to do with the party. Emma later discovers a Facebook page with some explicit photographs of herself. She’s absolutely crushed. Her life as she knew it completely changed as many people wonder if she was ‘asking for it’.

This book is just so raw. It pulls you in. I’ve found in Louise’s books, I don’t often like the characters involved. They’re generally not very likeable characters, but with Emma, I did feel sympathy towards her. This book affected me. The judgmental attitude that Emma experienced was infuriating. I really think it’s important that the issue of consent is written about. It’s such an important issue which should be discussed more.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to be pulled in at the start of the book. It seemed like your average contemporary with friends, drama and teenage parties and I was wondering when the writing was going to pack a punch. However, on the night of the party was when I quickly got pulled in. It was devastating. Even though Emma is not likeable, I think it just proves the point that noone deserves to experience what she went through.

I really appreciated that the story followed Emma a year after the event happened, when we see how much she has been affected, not just her, but her family as well. The story didn’t end with a happily ever after, but I appreciate that. It’s definitely given me a LOT to think about and I think this book should totally cause discussions about consent and attitudes towards women.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

Another spectacular book from Louise O’Neill. She’s amazing!