The Big Lie

The Big Lie

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bonnier Publishing/Hot Key Books

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Red Ink


Jessika Keller is a good girl: she obeys her father, does her best to impress Herr Fisher at the Bund Deutscher Mädel meetings and is set to be a world champion ice skater. Her neighbour Clementine is not so submissive. Outspoken and radical, Clem is delectably dangerous and rebellious. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend. But which can she live without?

THE BIG LIE is a thought-provoking and beautifully told story that explores ideas of loyalty, sexuality, protest and belief.


I first came across this book at YALC and was immediately intrigued by the cover and then the synopsis. I completely agree that The Big Lie is a thought-provoking read. I have to admit, at the start I was a little worried about how the subject matter would be dealt with. However, it made me think and question, and what more can you ask?

Jessika is the main protagonist in this book. She’s an incredibly well developed character. Jessika always wants to do what’s right. She’s seen as a good girl that does as she should. Throughout the story, Jessika explores what she’s been told is right and what she knows is morally right. Being ‘good’ in Nazi England, doesn’t always mean she’s doing nice things. Jessika has a best friend, Clementine who is the polar opposite. Clemetine believes in doing what is morally right, even if it’s against what Nazi England believe is wrong or evil. Clementine isn’t afraid to go against what her peers and community believe is right. I didn’t think their friendship was going to work, but it does. Both girls try to encourage each other to see it from their point of view. They are a solid unit together.

As I mentioned, this book was certainly thought-provoking. This is mainly because it was set in such a current time period, despite it being based on Hitler’s ideals. Nazi England, as set in The Big Lie is a terrifying place that controls its inhabitants, forcing them to conform. It is imagined so well, and is so vividly written that it’s easy, yet scary, to read about. It also delves into some other sensitive subject matter like sexuality. It is a fascinating read!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

The Big Lie is a book to make you think, long after finishing the story.

British Books Challenge 2014: The round up!

The British Book Challenge was set up to show support for British Authors. By signing up I promised to read at least 12 books by British Authors. That’s equal to one book a month.

It’s safe to say that I exceeded this challenge this year.

The YALC Experience 12-13 July 2014

Photo credit: @Guardianbooks on twitter

Photo credit: @Guardianbooks on twitter

I was lucky enough to attend the first Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London this weekend.

This was my first experience at a convention/conference and it certainly WAS an experience. It was quite strange to be at an event within a massively popular event. YALC took place within the London Film and Comic Con which I’m sure a lot of you will be aware is massively popular. So amongst the bookish people, I found myself surrounded by some fabulous costumes including Spiderman, Poison Ivy, Elsa, Dobby and many, many more crazy costumes. I was impressed with how creative some people got.

Day 1

There were far too many people though and it was absolutely baking inside. Oh my goodness. 

Where the hell are the books?!

Despite being crowded there were a lot of things to see, and when I finally got in despite having an Early Bird ticket, my sister and I could NOT find the Book area. We got there at the end. Us bookish folk were shoved to the back, but that’s okay, because I was surrounded by books and my kind of people. I also got tickets for the panel that I wanted that day. Woohoo.

Ooh, I found the pretties!

Photo credit: @YALC_UK on twitter

Photo credit: @YALC_UK on twitter

The set up of YALC was lovely. Books everywhere and plenty of opportunities for those to pick up swag like badges, bookmarks, pens, wristbands etc. I loved that Hot Key Books arranged a book swap. Book lovers could swap one book for another. There were also plenty of places to purchase books from authors appearing at YALC and many more books.

The First Panel

The panel I went to on Day 1 was The End of the World as we Know it: The Ongoing Appeal of Dystopia. This panel included Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and Sarah Crossan. Malorie introduced YALC in Klingon and in costume. Of course. There’s no other way when at LFCC.  I felt like this panel was incredibly interesting and brought up some fantastic comments about Dystopia. We learned that no author on the panel really wanted to write a Utopian novel…because where’s the fun in that? I think some very valid points were made about how readers look for escapism in their reading and how it’s interesting to believe that in a world that’s turned crappy, that there’s a glimmer of hope somewhere.


I have to admit, I didn’t have a good experience with the signings.  I don’t think it helped that the authors I really wanted to see were the hugely popular and wonderful Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness. I queued with my sister for an hour for Malorie Blackman, only for our line to be cut and be told that Malorie had to attend a talk 😦 Not her fault, but lots of fans were left disappointed. We gave up with Patrick Ness, just too many people and too little time for singings. We weren’t too disheartened though. We had had an amazing time.

I also loved catching up again with some lovely friends and spotting the bloggers I knew of, but I was too shy too approach.

Day 2- The day of 3 panels after another. Because…why not?

Trying to keep this day short and snappy, because I’ve wittered on a lot already and who knows if you’re even reading this far. Well done if you are! 😉

The queuing…

  • We got in much quicker. Yay, us!
  • It was less packed. I could breathe. Always a bonus.

I book swapped…

  • I managed to swap some books I’m not going to re-read and once I went back to the stand I had noticed they had gone. It gave me a really happy buzz to know that some book lover was going to enjoy my pristine condition books.

The three panels…

  1. The first panel was I’m Too Sexy For This Book with Cat Clarke, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles, chaired by the newly crowned Queen of Teen, James Dawson. This panel was incredibly funny. It’s the first time I’ve seen all of these authors and they just made me howl with laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase ‘sexy time’ used so much. The panel spoke about sex within YA. It was hilarious. The tone was er… pretty low and there were innuendos flying everywhere. Everyone seemed to be loving the panel. It certainly was a highlight of the panels I saw. Despite the hilarity, some important points were covered and covered sensitively by this panel of talented writers and the chair. Taboo seemed to come up a lot and how sex in YA can often stop school libraries stocking the book. It certainly made me reflect.
  2. Next up was Crossover-Not Just For Kids with Matt Haig, Meg Rosoff, Anthony McGowen and Nick Lake. It was chaired by David Maybury. He didn’t quite have control over the panel, but it wasn’t surprising with the rowdy bunch of authors he had! 😉 What I found fascinating about this panel was that no-one could really define what crossover was. I think Nick Lake made an interesting point when he said young adult readers are much more open-minded about genres. I completely agree and think that this is such a positive thing for the genre, if we can call Young Adult a genre. Sometimes adult readers can get stuck in one genre and never broaden their horizons. I know, I used to just read one genre…
  3. The last panel for me was Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves with Holly Smale, Julie Mayhew, Isobel Harrop and Tanya Byrne chaired by Sarra Manning. I absolutely loved this panel. I think they all come up with such interesting points. All of these writers are YA writers, but their books are very different. It was intriguing to see how they came to write their heroine. I think Holly Smale made a good point about wanting to create a character that does have flaws. It is SO important for readers to know their literary heroines make mistakes too. She also made such a good point about courage and courage not always being a physical thing, but for some, stepping out of their comfort zone is courageous. I totally agree. Last time I saw Holly talk, I found her quite inspirational and this hasn’t changed. I also loved that Julie Mayhew made the point that characters don’t always have to be likeable and that’s okay. For Julie as an author, as many authors I imagine, the most important thing is the character provokes a reaction. I completely agree with this. I often find myself not liking a character and I never see this as a negative thing.  

With that, my sister and I decided to head off. I had a long journey home and I have work tomorrow! I went home with some lovely new books, a fantastic experience, some good laughs and a wonderful weekend spent with my bookish sister and like-minded people.

Red Ink


How did I get it?:
I received it as a present from my Secret Santa!


When her mother is knocked down and killed by a London bus, fifteen-year-old Melon Fouraki is left with no family worth mentioning. Her mother, Maria, never did introduce Melon to a ‘living, breathing’ father. The indomitable Auntie Aphrodite, meanwhile, is hundreds of miles away on a farm in Crete, and is unlikely to be jumping on a plane and coming to East Finchley anytime soon. But at least Melon has ‘The Story’. ‘The Story’ is the Fourakis family fairytale. A story is something. RED INK is a powerful coming-of-age tale about superstition, denial and family myth.


I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book, so it was one I was very happy to receive at Christmas time. I thought Julie Mayhew’s debut was incredibly accomplished, and I hope we all get the opportunity to read a lot of her work in the future!

Red Ink is the story of a fifteen-year-old girl called Melon, (yes, really!) who is coming to terms with the loss of her mother. She’s trying to continue with her life. She wants to rebuild her life and ultimately herself too. The story takes place in London and Crete, highlighting the difference between both places beautifully.

What I really enjoyed about this book was Melon’s narration. She felt real. I was convinced by her story, her feelings and how she handled the terrible grief. It’s not a really bleak read though, there are humorous moments which are very much welcomed. I think the book would be way too intense otherwise.

Usually, I’m not a massive fan of books that flip backwards and forwards in time. I only like them if they are really well written and clear. Luckily Red Ink is well written and clear. The chapters clearly state whether they’re based in the time period before Melon’s mother’s death or after the tragic event.

I was so impressed by this debut. It’s an easy to read, well written, honest read. I will be definitely looking out for whatever Julie Mayhew may publish next.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
Left Drowning- Jessica Park

Stacking The Shelves #49

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 Goodread’s page!

This week I received my package from my Secret Santa from the UK. I will be writing a post about it all nearer Christmas, but this is what arrived in my box this week!

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I am a very lucky girl! I am particularly looking forward to reading Red Ink and By Any Other Name. I hadn’t heard of Raw Blue, so I’m looking forward to finding out what it’s like!

What did you add to your shelves this week? Please feel free to leave your link in the comments below and I’ll stop by your blog.