A YA Book Review Blog
Spud: Learning to Fly by John van de Ruit cover Reckless UK Cover The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4s by Sue Townsend cover Anarchy by James Treadwell cover
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Recent Posts

Kate Bush

Kate Bush – My Favourites.

Posted on by Rhys

This post is a quick intermission between my regular, bookish posts. It’s no secret that I love Kate Bush, and it’s even less of a secret, if you follow me on twitter, that I’m seeing her LIVE IN CONCERT on Friday. Yes, I was one if those lucky ones (WE HAPPY FEW), and I feel Continue reading

The Case of the Pistol Packing Widows ( #3)

Posted on by Rhys
The Case of the Pistol Packing Widows by Caroline Lawrence UK cover

The Case of the Pistol Packing Widows, like its predecessors, remains a stellar addition to the P.K. Pinkerton Mysteries in this fantastic middle grade series about P.K, young, “half Injun” Private Detective. This time, P.K. is employed by “Soiled Dove” Opal Blossom to shadow her fiancé, P.K’s good friend Poker Face Jace, and his interest at the Territory Legislature in Carson City. When it appears he is “stepping out” with Black Widow Violetta de Baskerville, P.K. doesn’t know whether to warn Jace or remain undercover… Once again, Caroline Lawrence’s greatest strength is the period setting (no doubt immaculately researched) and her unsensational treatment of P.K. through which she explores ideas of gender, autism and racism with a childlike innocence and acceptance. This instalment’s only roadblock is its pace, which lacks a satisfying drive to the ultimate showdown and subsequently meanders without any sense of direction. However, with such an engaging setting and characterisation, the lack of a dynamic plot is easily overlooked and The Case of the Pistol Packing Widows Continue reading


Posted on by Rhys
Replica Jack Heath UK cover

Replica is Heath’s first young adult novel, and in a similar vein to his middle grade work,  Replica employs a similarly surreal – if that’s the right word – conclusion. It’s something that works in his writing for younger ages, where suspension of disbelief is more easily pushed by child protagonists – but here, amongst the (almost) realistic world of quantum mechanical processors (QMPs) and corrupt military contractors, Heath’s final note strikes an absurd and frankly laughable note. It’s a shame, given that Heath successfully manages to play with notions of human-real robots or replicas, in a way that is reminiscent of I, Robot. Although Replica delivers one or two shock moments, it’s disappointing how much of the essential plot is predictable. Once it moves away from the brilliant first chapter and the fog starts to lift from the story, it seems almost banal how easy it is to correctly speculate on the whereabouts of the sought after QMP. In fact, the incompetence of a supposedly deadly military corporation is Continue reading

Let’s Get Lost

Posted on by Rhys
Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid cover

Road trip stories are nothing new; from Kerouac’s On The Road to John Green’s Paper Towns, the sub-genre (if it can be called that) is frequently used, overused and abused. However, that didn’t stop me having high hopes for Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost which is getting a rather generous publicity campaign from its publishers, who probably think they’ve landed the next John Green. Rather unexpectedly (I don’t pay great attention to provided synopses…), Let’s Get Lost presents a panorama of teenage life in America. As Leila makes her way closer and closer to Canada (to see the Northern Lights, she frequently reminds us), she finds herself bumping into a variety of characters from all walks of life. It’s all a bit serendipitous – at times on the edges of disbelief – particularly as Leila manages to change the lives of the people she meets for the better, in one case playing the psychologist to Hudson who is applying to become a doctor but in his heart of hearts wants Continue reading

Publisher Pet Peeve: “Goodreads” Reviews

Posted on by Rhys

This is something that’s been around a while and that has equally annoyed me for the time it’s been around (I had hoped it would go away with time – it hasn’t) but I recently got a couple of emails where this had been done and I thought I’d finally write something about it, because I haven’t seen anyone else mention it. What I’m talking about is when publishers quote a review of a book on their publicity material and simply credit it as “Goodreads” or “Goodreads review”. Sometimes, they even venture into “Amazon review”, but either way: I’m not sure it’s right, and I’m almost certain that it’s just laziness on their part. It’s not accurate, either: Goodreads doesn’t actually “write” any reviews. They’re just an aggregator site. And sure, when you post any of your stuff you agree to these terms: “By posting any User Content on the Service, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Goodreads a royalty-free, Continue reading