book reviews, book talk, spoiler free

Only Love Can Break Your Heart Review

37903962.jpgOnly Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber

Rating: XXXXX

Published August 2nd 2018 by Walker Books Ltd.

Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…

From the title I kind of figured this book would break my heart. What I experienced instead was so much more and although I love a good cry from a book (and there was certainly that don’t get me wrong) Only Love Can Break Your Heart was so much more than heartbreaking, it was infuriating and confusing and uplifting, heartwarming, wise and special. The only other book I’ve read that felt similar to this for me was Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman and although it doesn’t quite cover mental health and other aspects in quite the same way the book made me feel some of the same things and left the same feeling in my gut when I finished it, like a deep breath as you ready yourself for whatever the future holds.

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Only Love Can Break Your Heart is a tough book to read in some ways, well at least it was for me. It may look deceptively pretty, fluffy and not too big a read but let me tell you the stuff that is in this book kind of blew my mind a little. For the longest time I did not like Reiko and certainly not Seth.They are, however written FANTASTICALLY! It’s hard to describe because it’s not a case of I love to hate them or anything and they’re certainly not nice people but you know what ARE ANY OF US? A big thing I took away from this book is absolutely none of us are perfect and that’s okay! We learn when we mess up, we deal with things and sometimes we need help and only we can really choose what we take away from the day-to-day events in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Getting towards the end of this book and looking back at the person I was when I started reading it was startling, my feelings changed so much throughout and I wish I had taken more notes because it was a rollercoaster of a ride. I love a book that can make you feel and a book that can make you think but isn’t weighed down by the weight of it. This book deals with the death/loss of a loved one on a very personal level and approaches a lot of other things like self-worth and the way you want others to perceive you along with more I’m sure I’ve missed.

This is definitely a book worth reading, the characters are developed well and very easy to visualise and remember. They are some gorgeous settings and moments throughout and as someone who hates dry sand and the heat it’s made me want to go explore the desert. Katherine’s writing style is smooth and flows with a particular brilliance to it, scenes move well and she’s great at moving the story along and trimming the parts that are important enough to be mentioned but not enough to need a play by-play without making us as readers feel like we’re missing out. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, another favourite I feel and a solid XXXXX  rating.

book reviews, spoiler free

Bookshop Girl Review

36642932Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

Rating: XXXXX

Published: June 14th by Hot Key Books

“What do we want? Books! When do we want them? Forever!”

Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

I received a digital advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. When I saw the title of this book and the cute cover artwork I knew I needed to check this book out and I must be on a winning streak at the moment because I’m so glad I requested a copy.

Bookshop Girl is two things for me, one is a inspirational, little fluffy, fun, easy and enjoyable read and the second is a scarily arcuate representation of my town. I worked in a local pet shop that got shut down because rent’s became extortionate, foot fall in town fell and many more people go online or further afield and most of the time sadly independent retailers cannot compete so when the same thing looked to happen to Bennetts bookstore I immediately felt a connection there. It wasn’t just the retail climate that felt familiar either, although I’m a good 14/15 years older than the main character I remembered essentially being her. Sure the slang has changed and technology is vastly more superior but her essence and personality just felt so relatable to my “youth” (now I REALLY feel old). The surroundings and townsfolk seemed eerily accurate too, down the guy who used to try to hide things in his trousers to shop lift and the shops etc, I had to check the authors info page to find out how close she really lived to me because it felt like she could have easily written this about my town and I think that really helped connect me to this book in a way I might not have done otherwise.

Bookshop girl is a super laid back read and is, I think certainly for the younger side of the YA market with a sixteen year old protagonist and fairly light events which were no less meaningful for it. This book is heartwarming and just the right kind of funny, silly and cringe inducing and the couple of days it took to me read it just felt relaxing. The writing feels very arcuate to the age group (insert hello fellow young people meme here) and shows a lovely side of the “younger generation of today” instead of the bad image a lot of young people are unfairly branded with today. Paige Turner is normal, average and I love her for it because it helps hammer home the idea that anyone can help to make a difference if it’s something they care about.

I can see why some people, especially of my age, might find this a little too “young” for them but I throughly enjoyed it and can happily recommend it. I’m so happy books like this are being written, although we need the deep hard-hitting stories I feel like we also need books like Bookshop Girl too which address issues and current situations that I don’t think we see a lot of but that can still effect young people. Thank you so much to Hot Key Books and Net Galley for allowing me to read Paige’s story in time for its release date today!! Happy Book Birthday to Bookshop Girl and don’t forget if you’re attending YALC Chloe Coles will be attending the event and signing books on the Friday!

Until next time,

Jemma.