Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar

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I usually tend to avoid books under the new adult genre because the main theme is usually a love story more or less sexually described. In this case I made an exception because of the good review I read, and in the end I was not disappointed at all.

Summer Skin is an engaging novel leaded by an unconventional and interesting main character. We have the basis for a relationship that evolves in the novel, but it is realistic and complex enough to be credible.

The novel is also about feminism and friendship between women, and the characterization is coherent with the past we have hints about.

 


* Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

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Am I Normal Yet? (The Normal Series #1) by Holly Bourne

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Am I Normal Yet? opens the Normal Series by Holly Bourne, a trilogy where each novel has as protagonist a different girl of a group of three friends. This novel main character is Evie, who is come back in her “normal” life after being hospitalized for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

The story is told by Evie’s POV, and in the story we also meet Amber and Lottie, who will be protagonists in the following two books. The reader has not only access to the events, but also to Evie’s way of thinking, always fighting her disease and the bad thoughts it generates.

The author is well able to communicate to the reader what OCD actually means, and that is wrong to minimize it; I liked the story and I think it works from the emotional point of view.

During the story the three girls begin reasoning about feminism, and deepening some specific themes; I also liked these parts; I usually like structured infodump and I’m always eager to learn something new and unexpected; however I think the feminism background of the whole novel is quite excessive, since there is not a male character who is at least decent, and in the end I think it is a fault in the story.

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* Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne ★★★★

*I read this book in English

The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

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La famiglia di Tom Mackee si è disgregata: dopo la morte dello zio in un attentato su un treno londinese, il padre si è rifugiato nell’alcolismo, allontanando da sè moglie e figlia e abbandonando a sua volta Tom. L’altra sorella del padre, Georgie, deve ancora accettare la gravidanza dovuta al rapporto indefinito con l’ex compagno.

Tom da parte sua ha affrontato la situazione abbandonando la scuola e rifugiandosi nelle droghe, allontanando gli amici storici.

The Piper’s Son racconta quello che succede dopo: il ricomporre i cocci, l’affrontare le paure e il ricostruire una famiglia che sembrava persa così come le amicizie di un tempo. Il romanzo alterna i punti di vista di Tom e Georgie e risulta in una storia emozionante in cui la caratterizzazione dei personaggi e la loro evoluzione è ottimamente resa.

Mi è piaciuto molto e l’ho trovato molto ben scritto, l’unica difficoltà è, nella prima parte, capire relazioni tra i personaggi e ricostruire alcuni avvenimenti passati essenziali alla storia.

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Tom Mackee‘s family is broken: after his uncle died in an explosion on a London train, Tom’s father found comfort in booze, pushing away his wife and his daughter, and soon he abandoned Tom. The other sister of his father, Georgie, has instead to elaborate his brother’s death and her pregnancy due to her undefined relation with her ex.

On his side, Tom has faced the whole situation leaving school and making himself lost in drugs, and leaving behind his old friends.

The Piper’s Son tells what happens later: putting together everything, facing fears and reconstructing a family that seemed lost, as well as old friendships. The novel is told by the POV of Tom and Georgie, and is an emotional story where characters and their evolution is wonderfully described.

I liked reading it and I think it’s beautifully written, the only difficulty is, in the first part, understanding the relations between characters and reconstructing past events that are crucial to the story.

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta ★★★☆½

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray

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A Great and Terrible Beauty (pubblicato in Italia come Una grande e terribile bellezza), primo della trilogia di Gemma Doyle, è il primo romanzo di Libba Bray, di cui ho letto e apprezzato lavori successivi (The DivinersBeauty Queens e Lair of Dreams, sempre della serie The Diviners).

Protagonista del romanzo ambientato nel periodo vittoriano è Gemma Doyle, che, dopo la morte della madre, si trasferisce dall’India all’Inghilterra a Spence, un collegio per sole ragazze.

Nella scuola Gemma si creerà alcune amicizie, sebbene piuttosto complesse, in particolare con la compagna di stanza, la scialba Ann, e con la ragazza più famosa, Felicity, figlia di un ammiraglio.

La scuola sembra però nascondere dei segreti: un’ala andata a fuoco, e i boschi intorno popolati dai gipsy, tra i quali vive anche Kartik, misterioso ragazzo sulle tracce di Gemma sin dal periodo indiano.

Il romanzo si basa su una solida ricostruzione storica del periodo e su una protagonista potenzialmente interessante, anche per le capacità paranormali che affina nel corso del romanzo.

Purtroppo l’evoluzione dei personaggi non mi ha convinto, così come la spinta a diventare amica delle altre ragazze. Gemma ha un carattere incerto e volubile, e per molti aspetti sarebbe stato ben più interessante approfondire il personaggio di Felicity, capace in molti casi di un’analisi delle situazione molto più definita e graffiante.

A mio parare il romanzo ha una struttura sbilanciata: si dilunga molto nella parte centrale mentre la conclusione dà l’impressione di essere frettolosa. Personalmente non penso di proseguire nella lettura della serie.

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A Great and Terrible Beauty, first novel of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, is the first novel by Libba Bray, writer I already know for some later novel (The DivinersBeauty Queens e Lair of Dreams, second in The Diviners series).

The novel is set in the Victorian era and the main character is Gemma Doyle, forced to go to England from India after her mother’s death. In England she stays at Spence a girl academy.

In school Gemma develops some friendships, despite quite hard to maintain, in particular with her roommate, Ann, and with the most famous girl in the school, Felicity, daughter of an Admiral..

Spence seems a mysterious place: one of the wing is closed after a fire and the woods around the school are full of gipsys, and among them lives Kartik, a strange boy who’s following Gemma from India.

The novel is based on a good historical reconstruction and on a potentially interesting character, also for her paranormal and magical skills she develops during the novel,

Unfortunately I did not get the evolution of characters, as well as Gemma’s desire to be friend with some of the girls. Gemma is quite unsure and changes easily idea, and is less interesting than Felicity, who is able to analyze situations in a more precise and biting way.

In my opinion the novel’s structure is somewhat unbalanced: the central part is quite consistent, while the conclusion has a few space and it seems hurried. I don’t think I will read the following book in the series.

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray ★★☆☆

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Da ragazzo spiare i ragazzi giocare
al ritmo balordo del tuo cuore malato
e ti viene la voglia di uscire e provare
che cosa ti manca per correre al prato,
e ti tieni la voglia, e rimani a pensare
come diavolo fanno a riprendere fiato.
(Un malato di Cuore, F. De Andrè)

Madeline vive in una camera bianca, in una casa isolata dall’esterno e dagli agenti allergici che potrebbero scatenare la malattia di Madeline e ucciderla.

Madeline ha una particolare sindrome da immunodeficienza, e ha ormai accettato uno stile di vita basato su letture, lezioni online e la sola presenza dell’infermiera Carla e della madre, ma l’arrivo di nuovi vicini, e in particolare del loro figlio Olly, creerà delle crepe nell’equilibrio della ragazza che inizierà a desiderare tutto quello che le può offrire la vita.

Il romanzo ci racconta la storia di Madeline dal suo punto di vista, e la sua particolarità sta proprio nei disegni e negli appunti con cui la ragazza arricchisce il suo racconto, indicati anche mediante cambiamenti tipografici. Originale anche l’idea di inserire le “spoiler review”, tema del blog scritto dalla ragazza, ovvero recensioni spoiler di romanzi in una singola, lapidaria frase. Tra i vari registri utilizzati anche quelli delle chat e delle email, e sotto questi punti di vista l’edizione è molto curata.

La storia di Madeline è emozionante, e lo sviluppo degli eventi del romanzo tiene sicuramente incollati al testo, purtroppo un episodio chiave risulta molto forzato, col risultato di banalizzare una storia originale e ben strutturata.

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Madeline lives in a white room, in a house isolated from the external environment and from the allergens that could trigger Madeline’s illness and kill her.

Madeline has a particular form of immunodeficiency, and has accepted an isolated life, based on reading, on online lectures with the only presence of her nurse Carla and her mother. The arrival of the new neighbours, and in particular of their son, Olly, will start cracking the balance in the girls’ life, and she soon begins desiring everything life could offer her.

The novel tells Madeline’s story from her point of view, and the peculiarity of the book stays in the illustrations and notes she makes to enrich her story, that stands out also thanks to typographic changes. It’s original also the idea to insert the “spoiler review” articles Madeline writes for the blog, one lines, hard, spoiler book review. Among the narrative style used there are also chat messages and emails, and from this perspective the book is very well-built.

Madeline’s story is exiting, and the events development keeps the eyes to the book, unfortunately a key event is quite forced, making an original and well-built story in a standard ya one.

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ★★☆☆

[ARC] Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

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Ingredients for Big Little Lies: a class of kids going to kindergarten, their helicopter parents, some home dads and moms, lots of gossip and a drama, three points of view of three women, mothers and friends and some hints of other POV.

The three main characters are Madeline, Jane and Celeste, and for each of them we know their issues during the novel that focuses on their POV, absolutely biased by their strong emotions. I particularly liked this analysis of the characters, and their evolution during the story. This is not an action paced novel, but the interesting part is understanding each woman’s character.

Despite the lack of crucial events (there are lots of parenting issues), the author built the novel to be absolutely engaging till the end, mainly by hinting the development of a dramatic event but without explaining what’s going to happen till the end.

I also liked the idea to put at the beginning or end of each chapter quotes from the other parents – who are in the background – to demonstrate how each tiny event could be read and felt differently by different people.

Big Little Lies talks about friendship and relations, and it talks also about hard and dramatic themes, but always with a light tone, thus resulting funny and enjoyable.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me the copy necessary to write this review.


* Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty ★★★★

*I read this book in english

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

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1950, Josie lives in the French Quarter in New Orleans in a small room over the bookstore. Josie is also the daughter of a prostitute who works for Willy, a strong-willed woman, very well disposed toward Josie, who works for her helping keeping the brothel room clean.

Unlike her mother, who is interested only in power, money and wealthy men, Josie is smart and aims to cut herself a good place in the world.

The meeting with a tourist in the library and with a wealthy family girl will start the change in Josie’s life. The protagonist will have to choose between leaving the quarter for a university she has not the money to attend or stay, with her mother around.

Ruta Sepetys in Out of the easy tells the story of a normal girl who has to decide what to do with her life; the novel is fast paced and the characters are well described,and among them Josie, bound to a world she does not want to belong but still unaware of some of its features, since she will have to search her own hints to undercover the truth about the ones around her.

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* Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys ★★★★☆½

*I read this book in English