Review: Another Brooklyn the Jacqueline Woodson

I picked this up on a bookshop browse a few weeks ago in the new fiction section. I hadn’t heard of the book itself, but had heard of Woodson’s memoir Brown Girl Dreaming. After reading the first sentence, I fell a little bit in love and couldn’t leave without it…

For a long time my mother wasn’t dead yet. 

Do you ever pick up a book and get a tingly feeling of fate? A little funny instinct that somehow this story will be important to you.

Another Brooklyn is the story of a friendship between four girls, as August looks back to growing up in the 1970s. It is rich with beautiful and brutal moments which connect into a richly moving novel.

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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

I was so excited for the release of A Court of Wings and Ruin that I accidentally pre-ordered it twice. Then when it arrived at the beginning of May, I had to wait to start reading because I had a lot of uni deadlines. But once I finally handed that work in, I immediately picked up ACOWAR.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third in a trilogy by Sarah J Maas – you can find my previous review of A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury here.

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Review: Clade by James Bradley

This book is the last of my university reading for this term. It’s been an up and down collection of things I’ve loved and things I didn’t get on with. Fortunately for a last book, Clade was interesting and surprising.

It follows scientist Adam Leith, beginning while he is working in Antarctica and his partner Ellie back in Australia is waiting for their latest IVF treatment results. Each section jumps between perspectives, using both third and first person, in present tense except for sections which fill in backstory. There is a lot of story layering in the first few chapters, of backstory interspersed with the present moment, which creates an interestingly textured narrative. Every aspect of this novel is layered and faceted – everything has a meaning, an impact beyond the surface level.

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Review: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. After a lot of umming and ahhing, I decided that I was interested, just in time to get the first book in hardback. Having finished I’m really glad I did, because it will now match my edition of Waking Gods. I didn’t want to be in the same situation as I was with Becky Chambers’ books, having one in paperback, one in hardback, and no shelf were they can sit side by side.

The series name, Themis Files, should have been a clue to how the narrative is presented. I hadn’t expected it when I picked the book up – possibly because when I’ve flicked through in shops, I was looking at the prologue, which is written in a traditional narrative style. A young girl goes out for a bike ride when the ground gives way beneath her, and she falls into a giant metal hand. She grows up to be Dr Rose Franklin, and seventeen years later is leading the effort to understand what she discovered as a child. The story from there is structured as numbered files – personal journal entries, project logs, and transcripts of conversations between the major players on the project, and an unnamed man from an unnamed secret agency.

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Review: ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman

I love being able to easily explain the idea of a book, especially when I want to pass on the recommendation. ‘Summing up’ is difficult – it’s one of the things I find trickiest about writing reviews, trying to succinctly convey a broad sense of theme, tone and plot. The Power is easy to describe. My problem might actually be to stop talking about it.

This novel explores a scenario in which gender power dynamics are, in one major change, completely shifted. Young girls across the world start developing the an electrostatic power – the power to electrocute at will, to tickle, maim or kill at the flick of their fingers. We follow a tight group of characters who help us chart a slowly changing world.

I first dipped a toe into The Power months ago. When I first signed up to Audible it was the first thing I downloaded before realising I don’t get along with new-to-me fiction as an audiobook experience. Great as audiobooks are, they work better with nonfiction for me. However, I was enthralled by the premise of the book, and have had it in mind ever since. When the paperback cover was revealed I decided, pretty as it is, that I wanted the hardback, which is gorgeous. Also with the hardback, you get two covers to enjoy, the dust jacket and the hardcover underneath.

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Review: The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh

This will be a very brief review. My schedule has gone a little wonky this week, but I’m trying to get back on track.

First impressions are important, but odd. This book is one that took me a while to get into – the prose is thick with description and lyrical to read, the backstories are complex and intricate. Yet there are other books I got into much more easily which in the end, I liked less. I really enjoyed this.

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Review: ‘The Wolf Border’ by Sarah Hall

This is among my favourites of what I’ve read this year so far. I’ve admired Sarah Hall for a long time. As a sixth former applying to University I attended a talk about her life as an author and was both impressed and inspired. When I was first given a Kindle, The Carhullan Army was one of my first purchases. While I think now that I probably missed a lot at the time, I was excited by it, particularly at an age when I had limited exposure to contemporary fiction. Yet for some reason, this book is the first of hers I’ve read since then.

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