Mini Review Monday #2

Following on from last week’s Mini Review Monday, I realised how much I enjoy just sharing my thoughts on some of the wonderful books that don’t seem to get as much love as they deserve!

So, I decided to continue this today with another three amazing books.

First up is The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R.Pan

The Astonishing Colour of After Review:

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When Leigh’s mother dies by suicide she leaves only a scribbled note – I want you to remember.

Leigh doesn’t understand its meaning and wishes she could turn to her best friend, Axel – if only she hadn’t kissed him and changed everything between them.

Guided by a mysterious red bird, Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents for the first time. There, Leigh retreats into art and memories, where colours collide, the rules of reality are broken and the ghosts of the past refuse to rest …

But Leigh is determined to unlock her family’s secrets.

To remember.

My Thoughts:

The Astonishing Colour of After was gorgeously crafted and entrancing. I fell completely in love with the story by the end of the first page. Pan’s use of colours was sublime and I loved learning about Taiwanese culture. The book does deal with an important but tough topic in such a compassionate and honest way.

Leigh was such a memorable character as well with her unique view of the world and her description of art was mesmerising.

The way Pan manipulates language to create these beautiful images is just sublime and so entrancing. I will definitely keep an eye out to see what she does next.

Add The Astonishing Colour of After on Goodreads

Secondly, I want to discuss a dark, gripping thriller: Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl.

Neverworld Wake Review:

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Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend—changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers… and at life.

And so begins the Neverworld Wake.

My Thoughts:

Three words: Exciting, dark and suspenseful.

This was the type of book that sucks you in and never really lets you go. The fast- paced nature of the plot just kept me engrossed until the last page.

The best way I could describe this would be a dark, gripping mix of Groundhog Day andThe Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (which is a fantastical Agatha Christie meets Doctor Who adult mystery that I loved).

The supernatural element is well done, but the real beauty of the book lay in the charcters themselves. Every one, with possibly the exception of Jim, felt interesting and well-developed over the course of the book.

The sci-fi aspect, while interesting, just amplified the claustrophobic atmosphere and the conflict between the characters for me, which was perfect for a YA mystery.

This is a thought-provoking and original mystery that will continue to surprise you.

Add Neverworld Wake on Goodreads

Last, but certainly not least, I’m going to talk about Close Your Eyes by Nicci Cloke.

Close Your Eyes Review:

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Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Ash, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be.

Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

My Thoughts:

This is a gripping YA thriller with twists galore, so many red herrings and a brilliant use of multiple narratives to really mess with your head. I devoured it in one sitting.

I would recommend that you read it without knowing anything about the plot (aside from the description above), as it really adds to the atmosphere and this book is built on atmosphere.

You get drawn into the story of these few characters, with the knowledge that there was a shooting, but whodunnit and more importantly why did they do it. It really challenges preconceptions around this topic and does get quite graphic by the end, but it really impressed me.

Over To You:

Have you read any books I’ve reviewed today? What did you think of them?

 

 

2 thoughts on “Mini Review Monday #2

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