Mini Review Monday #39

I’m sharing another instalment of my Mini Review Mondays, the most recent of which was last month. In case you haven’t seen any of my previous posts, I do ‘mini’ reviews of books that I’ve read, loved and previously promised to review.

First up, I’d like to talk about the electrifying thriller I Know You Did It by Sue Wallman. Thank you so much to Harriet Dunlea at Scholastic for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

A secret from her past threatens to detonate her present…

On her first day at a new school, Ruby finds a note in her locker saying I Know You Did It.

She’s terrified that someone has found out the secret she has been keeping guiltily for ten years. When other pupils at the school start suffering serious accidents, the finger of blame points at Ruby.

She knows she’s not the perpetrator, but who is?

And what link do they have to her past…? 

Publication Date: 6th May

TW: death, murder, assault, stalking, emotional manipulation, trauma related flashbacks, child death

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

I Know What You Did is a hair-raising, rip-roaring thriller that quietly unsettles and intrigues you. Its multi-layered plot allows for plenty of surprises along the way, with well-executed twists and turns that genuinely catch you off guard. 

This was a chilling, heart-pounding read that I raced through in one sitting. Right from that opening chapter, I knew I had to know everything about Ruby’s past and how it had come back to haunt her once more. This is a dark and twisty novel in many ways, often upending your expectations and encouraging you to keep track of little details in order to build up the bigger picture. Wallman’s pace and punchy dialogue kept me speeding through the pages. The dark events gradually built up in scale, moving from creepy and unnerving to ones with deadly consequences. All the while, you’re discovering the layers to Ruby’s past and why this particular person is after her. 

Wallman is an expert at crafting compulsively readable YA thrillers with complex characters that you genuinely care about. I loved how Ruby did not fit a cookie cutter mould, she was genuinely flawed and has done horrible things that haunt her. Her past still impacts how she views and interacts with the world and also how it perceives her. It raises so many ethical and moral dilemmas as each slice of information is gradually revealed. Also the reveal of whodunnit was genuinely interesting and multi-faceted. I liked how the motivations behind the actions were not only plausible, but given space and exploration. They’re not justified, but they are fully explained. 

I Know What You Did harks back to classic mystery tropes, with a compelling plot that’ll keep you up until you’ve reached that gripping conclusion. It delves into the impacts of traumatic events and how your past actions can continue to ripple through into your present. 

Next up, I’d like to talk about the heart-warming Bookishly Ever After by Lucy Powrie. Thank you so much to Team BKMRK for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Ed is excited. He’s landed his dream job at Woolf and Wilde, the beautiful independent bookshop in town.

On his first day, his colleague Hannah doesn’t hold back from telling him exactly how to do things. Although Ed is intimidated, he soon finds himself wanting to impress her …

Then, Ed discovers his mum is dating for the first time since splitting up with his dad. It feels like a huge change, much too fast.

But with the help of his friends, and embracing Hannah’s way of seeing the world … Can Ed let his guard down for the love of books?

Publication Date: 13th May

Goodreads | Waterstones

My Thoughts:

Bookishly Ever After embraces the power of the bookish community through a charming and witty narrative that you can’t help but fall in love with. 

Reading The Paper and Hearts Society series  just feels like coming back home to old friends. It has this comforting and reassuring presence that you can’t help but warm to. You can really feel Powrie’s love and passion for the bookish community through every page of the series, imbuing it with so much warmth and heart. It reminds you just how much books can bring us all together and really pulls on that through its core exploration of friendship, happiness and nerding out about books together. 

Of course, it helps that her core cast of characters are so well-developed and feel like people you’ve known all your life. I loved how we’ve heard from different aspects of the Society throughout the series and this time, it’s Ed’s turn to step into the spotlight. Often acting as the comedic relief in previous books, I knew that I’d be belly-laughing at his antics as he lives through a Shakespearan level of farcical events and ever embarrassing moments. However though, he also has moments of vulnerability and faces issues that a lot of teenagers will also grapple with. This slow opening up process he goes through was so poignant and touching to read. 

I also found myself falling in love with Hannah, who is a new character for this book. She was so sharp and clever, but also shares that same passion for animals and books that Ed holds dear. It is so impactful to see an autistic character on page who frankly discusses their condition and how it shapes their lives, while still not defining them. I loved the excerpts of her blog that we got to read, as it really showed off her personality, charisma and insight into the world. 

Bookishly Ever After is a funny, charming and witty story that filled me with joy and love for the bookish community.

Finally, I’d like to delve into the wonderful It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland. Thank you so much to Morgan Kane at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.

But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.

Publication Date: 18th May

TW: homophobia, transphobia, racism


My Thoughts:

It Goes Like This seemed to capture the essence of summer for me, reminiscent of lying there and watching the sunset. It was just such a gorgeous, joyful and beautiful book. 

I loved the exploration of songwriting and the craftsmanship of music. That is the thread that weaves this found family together, their shared love for music and how it connects people. Music is one of those common factors that humanity shares and seems able to bring communities together. Something as simple as a song can soundtrack some of the most important moments of our lives and I always find the nostalgic power of music fascinating. Listening to a song will often remind me of a moment in my life. In that way, writing and music are united in their imaginative scope and span. Moreland harnesses that energy to weave together a story packed full of life and love. The split narrative travels from past to present seamlessly and shows us how these songs transcend time, though their meaning may change. 

I loved how strong every person’s voice was. They all felt like cohesive, three-dimensional and deeply loveable characters that I utterly rooted for. The inclusion of all of their narratives really helped build up the full picture of what exactly had happened behind the scenes and allowed for an exploration of what fame cost for each of them individually. They were all differently impacted by their meteoric rise to stardom and how that then shaped where their lives went next. I also loved how casually queer they were. Their identities and relationships are discussed, but they’re not their sole traits. The journey towards discovery and being able to fully be their authentic selves is extremely important, but it’s also amazing to just see queer charcaters live and thrive in their own narrative. 

It Goes Like This is reminiscent of the feeling when a song just comes together and works, becoming your new earworm and on constant repeat on your playlist. Moreland comes out swinging in this impressive debut.

3 thoughts on “Mini Review Monday #39

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