Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Winter Gut Reactions

I know that really I should have done the Winter Round-up before the Spring TBR pile got unveiled, but I was just too excited to wait and my scheduling skills...well they got snarled up. Hey ho.

 So here, just into Spring, are my thoughts on some of the books I read through the winter. (As last time, I just want to make clear that I am not a reviewer. I’m just sharing my instant reactions.)
To recap the pile looked like this;

Plus there were sneaky extras;
None of the Regular Rules- Erin Downing
Fallen Too Far – Abbi Glines
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, - John Green & David Levithan
The Heroes of Olympus- The Mark of Athena – Rick Riordan

The “Star of the List” was a tie this time, between Skin Deep and The Curiosities. Skin Deep is great teen writing with ace voices and chemistry and very British. As a UK writer I like seeing that voices don’t get smoothed out so that they are more suitable for multiple markets. The Curiosities- a collection of short YA stories, with author’s notes – was a delight in so many ways. I know I’ll return to it time and time again.

Some name checks then;

Maggie Stiefvater – Two of her books were in this pile and just having a Stiefvater book in my grubby mitts makes me happy. Raven Boys was the start of a new series and reminded me why I hate reading series, as the waiting is excruciating. I should just hold off until they are all out and binge instead. My only criticism is that she was a bit tight on the old kissing in Raven Boys. She normally prides herself on there being kissing...

John Green and David Leviathan – As I gushed here, I have a writer’s crush on these two, hence they have an outrageous amount of books in the Spring pile. And I’m not making any apologies for that. They write teens so well, they write teen boys so well, they write gay teen boys so well. Fab.

Daniel Handler – If I am honest -and it does happen occasionally -I’m not really a fan of Handler’s writing.  This book was fine, although it didn’t knock my socks off, but, I loved the concept of writing a book-long rant, and also the book being an inventory of a relationship’s detritus. Yes, that’ll be my form fetish kicking in.

Laura Jarratt – This book was well worth the wait, and made me excited about my own writing, because it targets the same age group, environment and language.

Simmone Howell - Having loved Graffiti Moon, by fellow Aussie Cath Cowley, I was pleased to discover Howell’s great ear for girls voices, relationships and the dynamics of those relationships. Like Cowley she mixes other art into her writing, in this case film, to Cowley’s Urban art. I didn’t think the ending quite delivered, but I enjoyed it enough to have another of her books in the Spring pile.

Kevin Brooks – I do love a Kevin Brooks book. The man does tension like nobody’s business.

Kody Keplinger – She wrote this book while still at school. Wish I’d started that early.

And then the other gut reactions;
·         One of these books elicited the succinct review of “Meh”
·         One of these writers has read Fifty Shades of Grey since the last book I read of theirs.
·         One of these books I nearly flung across the room when I realised it was yet another cliff-hanger ending. I’d thought it was the finale.
·         One of these books I had to give up and skip to the ending as I just couldn’t engage with the voice. (Ooh, what an Agent thing to say!)
·         Two of these books I cannot for the life of me remember what were about...

More gut reactions to follow in June.. 


  1. Hi Nille, I'd be interested to know what you thought of Keplinger's book.

    1. Hi Liz, do you mean The Duff or Shut Out? If it is Shut Out I'll mail you once I've read it.
      Do you have a vested interest in Keplinger?

  2. Ha no, no vested interest. Was thinking about The Duff cos you mentioned how she wrote it while at school

    1. I enjoyed The Duff. If I remember correctly given that it has been some books ago now, it reminded me of a Sara Dessen style story, but with swearing and some sex. The language felt right, with the exception of one bit I think, but I can't remember the specifics of it. The premise was good, but the conclusion perhaps a little thickly stated, however i liked it enough to order in the new one for this season's pile.