Monthly Archives: April 2012

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

‘I’m a sliver-thin light, diamond sharp, that can slip through gaps in the world we know. I will come into your dreams and speak soft words when you think of me. There is no happy ever after – but there is an afterwards.
This isn’t our ending.’

After a local school is set alight, Grace races in to try to save her daughter Jenny from the fire. The story begins while they are in critical condition in the hospital. Even though she is unconscious, Grace decides she must find the arsonist in order to protect her children.

I really wanted to love this novel. I adored her first book Sister, and had heard that they were quite similar in style.

The problem is, this style didn’t work for me with this particular story. Rosamund packs a lot of emotion into her writing, and you really do feel for her characters. For me, the problem was that I didn’t find the concept believable. A mother and daughter are unconscious in the hospital, and the entire novel is narrated while they are having out-of-body experiences. This time, instead of the emotional language and stubborn main characters making me relate, I became bored. I can honestly say I only finished this book because I made myself. The emotion felt forced and over the top, and I found myself shudder at the mother’s obsessive nature.

Having said all that, I think Rosamund is a wonderful writer, and if the story had been one that felt realistic to me, I’m sure the language would have had an entirely different effect (as it did when I read Sister). I look forward to the next book she brings out, and hope that I like it as much as I did her first novel.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

‘Niles offers me the syringe. I position it over the vein in my neck, insert the needle, and press the plunger. I barely feel the pinch. I am too charged with adrenaline.’

I couldn’t help myself, having just finished the second in the Divergent trilogy, I felt the need to discuss.

I was over the moon to receive an ARC of Insurgent, and resisted (with quite some difficulty) the temptation to drop the book I was in the middle of reading in favor of this gem.

After discovering she is Divergent – which almost cost her her life – Tris along with the rest of her faction need to abandon their home to keep themselves safe. Wracked by grief and guilt from the attack, she becomes ever more reckless struggling to accept her future. But someone is still keeping secrets, and Tris needs to be strong if she is to uncover the truth behind her society.

Part of me forgot how much I loved reading Divergent, as it was the middle of last year when I first picked it up as a longlist judge. The main character, Tris, is not particularly likeable, which is something that makes the story a little more interesting.
In this second novel, we learn a little more about the other factions such as Amity and Candor – if you haven’t taken the faction quiz on facebook, you are missing out! I liked the introduction of more characters specifically from the other factions; it really gave a bit more variation to the plot, and to the character personality types.

Of course, Insurgent is a very ‘inbetween’ novel, as is generally expected with the second in a trilogy. However, I wasn’t disappointed because there was lots of new information, and an unbelievable cliff hanger at the end. I’m not quite sure where Veronica is headed at this point, because it seems like thew final part of the story will be utter chaos, but perhaps that is the point.

If you liked Divergent, you will not be disappointed by Insurgent. If you haven’t even read Divergent, but love either The Hunger Games or dystopian fiction, then definitely give this trilogy a go – it’s worth it.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

‘Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you – sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.’

Imagine that love is a disease, and it must be cured by all costs. The disease turns you crazy, you can expect a rapid heartbeat, a flurry of overwhelming emotions, the inability to think rationally, and often the patient would rather die than be healed of this terrible ailment.

I thought the concept was very imaginative; using love as the main problem in society brings a slightly new twist to what is becoming a fairly common dystopian scenario – there’s a government trying to control the population by taking away individuality. Well, we’ve seen this many times before, and in many new YA dystopian novels, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Delirium. I wasn’t quite as gripped as I was with something like The Hunger Games or Divergent for example, but I do like Lauren Oliver’s writing, and I was a fan of her previous book Before I Fall.
I will be reading Pandemonium (the second in this trilogy) when I get the chance, although I think these constant YA trilogies will very soon wear me out!

If dystopian futures are your bag, then you may want to give Delirium a try.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

I’m not sure if this book only really appeals to booksellers, but I absolutely loved it! I stopped what I was doing in the middle of work just to flick through it and laugh out loud, much to the confusion of the customers around me.
It is the kind of book that, as a bookseller, you know you could have written yourself. But, crucially no one has, until Jen. I’m am awfully glad she did, because it really made my day.

The first quote on page 3 makes me laugh, but almost everyday, someone asks me a question exactly like this one; Customer: “I read a book in the sixties. I don’t remember the author or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which one I mean?”

There’s not much more to say about this fabulous little book of amusement, but I will leave you with some of my favourite quotes…

Customer: “Do you have a copy of Nineteen Eighty Six?
Bookseller: “Nineteen Eighty Six?
Customer: “Yeah, Orwell.
Bookseller: “Oh – Ninteen Eighty Four.
Customer: “No, I’m, sure it’s Nineteen Eighty Six; I’ve always remembered it because it’s the year I was born.”

Customer: “Did Charles Dickens ever write anything fun?”

Customer: “Do you have a copy of Atonement? But not the film cover, please. Keira Knightly’s neck makes me want to punch things.”

Customer: “What kind of bookshop is this?
Bookseller: “We’re an antiquarian bookshop.
Customer: “Oh, so you sell books about fish.”

Customer: “Some of these books are dusty…can’t you hoover them?”

Customer: “Do you gift wrap?
Bookseller: “No, I’m afraid we don’t, sorry.
Customer: “I’ll tell you what; I’ll nip to the Post Office and buy some wrapping paper. Then I’ll bring it back and you can wrap the book up for me, ok? You’re a shop, for Christ’s sake, you’re here to offer me a service.”

And the typical one…

Customer: “Have you read every single book in here?
Bookseller: “No, I can’t say I have.
Customer: “Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?”

Read it and laugh..or sigh 🙂

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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To be a Cat by Matt Haig

To be a Cat by Matt Haig

‘Cats are magic.
That’s right.
Cats. They’re magic.
They have powers you and I can only dream of having.’

Barney Willow is miserable, he thinks his life couldn’t possibly get any worse. He’s funny-looking, he’s bullied at school, his evil headmistress seems determined to make his life a living hell, and worst of all, his dad has disappeared. Barney just wants another life, a simple life, the life of a cat for example. That would be nice, to laze around and have nothing to worry about. But, he should be careful what he wishes for, he doesn’t quite know how much worse things could get!

[About Miss Whipmire] ‘She looked quite old. In fact, she looked about two hundred. But obviously she wasn’t. She was just living on Misery time. (If you don’t already know, Misery Time means that miserable people get old much quicker than happy people. Sour thoughts inside your head apparently make it look like a pickled walnut quite quickly.)’

I absolutely adored this book. It was brilliantly written, and so very funny. If you are a cat lover, and believe there is more to them than meets the eye, then you will love this. It’s got quite a wide age range; I can see it appealing to both younger and older children – something for everyone to enjoy. The story shows the importance of loyalty, love, and bravery in even the most difficult circumstances, and the language isn’t dumbed down the way so many children’s books are these days.

The wonderful flip-book style cat running through the page corners is great too; a fantastic new book.

Suitable for ages 8+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

‘It takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.’

I had to read The Sense of an Ending, of course. After winning the Man Booker Prize 2011, and having heard so many positive reviews, it was inevitable that I would get around to reading it.

I only needed to read the first paragraph before I knew I was going to like it. Even if I had hated the story, Julian Barnes’ writing is such that you are captivated, no matter what. At only 150 pages, and such a slim book, it’s almost a novella, and certainly felt that way after I finished it in a day.

The story centers around Tony Webster; a retired divorced man, with little left going on in his life. A letter he receives from a lawyer dredges up long forgotten memories of his school days, and Tony tries to understand and come to terms with events long past.

I felt that the main point was not so much what happens in the story itself, but memories, and how our memories are so tainted and unreliable over time, so as to confuse our own past. You are left with what the title suggests, a ‘sense’ of an ending, but not really an ending itself. The end is of course ambiguous; left up to the reader to interpret.
Tony is an entirely unreliable narrator, and you get the feeling perhaps he’s repressed his memories so much, that we are only hearing half of the story. Without giving too much away, small comments he makes throughout the novel imply various goings-on, but are never confirmed nor elaborated on.

‘How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but – mainly – to ourselves.’

I absolutely love Julian Barnes’ writing, he is a master with words, and I take great pleasure in reading his novels. When reading this book, you should start with no expectations, no prejudice, no ideals, nothing. Just take it as it is, and come to your own conclusions. Thought provoking and mysterious, I most definitely recommend giving it a read.

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

‘You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.’

When Clay Jensen arrives home from school to find a package on his doorstep, he has no idea what horror lies inside it.
In the package are 13 cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. She has 13 reasons why she killed herself, and Clay is one of those reasons. He must listen to all the tapes to find out what led to her death; it will change his life forever.

The plot sounds really inappropriate for children’s literature, but in actual fact, it’s not as bad as it seems. As a reader, you don’t feel a huge amount of empathy for Hannah, and in fact, at no point during the novel does it imply that what she did was acceptable. You do however relate to the main character Clay, which is a good thing given the context.
The 13 tapes target the thirteen people who treated her a certain way, leading to the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Really it’s a story about bullying, and the effects even the smallest of actions can have on a person’s life. The idea of having the book solely in tape form is unique. I especially liked the way the author has Clay interact with Hannah while he’s listening to the tapes, even though only he is talking in the present tense. It’s a bit of a mystery, but quite emotional too.

An impressive and original debut from Jay Asher, and I would recommend it. It’s not the type of book parents are going to buy for their children, but teenagers will probably pick it up.

You can also listen to Hannah’s tapes here: Th1rteen R3asons Why

Suitable for age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl

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