To Best The Boys Review

My edition of this book is stunning, with grey sprayed pages and beautiful patterns inside. Another reminder of how beautiful hardbacks can be.

I relate to the story as soon as it begins, being a woman in STEM myself. It feels like The Hunger Games crossed with The Maze Runner with a splash of science.

The first half of the book is quite slow, but still really engaging. And then we hit the Labyrinth, which I expected to come earlier in the book.

The second half of the book I couldn’t put down. I was so gripped by all aspects of the plot, the Labyrinth, the disease, the characters.

Rhen, the protagonist, goes through so much that girls do even today. Not having the same opportunities. Being expected to sacrifice dreams for family. I did really enjoy that she had supportive parents.

The romance was cute but not the main focus of the story.

I think this book wraps up the story neatly but there is potential for more adventure!

20 books in January

Somehow through having lots of spare time and a chain of good books I managed to start the year with 20 books in a month.

  1. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – an excellent follow up to The Bear and the Nightingale. Having now read the third book, I think The Girl in the Tower is my favourite of the trilogy.
  2. Vicious by V.E Schwab – a really gripping anti-hero story. Never thought I’d enjoy something like this as I tend to prefer really moral characters. But it was fantastic!
  3. Vengeful by V.E Schwab – Vicious was so good that I just had to follow up with the sequel. I enjoyed it just as much if not more!
  4. Owning It by Caroline Foran – a book on living with anxiety. I enjoyed the relatable parts but not sure it told me much I didn’t already know.
  5. The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell – a memoir about a penguin! This short read was so adorable and I was gripped from start to finish.
  6. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet – I found this book really easy to get through. The plot was interesting but there were little bits like how the main character views herself that I didn’t like so much.
  7. Circe by Madeline Miller – a retelling that I never quite got into. The middle section was really enjoyable but I really couldn’t connect with the title character.
  8. The Wicked King by Holly Black – the much anticipated sequel to The Cruel Prince! It didn’t disappoint. Holly is the queen of good twists.
  9. The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke – probably taught me more about pre-wall Berlin than I’d ever have known otherwise. Really enjoyed the story.
  10. From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon – all the secondary school vibes. Sandhya is the queen of understanding and portraying teenagers. I related to When Dimple Met Rishi more but this was a solid follow up. Can’t wait for There’s Something About Sweetie!
  11. Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett – another fantasy that I couldn’t put down. I loved the concept and can’t wait to read book 2.
  12. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski – a fantasy again that I definitely couldn’t put down. I think this was the best book I read in January. I enjoyed that the heroine relied on her brains more than her physical strength.
  13. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink by Scarlett Curtis – a collection of essays on what feminism means for a variety of women. I asked for this for Christmas from Dan and loved reading a few essays a night.
  14. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -Probably my least favourite book of the month, but I still read it over the course of a day. Just wasn’t really my thing.
  15. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican – absolutely hilarious. The structure was a bit odd for me but I loved every chapter.
  16. Written in Red by Anne Bishop – this book started off really badly for me but then it got so good! There were so many cute bits that made me awww out loud.
  17. Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff – Anything Jay writes I love and this book definitely solidified that. Especially loved Eve and Lemon’s friendship.
  18. If We Were Villains by M. L Rio – Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book but it was like gossip that you know you should be interested in but want to know more. Loved the Shakespeare references, but I did guess the killer.
  19. Seeing What Others Don’t by Gary Klein – a non-fic about how we gain insights. I loved all the real-life examples given and found the ideas fascinating.
  20. The Witches of New York by Amy McKay – a book that had been sat on my kindle for months that I was wary to read. Shouldn’t have been – it was a stunning way to end January. I really loved the main characters, especially Beatrice. The whole thing was magical!

And that’s that! 20 books in 31 days. I don’t think I’ll ever have another month like it!

You can see how I get on with my reading challenge here

Ink Review

Okay okay okay this has to be my favourite book for a while. It reminded me of Terri Terry’s Slated trilogy which I adored.

Basically, Alice Broadway killed it – and with no romance!

It had the perfect writing style for me, and a lovely, quiet, introverted protagonist who has her world turned upside down.

I enjoyed the concept of having your life milestones tattood on you. That creative jobs like being an inker are viewed as male dominated and important. That was so cool.

The story is a little predictable at times, but I didn’t mind. There were slight differences to the usual dystopia trope.

Overall, a great read and I’m very excited to read the next book, Spark!

I wish I had the physical book because the real cover is gorgeous.


Moxie Review

Jennifer Mathieu is a genius. An actual genius.

So Moxie is started by a girl who is fed up of how sexist her school is. Everything from the uniform checks to the guys who get away with everything is just so damn accurate.

Even if you were pretty invisible at school you’ve probably had your bra strap pinged or had someone make inappropriate comments. Every woman knows someone who’s been harassed.

This book really highlights how the little things are actually a big deal and should be sanctioned even if your school just passes it off as boys being boys.

Even the way girls get in trouble for skirts above the knee, for wearing too much make up. Heck I know girls who weren’t even wearing any make up get handed wet wipes.

I wish every school had to read this book in citizenship or whatever because everyone can learn something from it.

On to the story – the main character, Vivian, is excellent. She’s a quiet, shy girl who decides she’s had enough of it all.

I loved how the girls all rallied together. The ending was perfect. The friendship was excellent.

I loved Vivian’s relationship with her Mum. It was endearing and her Mum was just the right balance of cool without being undrealistic.

I loved the romance and how it showed that guys aren’t all bad and can learn when they get things wrong.

I loved how to showed girls are often discouraged from leadership roles in school and encouraged to do more supportive things.

Basically, it was the best contemporary I’ve read in a while and didn’t even mind that it was predictable.

I’m just happy girls growing up have books like this to read!

Do you have any favourite contemporary YA books? Let me know in the comments!


I Was Born For This Review


One of the books I read last week was one I’d pre-ordered. I’ve followed Alice Oseman since Solitaire (she’s my age), purely because the way she seems on her Tumblr chronicintrovert is really honest and truthful. You can also see aspects of her personality shine through in her characters which is really lovely to read.

Her book Radio Silence is one of my favourites because of all the messages and it’s unusual to see YA about academic stress despite it being prevalent.

So, onto I Was Born For This. Again, friendship is a great theme. Plus diversity (Alice consulted with both trans and Muslim people and gave them credit in the acknowledgements).

I like that Alice made Angel 18 years old. She went to meet one of her online friends so I’m glad she was an adult. I like how she also showed the upsides and downsides of online friendships – a good message for her younger audience. As always, she mastered character development (Angel learnt that The Ark boys aren’t living as perfect lives as she thought, and that she should love herself as much as she loves The Ark). I also loved how Angel showed some symptoms of anxiety but was also quite a chatty, sociable person at fan events. That was really good representation as it it’s usually the introverted characters that have anxiety.

The Ark boys were great. I love how Alice explored young musicians with anxiety. I loved how the boys learned that not all of their fans were crazy. I loved their friendship. I loved a scene with Jimmy’s Grandad so much that I cried a bit. I loved how each of the boys had a different personality.

I love how strong the character of Bliss was. She knew what she wanted in her future and put that above a relationship that wasn’t really working which was excellent to see.

At times I didn’t find Angel and Juliet particularly likeable – but I think that was the point. I did like who they became at the end and that’s the main thing.

Overall, I think Alice has written a very relevant novel. I hope this brings her more success, and more attention to her previous books. I would like book 4 very much!!