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Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé

Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda BérubéHere There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 6th August 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

The Blair Witch Project meets Imaginary Girls in this story of codependent sisterhood, the struggle to claim one’s own space, and the power of secrets

Sixteen-year-old Skye is done playing the knight in shining armor for her insufferable younger sister, Deirdre. Moving across the country seems like the perfect chance to start over.

In their isolated new neighborhood, Skye manages to fit in, but Deirdre withdraws from everyone, becoming fixated on the swampy woods behind their house and building monstrous sculptures out of sticks and bones.

Then Deirdre disappears.

And when something awful comes scratching at Skye's window in the middle of the night, claiming she's the only one who can save Deirdre, Skye knows she will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

I am so incredibly disappointed by Here There Are Monsters. I was expecting an atmospheric, creepy story about sisterhood, but the book fell short.

I think my main issue was the inability to connect to the writing style. It just wasn’t for me. I’m not sure what exactly it was that didn’t click with me, but I think that perhaps the writing was too basic. It was very much “This character did this and then they did this, and then they yelled this at another character”. There wasn’t much to connect me with the characters because there was little emotion.

Additionally, the characters were freakin’ annoying. I wanted a nice story about two sisters, one trying to find the other, but really Skye was just complaining about not wanting to watch Dierdre all the time, and Dierdre was complaining about Skye no longer being interested in her fantasy world. It was dull, annoying, and there was no sisterly love there, which is something that I desperately wanted by the end.

I don’t have much more to say about Here There Are Monsters. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to be bored to tears from watching people bicker for 300 pages.

Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Review: Wilder Girls by Rory PowerWilder Girls by Rory Power
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 9th July 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Wilder Girls has received a lot of hype this year in the run up to its release. I think a lot of people were excited because a) it’s queer, and b) it sounds super weird. And it is super weird. I don’t normally go for weird books, but I picked up Wilder Girls at YALC and decided I should give it a go.

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Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

Out of the Blue by Sophie CameronOut of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 22nd March 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Out of the Blue considering paranormal books aren’t typically my thing. I picked this book up because I’d heard some amazing things from early reviewers, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint!

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: August 27, 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here isn’t my favourite Patrick Ness book (The Ask and the Answer, how I love you), but it certainly had all of the Ness uniqueness and charm about it. For a story about the characters who are not the Chosen Ones, i.e. the fellow pupils at Forks High School and the people living in the same town as the Dursleys, it was gripping and definitely intriguing. Continue reading

Boo by Neil Smith

Boo by Neil SmithBoo by Neil Smith
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 21st May, 2015
Publisher: Random House LLC
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

When Oliver 'Boo' Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a 'gommer', a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from his volatile classmate Johnny, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.

In a heart-rending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be.

It’s really not Neil Smith’s fault that I read Alice Sebolds The Lovely Bones at such an impressionable age, but as I was reading this book I couldn’t stop myself from constantly comparing the two stories. Boo, like The Lovely Bones, has a protagonist who is murdered and the story very much revolves around his afterlife as well as an ongoing mystery as to who killed him. Continue reading