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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Title: I'll Give You The Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson

Release Date: 2nd April 2015

My Rating: 5/5

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world. 

In A Nutshell:
I absolutely adored I'll Give You The Sun! I just want to wrap my arms around it and curl up in a hammock by the beach and let Jude and Noah’s story swirl around my head while waves crash around me.

My Review:
Oh my gosh, this book! I just want to wrap my arms around it and curl up in a hammock by the beach and let Jude and Noah’s story swirl around my head while waves crash around me.

I’ll Give You The Sun is told from alternating perspectives – Noah, aged thirteen, and Jude, his twin sister, when they are sixteen. Thirteen-year-old Noah is quirky and artistic and lives in a world of his own. He doesn’t fit in with the kids at school who are interested in surfing and girls and he is constantly bullied. There is a ray of hope when Noah has the possibility of joining a prestigious art school and a potential new friend arrives in town for the summer who is just as ‘odd’ as Noah. At thirteen, Jude loves to surf and take risks and has plenty of friends. She’s more interested in clothes and makeup than trying out for the art school that she also has potential for and is always arguing with their mother. Jude wonders why her twin can’t just be ‘normal’ yet they still share a special connection and are there for each other.

Fast forward three years and the twins have essentially swapped personalities. Noah has friends and likes to party and take risks. Jude is withdrawn, shuts everyone out and spends most of her time speaking to the spirit of their dead grandmother. The once unbreakable bond between the twins has fizzled and they rarely say more than two words to each other. It is fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time, to see how three years can change a person.

I often find novels that swap between different times to be a bit confusing but I didn’t have that problem with I’ll Give You The Sun. As the year and the perspective alternatives, Jude and Noah’s stories are revealed. We see Noah’s side of the story from three years ago, and Jude’s in present day. There are breadcrumbs throughout and vital information is shared which correlates with what is revealed in the following chapter. This is done skilfully so that by the end of the novel, we have a complete picture of what has happened over the course of three years and why Jude and Noah have ended up as virtual strangers.

At thirteen, Noah begins to spread his wings only to be squashed. At sixteen, Jude starts to come out of her self-imposed shell. What happened in between?  Over the three years, both deal with multiple things that are hard enough to deal with one at a time, let alone all at once. As a reader you just want them to get through their pain and come out the other end, happy and reinvigorated with a passion for the things they love. I’ll Give You The Sun can be funny and uplifting, heartbreaking and hopeful as Noah and Jude battle the pain, guilt and secrets that have plagued them over the years and extinguished what once made them magical and unique in their own ways. As you uncover their story, you will fall in love with them.

I loved Nelson’s debut, The Sky is Everywhere. But I absolutely adored I’ll Give You The Sun. Jandy Nelson is an auto-buy author for me and I can’t wait to see what she gives us next.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson

Title: Conspiracy Girl
Author: Sarah Alderson

Release Date: 12th February 2015

My Rating: 5/5

Everybody knows about the Cooper Killings.
There was only one survivor – sixteen year-old Nic Preston.

Now eighteen, Nic is trying hard to rebuild her life. But then one night her high-security apartment is broken into. It seems the killers are back to finish the job.

Finn Carter – hacker, rule breaker, player – is the last person Nic ever wants to see again. He’s the reason her mother’s murderers walked free. But as the people hunting her close in, Nic has to accept that her best chance of staying alive is by staying close to Finn.

And the closer they get to the truth, and to each other, the greater the danger becomes.

In a Nutshell:
Conspiracy Girl is a thrilling mystery full of suspense that had me speed-reading from the first page.

My Review:
Conspiracy Girl is a thrilling mystery full of suspense that had me speed-reading from the first page. Once again, I made the mistake of starting chapter one just before I went to bed and wasn’t able to put it down until I finished the whole book in the early hours of the following day. 

Nic Preston is paranoid, but with good reason. After her mother and stepsister were murdered in a home invasion, the killers were never brought to justice. Nic has spent the last two years constantly looking over her shoulder, never feeling safe, even with the top security systems utilized and taking every precaution. She is strong and resilient but has built up a fortress around herself, not just literally but emotionally, to make sure she never feels powerless and vulnerable again. But when her security system is compromised and the FBI’s ability to protect her is questioned, it looks like the worst moment of Nic’s life is set to repeat itself. 

Enter Finn, gorgeous computer hacker and seeker of justice who is asked to ‘babysit’ Nic while the FBI look for the mole in their organisation. Finn has an interesting catalogue of skills and also a tragic past of his own, one, much to Nic’s annoyance, which has also crossed paths with her own. Battling her constant fear and survivors guilt, Nic has to learn to trust again if she and Finn have any chance of escaping the people on their tail, who somehow keep managing to find them as they go on the run, dodging bullets across country while searching for answers. 

I can tell you now, if I had assassins after me, I’d want Finn by my side! Don’t get me wrong, Nic isn’t useless at protecting herself, she’s just in way over her head! Finn is super protective of Nic and willing to do anything to keep her safe, and the more that’s revealed about him, the more you fall in love with him. There’s also some killer sexual tension thrown in to heat things up and complicate the situation! 

Conspiracy Girl was a total page-turner and I can’t wait to get my hands on another Sarah Alderson book! 
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