The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

UK YA: What's Up With Jody Barton? by Hayley Long and Paradise by Joanna Nadin

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What's Up With Jody Barton by Hayley Long
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Me and my sister are twins. She's Jolene and I'm Jody. We've both got brown hair, we're both left-handed and we both have these weirdly long little toes which make us look like long-toed mutants. But apart from that, I'd say we're fairly different. Well, actually, we're a lot different . . . It's hard enough being one half of the world's least identical twins, without both of you falling for the same guy. Jolene's turned flirting into a fine art, but Jody? Not so much. And as if a twinny love triangle wasn't messy enough . . . there's something nobody knows about Jody Barton. Something BIG. Told with the trademark warmth and laugh-out-loud humour of the much-loved LOTTIE BIGGS books, this is a book that will make you think, with a gobsmacking twist you won't believe.

I LOVED this book so much! It was like a good cup of tea. I can't give too much away because there's a BIG twist halfway through. 

The twins were great characters. In fact, I loved the whole Barton family. I could picture them and hear their voices so vividly. It was nice to read about a working class family from London who loved each other dearly and weren't involved in anything dodgy. 

The dialogue littered with colloquialisms were spot on. I laughed out loud many times at some of the London slang that we used to hear or use as kids. It was nice to have a diverse cast of characters that reflects modern day London. Not your Made in Chelsea London, real, living and breathing and working London. I just think it was nice to read a story set in North West London - I have a soft spot for NW. After East, my roots, NW is the only part of London I'd live in. It was very realistic.

Jody's obsession with Jim Morrison and River Phoenix was adorable. The drawings were a nice addition too and helped further bring the story to life. Extra points for making the Barton's Tottenham fans too - come on you Spurs! 

What's Up With Jody Barton? was a lovely read about a wonderful family and a teenager going through something major. The ending brought a tear to my eye - in a good way. 

Paradise by Joanna Nadin
Synopsis from Goodreads
A move to a small seaside town gives Billie a chance at a new lifand new love -- until the underof the past pulls her toward a shocking secret.
When sixteen-year-old Billie Paradise unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house, it couldn't come at a better time. With her stepdad abroad and her mom starting to lose it, moving from their cramped London apartment to an old house by the sea seems serendipitous. Maybe Billie, as she navigates the small-town social scene and falls for a certain intriguing older boy, can even find the father she never met. But her mom's remote childhood home, which she left in haste before Billie was born, harbors hints of suspicious long-ago deaths and family secrets. As Billie's story unfolds, flowing back and forth in time and through alternate points of view, it becomes clear that while people may die, the past lives forever.
I always like these kinds of suffocating, small town with a big secret kind of books. In fact, I dare say I wish I'd written Paradise myself. It was a good length and unravelled perfectly.

Billie was a sweet, sympathetic character and I couldn't help but root for her the whole time. I just wanted her to catch a break. She was stuck playing mum but it didn't turn into a Cinderella/'oh woe is me' type story. She just got on with it and tried to do the best for her family, which was admirable. I wish there had been more about Eva and their burgeoning friendship - if that's what it was. Billie's romance did not seem too forced either. It unfurled organically but Joanna Nadin didn't dwell on it too much because it wasn't the most important love story in the book.

The water theme was appropriate as it is definitely a story of staying afloat during life's storms, rebirth, washing away the past, and starting again. The end was heartbreaking, although you kind of see it coming, however it was still a bit of a shock. It was a bit of a punch in the gut for Billie who had already been through so much but the ending had a glimmer of hope.

Overall, two excellent UK YA books that I highly recommend. 

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