Guess what happens a month today?
Yes, you’ve guessed it I’m a Christmas Geek – I love it, but do I love it as much as Harriet Manners the quintessential Geek Girl?
Here’s just a few things she knows about Christmas (with my additions in brackets):
In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with spider’s webs
(Is that really decoration or fear of cleaning?)
The First Ever Christmas card was sold in 1843 and depicted a family drinking wine
All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 separate presents
(Even Dudley Dursley couldn’t complain about that number)
The word mistletoe comes from the Old English word mistletan, which means poo twig, because it spreads itself through seeds in bird droppings that land on tree branches
(Haha – poo twig, that’s worse than thinking it’s infested with Nargles)
The most romantic Christmas fact ever – in 1913, a couple were fined fifteen dollars for kissing in the streets of New York City on Christmas Day
(Awwww, somebody needed visiting by three ghosts).
What Harriet doesn’t know an awful lot about though is dating… but when you’ve kissed Lion Boy that’s the next step…if he gets round to ringing you.
All Wrapped Up is a festive Geek Girl special from Holly Smale which fits into the events of the first book.
Harriet is supported to reach her next relationship milestone by the usual suspects including my favourite stalker Toby and a rather suspect list on ‘how to ace a date’ that really should simply say – be yourself.
Having recently been on a first date of my own at the time of reading this I felt Harriet was channelling my inner thoughts and paranoias, even though our ages are “a few years” apart. Dating – the universal evil! Holly’s comic style works well in short form and I found myself giggling along. There’s a comfort in coming back to Harriet, and it was nice to revisit her as she started out.
The romance factor is this book is high, there’s ice-skating and plenty of falling. Things are not straightforward, but it’s a perfect Christmassy tale with a warm ending. Wait until a chilly day, come in from the cold, make yourself a hot chocolate and settle down on the sofa with All Wrapped Up.
The book contains All Wrapped Up: a short story of what happens after that first kiss, as well as the previously limited edition short Team Geek, a Q&A with Holly, and some other festive extras – including a survey that you can test your gift giving skills with (although you might be banned from future family Christmases if you employ it).
Huge thanks to Serena from HarperCollins for my copy (and the list of geeky facts), the fact that I didn’t have to chew your arm off to get it does not affect my opinion of the book. 5 stars.
Today has been #UKYAday, a day organised by the wonderfully committed Lucy Powrie @LucytheReader over at Queen of Contemporary.
UKYA day is about promoting Young Adult literature by writers who were born in or now live in the UK. Lucy also runs @ProjectUKYA, hosts #ukyachat on twitter and has many many other fantastic ideas for continuing to promote UK Young Adult literature.
My blog post comes a little late in the day because I’ve spent the day reading a book cover to cover – what a perfect way to spend Easter Saturday. The UKYA book I chose to read, thanks to @YAyeahyeah and @kimmiebells was Trouble by Non Pratt. I adored it – glowing review to follow.
The topic of my post today though is – Take your pick.
One of the issues often with the label Young Adult is that it isn’t all that helpful as a genre category apart from seeming to indicate to some people that those books are for teens and if you are a few years past the voting age then they aren’t for you. Of course that attitude is changing, I hope, and it certainly isn’t one that I subscribe to with YA providing the majority of my reading material over the past couple of years. One of the benefits though of YA all being lumped in together is that it has certainly introduced me to more genres than I might have read otherwise. UKYA is so varied, from contemporary to dystopian, fantasy to horror and many others in between.
As a ‘very much older than teen’ YA reader I have enjoyed reading books that reflect my experiences of school. We don’t have prom or cliques in the same way as the US so there are some experiences in US YA books that I have found it tricky to relate to. However, Dawn O’Porter’s Paper Aeroplanes, published last year is set in the mid 1990s and was a book that I could directly relate to. I’m looking forward to her follow up Goose.
The quintessential teen angst books were the Adrian Mole series, the first of which was published in 1982 when I was four. Last week sadly their author Sue Townsend passed away – Below is a picture of my collection and I’ve just discovered there are even more that I can read in Sue’s memory.
I’ve already raved about Holly Smale the author of the Geek Girl series which I’m so excited has been extended, so instead of the initial three books we’ve been promised we are to get five or even six tales of Harriet Manners Geek turned model. Here are links to my reviews of the first two books of the series. Geek Girl and Model Misfit.
Horror/Thriller wise I’d recommend James Dawson – I read three of his books back to back last summer – Hollow Pike, Cruel Summer and a very welcome non-fiction book Being a Boy. I am anxiously awaiting the publication of his next book Say Her Name which is based on the Bloody Mary Urban Legend that had me petrified as a schoolgirl. I will need to save that one for a sunny day.
Other reads I’ve read and can recommend:
Fearsome Dreamer by Lauré Eve
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood (reviewed here)
Reads I’m looking forward to from my TBR pile:
Acid by Emma Pass
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Lexiland by Suzi Moore
The Savages by Matt Whyman
Slated series by Terri Terry
Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
I have booked my ticket for YALC – the Young Adult Literature Convention this July. Just check out the list of authors that will be there – http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/yalc/. Even more UKYA to find (although I’m aware we have some international authors coming too).
As an aspiring UKYA author I have to say that Lucy’s work to bring all of this together today has been inspiring and certainly helps with the hope that there is a market for a range of UKYA genres – now I just need to finish my books.
One thing I must complain about though is that following all these UKYA bloggers and authors on twitter has really expanded my TBR piles! Avoid the hashtag on twitter if you are already in danger of being crushed by your pile? But just in case you think you can balance a few more check out #ukyaday #ukya or #ukyachat. And if you have any recommendations for me then please post them below.