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Again Again by E Lockhart – Blog Tour Book Review and Extract

Again Again cover image
Click cover for Goodreads Link


About the Book

In this novel full of surprises from the New York Times bestselling author of WE WERE LIARS and GENUINE FRAUD, E. Lockhart ups the ante with an inventive and romantic story about human connection, forgiveness, self discovery and possibility.

When Adelaide Buchman’s younger brother succumbs to a drug overdose, she saves his life. In the aftermath, looking for distraction, she becomes a stylish, bright charmer who blows off school and falls madly in love – even though her heart is shattered.

Adelaide is catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times while finally confronting her brother, their history, and her own strength.

A raw and funny story that will surprise you over and over, Adelaide is an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.

About the Author

E Lockhart is the author of many novels including the bestselling WE WERE LIARS, a New York Times bestseller, and GENUINE FRAUD; also THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel; FLY ON THE WALL, DRAMARAMA, and the Ruby Oliver quartet: THE BOYFRIEND LIST, THE BOY BOOK, THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS, and REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS. She co-authored HOW TO BE BAD with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. Her latest book is AGAIN AGAIN. Visit her online at:

Website: http://emilylockhart.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/elockhart

Instagram: http://instagram.com/elockhartbooks

What I Thought


Unfortunately due to what’s going on I’m the world I only got my copy yesterday but I’ve already read the first 20% and it has reminded me how much I love E Lockhart’s writing. It’s both lyrical and accessible. I loved We Were Liars and I can see this being the case with Again Again too. Adelaide already has such a powerful voice, and you aren’t really sure how much to believe her. What is she hiding from herself?

The style of the different conversations, presumably in the different multiverses, is interesting. Check out the extract to see how it’s laid out (which isn’t quite coming across on the netgalley ARC I am reading) but I think when reading the finished copy you’ll know which conversation is the one in the current reality though it will be exciting to see how the different options interact as we move forward. I suspect it will be similar to Sliding Doors.

At the moment the love seems very instalove on Adelaide’s side at least but because of the other things going on I’m her life with school, her brother etc I can see how love is being used as an escape. And bonus points go to this book if you love dogs because there’s lots of them running round this tale. I think one of them is only talking to Adelaide metaphorically rather than literally but with E Lockhart who knows!

I’ll come back later when I’ve finished and add some more thoughts but for now I’m intrigued, drawn in and want to see how this all plays out.

On finishing here are my additional thoughts. I like how the focus on the sibling relationship becomes more prominent and the characterisation stays strong throughout. I’m not sure the multiverse element fully paid off for me but I suspect that this will be one that you’ll spot more on subsequent readings.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops here. Thanks to Faye Rogers PR and the publishers for the gifted review copy. All opinions are my own.

I hold your heart by Karen Gregory – Blog Tour Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44314544-i-hold-your-heart

Synopsis

You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like.

Author

Karen Gregory has been a confirmed bookworm since early childhood. She wrote her first story about Bantra the mouse aged twelve, then put away the word processor until her first child was born, when she was overtaken by the urge to write. Her first novel, Countless, published in 2017, was shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award and longlisted for the Branford Boase. Her second novel, Skylarks, was published in 2018. Karen lives in Wiltshire with her family.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/K_Gregory33

Instagram: http://instagram.com/karengregoryauthor

What I Thought

This starts out like a love at first sight teen romance, where main character Gemma gets swept away by the enigmatic Aaron. As do we to a certain extent, despite knowing that something is going to go wrong.

Gemma is overshadowed at home by her football playing younger brother Michael and Aaron sees this – and her.

With beach picnics and expensive gifts Gemma falls deeper and despite friends concerns she fails to see the warning signs. And that’s because they are so subtle at first. Things that are easily dismissed or put down to coincidence.

This is an interesting look at gaslighting in a relationship, made even more complex by the addition of Aaron’s point of view, one that doesn’t immediately portray neon flashing lights but indicates that something has gone wrong in a past relationship.

The author makes it clear in a postscript that having his point of view included doesn’t excuse any behaviour but it helps the reader explore the psychology of the phenomenon from both sides.

I loved the inclusion of Gemma’s family dynamic and it was intriguing how particularly her parents relationship set some foundations for certain behaviours to be seen as normal. That’s what is very tricky with emotional abuse in particular, in most relationships – even with friends – things are said that can be hurtful or occasionally manipulative, when does it become abuse?

Set in college we see how important friendships are to teenagers in navigating their transition between child and adulthood. Gemma’s great love is country music and songwriting and her changing relationships with her family, friends and activities are powerful indicators of what is happening. In isolation her relationship with Aaron can definitely be seen as romantic, but in the wider context the cracks show.

All in all this is a very powerful read that reminded me of You by Caroline Kepnes. Trigger warnings for emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

Do check out what the other reviewers on the tour thought.

Thank you to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review.

Somewhere Close to Happy by Lia Louis – Blog Tour Book Review

Book cover with letter

Synopsis

Lizzie James is happy.

She has a steady office job (with a steady stream of snacks), has had the same best friend since school, and she sees her family ever Thursday night for take-away and trashy TV, Lizzie likes her uncomplicated life.

Then a letter arrives one day from her first love, Roman. A letter dated the day he disappeared, 12 years before. As Lizzie uncovers the secrets of the letter, she discovers what really happened the year her life fell apart – and all avenues lead back to Roman.

Lizzie James thought she was happy, or somewhere close to happy, at least. Now she’s not so sure.

About the Author

Lia Louis is a writer from Hertfordshire where she lives with her partner and three young children. In 2015, she won ELLE magazine’s annual talent competition with her contemporary love letter, #RelationshipGoals. Lia’s fascination with letters doesn’t stop with her writing: she also has a varied collection of old letters which are a source of inspiration to her. Somewhere Close to Happy is her first novel. Lia can be found tweeting at @LisforLia.

What I Thought

This debut novel hit the sweet spot for me with a tender YA style first love and a gradual unpicking of a mystery later in life.

Lizzie thinks she’s moved on and moved past what happened when Roman disappeared but the delivery of his twelve year old letter opens those wounds and there’s only one way to heal them. She needs the truth.

Her best friend Priscilla has been with her since school, through her time at The Grove (the mental health unit where she met Roman), the year he left and now she’s the Sherlock to her Watson. I loved the female friendships in this book, most notably between Lizzie and Priscilla but also with Katie, her sister-in-law. There was one scene where Katie’s support had me fist pumping.

Of course Somewhere Close to Happy also represents the fauxships too, in all their agonising false niceties.

The novel flicks forward and back in time and this gradual unfurling of the story of first love and first loss is deftly handled, it had me so invested. I wanted to hug young Lizzie and young Roman in particular.

With hugely honest and accurate mental health portrayal, that comes from the author’s authentic experience. The experience of anxiety and panic pulses from the page. Also the hurt of one’s experience not being validated is raw and the, “she’s being a teenager”, “she’s just being awkward”, comments show how much more awareness is needed. The family relationships in this story are complex, some good (Hubble – sweet Hubble), some complex (Mum and Dad) and some downright 🤬 (Auntie who Shall be named – see what I did there!).

This story just feels so real, so bittersweet and the writing just had me hooked. I needed to know what happened. Lizzie goes on a journey, and the outcome is one of self understanding and growth. The moments when she quietly and calmly is able to state what she needs are powerful.

As a personal note there is something that happens with Priscilla (no spoilers) that I hope becomes Louis’ second novel, because I know this author has the sensitivity to write that empathetically. I’d also love to spend more time with these characters.

Trigger warning for mental health, suicide, drug addiction and abortion.

Somewhere Close to Happy is out on Thursday.

Thank you to Alex and Orion for the review copy #gifted for the purposes of an honest review. I loved it.

This review is part of a blog tour, do check out what everyone else thought on the other stops.

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