Review: … And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne

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When I found out there was another book in the spinster club series I was absolutely over the moon as it’s probably my favourite series out there. I’d wanted to read it for a while so put it on my Christmas list – but no one bought it for me! I’ve been pretty broke recently but after hearing so many brilliant reviews of it I spent the last of my money on it. I’m glad I did. It only took me a day to finish it.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Spinster Club series, it follows the friendship of Evie, Amber and Lottie who form their own group ‘the Spinster Club’ where they meet up to discuss feminism. Each girl has their own book told from their point of view until this one, which is told a chapter at a time but each of the girls. It’s New Years Eve and Evie, Amber and Lottie are having a party to remember. For the first time since they all left college the three girls are back together and it’s time to have fun – not tears or arguments.

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When the book arrived it was smaller than I expected it to be. I thought it was another novel but it’s actually a novella to tie up any loose ends and so we have one more opportunity to check in with the Spinsters and see how they’re doing. Why can’t all series have one last book like this? It was nice to see what the girls were up to now they’d all left college even if it wasn’t necessarily what you’d hoped would happen.

I love how things aren’t perfect for any of them, how they all went their separate ways and things aren’t exactly the same when they got back. Or how none of them are particularly having an easy time but they’re too afraid to tell each other that not things aren’t as perfect as they’d hoped they’d be.

My favourite thing though was that they all seemed to end up doing the thing that was right for them even if it meant they wouldn’t be able to meet up as often as they’d like to. It was a brilliant conclusion to the series and I’m so glad Bourne decided to write one more book.

If you’ve already read the Spinster series then I one hundred percent recommend this because it’s amazing and you’ll honestly love it. And if you haven’t read the Spinster series then you really need to start because it’s one of the best series out there and you won’t regret it!

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Review: What’s A Girl Gotta Do by Holly Bourne

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It’s taken me a while to read this book because I put it on my birthday list which meant I couldn’t buy it just in case anyone bought it for me… It was a painful month but finally my birthday arrived and my Mom had bought it for me, YAY! I started reading and found it difficult to put it back down.

So ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do’ is the third book in Bourne’s Spinster Club Series and this time it’s told from the point of view of Lottie. After being harassed on her way to college one morning Lottie decides enough is enough and decides to start her own feminism project where she points out everything sexist for an entire month, filming her journey along the way. As the project goes viral, Lottie finds herself attacked by online trolls who either miss the point entirely or just don’t care. Is this project worth risking her sanity for?

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I loved the first two books in the Spinster series and ‘What’s a Girl Gotta Do’ was even better! I’m a massive feminist so a lot of the topics really hit home because I imagine we’ve all seen the kind of thing Lottie has to go through over and over again whether it’s in real life or the internet. I loved that Lottie tried to make the whole thing funny; there were so many bits that made laugh out loud. My favourite was when Lottie threw the cream pie and her, Evie and Amber ran off down the hallways while Evie sang ‘we could’ve been anything we wanted to be’.

This book is also infuriating though because of the way most people react to Lottie’s feminism project and it’s sadly accurate to how most people would be. The most infuriating character to read about had to be Teddy. Teddy is your typical, everyday fuckboy and I couldn’t stand him. Bourne really did a great job of making him unlikable.

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As with most YA novels, there was an element of romance. However, as I mentioned in my ‘How Hard Can Love Be’ review, Bourne doesn’t just focus on romance and only romance and it makes it far more pleasant to read about. Romance can be cute but not when the main character literally has an obsession with her romantic interest. That’s what I love about Holly Bourne’s books, we can focus on other things and still have time for a bit of a cheeky romance on the side that isn’t forced or creepy to read about!

Overall, I recommend this book to all of you, it’s a must read for everyone. Even if you’re a diehard feminist or don’t know much about it, this book is perfect for you. It’s hilariously funny but also despairingly sad at the same time, it’s a win-win. Go and buy a copy!

Review: How Hard Can Love Be by Holly Bourne

How Hard Can Love Be by Holly Bourne

If you read my review of ‘Am I Normal Yet’ then I said something along the lines of how I enjoyed Holly Bourne’s work but never really considered myself a fan or kept up with what she was writing. I think that’s recently changed as I definitely consider myself a fan and I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s written next. I guess that already sets up the review so you know what’s coming: It’s a positive review!

So this book is told from the point of view of Amber, a character we met in ‘Am I Normal Yet’ who I was a fan of. In ‘How Hard Can Love Be’, Amber gets on a plane and is off to America for a month to help out at a summer camp with her Mum and her infuriating new step-dad. Although she’s going to be working she’s hoping to spend some quality time with her Mum who she hasn’t seen in ages but unfortunately, things don’t quite go to plan…

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Amber is honestly one of the funniest characters I’ve read about. Right from the start when she was getting on the plane while she was drunk right through to the end. I loved reading from her point of view of everything. I loved how angry she got at her Mum and her ‘step-dad’, how sarcastic she was (I can totally relate) and how honest she was. You know when people ask which book character you wish were real? Although I read a lot I never particularly had an answer. But now I know, it’s Amber!

Although I wished I could’ve read about her hanging out with her friends Evie and Lottie I also loved reading about her spending the summer at this American camp – I wanted to be there hanging out with Winnie, bitching about the cheerleaders, gossiping about Kyle, skyping Evie and Lottie… You can’t help but fall in love with Bourne’s characters, especially so in ‘How Hard Can Love Be’.

Now if you’re a regular reader then you know my hatred of romance and you can tell from the title that there will be some romance in this book, but it’s not just about that. It’s about Amber’s relationship with her Mom and her own feeling of self-worth. That’s possibly what I love most about Bourne’s books. There’s the romance there but it’s not all about that, their main characters have other things on their mind and they don’t just concentrate on the romance side of things. It’s a good divide for those who are romance fans and those who aren’t. The only thing I had a problem with was that the characters insisted Snape was a hero – NO!

Overall, I would 100% recommend this book because it’s so funny but also gives you a few important lessons on philosophy and feminism. Order a copy now, don’t miss out!

Review: Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne

So I reviewed ‘The Manifesto on How to be Interesting’ and it was a pretty positive review. I did enjoy that book but I put the book away on my shelf and didn’t particularly think too much about Holly Bourne’s writing afterwards. I had enjoyed the book, I don’t know what happened, I just didn’t keep up with her news the way I do with other authors I enjoyed. Then suddenly every time I went on Twitter I saw someone praising her new book ‘Am I Normal Yet’, including a few authors that I liked. I remembered how I’d enjoyed ‘The Manifesto on How to be Interesting’ and I think that even if I hadn’t originally read it I would’ve still picked this book up because of the massive hype surrounding it. So I bought a copy the day before I went to Spain and took it with me. I was there a week and I’d finished it by day four.

Now bear in mind that I was mostly reading it in snippets too, normally a chapter when my Mom popped back up to the room in the lift and then I’d get in an hour in the evenings but I absolutely sailed through this book. And that is because once I’d picked up this book I just couldn’t put it down.

So for those of you who haven’t read it yet or haven’t seen it on Twitter, ‘Am I Normal Yet’ is about a sixteen year old girl named Evie who just wants to be normal – she’s almost off her meds to control her OCD and now she’s at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts and now she’s got a list of what’s normal at sixteen with only thing left to tick off: a boyfriend.

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Let’s get into the romance straightaway because if I have any regular readers then they know that I’m sick to death of reading about girls with interesting storylines who only want to talk about their FUCKING boyfriends. Anyway, I don’t want to reveal too much but for anyone who shares a romance hatred like me, trust me when I say that this book is for you. It may not seem like it at first but hang on. You will not be disappointed.

A lot of what made people talk about this on Twitter was that there was finally a young adult book written about people with OCD and it’s a book that we’ve needed for a long time. Society’s attitude to mental illness is improving but is still a long way from perfection. We need books like this for young people to read. People need to be aware of mental illness and we need to realise that our attitude towards it needs to change.

Back to the story itself – Evie is such an interesting character and I loved reading from her point of view. You will get frustrated with her – I’m sure that was Bourne’s intention. But you’ll also route for her and it will hit you hard whenever she’s suffering. I also loved her best friends Amber and Lottie, especially Amber. I couldn’t bring myself to like Jane, not even in the end, but I think that’s more due to personal experience. Tell me what you thought of her!

This is definitely a book that needs to be read, not just because of its important message but because it is genuinely such an interesting and amazing read. I would recommend this book over ‘The Manifesto on How to be Interesting’ (but in all seriousness you should read that too) so please, BUY IT AND READ IT!

Review: The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne

The Manifesto on How to be Interesting Holly Bourne

My Mum got me this book for Valentine’s Day (if she didn’t get me a Valentine’s Day present then who would) and I’ve been reading a couple of chapters a day since then. Most of the chapters are only a few pages long so they’re quick to get through – something I really appreciate. The story is told in third-person and follows the life of Bree who is a wannabe author with a growing pile of rejection letters from publishers. When she asks her teacher for advice on how to be a good writer, he essentially tells her that she needs to become more interesting. So Bree begins writing a blog called ‘the Manifesto on How to be Interesting’ where she writes about how she joins the popular crowd and gets a life that’s worth writing about.

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Okay, I haven’t described it that well. I thought it was better than it sounded. I’ll start with the characters first though. Bree’s okay. She’s a good character – one minute I love her, the next minute I want to slap her round the face. I don’t agree with every decision she makes which is the way it’s supposed to be. She can also be so pretentious that it’s difficult to read about and sometimes just plain irritating. But she’s also honest and interesting (ha) to read about. Then there’s Holdo, Bree’s best friend who doesn’t actually play that much of a part in the story. Which is just as well because I couldn’t stand him. He was so annoying and had an ‘I’m-better-than-everyone-else’ attitude which unfortunately is given to most ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ characters now and I’m sick of reading it. I’m very glad he wasn’t the main character. I can’t stand most of the male characters actually including Hugo, the popular guy and Bree’s teacher Logan.

Okay, so I’m gonna reveal a little spoiler here so just skip this paragraph if you’re interested. I’m not a fan of the student-teacher relationship between Bree and Logan. And yeah, I mean student-teacher ‘relationship’. It got to a point in the book where it was all that Bree was thinking about it and it was starting to annoy me. By the end of the book it’s less irritating though and I have a lot of respect for Bree. That’s all I’ll say.

Every scene where Bree wasn’t going on about him though was brilliant, especially the time she spends with the popular crowd. They always kept my interest. I really loved Jassmine, the ‘queen’ of the popular girls – she was funny and childish. I love the scene between Bree and Jassmine when they’re getting ready for Hugo’s party and we start to see more of who Jassmine really is. Honestly, any scene with the popular girls are the most interesting bits of the book.

I really liked this book actually. It was a bit unrealistic and over-exaggerated but I actually got through the book relatively quickly for my standards. However, there were some bits that were brutally realistic, like Hugo’s party and the ‘potatoes’ bit. Overall, I really loved this book and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who likes high school stories instead of something supernatural. If you hate romance, this might also be an okay book for you as well, regardless of the comment I made early…