Recently Read #2

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It’s time for another Recently Read post!  After being struck down with a bad cold, all I could do was read.  I scrolled through my Netgalley shelves and made it my mission to read the books that have been on my shelves for longer than I would care to admit.  I dream of the day I achieve an 80% feedback ratio.  

Recently Read 2 - Don't Bend the Spine, UK Book Blog

No Virgin by Anne Cassidy | 4*

When a book is pitched as being ideal for fans of Louise O’Neill, it’s hard to resist.  No Virgin by Anne Cassidy is the first-hand account of Stacey, a 17-year-old girl with aspirations of attending London College of Fashion.  After an argument with her mum and younger sister, she bunks off school to wander around central London.  In a cafe, she meets the charming Harry, who offers Stacey his spare room.  However, Harry is not the person he appears to be and a series of events lead to Stacey being raped.  In the days after the attack, Stacey is convinced by her best friend Patrice to write down what happened to her in her own words.    Even though No Virgin is a short book at just under 200 pages, it packs a powerful and emotional punch.  There were some scenes that nearly broke me, and I will admit that I had to put the book down a few times.  Even though I feel this is a book that is incredibly important in today’s climate, I want to stress that this book will be triggering to those who have experienced a similar situation in their lives.   No Virgin is a book I will not be able to forget in a hurry, and I will be making it a priority to read the sequel, No Shame, very soon.

See You in The Cosmos by Jack Cheng | 3*

After finishing No Virgin, I understandably needed my next read to be light-hearted and fun.  From a quick read of the synopsis, I settled on See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng.  In this book, we follow Alex, a young boy obsessed with rockets.  He plans to emulate his hero Carl Sagan, and send his “Golden iPod” into space so that alien life can hear what life on Earth is really like.  Beginning with a solo trip to a rocket festival, Alex is taken on a journey of self-discovery, all captured through the recordings on his treasured iPod.   I’ll be honest, I didn’t particularly enjoy See You in The Cosmos.  Whilst the storytelling style was unique, with the story being told in transcripts of “recordings” rather than traditional prose and chapters, there were times during the book that I was bored.  I didn’t connect with Alex as a reader, and the idea of him travelling with complete strangers didn’t sit right.   I usually love books that feature aspects of STEM, but this one just wasn’t for me.

Dear Charlie by N.D. Gomes | 4*

A book that has been on my Netgalley shelf for a considerable amount of time is Dear Charlie by N.D Gomes.   Fun fact, this was a book I wished for on a complete whim, and I was genuinely not expecting to have my wish granted.   Dear Charlie follows the aftermath of a school shooting through the eyes of the shooter’s younger brother Sam, who is struggling with the question of what drove his caring older brother to commit an atrocious act.   I went into Dear Charlie with low expectations and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it (as much as you can enjoy a book focused on such a tragic act).  After a few chapters, I became completely engrossed in Sam’s life and I read Dear Charlie in a matter of hours. Unlike other books out there that feature school shootings, Dear Charlie offers a different take.  Set in the UK during the Nineties, it focuses on the lives of Sam and his family, who are left to face the outpouring of hatred and fury from the community.  It’s rare to find a book that looks at the impact an act has on the family of the shooter, and N.D Gomes captures the slow deterioration of the relationships within Sam’s family in a heartbreaking and poignant way.   Overall, I found Dear Charlie to be a thought-provoking and emotional read, with a similar feel to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Dear Charlie is a definite recommend from me to those of you looking for your next read, and I could kick myself for not reading this book sooner.     

What was the last book you read?

Daniella x

16th December 2018
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  • Reply Kelsey

    I’ve just picked up No Virgin because of you. I’m a Louise O Neil fan so this sounds like a powerful read!

    19th December 2018 at 7:59 pm
  • Reply Faith

    I hadn’t come across No Virgin or Dear Charlie before, so thanks for sharing! If you enjoyed Dear Charlie, I wonder whether you might like Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult? One of the POV characters is the shooter’s mother so again you get to see some of that aftermath for someone close to the shooter, in terms of her own feelings and everyone else’s reactions.

    29th December 2018 at 11:36 am
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