Helloo! When the Zoella Book Club books were announced I was very pleased to see three titles that I had already read and enjoyed immensely. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon, E. Lockhart's We Were Liars, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, are all excellent choices for the book club for sure. It's great that so many people will get to read them! I will definitely be reading through some of the other titles from the list too, but I reckon I've read the best ones! Here are my reviews for these wonderful books:
Nicola Yoon's Everything Everything is the story of a teenage girl, Madeline, who is allergic to absolutely everything. She can never leave her house, which was been carefully kitted out with state of the art air filtration systems, an air lock at the front door, clean white walls, even her books arrive decontaminated. Madeline is home schooled through online tutors, and her longterm nurse, Carla, checks her vitals several times through the day. The only people Madeline usually sees in person are her mum, who is a doctor, and Carla. When a new family moves in next door, she begins to speak with the son, Olly, through miming and notes held up at their windows, and then IM messages. Madeline is very wary of the dangers of the outside world due to her disease, but she is especially worried about the effects of falling in love. Narrated in first person by Madeline, this book is deals with love, trust, freedom and isolation perfectly. Having the main character unable to leave their location created this great limitation where, because things were kept simple, down to one setting, the author was able to fully explore this space and spend more time focussing on characters and development, which resulted in me really caring for the characters. Simplicity really is often the key. There were so many moments that gave me chills, and I was rooting for Madeline and any chance of freedom she could get, to live a 'normal' life.
We Were Liars
I highly recommend reading this book. I felt completely drained after reading it, which has to be a sign of a well written book. Most reviews and recommendations I've seen on We Were Liars give absolutely nothing away, so I may follow suit on that. But essentially it is mostly set on a family's private island on the coast of Massachusetts, where 17-year-old Cady spends the summer with her cousins. What I will say is that from the beginning there is some great... experimentation with the creative writing. There are metaphors that you don't realise are metaphors until you're half way through them and figure the character's heart hasn't actually fallen out her body and rolled down the lawn. It turns to poetry at points, to great effect. It's really great to see this kind of clever writing in a young adult book, young adults definitely deserve to be seen as clever readers. The reader follows with Cady as she slowly regains her memory, the story slowly revealing itself to the reader through the same fog the character is experiencing. There's romance, friendship, family, tragedy, heartbreak, memory loss, the works. Go read it now! ...And then make sure you have somewhere to have a lie down when you finish it.
Fangirl is the story of Cath and her twin sister Wren, heading off to college for the first time and growing apart as they each find their place away from home: Wren being socially adventurous and outgoing, Cath being mostly afraid to leave her dorm room. Cath is deeply involved in the Simon Snow fandom and has a huge online following for her fanfic. I got right into the Simon Snow fanfic, (I really want the Simon Snow series to be real- there's room in this world for Harry and Simon), and I loved that it was about fandom, BUT I didn't really end up liking the main character Cath or main love interest Levi. I don't know what happened, I connected with her at the beginning when she was too scared to find the dining room and hiding in her dorm and eating tacos with her dad. I think I found her relationship with Levi a little off putting, he seemed sort of fatherly towards her... it was kind of icky. All that aside, I enjoyed reading it and I am kinda thrilled that the world of fandom has been so sensitively explored in the capable hands of Rainbow Rowell. If you haven't already, I really recommend reading Carry On, which is Rainbow Rowell's own exploration of the Simon Snow characters and is so much fun!