What happened to my YA summer TBR pile?


Good news – the TBR pile has reduced. Bad news – there is still a TBR pile!

I enjoyed the five books I tackled during my two internet free weeks and here are my thoughts:

loraliLorali by Laura Dockrill 

When Rory finds a naked girl washed up on the sea-shore in Hastings on his sixteenth birthday, he doesn’t realise how her appearance is going to change his life. Lorali is a mermaid who has chosen to become human and live on land. As Rory finds himself captivated by the beautiful girl, tries to understand her and to help her settle in to life on land. However, her loss is felt deeply under the sea and her mother is frantically trying to track her down with the aid of anyone who help – even pirates.

A tale of adventure, fantasy and love. The world and life of the mermaids is fascinating and fun, whilst the pirates are bad boys on the sea – some more bad and definitely more unpleasant than others. The story is told from a number of different angles and at first this can be confusing until the story lines all pull together. Whilst Lorali and Rory are the main characters in the story, there are plenty of interesting and unusual supporting characters who make appearances throughout. A fun and unusual read.

owls Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Beatrix loves her art and would like her mother’s support but her mother is busy with her work, trying t make ends meet since Beatrix’ dad left. When Beatrix meets Jack, she is intrigued by him – he is enigmatic, exciting and dangerous with his notorious graffiti escapades. As she gets to know Jack, she learns the secret behind his decisions and he helps her chase her own dreams.

An enjoyable story of self discovery and romance. Beatrix and Jack discover a lot about themselves, their families and their feelings. There are interesting supporting characters and unusual situations, gentle feelings and discussions about relationships – both physical and emotional. A fun read.

possible All Sorts of Possible by Rupert Wallis

As Daniel and his dad set off on a camping trip, their car falls into a sink hole. Miraculously, Daniel survives but his father is left in a coma. Facing the severity of his father’s injuries is hard enough, but life is made complicated further for Daniel when a local gangster, Mason, decides that Daniel’s miracle escape has given him special powers that Mason can manipulate.

A book that looks at a number of issues – survivor’s guilt, the sadness of seeing a loved one in a coma and having to let them go, the meaning of a miracle and the complications of family dynamics. The story is an adventure with fantasy and mystery woven into it, but is also emotive and thought-provoking. The author makes reference to his earlier book, The Dark Inside, with the central character from that book (James) now grown up and a doctor in the hospital where Daniel’s dad is kept. Whilst the story is sad, it is also provides a positive view of the need to accept life for what it is rather than trying to cheat it and hope for miracles.

lie Stasi Child by David Young

Set in East Berlin in 1975, this is the story of Karin Mueller a police investigator who believes in the regime in East Germany and the propaganda it peddles about the West When the body of a young girl is found dead at the foot of the Berlin Wall looking as if she was fleeing from the West to the East, Karin is asked to investigate alongside the Stasi (East German secret police). The investigation is complicated and throws up more questions than it answers with lies and deceit appearing everywhere – not just in the investigation, but among the investigative team and even between Karin and her husband.

Truth is in short supply in this story and no one can be truly relied on to tell the truth or to do the right thing. The tale is harrowing with many of the characters carrying emotional scars caused by people in power in the system. Individuals are used and abused and often find themselves in Kafkaesque situations. When the story comes to an end and the reader feels that finally the truth has been uncovered and no more deceit is possible, the author springs further surprises. Exciting and exhausting, this book keeps the reader on their toes.

blueThe Blue by Lucy Clarke

Kitty and Lana escape their dreary lives by travelling in Asia. When they meet up with the crew of the beautiful yacht The Blue they are captivated and join them, spending their days enjoying the beautiful inlets and sparkling waters. It is as if they have stepped into paradise, except paradise is not perfect and jealousies, deceit and lies start rearing their ugly head.

This book was a pleasure to read with the author building the sense of unease as the story switches back and forth between the present and the past, leading to a fantastic ending.

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