27 April 2017

REVIEW: The Kiss

THE KISS
by Lucy Courtenay


Pages: 336 paperback
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group 
Publication Date: July 2nd 2015
ISBN: 9781444922868
Received From:  Hachette Children's Group

Summary 


Aphrodite kissed a mortal once by the light of this moon, many thousands of years ago. It drove him crazy. The next person that he kissed - boum. The craziness travelled like this from person to person. It travelled through time. Everywhere - boum! Tu comprends?' 'Where did it end up?' I whisper. His lips are on my cheek now. 'It ended with me. And now I am going to pass it to you. You will like that, mermaid?' Imagine the perfect kiss. A legendary kiss that makes people crazy with love. Imagine a summer's night, on a moonlit beach in the South of France, as French boy Laurent kisses 16-year-old Delilah after the best chat-up line she's ever heard. BOOM! Delilah is pretty sure the Kiss is fiction, despite her head-spinning holiday fling. But with all the sudden crushes, break-ups and melt-downs happening back at home, the Kiss starts looking a little too real for comfort. If only Delilah could keep track of where it's gone ...Who knew one kiss could cause this much trouble? A hilarious rom-com that will delight Geek Girls everywhere! 

Review

This is one of those books I got a while back but for some reason never got around to reading and much like with The Duff I have no idea why I didn't read it sooner!! I fell in love with this book instantly, the characters and the story captivated my attention from the get go and the idea of The Kiss spoke to the hopeless romantic in me. 

This Kiss is a story of romance and teen angst. It follows teen Delilah as she discovers the power of a single kiss - Aphrodite's kiss to exact. The myth is that Aphrodite kissed a mortal under a full moon and it drove him mad and so to easy his madness he kissed another passing on the kiss. The kiss then traveled until one day, many many moons later, it fell upon Delilah. However, when Delilah has to take on a job with sexy, body painting, Jem the kiss becomes more than some myth and one simple kiss might not just change her life but her best friends to. 

By now we all know I have a thing for flawed characters, no one is perfect and I connect more with a character that messes up and learns from their mistakes than someone who sales through from cover to cover without putting a foot wrong. This Kiss is one of those books where EVERYONE has their flaws but that's okay! Throughout the course of the book you see these characters deal with their problems, overcome things they thought were long past saving and learn to accept other people for their mistakes to. There is something about a story that embraces human nature of making mistakes that I find utterly charming and The Kiss is one of those stories. 

This is a book about first loves, friendship and learning to deal with the consequences of your actions. It is heart warming from start to finish and Delilah's point of view is uniquely witty for a sixteen year old. It feels real and honest and yet at the same time magical and full of whimsy. I couldn't but this book down and if you haven't read it get I'd highly recommend it. 

26 April 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #16



ONE ITALIAN SUMMER
by KERIS STAINTON


Pages: 288 pages
Publisher: Hot Key Books
ISBN: 9781471406386


Summary 


It's been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie's dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer's here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy - but what's it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms - the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was ...  
With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again - gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with - or so she thinks. What's going to happen this time? What's more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky - Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn't know how she fits in any more.  
Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had? 



PUBLICATION DATE:
May the 4th (be with you)


I was sent this book last week so I will hopefully have a review for you lot as I believe its next up on my TBR pile! I'm on a contemporary binge at the moment and there was something about this book that got my interest. Fingers crossed its all I hope it will be!! 


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






24 April 2017

REVIEW: The State of Grace

THE STATE OF GRACE
by Rachael Lucas


Pages: 272 paperback
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: April 6th 2017
ISBN: 9781509839551
Received From:  Macmillan Children's Books

Summary 

Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost. 
Grace has Asperger's and her own way of looking at the world. She's got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that's pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn't make much sense to her any more.  
Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it's up to Grace to fix it on her own. 
Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

Review

I wasn't sure what to expect from The State of Grace, I mean it seemed like an interesting story but I wasn't sure if I would be able to really connect with the narrative. I couldn't have been more wrong though, the POV of this book is unique and compelling and there is something about the way in which Grace sees the world that drags you into the story. It was one of those books that was hard to put down. 

The State of Grace is the story of Grace, a fifteen-year-old with Asperger's, as her life goes from ordered and precise too the unexpected. Grace has her routines and her safe places which make her feel in control, adding an air on normality to her world, but when things start to change she has to find a way to adapt. For some people the things that happen to Grace may seem a part of growing up but it is the predictability's that make Grace feel secure so when even the smallest of changes begin to take place she finds herself fighting for her life to go back to the way it was. 

I think with YA we feel the need to search for stories that seem out of the ordinary. We look for world sto escape into and want to read about impossible situations we can connect with on an emotional level. However, with The State of Grace the evens that happen are (for the most part) rather ordinary. Parents argue, friends fall out, younger siblings grow up, you go on dates but because of Grace's Asperger's these things seem like the impossible. Reading from her point of view as these things happen you are challenged to see things in a different way and it's that challenge that made me fall in love with this book. 

I know someone with a similar form of autism and I will hold my hands up and say I've had arguments with them because I - quite simply - don't understand why they can't just get on with certain things. It's frustrating at times and not understanding why makes it harder. Reading from Grace's POV opened a discuss between me and this person because I was able to understand a little better. You have to understand that any form of autism affects individuals in different ways but I spoke about the way Rachael describes Grace's experiences and they said it was similar. They can't ignore the world around them, with every sound and smell flooding their senses which makes being around people hard at times.

Much like The Perks of Being A Wallflower, 13 Reasons Why and A Quite Kind of Thunder this is one of those books that matter! I don't often read a book that I can honestly say changed the way I see certain things but this felt like more than just a book and I actually feel really honoured to have read it. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was compelling and heartwarming and it felt very real and honest. When you read as many books as I do (or more) it is hard to find a book with a POV that you haven't heard some variation of before but Grace's voice was new and refreshing. I hope you all take the time check this book out because I can honestly say I loved its ups and downs, it's humor and honestly, but above all else the way in which it was written. 

21 April 2017

REVIEW: Caraval

CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber


Pages: 402
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
ISBN: 9781473629141
Summary 


Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .  
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. 
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. 
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Review

"She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out."

This book as been EVERYWHERE recently and now I understand why! It is written beautifully and keeps you on your toes from the first page right up until you close the book. I was mesmerised by the world in which Stephanie Garber was able to create and I got lost in the world of Caraval along with Scarlett. 

Caraval is the story of Scarlett as she dreams of a better life, away from her abusive farther. A life where she is married to a kind man that takes her and her sister out from under their fathers tight grip and into a world where they can be free. However, a week before her wedding Scarlett receives the letter she has been waiting years for, an invitation to the mysterious Caraval. Caraval has its own set of rules and when Scarlett and her sister Tella arrive on the island the games begin. Tella is kidnapped and every player in this years Caraval has only five nights to find her. The person to find Tella first will receive one wish but for Scarlett it is more than a game, it is her sister and she will do anything she has to get her back. Scarlett was told twice that this was a game and not to believe anything she may believe to be real but when her heart is at risk the line between what is real and what is not begins to blur. 

Unfortunately this is one of those reviews where I have to keep it short and sweet because the reason this book had me on tender hooks throughout was that I didn't know what was coming. So as not to risk any spoilers I'm going to keep to the bare minimum. Caraval is full of unpredictability's and I found myself getting turned around just as often as Scarlett. I felt like I was there with her, my jaw hitting the floor more times than I could count and my heart breaking right along side hers. The characters are well thought through, flawed and captivating. They make this story, as you come to care for them and what happens to them as the nights of Caraval play out. It had moments that made me laugh, moments that made me smile and moments that had me hoping I had read it wrong. 

Overall Caraval had everything you could possibly want from a YA book! It was magical, enchanting, heart-breaking, entertaining and most of all beautifully written. I have no idea what is in store for us in book two but I eagerly await to re-enter this world once more when it comes out. For a debut novel I am stunned and if this is just the start of what Garber has to offer I can't wait to read more! 

19 April 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #15



IN SOME OTHER LIFE
by Jessica Brody


Pages: 464 Hardcover
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 9780374380762


Summary 

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought.

PUBLICATION DATE:
8th of August 2017


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






17 April 2017

REVIEW: Fly on the Wall

FLY ON THE WALL
by E. Lockhart


Pages: 182 
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 8th 2016
ISBN: 9781471406041
Received From:  Hot Key Books

Summary 


At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is 'different', Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn't help that she's known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won't have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that's only if she's not busy - she's always busy!  
It's no surprise that Gretchen isn't exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can't stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he's a completely different person when he's with his friends. She can't seem to figure boys out! 
Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy's locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about? 
This is the story of how one girl's wish came true.

Review

Where to start! I honestly don't know how I feel about this book, I mean it had moments that made me laugh but it was strange to say the least!! I've never read an E. Lockhart book before and when Hot Key Books sent it to me I was really excited to see what all the hype was all about. However, as always lets start with the basics.

Fly on the Wall is the story of art student Gretchen Yee as she tries to understand why men are the way they are. In a school where everyone wants to be anything but plain Gretchen finds it hard to be her very ordinary self. Then when her one and only real friend starts to pull away the unimaginable happens and Gretchen's world is flipped upside down as she embarks on the most peculiar week of her life.

Okay so I think this is where I struggle... this is a book about a girl that turns into a fly! A FLY! Not some metaphorical metamorphosis but an actual fly and there isn't any real explanation as to how it happened. I can understand the lead up to it, making an off the bat comment about being a fly on the wall and somehow that becoming a reality but there is no explanation as to how this actually occurred which as a reader kind of annoyed me a bit. If I had been told the HOW the WHY would have had more substance and I wouldn't have anything bad to say about this book!

Which moves me onto the rest of the story. At 24 and a half I still don't understand the male half of our species and I found it an interesting seeing Gretchen study the boys in her school. She starts the book thinking the guys in her class are from another planet but throughout the book she learns they are just the same as us girls, they have their insecurities, their secrets and their very human habits. The situation makes Gretchen softer as a character and by the end I couldn't help but have a soft spot for her.

There are so many moments that made me laugh in Fly on the Wall and I read it in 2 hours. Its easy to read once you get used to the fact capital letters are pretty much redundant to E. Lockhart's writing style and overall it is an interesting read. Yes there was one or two plot flaws that annoyed me but that's purely subjective. Above all else though Fly on the Wall is cleaver! 








14 April 2017

REVIEW: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR 
PECULIAR CHILDREN
by Ransom Riggs


Pages: 352
Publisher: Quirk 
Publication Date: 7th June 2011
ISBN: 1594744769


Summary 


A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs. 
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. 
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Review

This is one of those books that you hear so much about but for some reason never get around to reading it. Then the movie gets released and a voice in your head says, "You're not watching the movie before you've read the book!" Which lead me to now. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is not at all what I was expecting, mainly because I was basing my knowledge of the book on the movie trailer but also because of its uniqueness.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows Jacob as he tries to discover the truth behind his Grandfather's secret past. His search leads him to a mysterious island just off the coast of Wales and what he fines is more than he could ever have imagined. The children he meets unlock a world of peculiar magic and impossible dangers that makes Jacob question everything he knows. The big question though is whether or not Jacob is strong enough to be truly peculiar himself. 

I don't really want to say too much about this one as I feel it spoils it. So, for those who haven't read it yet (I'm sure like me you are in the minority) I'll keep this brief. 

The way in which Riggs writes is enchanting and the story drags you in pretty quickly. The book itself is filled with mystery and wonder and will keep you guessing the whole way through. The characters are, for lack of a better word, peculiar but they are endearing and wonderfully bazar. Not to mention funny!! The children at Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children had be laughing out loud to myself on several occasions, especially Emma Bloom. FYI Emma is most definitely my favourite character! 

Overall this book had me hooked and I would highly recommend it if you haven't already devoured the whole series by now. Team Peculiar all the way! 




12 April 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #14



GIRLHOOD
by Cat Clarke



Pages: 384 paperback
Publisher: Quercus /Hachette Children's Books
ISBN: 9781784292737


Summary 


Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Brodick Academy. But she can't escape guilt of her twin sister's Izzy's death, and her own part in it. 
But new girl Kirsty seems to understand Harper. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Izzy died.
Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's dead sister? 
A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. 


PUBLICATION DATE:
4th of May 2017

I am a HUGE fan of Cat Clarke's! I love the fact she tackles subjects that are raw, fresh and not always easy to read. Her characters are always perfectly flawed and I can't wait to have another strong female character to get behind! Bring on star wars day! May the 4th!!!! 


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






10 April 2017

REVIEW: The Hate U Give

THE HATE U GIVE
by Angie Thomas


Pages: 438
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: April 6th 2017 (first published February 28th 2017)
ISBN: 9781406372151
Received From:  Walker Books

Summary 


Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. 
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.


Review


The Hate U Give is one of the most anticipated books of 2017. It has been the talk of the twitter town and when I was offered a review copy from Walker Books I jumped at the chance to read it. This is one of my favourite books of the year so far, there is something refreshingly honest about it that made me smile at times and at others had me ugly crying. It is one of those books that matter and if you only read one book this year this should be atop of your TBR pile. 

The Hate U Give is the story of Star and the events that follow the death of her friend Khalil. Star lives in 'the ghetto' but her family want more for her that they believe Garden Heights can offer. Star and her two brothers go to school in a predominantly white community and Star finds herself being two different versions of herself. However, when her friend Khalil is shot in front of her by a white cop her life flips upside down. She it torn between the two lives she has created and feeling like she is betraying her roots. Star has to learn to use her voice and speak up for the injustice of her friends death but when her two wolds collide she starts to question everything she knows. But more than that this isn't just a story about race it is a story about friendship, family, loyalty and learning to be true to yourself no matter what. 

I was raised in a house where everyone was equal, I was bought up being told no matter someones race, sex or orientation every single one of us is human and we all deserve respect. However, being bought up with that belief system meant that it never occurred to me that others weren't. I'm the first to admit that I live in a little bubble sometimes where I see the injustice but I don't really feel it because I don't understand how things like this can still be happening. My friends joke that I couldn't be whiter if I tried (I'm as pale as you can get without being dead) but reading The Hate U Give I was able to see a different point of view. I was able to understand on a scale I hadn't before and this book really got to me. I'm a bigger girl, I get judged on how I look rather than who I am and I'm not saying it is the same thing but I do understand being judged on how you look. This book was written in conjunction the the Black Lives Matter movement but there is a universal message within the text that applies to everyone no matter the colour of their skin, 

"Sometimes you can do everything right and things go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right." 

Overall I adored this book, it got to me on an emotional level which you know is my criteria for being an incredible writer. This is one of those books that needs to be in every school library because it has a strong moral centre and talks about a subject too many people are willing to brush under the carpet. This book matters and I hope you all take the time to read it because there is a message in there for everyone no matter your race and its a point of view our generation needs to listen to. 

7 April 2017

REVIEW: Doing It!

DOING IT!
by Hannah Witton


Pages: 320 paperback
Publisher: Wren & Rook
Publication Date: April 6th 2017
ISBN: 9781526360038
Received From:  Wren & Rook/Hachette Children's Books
Summary 

Figuring out how to build and maintain healthy relationships - with your family, friends, romantically and with yourself - is a crucial part of being a teen. It's not easy though, particularly in a digital age where information and advice are so forthcoming it can be hard to know who or what to believe or trust. Porn is everywhere, sexting is the norm and messages about body image are highly mixed. Hannah combats this by tackling subjects ranging from masturbation and puberty to slut shaming and consent in an accessible, relatable and extremely honest way. She is unembarrassed about bringing little-discussed topics into the open, and as such empowers teens to have the confidence to conduct relationships on their terms, and in a way that they feel comfortable with. 

Review

This is a little different to my usual reads as it is actually a nonfiction - I know not like me right? But Doing It! has been the talk of the twitterverse for a while now and something about it was calling to me. So fast forward to the day I managed to get my hands on a review copy and it is everything I hoped it would be.

Doing It! is a book about sex with chapters on everything from healthy relationships and losing your virginity to sex shame and porn. It talks about the subject a lot of people are still too scared or ashamed to talk about (even though its 2017!!). Hannah has a writing style that I love, it is very chatty, informal and personal making it an enjoyable experience reading her book. When it comes to talking about sex I think the most important thing is to NOT feel like you are reading straight out of a pamphlet! Doing It! is like reading a conversation, it flows and feels like you are getting an honest opinion on all things sex related. It isn't a book you have to read in any particular order, there are parts you might find interesting and things you probably already know. But as a whole it is well thought out, there was insights from other authors/youtubers and it is wonderfully designed.

I like to think I know a fair amount about sex, I come from a very open background where with my friends and my family nothing is off the table when it comes to talking about sex (although sometimes I really wish they were with my parents). However, there were parts of this book that took me by surprised, for example the part on asexual's, as I think I had an idea what that meant that wasn't exactly correct. It challenged some of my misconceptions about certain topics and made me really think. This is one of those books, much like Juno Dawson's This Book Is Gay, that delves into a subject that we think we talk enough about but in reality don't.

Overall I thought that this was an interesting read and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It is one of those books that answers all the questions you might be too afraid to ask. Whether you have no sexual experience or thing of yourself as a bit of a sex god this book might just teach you someone you don't know and answer a question you might not have enough known you had.








5 April 2017

Waiting On Wednesday #13



LETTERS TO THE LOST
by Brigid Kemmerer


Pages: 400
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
ISBN: 9781408883525


Summary 

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.  
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past. 
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they're not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.

PUBLICATION DATE:
APRIL the 6th 


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






3 April 2017

BLOG TOUR: Saint Death

SAINT DEATH
by Marcus Sedgwick


Pages: 260 paperback
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Publication Date: Paperback - 7th April 2017
Received From:  Orion Children's Books


Summary 

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by PRINTZ MEDAL winning and CARNEGIE MEDAL, COSTA BOOK AWARD and GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S FICTION PRIZE shortlisted novelist, Marcus Sedgwick. 
Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez - twenty metres outside town lies a fence, and beyond it, America - the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he's been working for. He's dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he's on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they're as good as dead. 
Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) - she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian. 


Review

Saint Death is one of those books that sticks with you well after you've read the final page. I've only read one of Marcus Sedgwick's books before - Blood Red Snow White - which is a completely different kind of story and yet he has this rhythm and soul to his writing that makes his books captivating from the very first page. 

Saint Death is the story of Arturo, a boy living in the shadow of one of Mexico's poorest neighbourhoods as he finds himself on a dangerous mission to help save his childhood friends life. The story takes place over the course of a day and a half and follows Arturo as his faith is tested, his morals bent and his life becomes all too expendable. 

This is one of those books that opens your eyes to a culture you might not be all that aware of. It brings to the forefront the injustice and struggle of poverty on the Mexican boarder. It speaks of friendship and faith as if they are interlinked and you see just how far one individual will go to do what he believes is right. 

This isn't one of those stories that promises a happy ending. It is raw and all too real, yet the way in which Marcus Sedgwick writes makes you hope for the best. He writes characters that make you route for them, which with Saint Death is paramount. Arturo's story is heartbreaking from start to finish and the last page had my jaw on the floor. It was gripping, tragic and above all else beautifully written. 


Q&A
Marcus Sedgwick 




Where did the inspiration for Saint Death come from?

Two things. First, seeing the migrant camp in Calais growing each time I passed by. Something stopped me from writing about it directly (too close to home, maybe?) and so I waited for something else to come along. Which was the second thing; a chance meeting with a Mexican academic and writer who told me about Sante Muerte – Saint Death – the burgeoning-but-banned-by-the-pope new(ish) folk saint of Mexico. Along the Mexican-US border, I could see the clarity of the imbalance of the rich with the poor. This is where Arturo’s story is set, right on that border.

Who was your favourite character to write and why?

To choose just one: Siggy, the co-owner of the bar, El Divan, where Arturo hangs out and plays Calavera. He’s miserably loveable, wisely sad, and deep-down, a good guy. He’s also Sigmund Freud. Or at least, a lot of what he says is, and his sadly cynical yet somehow still positive nature came about through my reading of Freud’s own writings.


What was the most challenging thing about writing this book?

A few things – perhaps the hardest was actually getting there to see Anapra and Juárez for myself. After a year or more of remote research, I finally made it, and I’m very glad I did. It was a surreal kind of experience, I had studied Anapra for so long on google earth and streetview that I could find my way around the town without needing directions – like walking into a recurring dream.  It was also hard not to be too angry when writing it – some of that anger has come across on the page, which is good, but it could have got out of control. It’s very hard to read about constant injustice, corruption, brutality and violence without feeling frustrated and powerless, and thus angry.

Every author has a different way of writing. What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I love it all. I like staring into space and calling it work. I like going places. I like reading things. I like interviewing people. I like planning the books. Most of all I guess I love the moments (of which there are not enough) when you disappear into your writing space and disappear into the book, as you finally start to put words onto paper, one by one. The hours drop by without notice – a book appears. It’s magical.


Lastly, describe Saint Death in one sentence!


An Aristotelean tragedy from the Mexican borderland.




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