Tag Archives: bookrecommendation

Wilder Girls, Rory Power; Review

Wild is in the name and it is certainly fitting for this book about friendship, humanity, but ultimately survival. I was absolutely engrossed in each and every twisting page of Rory Power’s novel about a quarantined Boarding School that has been struck by an unnerving virus.


The book opens from the first person perspective of Hetty, and begins with everything already in motion; in that the virus, named The Tox, is already established and has already wrecked havoc within the school causing major illnesses and death. It becomes clear that the island that is home to the Boarding School has been abandoned and the girls are instructed to wait for a cure and must remain in quarantine. What I really loved about this was how matter of fact it seemed for the characters and how they just laid everything bare for the reader to see. Usually when there is a storyline about a virus; the outbreak is the big shocking event that the plot leads up to, whereas here it had already happened. The fact that Hetty spoke so offhandedly about it really vocalised how much the character’s have had to adapt to survive. The rest of the book really solidifies this and it really tests the girl’s to their limits to see how far they are willing to go in order to live.

That’s what really struck home about this book for me personally. It felt like the farther I got into the book the more wild I became; as if I truly were on this journey with them. The brutal imagery and even weirdly gross descriptions were shocking and unexpected for a YA but made it all the more intriguing. I could feel the need to survive, and to adapt. There were some moments where I felt like I didn’t get all the answers I craved (especially in regard to The Tox itself) but in retrospect I don’t think I needed them. I was left in the same boat as Hetty, Reese, and Byatt; uncertain and reeling. Hetty came to the conclusion that she didn’t really need to know how it had happened to them; just that it did and in some weird ways it brought them closer together. Similarly with Byatt who at times acted as though she didn’t want a cure, knew that this event had changed the girls not just physically. I was really intrigued by her and as it emerged she was more morally grey of a character I enjoyed her even more. I think its very easy to make characters seem nice and angelic when something bad happens to them so that the event seems undeserving, but in Byatt’s case it was all the more affirming that it could be anyone and despite her questionable attributes; Hetty and Reese would have done anything for her proving that friendship, and loyalty really drives this novel.

Another aspect of this novel that I truly loved was the fact that it was LGBTQ+ but also that it was done naturally. Having Reese as a queer character didn’t feel as though it was done to add diversity for the sake of diversity but to further the dynamics and layers created what this story aimed to tell; what people would or wouldn’t do for those they truly care for. I didn’t once feel like the romance was detracting from the narrative or the plot in any way, but that it just so happened to be a side plot that felt natural, empathetic, and truly representative. I think there are some key scenes that showcase this which include Reese’s father, boatshift, and the ending as a whole because it also demonstrates that YA romance isn’t always fluffy and easy but that its hard and that actions have consequences; especially in a world were survival is your priority.

Wilder Girls was truly unique. I particularly loved the descriptions (although sometimes quite graphic) about how the Tox changed these girls; the bloody sores, the second spine, the sealed eye, and the silver hand, were all nontypical and refreshingly different to read about. They weren’t pretty; they were brutal and honest. The only real issue I had with this book was sometimes the writing style, although done purposefully to reflect the characters not being coherent, was slightly stunting and awkward to read. I think this was primarily down to the fact that it was first person but once I got into the story I didn’t notice it all that much and was able to get past it.

This book was actually a buddy read with my wonderful friend Lauren, who you can find on Bookstragram as LittleBookishFairy. We actually demolished this book reading over half of it in one sitting while frantically messaging each other at 1am. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it with her and talking through all our theories together because it is a book that keeps you wondering why in the back of your mind. I would definitely recommend Wilder Girls for a feminist, well represented, and interesting read that is different to the norm. Its intriguing, fast paced, and really makes you think about survival and friendship.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Let’s Remove the Guilt from a Creative Slump

I was going to title this “Why I haven’t been active” but it felt too much like a “Why I Left Buzzfeed” video so we’re here instead!


Hello, wonderful readers, writers, and bloggers alike! Long time no see from me as I realised my last post was way back in August. I have mentioned previously that I am a big mood reader but it has become apparent to me that I am in fact a mood everything! So, I now must confess that my absence has been due to the biggest creative block I could ever of imagined. But now i’m on the other side of it, i’ve had time to reflect on it and its fair to say I have a fair few things to talk about. Please bear with me as I vent along in this blog post but I truly hope that you relate and find comfort in the points I make.

Being a part of the book community via a multitude of different social media platforms has been so rewarding in all the many connections and friendships I have made. However, I have also found that it has exposed me to a mass amount of content; and while sometimes this is stimulating and inspiring, it can also be pretty overwhelming. A lot of the time I find myself doubting my own content and even if its good enough to bring to the table with such other creators! This happened recently to the point where I didn’t want to open Instagram and participate. In all honesty, it created a chain reaction where I didn’t take book photos because of the doubt; which in turn led to guilt for having nothing to post. Do you see my Catch-22?

It took one photo. One photo that I liked that made me want to engage again and what ultimately broke my mini hiatus. I felt as though I finally had something to talk about. Retrospectively I can now see that I was striving too hard to be perfect when I just had to enjoy it. Yes, it’s good to be proud of the content you make and it makes all the difference in how you feel as a producer rather than just a consumer of media. But, and there is a but, it doesn’t make me any less of a member of the book community if I don’t post every day. I can still engage in all the content that I was previously enjoying. I think this is where I was going wrong in that I was comparing what I was making to everything I saw online, even if it were different styles. So, where does this newfound insight leave me now?

Well, firstly I am trying to make a promise to myself to remember that as long as I like what I make; then it is good enough. If you take photos for yourself you don’t have to hold yourself up to unrealistic standards. The same goes for any art form be it photography, writing, painting, dance, or even music. You started it because you loved it and that is what should keep you going and persevering with it. As for my writing, well I shall also be persevering with that too.

I’ve decided to try and put my “mood” on a leash and I hope to tame her with a sense of competition, because if there’s anything else to note about me other than books its that i’m extremely competitive (seriously, do not play Cluedo with me). I have decided to challenge myself to write at least one book review for this blog each month (starting slow) and hopefully that’ll motivate me to write about more bookish things too. Also, I’m thinking of going ALL in with this challenge and I am going to attempt to participate in NaNoWriMo!!! That’s right I am here to make up for last time and all my moping whilst I was in the Big Creative Slump. If you would me interested I could post little updates here and would obviously love to chat with you all if you’re thinking of participating as well.

So my big take away from all this? you can still be a creative member of any community regardless of how frequent you post. Post what you like and reignite your love for what you’re doing. If you need a push it’s ok to challenge yourself; don’t hold yourself to other people’s expectations. And finally, the Big Creative Slump doesn’t last forever. Trust me.

Top 5 underrated favourites

Hello fellow readers! Recently I have been moving my bookshelves around and began thinking whether I wanted to organise them by authors, colour, genre, or by favourites (we all know the struggle). Well, I may have decided to go with genre but a few reads stood out to me for how underrated they are and so here we are; a list of my top 5 underrated favourites.

Underrated #5

Don’t Look Back – Jennifer L. Armentrout

So if you have no clue what this book is about it follows Samantha, who has just emerged battered and bruised after being missing for four days with absolutely no memory of what happened. Now this at first may get your deja vu senses tingling BUT theres an extra layer that Armentrout has weaved into the fold; and that is although Samantha has been found, her best friend Cassie is still missing. This then makes the entire plot not only a contemporary – fit the jigsaw pieces together – mystery but also a thriller. Coupled with Armentrout’s engaging writing style I simply could not put this book down and raced through the pages. What I was particularly impressed with was how the book kept me guessing throughout and yet I still did not see the reveal coming- it took me by complete surprise and I loved it. Another surprise was the character of Samantha; often it’s easy for a main character to be ‘the golden girl’ but she most definitely has faults. It was actually rather heartwarming to see her admit them and try to better herself along the way.

Underrated #4

This is Where it Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

I will not lie this book is quite a marmite read (you either love it or you hate it) and the little comments I have read about it have been equally divided. This is Where it Ends is a first person, in the moment, telling of a school shooting and is ultimately an extremely heavy reading experience. Many other readers, who I am inclined to agree with, seem to have an issue with the antagonist (the shooter) in that his motives, reasoning, and overall development are extremely lack lustre and fall quite flat. However, I decided to include it on this list because there are some amazing qualities of this book that does make it underrated. Firstly, I love that the chapters are from multiple character perspectives; in a novel with a setting such as this I think it really adds to the personal factor when the reader can feel the weight and the consequences of everyone rather than just one individual. It makes it feel more real and the ultimate connectedness of the characters translates to the reader and really makes you question ideals of community and what matters to you. Another reason I feel this book is underrated is the inclusion of a lesbian relationship that is presented in a natural and wholesome way; it definitely feels LGBTQ inclusive as a means of representation and not of baiting the community.

If you do enjoy books that deal with settings and themes of this nature then I would also recommend Hate List by Jennifer Brown as an honorary mention. This book is interesting in the portrayal of guilt as an aftermath of the event and is definitely worth a read!

Underrated #3

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

I first read this book as an advanced reading copy and it was the first time I read anything of Jandy Nelson. However, I enjoyed it so much I was then sent her first book The Sky is Everywhere so I could devour more of her words. Despite the wonderful flow of her writing style and the dynamic characters that I fell in love with, this book is on this list because of its unique structure. The novel follows twin siblings Noah and Jude and each chapter changes to the corresponding perspective. What’s different about this is Jude tells her side of the story from the perspective of the present day whereas her brother Noah’s chapters are from years previously. I found this really intriguing because the reader knows an event has happened that has separated them; we know the consequence because of Jude and we get all the anticipation and build up from Noah. Its such a uniquely fascinating way of keeping the reader guessing and sometimes feels like you get two stories in one. Another reason I personally adore this book is the chapter configuration feels almost symbolic of the characters coming together again; which I ultimately craved and loved because i’m a sucker for all things poetic.

Underrated #2

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece – Annabel Pitcher

This was such a tough decision for me to place this book first or second because I nearly cry just thinking about it. Now don’t get me wrong this book is not a ball your eyes out, purposefully sad book, but theres such a sense of childhood innocence that translates so well it just warms my heart and makes me teary. This book is from the perspective of 10 year old Jamie (and wow does the author do a fantastic job of making this FEEL like the voice of a child). His elder sister died during the London bombing and her urn sits on the mantlepiece whilst the rest of his family struggles with the aftermath years later.

The themes in this book could have been represented so much darker and heavier if it weren’t for Jamie and ultimately the author Annabel Pitcher. This story isn’t about grief but about friendship, loyalty and essentially humanity. One of the biggest things I took from this book was Jamie’s friendship with Sunya as it showcases how people overcome and form their own opinions even at such a young age when we are said to be the most impressionable. Sunya is a muslim girl who wears a hijab and due to how Jamie’s sister’s died his father has begun to nurture islamophobic ideals and doesn’t want them to be friends. The reader really gets to see Jamie try to process what’s right and wrong, being a good friend, and a good son and the raw and honest portrayal is great to see. If you haven’t read this book I will not spoil things for you but please watch out for two things; The Superhero shirt and Rodger the cat (if you have read this book then you’ll know).

Underrated #1

Under Rose-tainted Skies – Louise Gornall

My number 1!! This book has an idealistic slow burn love story, a supportive mother daughter relationship, AND most importantly an accurate representation of mental health. It truly is refreshing to see. Under Rose-tainted Skies follows the life of Norah, who is agrophobic with OCD and anxiety, as she watches life from the safety of her window, until Luke arrives and changes her own perspective on self-care and mental health. I want to be really clear here, although the romance is quite fanciful it is most definitely NOT a relationship that sets out to fix Norah and her mental health, prior to meeting Luke she attends therapy and counselling and her dialogue about her conditions is as open at the start as it is at the end.

It’s this representation of MH that really makes this book shine; the author herself deals with the same conditions as Norah which just makes her character feel even more real. I may be biased in that I connected with Norah so heavily as I am also diagnosed OCD and anxiety. However, it wasn’t until reading this book that I realised some of the things I did or thought was apart of my personality, was actually an attribute of my conditions. I have been officially diagnosed with OCD for 5 years now and I can honestly say I have never read a more realistic interpretation that doesn’t fantasise MH than in Gornall’s novel. Despite it being just a heartwarming and enjoyable contemporary read, I will always recommend this book to anyone that would want to know what my brain feels like or just MH in general.