Reviews, Round ups, Zoella Book Club
July 28th, 2016

Zoella Book Club Review – Part 1!

zoellabookclub review

Weirdly I’m not a huge fan of her channel but as soon as I heard Zoella was bringing out a book club I couldn’t resist buying the full set. I think I just bloody love book clubs. And it’s excuse to buy a ton more books (I have a problem).

I am a fan of Zoella herself though. We’re the same age (she’s a week older than me) and I admire the huge empire she’s built in the last few years.

Instead of writing individual reviews I thought I’d do a round up of the Zoella Book Club books I’ve read so far. It was originally going to be a halfway review but I’ve since read another… so here’s a 5/8 book round up!

Everything Everything

everything everything

This was the first book I read as it was definitely the book that intrigued me the most.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I’d mentioned this book had a similar premise to my last review, Under Rose-Tainted Skies. A girl can’t leave her house (this time due to illness) but gets to know her dashing new neighbour and quickly falls for him. I was absolutely gripped by this book and finished it really quickly. I not only loved the writing style but the use of different formats like emails and doodles was really creative.

Reviews for this have been overwhelmingly positive but I have read a lot of mixed reviews from book reviewers I respect, especially around the ending. However I thought the ending was fitting for such a light-hearted YA novel. It could also be because I am terrible at spotting twists in books so the ending really did take me by surprise! I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a light, fairly quick read with a juicy twist at the end. This is my favourite in the book club so far.

Verdict: 5/5!

All the Bright Places

all the bright places

I think this is the most well known of all the books in the club and is currently being made into a movie.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This has been called the next Fault in Our Stars, and from that people basically mean the storylines are very similar. If you like that, you’ll probably like this. And luckily, that applies to me too! I really enjoyed this book and grew to really like Finch. This is a typical contemporary YA storyline and perhaps does feel a bit contrived now and then.

However, being a ‘proper adult’ now, I read YA books as an escape. So as long as the storyline and characters are strong, I really don’t mind and enjoy letting myself be swept away by the book. I don’t expect the book to change my life but do expect to enjoy it, and this book did exactly that. I feel the ending in this case was quite obvious but it was very well-written, and I enjoyed watching the Violet and Finch’s relationship develop.

Verdict: 5/5!

So it seems I got lucky and read my favourite two books (so far) first…

We Were Liars

we were liars

This is such a strange book! It’s definitely different to the other books I’ve read so far and it’s beautifully written.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

There is
a lot
of writing like this
for no reason that ever makes sense

But hey, it’s different and I kind of like that. It does create some suspense, I’ll give it that.

This is definitely a character-driven book – there’s no real plot and sometimes I was left wondering what on Earth was going on.

But the strangeness kept me going, and it’s a pretty short book too.

But once again
there was an ending
I didn’t guess
and I quite liked that

I did originally give this book a 2/5 but I ended up changing this to a 3* because I found myself thinking about it long after I finished reading it (in a good way).

And I like it when books do that.

Verdict: 3/5!

Fan Girl

fangirl

This book was a huge disappointment for me. Everyone who was everyone seemed to love this book and had it pride of place on their bookshelf. Unfortunately I just didn’t get the hype.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I just could not work out what this book was supposed to be. A novel about fandom? Well, that seems to die off quite quickly and the excerpts of the Simon Snow books didn’t add anything for me. A coming-of-age novel? Perhaps. And I did like Cath, a lot. But nothing really happens. She falls out with her twin and gets a boyfriend. That’s really it.

If I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. But I finished the book and just felt like ‘so what?’ I learned nothing from it and nothing stayed with me. It’s a pretty long book for nothing to actually happen.

However it got 2* because I did really like Cath and the way her social anxiety was portrayed.

Verdict: 2/5!

Beautiful Broken Things

beautiful broken things

This was a beautiful book about the complexities of female friendships. I loved the portrayal of how the relationship between two best friends is impacted by ‘the new girl’.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Caddy hasn’t had any Significant Life Events. Nothing interesting has ever happened to her. Her best friend Rosie, however, has definitely had a lot of Significant Life Events. Caddy wishes she could be more like her. She just wants something exciting to happen.

This changes when a new girl starts at Rosie’s school. Although Caddy is initially jealous at Suzanne’s budding relationship with Rosie (understandable), they quickly become a threesome. Caddy’s drive to be more interesting leads to her relationship with Suzanne becoming more and more intense. The inevitable happens and things start to go downhill, quickly.

I did enjoy this book – but I didn’t connect with any of the characters. Suzanne had a lot of potential but I still found her character frustrating at times. The book felt unfinished at the end and I would have liked to have had a bit more information about what happened to Suzanne. I quite like the idea of a sequel but this time from the point of view of Suzanne.

This book was a worthwhile read, and I appreciated the focus on female friendships instead typical love stories.

Verdict: 3/5!

Summary

Not a bad start. Apart from Fangirl, I’m really happy I read all of these books and I’m looking forward to reading the final three.

These are The Potion Diaries, The Sky Is Everywhere and Billy and Me. I’m a bit less intrigued by these books and so I’m in less of a rush to read them. But as soon as I’m done, expect Part 2 of this round up!

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