I attended the London Book Fair again this year! Last year, I blogged about the New Adult: Reinventing Teen Fiction seminar and this year, one of my favourite seminars was Why YA?, in which Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015 Malorie Blackman talked about why she will be focusing on promoting reading to teens and young adults during her laureateship. Also on the panel was Melissa Cox, children’s buyer for Waterstones and one of my favourite people in the book industry, and Jonathan Douglas, Director for National Literacy Trust, who did a brilliant job as chairperson. Head over to Pretty Books to read all about it.
Weekly YA Spotlight: A selection of the most anticipated new YA novels released this week (20/04 - 26/04)
Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman ✤ April 22nd
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss ✤ April 24th
The Inventor’s Secret (The Inventor’s Secret #1) by Andrea Cremer ✤ April 22nd
Meridian (Arclight #2) by Josin L. McQuien ✤ April 22nd
TALKER 25 (TALKER 25 #1) by Joshua McCune ✤ April 22nd
The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi ✤ April 22nd
Check out the rest of this month’s new YA releases here!
Something for Teaching Tolerance magazine to accompany a story about how most children’s books and libraries lack a diverse perspective. AD Valerie Downes.
Book review: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
An excellent second instalment to a series I can’t wait to continue. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Name of the Star when I borrowed it on a whim last spring. With the Ripper storyline now neatly tied up, I wasn’t certain if I would feel the same way about The Madness Underneath, but with the new characters and plot twists that emerged in this book it’s clear that Johnson has much larger plans in store for this series.
Unlike several other American novels set in England, Johnson’s London is true to life and the mythology of the Shades’ world makes for a wonderful contrast with the starkly realistic setting. Rather than pepper her English characters’ dialogue with outdated slang and have Rory sigh condescendingly over how quaint and well-mannered all her English friends are, Johnson has created a cast of characters who feel authentically English. Her cast is also nicely multicultural - it always bothers me to read novels set in London with little to no diversity. London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and Johnson’s Londoners are representative of the city at large.
I particularly enjoyed Rory’s character development in this sequel. After the trauma she suffered at the end of The Name of the Star, it would have been dishonest of Johnson to throw Rory back into action without giving her time to process all she has experienced. I liked Rory in the first novel, but I came to appreciate her even more in The Madness Underneath. The novel finishes on a huge cliffhanger ending and I’m looking forward to seeing how this new twist changes Rory as a character and her relationship with a certain someone. (Yes, I’m terrible at skirting around spoilers.)
Some parts of the plot were a little predictable, and other storylines were developed and then seemingly dropped halfway through the novel - I’m assuming this is because Johnson was paving the way for her HUGE cliffhanger ending, and she’ll be returning to these plot points in later books in the series, but it made the ending seem a little too abrupt. Nevertheless, I have every faith in Johnson’s ability to tie up every loose end in books three and four.
Many thanks to HarperCollins for providing a copy of The Madness Underneath in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 stars | ★★★★✰
Review cross-posted to Goodreads
plucking up the courage to start reading…
Waiting on Wednesday: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date.
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication date: April 29th 2014
Amazon UK’s April teen e-book sale (ends April 21st!):
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare*
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
The Offering by Kimberly Derting
Feed by M.T. Anderson
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness*
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
*ALL Cassandra Clare and Patrick Ness e-books are currently £3 or less
View the rest here!