Book Review: Lilah May’s Manic Days by Vanessa Curtis

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Book

Published: 5th January 2012

Format: Paperback

Pages: 176

Genre: Contemporary, Junior Fiction

Recommended Reading Age: 11+

Rating: 8/10


Lilah May used to be angry. VERY angry. But not any more. She’s got her temper – and her life – back under control. Or has she? Things with her best friend, Bindi, are going from bad to worse. The whereabouts of her brother Jay is still a mystery. And gorgeous Adam Carter is still out of reach. Groo! Can Lilah sort out her family, her friendship and her love life? Or is her anger about to reach all new levels? 

Two years ago, Lilah’s older brother, Jay, ran away after she caught him taking drugs. Since then, no one’s heard from him or knows where he is. Eaten up with guilt and worry, with her parents not coping well and her now ex-best friend dating the boy she likes, Lilah’s struggling to keep her anger until control again. Suddenly Jay comes home after sleeping rough on the streets, but it’s not quite a happy reunion she always imagined it would be. Continue reading


Recommended Reading: Strong Heroines

Yesterday as a nod to International Women’s Day I posted an interview and guest post with author Elizabeth Wein. I thought I’d continue by recommending some great YA reads that are not only fantastic stories in their own right but also feature a strong heroine.

These are just some of my own favourite reads and I’m certain there are many more out there. For even more recommendations check out this list of top heroines over at Wear the Old Coat from various bloggers (you’ll see four of my own choices included!) or Chachic’s own list of favourite heroines.

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Book Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Publisher: Egmont

Published: 6th February 2012

Format: Paperback

Pages: 452

Genre: Historical, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 10/10


I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do. 

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again. 

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two. 

We are a sensational team.

This will probably be one of the vaguer reviews I have written for Turn the Page. It would be unforgivable to spoil anything, and frankly, I doubt I can really do the novel justice. I saved this post to go up on the 8th of March, in honor of International Women’s Day, because it seemed fitting to feature a book that not only celebrates female solidarity, love and friendship but also stars two independent heroines in unconventional, dangerous roles for their time.

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Book Review: The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Published: 1st August 2011

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 12+

Rating: 7.5/10


Celia Frost is a freak. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. Her life is ruled by a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut, confining her to a gloomy bubble of ‘safety’. No friends. No fun. No life. 

But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely – and suddenly they’re on the run. Why is her mum so scared? Someone out there knows. And when they find Celia, she’s going to wish the truth was a lie. 

A buried secret, a gripping manhunt, a dangerous deceit… What is the truth about Celia Frost?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up The Truth About Celia Frost. The synopsis was intriguing and it had consistently positive reviews, but I had no idea whether this was a thriller, a paranormal, or something else entirely.

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Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: 28th September 2011

Format: Paperback

Pages: 372

Genre: Paranormal,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 9/10


The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. 

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

OK. I loved this book.

I’ve been reading some average books lately. None was as good as I’d hoped, or held my interest for long. And then along came The Name of the Star, a book I’d been vaguely interested in reading for months now but for some reason had always been pushed to the back of the pile.

I was hooked from the first chapter. Continue reading

Rewind and Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Published: 18th July 2005

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

Genre: Historical,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 9.5/10


‘Set in the 1950’s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the second rock ‘n’ roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother, Inigo, currently capable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry…’

My copy of this book has been re-read so many times it is falling apart. For those of you who are familiar with ‘I Capture the Castle’, another favourite of mine, this book has a very similar feel and atmosphere. Continue reading

Book Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Publisher: David Fickling Books

Published: 29th April 2010

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 14+

Rating: 6.5/10


Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

I almost feel like it’s wrong to say I didn’t really like this book, or to admit that I simply didn’t care for the main character. Tessa is sixteen and her cancer treatments have finally stopped working. She’s dying. And she isn’t handling it all that well. Continue reading

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Puffin

Published: 5th January 2012

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

Genre: Science Fiction, Fairy Tale,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 12+

Rating: 7/10


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

Cinder will most likely be a hit with young readers this year. A cool concept, a fairy tale re-imagining, and a 21st century cyborg cinderella,  with a Star War’s like feel to it, there’s a lot to like about Cinder. I raced through it, and found it an entertaining, if light, read.  Continue reading

Book Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Publisher: Tanglewood Press

Published: 11th October 2011

Format: e-book

Genre: Post Apocalyptic, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8/10


‘Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.’

Make no mistake, Ashfall is more than a slightly depressing novel. It’s dingy and bleak and bloody terrifying when you consider Mullin has done his best to create as realistic a picture as possible if the super volcano at Yellowstone National Park were to erupt, which, theoretically, could happen in our lifetime.  Continue reading

Book Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Publisher: Egmont USA

First Published: 6th September 2011

Format: E-book

Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Horror, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8/10


‘It could happen tomorrow… 

A cataclysmic event. An army of “The Changed.” 
Can one teen really survive on her own? 

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human… 

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom—a young army veteran—and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. 

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.’

Ashes is one of the most gruesome books I have ever read. I should preface this review by saying that I am not a horror fan. Zombies are not my thing. And I wavered for quite a while on whether I was actually enjoying this book. I’m sure my face was a picture on the train while reading this. I kept squeaking and cringing – particularly in the first few chapters *shudder*.  Continue reading