March Reads!

March has proved to be a good month for reading in general. I’ve managed to finish some books that has been on my reading list for a while, AND I was lucky enough to be one of the few bloggers to get my hands on a proof copy of I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman. First up for March is Sunflowers in February (sent to me by Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review) which I finished in two days – a book that was humorous whilst at the same time a tad cheesy and predictable. Alice Oseman’s newest YA novel proved to be her best yet (in my opinion even better than Radio Silence) – with two amazing main characters, one a POC, and the other a transgender male, without making their backgrounds the centre of the story. After reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz in February, I wanted to do some further reading on holocaust survivors – I decided to read the harrowing account of life in a concentration camp in Helga’s Diary. I also finally bought a copy of The Good Immigrant which proved to be an educational and eye opening read on culture and immigrant history. Finally, I zoomed through Ready Player One – a seriously geeky dystopian novel with infinite references to 80s pop culture, and perfect for gaming nerds.  Read the book before you see the film. The detail and logic in the book is ace.

See below the blurbs for the books I read in March – and wish me luck for April!

Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton [rating: ♥♥♥]

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road.

She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.

But what is she supposed do now?

Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family - her parents and her twin brother - start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman [rating: ♥♥♥♥♥]

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.

But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

Helga's Diary: A Young Girl's Account of Life in a Concentration Camp [rating: ♥♥♥♥♥]

First they led us to the baths, where they took from us everything we still had. Quite literally there wasn't even a hair left. I didn't even recognize my own mother till I heard her voice . . .

In 1941, aged 12, Helga Weiss, her mother and father were forced to say goodbye to their home, their relatives and all that they knew, and were interned in the Nazi concentration camp of TerezĂ­n. For the next three years, Helga documented her experiences there, and those of her friends and family, in a diary. Then they were sent to Auschwitz, and the diary was left behind, hidden in a wall.

Helga was one of a tiny number of Jewish children from Prague to survive the holocaust. After she returned home, she eventually managed to retrieve her diary and completed the journal of her experiences. The result is one of the most vivid first-hand accounts of the Holocaust ever to have been recovered.

The Good Immigrant – Edited by Nikesh Shukla [rating: ♥♥♥♥]

How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport?
Or be told that, as an actress, the part you’re most fitted to play is ‘wife of a terrorist’? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go ‘home’ to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick ‘Other’?

Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t seem to want you, doesn’t truly accept you – however many generations you’ve been here – but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.

Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants – job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees – until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and – most importantly – real.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline [rating: ♥♥♥♥♥]

A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.


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