5 September 2017

August Wrap Up | 2017

Unfortunately this wasn't the amazing reading month I was hoping for, but I'm not going to class it as particularly bad either, because although I only read two books, I enjoyed both of them! It also brings my total books read this year up to 19, which means I'm (finally!) on track with my Goodreads challenge!

18. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

My name is Hope Arden, and you won't know who I am. We've met before - a thousand times. I am the girl the world forgets. It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger. No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit - you will never remember who I am. That makes my life difficult. It also makes me dangerous... - Synopsis from Goodreads

This book was great. Yes, it took me actual months to read from start to finish, and yes, it also did make me cry once I had finished it, and it was so good! Like her other two books (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August and Touch), this novel focuses on a main character with an amazing kind of ability, in this case, no-one is able to remember Hope a few minutes after they lose sight of her. This is blessing and a curse, in that it allows to be an expert thief and never running the risk of being recognised, but it also means her family has forgotten her, and it is impossible to make friends or for someone to fall in love with her. Because of this, Hope is excellent at what she does, but deep down is incredibly miserable, and only holding on through rigorous discipline, and her story was beautifully written and wonderful to read.

As in all her books, I love how the author doesn't just come up with a cool idea and run with it, she takes the time to go deeper and deeper into the concept and come up with something so fully-formed it's actually incredible to read about. She's covered every angle of Hope's "ability", and thought about every detail, and the story is all the richer for it.

I also loved the less than chronological storytelling, one of the author's key traits, and how you have to fully invest in reading to understand it. If you're not paying attention, you'll quickly become confused, but how could anyone reading this wonderful book not be paying full attention? The novel is very immersive, and would suck me in instantly the moment I picked it up to continue.

However, the books is honestly a bit depressing. The story telling is flawless, and the characters are wonderful and engaging, and the writing is excellent, but it was definitely more of a downer compared to Harry August and Touch. Also, the (kind of) time jump later on in the book did feel a bit odd to me, and made the flow of the story a little too clunky for a while. But having said all that, I'll continue to recommend this book (and all of Claire North's books) to anyone who asks.

My rating: ★★★★

19. Scribbleboy by Philip Ridley 

Bailey Silk arrives in a new neighbourhood with his extraordinary family. He has no friends but receives a mysterious invitation to join the Scribbleboy Fan Club. The one and only founding member is Ziggy Fuzz. His vital mission is to spread the word about Scribbleboy and his amazing scribbles which years ago transformed the gloomy grey concrete of the neighbourhood.- Synopsis from Goodreads 

This was a reread of a book I remember very fondly from my childhood, so I asked for my own copy of it for my birthday this year, and my family delivered. Upon the reread I did like it, but it wasn't as amazing as I remembered (though to be fair, that was over a decade ago). All the characters I remembered as fun and quirky had become a bit annoying upon second reading. 

But I still liked the slightly dystopian, slightly mad world Philip Ridley has created, where all these characters live side by side and no-one thinks it's particularly odd. It also had his trademark dialogue-heavy style of writing, which some people might find annoying but I thought was a really cool and quite different way of telling the story. 

I also liked how he captured the feeling of helplessness children often experience, because ultimately they're not in charge of their life (and I thought a similar thing when I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman last month). I really sympathised with Bailey when it seems like his life is turning on its head and nobody seems to care how this is affecting him, and he is just trying to distract himself from it all with the legend of Scribbleboy.

(A sidenote: the Goodreads synopsis of this books spoils the major plot twist 80% of the way through the book, which seems just a little redundant.)

My rating: ★★★

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