The Build-Up Season by Megan Jacobson – Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Synopsis

From the author of CBCA-shortlisted Yellow comes a powerful exploration of family and identity set against the humid build-up to the wet season in Darwin.

He’s back.
The monster.
It’s the middle of the night and I’m awake, because even though I’m seventeen I still haven’t outgrown the childhood monster that haunts you in the dark. I haven’t outgrown it, because when I was a child, the monster was real.
He was my father.
But the thing is, the monster was the person I was closest to in the whole world, closer than I’ve been to anyone since.
That will tell you everything you need to know about me.
And still, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill the monster.
That will tell you even more about me.

Seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper is named after war and angry at the world. Growing up with a violent father and abused mother, she doesn’t know how to do relationships, family or friends. A love-hate friendship with Max turns into a prank war, and she nearly destroys her first true friendship with misfit Mia. Ily takes off her armour for nobody, until she meets Jared, someone who’s as complicated as she is.

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Title: The Build-Up Season

Authors: Megan Jacobson

Genre: young adult, contemporary

Release Date: July 31, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia

Link to buy book here.

 

My Review

The Build Up Season was so raw and Ily was such a great character that Jacobson created. Some of the written sections on domestic violence was a bit scary, but definitely eye-opening for individuals to be aware of bad habits, signs, and people’s use of manipulative and belittling language in a hostile relationship.

But on the other hand, there were some beautifully written romantic scenes that every older girl will love while reading this book. But there was also darker and confronting scenes that needed to be written for Ily to understand her self-worth. I thought that each romantic scene written was crafted really well to get the big message across: that every girl should understand her self worth, and be introspectively aware of how she feels in a romantic relationship.

The ultimate question that you’ll keep asking yourself, will Ily end up with the hunky wannabe actor Jared, or the annoying and obnoxious trickster, Max?

Again, to me, self worth was such a huge theme in the novel. And my hat goes off to Jacobson!

I also loved how Jacobson used the setting and landscape as a character. We’re thrown into the harsh, and humid build-up of the wet season in Darwin. The environment complimented each scene Jacobson crafted, especially a feisty yet heartfelt moment on a boat while a crocodile crawls along a riverbank. Great imagery!

Furthermore, the Darwin atmosphere becomes a significant metaphor of Ily’s relationships with her friends and family. Each element of Darwin and the inner life of Ily crosses paths strategically by Jacobson, which help map the reality of Jacobson’s book.

Lastly, I’m a sucker for any books that have references to mythology and ancient history. And the fact that Ily’s real name is Iliad – let’s just say my heart swooped! Especially that her name is so inextricably connected to her relationship with her father, and her evolving identity.

One of my favourite quotes in the book:

“You named me Iliad after a book filled cover to cover with war, Mum! How can I be anything but hostile.” – Page 4

A fantastic work of fiction on such a hard topic to write about!

Rating
4 / 5 stars

Best wishes,
Claire

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For more information:

Visit Megan Jacobson’s website.

Check out more of my book reviews here.

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The Truths and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr – Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Synopsis

This second novel from Emily Barr is a race-against time thriller and a true coming-of-age story. It explores the highs and lows of first love, all set under a blazing Rio sun.

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

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Title: The Truths and Lies of Ella Black

Authors: Emily Barr

Genre: young adult, contemporary

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Link to buy book here.

 

My Review

Amazing! Another wonderful story from Emily Barr!

After reading the first couple of chapters I was hooked! And after reading the whole book, Ella Black’s conflicted physical and emotional journey through Rio will stay with me forever. Dealing with overprotective parents, having a fake boyfriend, and hiding her psychopathic dark side, doppelganger Bella, Ella is a struggling young adult trying to come to terms with her true identity before she turns eighteen.

But the best part, why did her parents whisk her off to Rio, and what dark, calculated secret are they hiding? As soon as Ella learns the whole truth about her life in a foreign land, she’s instigated to make a change, for the better and for the worse, all by herself, smashing her way through life!

One of my favourite international YA books of the year!

Rating
4.5 / 5 stars

Best wishes,
Claire

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For more information:

Visit Emily Barr’s website.

Check out more of my book reviews here.

 

 

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada – Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Synopsis

A breathtaking debut about one girl’s quest for answers in a genetically and technologically advanced future.

When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.

Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.

There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.

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Title: This Mortal Coil

Authors: Emily Suvada

Genre: dystopian, apocalypse, young adult

Release Date: October 30th, 2017

Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia
Link to buy book here.

 

 

My Review

Wow. Wow. Wow. Since the first page and first chapter I was hooked! What a fantastic tornado of characters, relationships, deception, secrets and the ultimate revelation at the end that brings this beautifully crafted book to such a climatic end.

It’s not just the DNA, scientific language and dystopian world but the beautiful and heart wrenching love story in the midst of an apocalypse.

This is the ultimate story of a crazy mad scientist like Dr Frankenstein, childhood lovers and futuristic technology mixed with a dystopian world tortured by a bloody plague on humanity.

I loved it! One of my favourite international YA books of the year!

Rating
5 / 5 stars

Best wishes,
Claire

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For more information:

Visit Emily Suvada’s website.

Check out more of my book reviews here.