If I Stay - Gayle Forman

N.B. this review contains spoilers

I have wanted to read this book since I saw the adverts for the film. Over and over people have told me how amazing it was, how heart-wrenching, how they hadn't cried so hard at a book since they'd read My Sister's Keeper or The Fault in our Stars. As fate would have it, I managed to buy a copy of If I Stay second-hand and finally got to read it. I loved My Sister's Keeper and TFIOS, and I was looking forward to another emotional read, hoping maybe this book would tackle some similar issues surrounding life and death. With all the hype around this book I feel surprisingly let down.

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

N.B. this review is spoiler free

With a movie adaptation on the way, I decided it was about time I sat down and read Ready Player One. Somehow, when I picked the book up I had absolutely no idea that it was another 80's pop culture extravaganza, and believe me I was not happy when I found out. Perhaps it is because the children of the 80s are all at the age that they are finding creative success, but sometimes it feels like there's a lot of stuff about the era going around and I'm a little bit bored of it. However, despite the critics slating it, I enjoyed the movie Pixels, so I thought another story with a lot of 80's gaming references might be manageable.

My biggest concern when I first started reading was that I'd have no clue what was going on half the time because I was not around to experience the 80s and the only games I play are the Sims and Super Mario. Admittedly, I found the lead up to Wade finding the first key to be a bit slow and confusing, but as soon as things start to heat up I was totally on board. I would say that you definitely need to be a nerd of some capacity to really understand the book, but you definitely don't need to know all the references.

Release - Patrick Ness

N.B. this review has no spoilers!

I have only read two Patrick Ness novels prior to this; A Monster Calls - one of the most beautiful and powerful books I have ever read - and The Rest of Us Just Live Here - a book that, whilst a little boring, had complex and interesting characters with complex and interesting lives. When I read the blurb of Release, I wasn't convinced it was going to be something I would like, but I found a rogue signed copy in an indie store and thought 'why not?'. After all, it has one of the most beautiful covers I have seen in a long time, so even if it's not for me it will look good on a bookshelf. That was one of the best decisions I have made this year (or ever, really). My favourite genre is 'coming of age', and my goodness is this one hell of a coming of age story. This book is powerful and it is important on so many different levels.

Release follows a day in Adam's life during the summer before his senior year of high school, a day in which everything goes to hell. He's the son of a very conservative evangelical minister who believes you can quite literally pray the gay away. Of course, Adam being gay is not a comfortable topic at home. What's more, he's still trying to deal with the heartbreak inflicted by his break up with his first proper boyfriend while trying to learn to love his new one, Linus, as much as Linus loves him.