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This seminal exploration of mental health begins with an explosion. Olive is on the edge, unable to cope with the volume of noise and people in the world: “I hate humans. I hate that they’re everywhere. But the human I hate most is me”. After a disturbing episode during her dad’s birthday celebrations, she agrees to attend Camp Reset, “the country’s first residential camp for brain wellness”, where young clients are given therapy and encouraged to identify their core beliefs in a plush country setting. Olive knows what her core belief is - “I’m a bad person” - and so a key to her healing will be to switch that into “I am a good person who tries my best.” While struggling with this, and inspired by the “suicide algorithm” the Camp Reset doctors have devised, Olive is struck by her own idea for a cure. She’s a compelling, creative fireball of a character and, though her condition is complex and her journey often dark, she’s also frequently entertaining. After enlisting the help of introverted maths-lover Lewis, it’s not long before Olive’s idea evolves into a wildly big-scale project. Unflinchingly honest and empathetic, this intense novel demonstrates the primary importance of kindness and compassion, that it’s never a persons fault that they’re unwell, and just how essential self-care is. Ladies and Gents, I give you one of the year’s most important YA novels - an engaging and thought-provoking book with tremendous value. Holly Bourne has done it again. - Joanne Owen
Absolutely and completely adorable, this all embracing story will break, mend, and fill hearts with warmth, humour and love. Lana is bitter after her break-up and pours her angst into her new book, while much admired author Nancy often finds dementia leaves her in a confusing world. Jack acts as matchmaker with Lana and Nancy and they find their lives forever altered. The main characters light up the pages, Nancy in particular has taken up residence in my heart and soul. Sophie Jenkins has the most beautifully light and thoughtful touch, little bits of heartache sit right next door to gulps of laughter, while gorgeous literary snippets and references sprinkle the pages. As I finished reading, I actually said out loud “I blimmin love this book” and gave it a hug (it was witnessed, I got a couple of strange looks, but hey ho). Sophie Jenkins has written a relationship tale for book lovers of all kinds, for people who love hope and even need hope in their lives. I raise my glass to The Forgotten Guide to Happiness and what really matters in this world… love, in all its different shapes and sizes.
“All children are afraid of the dark,” says ten-year-old Mafalda sagely, and she knows this more than most, for her world is misting over. At some point in the next six months she will lose her sight to Stargardt Disease. Mafalda tries to get on with life but, as the days pass, the mist’s darkness descends ever faster, leaving her increasingly lonely. The novel’s universal, book-for-all-ages power has echoes of The Little Prince. Indeed, de Saint-Exupéry’s classic is referenced here by the inspiring one-of-a kind Estella, a school caretaker Mafalda befriends, who advises her to find her rose, “the thing that’s essential to you”, just like the Little Prince. Mafalda measures her vision in paces from a very special cherry tree. And, movingly, the book’s five parts are headed with titles that point to the deterioration of her sight, starting with Part One Seventy Metres, the distance from which she can see the cherry tree as the novel begins. Estella delivers further vital advice later in the novel: “To live in fear is not to live at all”, and it’s Estella who helps make a truly magical, heart-rending ending. Readers of all ages will be drawn deep into Mafalda’s poignantly pitch-perfect narrative. Younger readers will identity with, for example, how she knows when her parents are discussing something important but can’t quite grasp the meaning, while adult readers will fill in the blanks Mafalda is left puzzling over. Inspired by the author's own experience of Stargardt Disease, this is a dazzlingly tender and timeless tale of love and courage. - Joanne Owen
Described by Time Magazine as `a lethal comedy', Symposium centres around a dinner party and the lives of the five couples in attendance, including a burglary ring, a convent of Marxist nuns and several unexplained deaths. A devilish tale. This is one of the 22 novels written by Muriel Spark in her lifetime. All are being published by Polygon in hardback Centenary Editions between November 2017 and September 2018.
Gosh, what a striking and chillingly provocative tale this is. Geo’s best friend disappeared when they were 16, 14 years later a body is found, a serial killer is suspected, Geo knows the truth, has always known the truth, but then the murders start again. This has such a clever premise, the choices Geo made at 16 continue to play havoc, I questioned her, and my own thoughts and feelings about her as I read. I was wholly consumed by the writing, Jennifer Hillier has created a world that feels entirely real, I was taken inside the words, to think and feel and ponder. This isn’t about good and evil, or even whether monsters are born or created, it felt to me as though it was about decisions, choices, hearts and minds, in very, very human bodies. The climax sent a shockwave through me, when I reached the end I was left feeling unsettled, in the best possible way. ‘Jar of Hearts’ is an observant, penetrating read, one that grabs and shakes you, and leaves you thinking about the characters for a goodly while afterwards. Highly recommended.
An absolute belter of a novel, amusing, poignant, and hugely entertaining. This is a follow-up to the bestseller I Don’t Know How She Does It, however it could be read without prior knowledge of Kate Reddy's earlier life. Kate herself is fast heading towards 50 and invisibility, life however refuses to listen and keeps setting devious traps. I don't believe that you have to have passed or be nearing 50, to be a parent or even a woman, to be captivated by this tale of family drama. Allison Pearson writes with a witty, exceedingly realistic pen and I found myself nodding along, both smirking and wincing as I read. How Hard Can It Be captures life, proper gutsy, difficult, yet wonderful life, and while making you smile, also makes you think, I loved it.
Full of intrigue ‘11 Missed Calls’ weaves separate intriguing strands into a taut fascinating tale of family drama. Anna’s mum Debbie disappeared 30 years ago when Anna was just a month old, she has spent her whole life wondering what became of her, then a strange letter arrives and Anna wants answers. Elisabeth Carpenter handles the story with care and attention, focusing on thoughts and feelings, where they can take you, what they can become. The past sets traps as the present slips forward. Two women tell their own story, each chapter headed by one of them, then another voice starts to speak, who is it? As information was revealed and thoughts became clearer, a number of questions still knocked at the door of my consciousness. Prodding, poking and shaking feelings ‘11 Missed Calls’ is a stimulating and thoughtful psychological thriller.
'BREATHLESS, COMPLEX, AND SERIOUSLY HARDCORE - DON'T PLAN TO SLEEP TONIGHT' Lee Child 'A RIVETING PAGE-TURNER, A GRUESOME DELIGHT, AND A STUDY OF WHAT LIES IN THE SHADOWED CORNERS OF THE HUMAN HEART' Gregg Hurwitz, author of ORPHAN X Officially, Max McLean doesn't exist. The British government denies all knowledge of the work he does on their behalf to keep us safe. But Max and his masters are losing faith in each other. And they've given him one last chance to prove he's still their man. Sent to a military research facility to meet a former comrade-in-arms, Max finds the bravest man he ever knew locked up for his own protection. His friend lost his mind during an operation in West Africa. The reason? Absolute mortal terror. Max is determined to find out why. Ahead lies a perilous, breathtaking mission into the unknown that will call into question everything that Max once believed in. Acting alone, without back-up, Max lands in Sierra Leone with his friend's last words ringing in his ears: 'They're coming, Max. They're coming . . .' The Break Line is a debut dripping with authenticity and menace. Smart, unputdownable and packed with irresistible set pieces and jaw-dropping plot twists, this is a thriller like no other. 'A taut, razor-edged thriller, packed with granular detail and authenticity' JAMES SWALLOW, author of NOMAD
Charley has a strange feeling when she sees the idyllic mill house with its cluster of outbuildings, the lake and the swirling mill stream; a powerful sense of recognition, as if she has been there before. Except she knows she hasn't. After Charley and her husband Tom move into Elmwood Mill, sinister memories of a previous existence start to haunt her. Despite both their attempts to dismiss everything with rational explanations, the feeling turns to certainty as the memories become increasingly vivid and terrifying. Charley is persuaded to undergo hypnosis - but in searching deep into her past, she will soon fear her future. Originally published in 1990, this book has been re-issued and published by Orion in paperback in July 2018.
Some secrets have the power to tear a family apart . . . Moments before she dies, Nicola's grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden. Nicola reassures her that it is two statues of fairies she has in the garden, but Betty insists there are babies. Nicola's mother Irene claims Betty was talking nonsense, but Nicola is not so sure. And when, after the funeral, her daughter Maisie finds a bone while playing by the fairy statues, Nicola knows that something sinister has taken place. But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola's family apart?
Detective Alex Cross has never been on the wrong side of the law. Until now. Charged with murdering followers of his old nemesis Gary Soneji, Alex Cross becomes the poster child for trigger-happy cops. He knows it was self-defence. Will the jury agree? Suspended from the police and fighting for his freedom, even Cross's own family begin to doubt his innocence as shocking evidence mounts. With everything on the line, Cross must go it alone. He's the only one who knows that there's a real murderer watching from the shadows, one Cross must stop - even if it means he can't save himself...
A short, sharp, shock of read and it’s absolutely fabulous! Maxwell is determined to win his ex-wife Lily back even though she has moved on and found love with Sebastian, jealousy, spite, and rage enter their lives, laying waste. This is just so incredibly easy to read, even though the prologue cranks up the tension, and each chapter adds a whip-crack of suspense I simply galloped my way through ‘Do No Harm’. L. V. Hay has created characters who entered my mind in vibrant colourful intensity, the different points of view clear to see and feel yet disquiet fills the pages. Maxwell’s conversational diary-like entries as he makes his feelings clear slices through the new relationship. My thoughts almost turned themselves inside out as I read and the ending… oooh that ending! ‘Do No Harm’ is a little cracker, bursting with fiery energy, it certainly creates a stir.
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