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THE SILVER CHAIN by Jion Sheibani

Uplifting and unputdownable, a coming-of-age verse novel about family, mental health and the healing power of music.

Azadeh is a budding violinist on a music scholarship at an expensive private school, dealing with all the usual trials of being sixteen: trying her best to fit in, keep up and have fun. Then as her mum’s mental health spirals out of control, Azadeh’s world starts to unravel. Her friendships fall away, and as much as she and her dad try to keep a lid on everything, their problems insist on taking over. Feeling alone, it’s her violin that finally helps Azadeh to find her way back to her friends, herself and even her mum.

A beautifully packaged, highly important and irresistible novel about mental health struggles and the solace we find in music and rhythm, friendship, family and honesty.


Title : The Silver Chain
Author : Jion Sheibani
Format : Physical
Page Count : 352
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : June 23, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Told in verse
Parental mental illness
Poles apart friendships

There was a lot to unpack in this story told in verse. I really enjoyed the format where some sections were more lyrical than others, and some more straight narrative. Azadeh was something of a prodigious violinist, having a scholarship at a private school. In fact, Azadeh’s family were from humble means setting her apart financially from her peers but also in term of her heritage. Azadeh had a Persian father and I think an English mother although I wasn’t certain. Azadeh had some longings towards her origins that seemed unfulfilled.

Azadeh sought solice in her music, her violin, the notes, the message of the music. When things went wrong at home however, she lost her connection to music for some time. That seemed to untether her own mental wellbeing.

There were some slightly toxic friendships in this book, some lack of cultural understanding from friends and racist microagressions. Azadeh found this hard to navigate and it was uncomfortable to witness.

There was a strong storyline of mental illness and while that was good representation, I didn’t always feel that it was fully unpacked. It felt a little unfinished in the end from that perspective.

The most enjoyable aspect of this book was in it’s narrative style of verse. I found it very easy to read and listen to.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for the early review copy.

HERE IS THE BEEHIVE by Sarah Crossan

it happened,
again and again
and
again and again and again.

Together
apart.
In love
in aching.

Tangled
unravelling.

Ana and Connor have been having an affair for three years. In hotel rooms and coffee shops, swiftly deleted texts and briefly snatched weekends, they have built a world with none but the two of them in it.

But then the unimaginable happens, and Ana finds herself alone, trapped inside her secret.

How can we lose someone the world never knew was ours? How do we grieve for something no one else can ever find out? In her desperate bid for answers, Ana seeks out the shadowy figure who has always stood just beyond her reach – Connor’s wife Rebecca.

Peeling away the layers of two overlapping marriages, Here Is the Beehive is a devastating excavation of risk, obsession and loss.


Title : Here Is The Beehive
Author : Sarah Crossan
Format : eARC
Page Count : 272
Genre : Literary Fiction/Verse
Publisher : Bloomsbury Circus
Release Date : August 20, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★


Micky’s 2 star review

If ever there was a case of a book putting you off doing something in your real life, this book is it. Anyone tempted to cheat on their partner, would think twice after reading this unpleasant depiction. Strangely, the blurb was appealing and the cover was gorgeous.

My impressions on finishing this was that this was morose, depressing, disjointed and unfortunately, I have very little that is positive to say about this novel told in verse (other than it was told in verse). This wasn’t the strongest book I’ve read in verse but it did flow.

THIS IS THE BEEHIVE was a rather hideous story of deception, cheating, desperation, grief and blackmail. I hated pretty much all the characters and none more than the protagonist Ana. In fairness, she was left in a very difficult situation but her inner monologue of processing and looking back was uncomfortable and unpleasant reading.

The formatting of the arc was awful and this didn’t help the lack of sense between past and present transitions (which were non-existent). I only got through this because it was a short read but realistically what doesn’t work for me, might work for others.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the early review copy.