PAPER AVALANCHE by Lisa Williamson

‘Bonnie. Never Mum or Mummy or Mother. Just Bonnie.’

When it comes to flying under the radar, Ro Snow is an expert.

No friends.

No boys.

No parties.

And strictly NO VISITORS.

It may be lonely, but at least this way the truth remains where it should – hidden.

Then Tanvi Shah, the girl who almost died, comes tumbling back into her life, and Ro finds herself losing control of her carefully constructed lies.

But if Ro’s walls come crumbling down, who’s going to take care of Bonnie…


Title : Paper Avalanche
Author : Lisa Williamson
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 384
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : David Fickling Books
Release Date : January 2, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

If you know me, you know that YA contemporary is a bit of a sweet spot but none more than those set in the UK. I find it so identifiable, the language, the nuances, the culture. Sarcasm abounds, no-one is ‘awesome’ and life is generally a bit grittier than we see in the average YA set in the US.

PAPER AVALANCHE was all those things from the first few pages, utterly engaging and heartachingly provoking. The protagonist, Ro was 14 years old, so in some ways, this was a young YA; but it wasn’t. Ro was a carer, certainly a caretaker and a provider in her house. She was an old soul, but a jaded old soul. She wasn’t experiencing a childhood, she hadn’t for a long time and it hurt to read sometimes.

The story of living in the house of a hoarder was certainly unique to my reading experiences. The whole context and narrative voice felt incredibly fresh. Ro’s reluctant maturity and survivor mode had my own parenting instincts on full alert. I hated both her parents with a passion and I think I hated the father more.

Bonnie’s hoard no longer encroaches on my space, but I still feel the weight of it all around me.

In the midst of this mess (excuse the pun), some new experiences were waiting for Ro in the form of friendships, a crush and self-belief. It felt so good to cheer for Ro as she navigated a little good along with the bad.

This is a book worth reading and not only that, it is a book worth shouting about. The writing had such an ease to it, that I slipped into the story and the characters which were rich and unusual. I loved everything about the reading experience with PAPER AVALANCHE and I’m wondering why I never picked up the heralded first book by this author; I will do now.

I highly recommend this contemporary YA set in Brit-land for a slice of the grim and a lack of cookie-cutter. Lisa Williamson keeps it real, advocating with her story for some of the difficult lives that young people navigate with integrity and bravery. I’m a fan.

Thank you to David Fickling Books and Ed PR for this review copy.

THE PLACES I’VE CRIED IN PUBLIC by Holly Bourne

Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.

Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him


Title : The Places I’ve Cried In Public
Author : Holly Bourne
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary
Publisher : Usbourne Publishing
Release Date : October 3, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


This was my first Holly Bourne read but I have come away a little unsure if her writing style is for me. I am a stalwart fan of British contemporary YA, some of my favourite YA is UK written and based, because of course I want that real connection with my culture.

It took me a good third of the book to really get settled into the story and the characters. Overall, I didn’t really connect with any character in the book and I feel that I should have connected with Amelie. She irritated me on and off. Needless to say, I hated Reese, however I did like her friends, Hannah, Archie and Jessa. I would have loved more about these friendships.

Bourne narrates some important themes in this book in the form of insidious and manipulative behaviour in a significant other. In fact the behaviour was much more than that. There was a slow reveal of what that ‘more’ is and some of the handling of how that reveal happened was a little messy in execution for me, losing some clarity of the severity and wrongness of the behaviour. I also struggled with the past and present timelines, they just didn’t flow well in and out of one another but I did get used to the framing eventually. I don’t normally struggle with this approach but there was just something about the chop and change that made it difficult to stay inside the story.

There were some strong elements that really captured me but they were small parts of the story. I thought how the counsellor and counselling was represented was realistic and positive. I thought the assault element took an less talked-about path that was good to have out there in literature without being too graphic. I also liked the music teacher and the tentative confidante that was offered and appreciated.

I am left with questions however, why was there no mention of reporting this heinous crime? This was a problematic big hole in this story that is meant to and will influence young people having some similar experiences told in this story.

I have rated this 3 stars for the important themes, but I do feel it could have been executed better both in writing dealing with such sensitive topics.

Thank you to the publisher and Amazon Vine for the finished review copy.

LETTERS TO THE LOST by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.


Title : Letters to the Lost
Author : Brigid Kemmerer
Series : Letters to the Lost #1
Format : Library ebook
Page Count : 393
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing UK
Release Date : April 6, 2017

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

I am so late to this series but it is nice to be reading the backlog and not only that but reading the backlog and enjoying it. This contemporary YA packed an emotional punch from the first page to the last and it was a strap-yourself-in kind of ride.

The story of The Dark and Cemetary Girl aka Declan and Juliet was one shrouded in secrets, reveals, lies and anger. These two crashed into each other through letters and messages and I enjoyed the brief epistolary starts to chapters.

The experiences that underpinned the stories, slowly revealed in this book were hefty ones but not unrealistic. The story flowed around grief and loss, touched on abuse and addiction and had that hated element of nasty parenting too. I do struggle with awful parents in YA sometimes but I was able to push through those elements in this story.

One of the absolute strengths of this story was the intensity of the online connection that these two had, it belied their ‘in real life‘ connection. What was even more surprising was that their intense relationship was all genuine and platonic compassion, concern and shared experience. There was a low level of romance but it really was not at the fore, nor did it need to be. I think for the kind of genre this is, it is unusual as romance is often the platform for connections in contemporary YA; Brigid Kemmerer showed her skill in this.

LETTERS TO THE LOST took me on an emotional journey, I felt the sadness and empathised with the loss and despite the lack of hope threaded through, I did enjoy this. It was definitely difficult to put the book down. I am really anticipating the next book and who I think the main character is. However, I have already read book three, chaotic reader that I am.

If you’re one of the few who haven’t read this book, like I was, I do recommend.

JACKPOT by Nic Stone

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Dear Martin –which Angie Thomas, the bestselling author of The Hate U Give, called “a must read”–comes a pitch-perfect romance that examines class, privilege, and how a stroke of good luck can change an entire life.

Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?

Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.


Title : Jackpot
Author : Nic Stone
Format : Paperback ARC
Page Count : 339
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Kids UK
Release Date : October 15, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

JACKPOT is the second book by Nic Stone that I’ve really enjoyed. She has a way of making you exist in her fictional world and get completely wrapped up her characters. This is book brimming with diversity, the have and have-nots and coming-of-age.

I didn’t know what to expect going into this read, I knew there was a lottery ticket and a young woman. What I got was the compelling character of Rico, working every hour outside of school to help her mum with keeping the eviction notice away, whilst looking after her young brother, Jax. It was pretty tragic to read as Rico had no kind of normal teenage existence. There was a sense of desperation around Rico that invaded the atmosphere.

Rico embarked on a quest to find a winning lottery ticket and she got up the courage to grab Zan to help her. He seemed to be her opposite in every way especially in terms of his financial situation. However, the more I got to know Zan, the more I realised that Zan and Rico were similar in many ways. What made this story was that Zan and others that entered Rico’s life, brought some normal teen experiences, some firsts and it was precious to read Rico having these experiences.

There were some unexpected twists to this story and some tragedies too that had me on the edge of my seat. I can honestly say this was a great reading experience and that I enjoyed the book from cover to cover. Nic Stone’s narrative felt realistic, representing poverty tangibly and with messages that need to be heard without a preachy feel. I love her writing style, it makes for ease of reading. Highly recommended.

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