Review: The Baby – Lisa Drakeford

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford

The Baby by Lisa Drakeford
Publication date: 2 July 2015
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781910002230
Length: 223 pages
Genre: Contemporary
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: ★★★

When Olivia opens the bathroom door, the last thing she expects to see is her best friend Nicola giving birth on the floor – and to say Nicola is surprised is an understatement. She’s not ready to be a mum, and she needs Olivia’s help. But Olivia has her own problems – specifically her bullying boyfriend, Jonty, and keeping an eye on younger sister Alice. And then there’s Nicola’s friend Ben, who’s struggling with secrets of his own…

I fell in love with the idea behind Lisa Drakeford’s debute the minute I saw the book and once my copy landed on my desk, it went straight to the top of my reading list. Teenage pregnancy – and especially teenage parenthood – is a hugely important issue which, I think, doesn’t get the attention it should in YA literature.

Interestingly, and unlike the very few other novels I’ve seen and read so far, The Baby focuses on parenthood and not the pregnancy itself. It explores how Nicola and the dad deal with new-found parenthood and how the dynamics change among their group of friends after the baby is born, which really intrigued me. It also touches upon, however briefly, the subject of domestic violence and bullying, two equally significant topics that don’t get mentioned enough. I have to applaud Drakeford for bringing such important subjects to the attention of younger readers and dealing with them in such a delicate way.

Understandably, I had really high hopes for this novel but, unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

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Showcase Sunday #103

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hi guys! How are you all? Are you having a nice bank holiday weekend? I’m dashing off to London in an hour or so and I still need to get ready so I’ll try to be quick. 😀 Lots of books to talk about today so let’s get cracking!

Incoming

The Last Summer of Us

This is Not a Love Story

 The Last Summer of Us | The Baby | No Safe House | This is Not a Love Story

I had a pretty good week book-wise, although some of these arrived last week when I didn’t have the time to post them on the blog. Last weekend, I was in Notting Hill and popped into a local Waterstones to have a look around. I spotted The Last Summer of Us, which has been on my wishlist for a while, and decided to treat myself to a copy. It looks and sounds like the perfect summer read so it’ll be perfect for next month.

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Review and Giveaway: Panther – David Owen

Panther by David Owen

Panther by David Owen
Publication date: 7 May 2015
Publisher: Constable & Robinson
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781472116420
Length: 230 pages
Genre: Contemporary
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository
My rating: ★★★★

Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart.

When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to try and capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

I keep saying this – and I’m sure I’ll say it again – but depression and mental illness are not easy subjects to tackle. It’s not an easy thing to digest as a reader, but it’s even more difficult to write about these issues in a genuine and original way. However, David Owen did a fantastic job with his debut and Panther is just as brilliant and thought-provoking as I hoped it would be.

The story starts in a dark alleyway behind Derrick’s house where he’s eating stale, days old cookies out of a dustbin. Two paragraphs in, and I’m already hooked. It’s a bold yet perfectly eye-opening start, and you cannot help but wonder how things got this bad and what on earth drove Derrick to eat sodden cookies out of a bin for the past few months.

The rest of the story is just as captivating as the beginning and I’m not exaggerating when I say I read it in one sitting. In the following 22 chapters, we get a glimpse of how his sister’s depression affects Derrick’s family and everyone around them, how helpless and out of control they feel, and how each of them cope – or rather fail to cope – with Charlotte’s illness. I loved the fact that we heard the story from Derrick’s perspective rather than Charlotte’s, as I felt it made the story even more unique (and even more heartbreaking, if that’s possible).

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Book Blogging

Book Blogging

When I started my blog on a gloomy Saturday nearly 4 years ago, I didn’t have a clue how it would all turn out. I didn’t know how long I would be able to keep it up… how long I would want to keep it up. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have any long-term plans when I started – I didn’t sit there and go ‘right, I’ll stick to this for the next five years’. I didn’t have a plan for finding new readers for my blog or creating a consistent blogging schedule either. Quite honestly, they didn’t even cross my mind at that point. I just knew I wanted to share my thoughts about the (increasing amount of) books I read and find other people with the same hobby.

Four years later, I’m still here.

I’ve learnt an awful lot along the way and, although there are things I would do differently if I could start all over again, I’m happy with the way things turned out and proud of this little slice of the internet that I have built throughout the years.

Today, I decided to write about some of the things I wish I knew before I started book blogging. If you’re thinking about starting a blog and joining our (not so) little community, I hope you’ll find these helpful and – hopefully – learn from my mistakes.

1. Blogging is hard work

As I said, I didn’t have a clear plan when I started. I guess I just imagined I would put some posts up once in a while, and that would be it (oh, dear naïve younger self). In reality, though, that’s not how it works.

Blogging is time-consuming and so many people don’t realise just how much work and dedication goes into creating and updating a blog. From brainstorming for new and unique post ideas to creating graphics for your post and making sure it reaches as many readers as it possibly can, there’s a lot of work involved. More than I would have ever thought. Before you start your blog, think about how much time you would be able to dedicate to it (realistically) and whether you’re ready to make that commitment.

2. Some days you’ll feel like giving up

…and that’s completely normal. When I started blogging, I couldn’t imagine not wanting to spend time on my blog. But you won’t always feel that way. There will be days and weeks when you wonder why exactly you’re doing this and whether it’s worth all that time and effort that you’ve put into it. Believe me, it’s not just you. We all go through phases like this and it’s perfectly normal.

Don’t give up. Take a week or two off, spend some time with your family, travel, or dedicate some time to your other hobbies and recharging your batteries. We all do it. Think about why you started blogging in the first place and what you can do more of on your blog that fills you with anticipation and excitement – it helps an awful lot.

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