Never Evers – Review

Never EversNever Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the opening with Mouse sitting in the bath – it reminded me of the opening of I Capture The Castle – ‘I write this sitting in the kitchen sink’. Lucy and Tom’s books feel like modern updates of those classic romantic comedy stories, both literary and filmic.

There’s a such a good depiction of the bitchiness of girl gangs, and lots of stewing animosity between Mouse and her ex-best friend Lauren, who are both after the same guy, the clueless, somewhat dorky Jack. He and the boys gang of Max and Flynn, get up to a lot of gross-out or stupid inbetweeners antics, but it’s clear that Jack is the one with the good heart. Jack and Mouse meet the effortlessly cool French popstar and Bieber-alike Roland, will he be a possible love-rival to Jack or a new found friend to them both? I love the way all the character’s attempts to get it on – i.e. get a snog – end in disaster and all their social interactions come off as disjointed. None of them can read situations at all and everything requires a lot of thought and second guessing. The boys are especially clueless and are constantly putting their feet in their mouths.

This is a hilarious book for young teenagers, full of great gags and real relatable characters. It didn’t quite reach the heights of Lobsters for me, I think because the mystery of whether Jack and Mouse will kiss in the end doesn’t quite have the tension of the older storyline that Hannah and Sam have in Lobsters – navigating your first time, and what may be a deeper connection. So it felt like a lighter book, for a younger crowd, which it most definitely is, but still a lot of fun to read, with many more of Lucy and Tom’s trademark laugh-out-loud moments.

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The Girl of Ink and Stars – Review

The Girl of Ink and StarsThe Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and its beautiful poetic writing. It’s a fantastic island setting, where you can practically feel the muggy tropical heat, and where local folk tales and superstitions are bubbling to the surface once more. I loved the central friendship between the narrator Isabelle and her friend Lupe both come across as strong hearted individuals. I loved how they work together in so many scenes and in their own way both become the rescuers and heroes of the story. The book made me think of the Earthsea quartet in some parts but has a strong flavour of South American magic realist literature also and a classic fairytale feel. Overall an exciting and lyrical adventure with two strong girls at its centre.

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#NeverEvers book launch

I had a fun time at the Never Evers book launch last night, catching up with Lucy Ivison who I used to be in The Runcible Spoons writing group with, and finally meeting her writing partner Tom Ellen and their editor Barry Cunningham of Chickenhouse. I LOVED Lobsters by Lucy and Tom it was totally hilarious, and I’m really looking forward to reading Never Evers…