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What I'm Reading This Summer


It seems like only yesterday that I was telling you all about the books that I wanted to read this Spring. Now, Summer has arrived! Bright nights, sandy toes and tan-lines are surely to become a fixture of this Season (remember your SPF, please!), but whisking yourself away doesn't need to be by plane, train or car. Something on your bookshelf - or on my Summer TBR - might just transport you to another world!
Don't forget to tell me what you're reading this Summer. The best way to get involved is to comment here on this post or #ThisSummerPLM on twitter (just click and it will start your tweet!) with your reads! I always respond to everyone. 

Once And For All 
by Sarah Dessen
I am head over heels for Sarah Dessen books! I mean, she is the staple YA Summer read author, right? Her books are just made for those warm nights staring out at the ocean (or at least, pretending you are). I've had my eyes on Once And For All for a little while now and I finally saw it at Waterstones in Bristol, England when I was there for my sisters birthday (shout-out to my sister, 23 Review Street!). This has to be one of the most subtle, yet achingly beautiful covers and blurbs I've read. C'mon, if you haven't got this yet, why?? 
It's set in the world of wedding planning (why am I always reminded of Bride Wars?) and for Sarah's thirteenth novel, she delves into happy, messy and perfect. 


When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon

This is the most talked about YA of the moment. All I've seen on my Goodreads and Instagram feeds is rave reviews for the amazing When Dimple Met Rishi. With that cover (how goofy/cute/intriguing/unique does it look?!) I again spotted it in my favourite bookstore. I don't know why I hadn't got this before, because it was on my TBR, but now that I have it, I can't wait to delve into those pages! It's a Bollywood rom-com! Who wouldn't want to read that?!




Royce Rolls
by Margaret Stohl
I have always been a fan of Margaret Stohl since the Beautiful Creatures days, so seeing her novels that aren't shared with Kami is always a surprise. I kept seeing the cover places and didn't connect the dots that she had wrote Royce Rolls - basically our YA version of the Kardashians meets Reality TV Gold. The cover itself is a work of art (the colours, the ROYCE ROLLS all in gold) and the description is magnetic: a laugh-out-loud LA noir packed with a perfect punch of things everyone loves in YA. This one is going straight onto my nightstand!




Always and Forever, Lara Jean
by Jenny Han
Have you ever just fallen in love with a series, a character or just the way that the author writes these things that speak to your heart? This is how I feel about Jenny Han's Lara Jean series. This is a story about a girl, her heart and the journey of her life. Always and Forever, Lara Jean is the third instalment in the series and I can't say anymore right now because I'm currently halfway through this and don't want to risk spoilers by digging too deep into what happens! What I can say is that Lara Jean is loving senior year, but nothing perfect can stay...a change is coming. 

Currently book-stalking...




I don't own these two yet, but I'm hoping to get my hands on these beauties this Summer! I've always loved a feel-good book, or one with a bigger meaning and sentiment. I've got my eyes on these two in particular! 






Have you read any of the books I want to read this Summer?

Let me know what you thought in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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Pride 2017: "Girl Hearts Girl" by Lucy Sutcliffe




Title: Girl Hearts Girl
Author: Lucy Sutcliffe
Published: June 24th, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic  
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
An inspiring, uplifting and sympathetic story about sexuality and self-acceptance, Lucy Sutcliffe's debut memoir is a personal and moving coming out story. In 2010, at seventeen, Lucy Sutcliffe began an online friendship with Kaelyn, a young veterinary student from Michigan. Within months, they began a long distance relationship, finally meeting in the summer of 2011. Lucy's video montage of their first week spent together in Saint Kitts, which she posted to the couple's YouTube channel, was the first in a series of films documenting their long-distance relationship. Funny, tender and candid, the films attracted them a vast online following. 
Now, for the first time, Lucy's writing about the incredible personal journey she's been on; from never quite wanting the fairy-tale of Prince Charming to realising she was gay at the age of 14, through three years of self-denial to finally coming out to friends and family, to meeting her American girlfriend Kaelyn.
My Review
LGBT books are becoming rightly a huge part of YA literature. One of the first LGBT books I ever read was by Robin Talley and since then, they've become a huge part of my YA loves. Not only was I already cover-stalking Girl Hearts Girl, but I was so eager to get involved in Pride Month - my first year getting properly involved, thanks to Scholastic! I had always had a few ideas of what to do or post and considering having supported LGBT books all year round, I knew that my post had to be extra special to properly draw attention to the importance of LGBT representation in YA books.
Enter Girl Hearts Girl, a story that's actually real and a memoir of all things! Pretty Little Memoirs started because of my own desire to write my memoirs of life, so it's only right that I finally read a YA memoir too. Lucy's story isn't quite the typical YA boy-meets-girl, because Lucy has never been interested in having a Prince Charming whisk her away like in the fairytales. She's known from her early teenage years that she liked girls. But it hasn't always been easy for her. There were patches of denial, before finally coming out to her family and realising that she had to start believing in herself - and stop denying who she was inside. 
But Lucy finds herself in someone else, too. Meeting online when she was seventeen, she started talking with a girl called Kaelyn from America. It's clear, reading about their conversations and honesty with each other that they share a true, raw connection. They meet the summer that followed their first year of talking and since that day, Lucy and Kaelyn's lives changed as they documented their relationship online through social media for the world to see; through highs and lows and the pressures, backlash and frank moments that I can truly feel Lucy's voice echoing in my ear. 
Girl Hearts Girl was a sheer slice of sunshine. As Lucy walks us through her life, I can't help but smile and cry along with her on this extraordinary journey of self-acceptance and the power of love. I can't rate this any higher. A shining example of Pride. 

Rating

Read an extract from GIRL HEARTS GIRL here!


Have you read Girl Hearts Girl?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments and don't forget to use #ReadwithPride on twitter! 

happy reading!
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Book Review: "The Lines We Cross" by Randa Abdel-Fattah



Title: The Lines We Cross
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Published: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic  
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Boy meets girl. Girl changes everything.

Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play with the latest graphic design software. His parents drag him to rallies held by their anti-immigrant group, which rails against the tide of refugees flooding the country. And it all makes sense to Michael.

Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart—and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents’ politics seem much more complicated.

Mina has had a long and dangerous journey fleeing her besieged home in Afghanistan, and now faces a frigid reception at her new prep school, where she is on scholarship. As tensions rise, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.

First Thoughts
As soon as The Lines We Cross landed in my lap (thank you, Scholastic!), I was entranced. Not only did it seem frank from the synopsis, but definitely lifelike. I was eager to dig in and after it ended up on top of my TBR recently, I was SO ready for it. 


My Review
Michael is pretty normal. He likes to hang out with his friends and be a normal Australian teenager. But he can't ignore that his Parent's haven't got the best outlook on life that many millennials have - except he's going along with it, and underneath it all, he knows it's wrong but somehow, he can't pull away from his Parents values on immigrants; because they run a group that's strictly against them. 
Mina, on the other hand, is everything Michael isn't. She's an immigrant who came to Australia as a refugee. She's loved and she's lost so many people close to her after escaping Afghanistan, but when she meets Michael, their lives collide in a strange way, suddenly opening Michael's eyes to the horrid ways his Parents have blinded people with their racist way of life and culture. 
I've never read a book quite like The Lines We Cross. It's political, hard-hitting, true and touching. It's Mina's voice that truly shatters through the stereotypes of supposed dominant cultures and breathes a breath of fresh air into the pages. She's angry at the hurt she feels so deeply and the way that she can't escape the people like Michael's Parents. But despite that, it's Michael that changes the most throughout the novel (despite loving Mina the most). No longer going along with his Parents cruel actions, he has an epiphany that clears his fogged vision. Mina has captured his heart in ways that he hasn't felt before, and that changes everything. 
This is Realistic YA at it's finest. Even though there were parts and points that I didn't necessarily gel with completely, I truly loved The Lines We Cross. It's one of the most unique books I've read this year and truly memorable for the realistic aspects that it touched upon. Overall, this is such a must read because of the society we live in. I loved the way that Randa captured Mina's hurt at feeling that people like Michael's parents thought they were the dominant culture just because they were white. The truth is that we are all equals; no matter what colour your skin is, whether you're straight, gay, bisexual or a man or woman or trans. We were all born equal and if anyone ever tries to tell you that you're not good enough, let me tell you this: you are enough. 

Rating

Have you read The Lines We Cross?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!

happy reading!
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Book Review: "Windfall" by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: Windfall 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.
Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.
First Thoughts
Jennifer could write a book about anything and I would be right there waiting in line to read it. Her novels have that kind of magical power that just can turn a bad day into a soaring wonder of a moment, escaping into these beautiful worlds she creates. Windfall sounded like a movie to me in my mind, the way I read the blurb. Then I found out it had been optioned for film the other day! How amazing is that?! I'm SO happy for you, Jennifer, if you're reading this (I hope so!).


My Review
Windfall? More like the most wonderful, wonderstruck and absorbingly gorgeous novel of the year. Alice is just the most stand-out, brilliant character and how she's written just gels so effortlessly throughout Windfall. The thing is, Alice hasn't had the best life. Her Parents died not long after each other, and she's been secretly in love with her best friend, Teddy, for as long as she can remember. They've both not had the greatest luck, and that's something that ties them together in this unspoken connection. So when Alice buys Teddy a lottery ticket for his birthday and he wins - and wins big - everything they knew changes completely in an instant, sending their lives into different paths and changes the way their lives used to be. But when you're Alice and Teddy - you have a way of finding your way back to each other, and they are the true stars of this novel, their sheer connection almost 3D through the book pages.
Even though Jennifer's previous books have been amazing, Windfall has stolen my heart completely and utterly. I have a great love for this book and these characters, far greater than I first anticipated. I fell head over heels for Alice and Teddy and the way they love. I laughed and I cried through their words and breathtaking moments filled with hope for the future and characters with the biggest hearts. I turned pages far faster than I could comprehend and I finished Windfall in a day, happy and sad at the same time that it had gone by so fast (I just want to read it again, already!). There's a special kind of something in Jennifer's latest book that makes my heart happy - not just a notion but a firework of feelings; happiness and beauty and hope for everything in life. 
Overall, Jennifer has clearly outdone herself yet again. Just when I thought that This Is What Happy Looks Like, was my favourite Jennifer book, Windfall has come out of the shadows and straight into the spotlight, brimming with heartfelt moments, hope and the power of pure love and friendship. If you're going to delve into one YA read this year, make it this one. Without a doubt, I cannot imagine anyone not loving this book. It has my heart - five stars completely. 


Rating


Have you read Windfall?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or at @LittleMemoirs on twitter! 

happy reading!
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A Note From Becca





My thoughts and Prayers are with the victims of the Manchester attacks and those happening in Marawi and across other parts of our World. Pretty Little Memoirs is a place that you may come to talk about anything, so please do let me know if you need anything or just a person to talk to. 

Rest In Peace to the victims of these terrible attacks.

Love,
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Book Review: "The Names They Gave Us" by Emery Lord





Title: The Names They Gave Us 
Author: Emery Lord
Published: June 1st, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

From acclaimed author Emery Lord comes a vibrant, compelling story of love, loss, faith, and friendship.
Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord’s storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges.

First Thoughts
When this arrived, I can quite easily say I FLIPPED and hugged it. Everyone who reads PLM knows how much I adore YA, but more importantly, when Emery contributes to it with her amazing characters and flawless world-building. The premise for The Names They Gave Us sounds like it's going to make me smile/cry/repeat and it went to the top of my TBR so fast.

Review
I have never started a review with my rating for it (not that I can ever remember going back to 2012 when I started my blog) but right here? We have the biggest FIVE star book I've read this year, hands down, swear on all my bookshelves. I was expecting greatness (it's an Emery Lord book, obviously) but this is just some kind of magic. Let me tell you why: Lucy is just like us. What I'm trying to say is that she feels real, like she's my best friend or someone I went to school with. I felt for her with personal empathy for the things she was going through with her Mother's cancer, and for the unwinding spiral of her life as she tried to maintain some kind of control over it.
The Names They Gave Us isn't all about cancer, despite Lucy's story being intertwined with it, or about Religion despite Lucy being a firm believer in God. In fact, because of Lucy's Mom being sick, she decides that for once, it's okay to not follow the lines of her religious beliefs and to let herself be Lucy; opening herself up to things that she previously wouldn't have done, namely because the Summer Camp job she has switches to a different kind and it makes her sceptical about what this Summer will bring, along with the fact that her boyfriend just paused their relationship (how dare he!). But then, she meets the characters that truly shape this book for the better: a diverse, amazing, beautiful array of people that as secondary characters, light up the pages with their own radiant spotlight. 
I just CAN'T explain how much this book affected me. It's heartbreaking, raw, true and beautifully messy and I thoroughly loved Lucy's strikingly honest POV and how much she trusted her faith. Overall, The Names They Gave Us is a YA Book unlike any other (I know, it's a cliche to say that, but it's so, so true) and Emery has truly outdone herself with her latest novel! I'm always amazed at how much her writing can make me laugh and cry at the same time at these characters that you just want to hug and be friends with. This can't get a higher five stars from me.


Rating


Have you read The Names They Gave Us?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or at @LittleMemoirs on twitter! 

happy reading!
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Book Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke (+ Q&A with Cat!)





Title: Girlhood 
Author: Emma Wunsch
Published: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Quercus
Find the Author: Goodreads 

I received this book for review on my blog! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

Real, compulsive and intense: Cat Clarke is the queen of emotional suspense. For fans of Paula Hawkins, Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott and Jandy Nelson.

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows no one else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

First Thoughts
Cat Clarke + Boarding School + Female Friendships = instant magic?!

My Review
There has always been something enticing and captivating about a boarding school book in YA. Girlhood stands out with it's deep pink cover and chilling tagline: sugar and spice and scars for life. I was instantly drawn to the main character, Harper, who's personality is tinged with the remnants of her sisters death hanging on her shoulders - because her sister Jenna who died, was her twin, and ultimately when twins are separated by such tragic circumstances, it's unbelievably painful. But Harper has these friends; idyllic, lively and bursting with the kind of support that you'd kill for, and they have shaped the person she's become at the Duncraggan Academy. 
New girl Kirsty is like a magnet to Harper. They share a painful similarity, because Kirsty has also lost a sister. They click and find an unspoken connection and for the first time in a very long time, Harper feels like she's coming out of her shell and crawling back to the person she used to be. 
But then Kirsty suddenly changes, and it's getting under Harper's skin in the ways that Kirsty has become obsessive over Jenna - Harper's twin - and faster than she can contemplate, Harper is at risk of losing the people she cares about the most. She knows that the answer to finding out the truth is to climb out of the depressive cloud hanging over her head and find herself again through the mayhem. 
WOW. Just wow. Have you ever read a book and then just sat there and thought "how do I go on from here?". Girlhood is this book. I couldn't read anything for a day after, still enraptured by the story, the painful truth and compulsively addictive characters. Girlhood is a lighthouse in the darkness; bold and enthralling. The elements that I loved were the lack of romance (because it focused on more important things), but the implement of sexuality in Harper's case of being bisexual, and I think that Cat wrote this so honestly. Rowan was one of my favourite characters by far (you'll know why when you read Girlhood) and I loved the friendship that bonded the girls together - it's a breath of fresh air to see such a female driven friendship group in YA. 
Overall, Girlhood is a must-read, must-have and must-re-read over and over again. If you haven't got it in your hands, you're truly missing out on one of the best books of the year! I don't say it very often, but I wish I could give this six stars, or seven, or eight. A true epic read!

Rating


Q&A with CAT CLARKE! 

It was one of the best days when I found out I could interview the Cat Clarke! She's such a staple amazing YA author and having her on my blog is a dream come true. A huge thank you to Nina for arranging this (you're a star!)

Harper sounds like such a fascinatingly complex character. What inspired her personality?

I wanted to write about a girl struggling to cope with grief, but just about managing to keep her head above water, with the help of her friends. Alhough there’s no romance in the plot, Harper is bisexual, and her best friend, Rowan, is a lesbian. I wanted to create a group of friends who weren’t all straight. On the surface of things, the four friends in Girlhood couldn’t be more different, but that’s partly what makes their bond so strong.
I also wanted Harper to feel uncertain and anxious about leaving school. She’s in her final year, and everyone else seems to have their whole future figured out, whereas she doesn’t have a clue what she wants to do. I think that’s something a lot of people can relate to – I certainly can!

What's your favourite thing about Girlhood in the sense of female friendships in YA? 

I especially love the moments of kindness and forgiveness between the girls. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂 Friendship is one of my favourite things to read about in any book. 

What inspires you the most when writing? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I’m inspired by news stories (not so much right now though, with the world being pretty much on fire!). Music inspires me a lot, as do books and films. Inspiration can come from anywhere – it’s about paying attention, and being open to it at all times.

And finally, do you have any plans for future (surely amazing) books? 

I’m in the middle of writing my next YA, which should be out next year. And I’m also working on some non-fiction projects, and a top-secret project that I’m having a lot of fun with. I want to keep challenging myself with my writing, and hopefully keep enjoying the process.


Want to listen to an empowered GIRL POWER playlist? I created this playlist on Spotify for all my Pretty Little Memoirs readers! Enjoy listening to these girl anthems! 




Have you read Girlhood?

What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or at @LittleMemoirs on twitter, and use the hashtag #readGirlhood to join in!

happy reading!
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