Zoella WHSmith Bookclub 2016: Part 5

For the summer Zoella WHSmith Bookclub i reviewed each of the books in four parts on my blog. I really enjoyed doing it and you all really seemed to enjoy reading it so when Zoe announced she was picking another eight books, it was a no-brainer!

This month it was “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo and “Frozen Charlotte” by Alex Bell.

If I Was Your Girl
Meredith Russo

img_2513This book follows a trans girl, Amanda, as she moves to a new town where people don’t know about her past. She is adapting to life where she is recognised as a girl by everyone around her and not just herself and her family, which doesn’t come without it’s fair share of challenges.

It’s a coming of age novel about finding yourself, friendship and love. When it comes to YA fiction in particular, the protagonist should never be younger than the age of the target audience because they tend not to enjoy books with protagonists who are younger than them. I do try and keep this in mind, despite my adoration for YA fiction- most books are designed for an audience slightly younger than myself. Amanda is still in high school and i can’t recall if her specific age is revealed, none the less this book is aged at those 18 and under.

In terms of language and structure, it’s a relatively easy read. I would introduce this book- as it is revolutionary in it’s time- to anyone from the age of 13 right up until adulthood. I think because this is one of the first novels with a trans character as the protagonist, it’s relevant- i think in ten years time when trans characters are more common in literature (i hope that’s the way the world is heading) it won’t be sat on a pedestal quite so much.

The story is okay, one of my major criticisms of this book is Amanda is a bit of a blank canvas. I feel she lacked dimension in terms of personality- i have read suggestions that the author wanted to be her more universal so i’m unsure if this was common or not. I felt the most defining thing about her as a character- was her gender. I would’ve liked to know more about her as a person, i think had the character been written a little more human, i would’ve took more from the book. Being trans is not a personality.

I thought the secondary characters were well written and the relationships between characters were written very well, and depicted teen romance and friendship accurately. I liked Grant as a character, i liked his story it was interesting and he was the best developed character in the book.

Without giving away spoilers, the ending is a bit ridiculous, it’s as if the writer got carried away with her thoughts and never re-read it. I think the book could’ve ended in a much better way that would’ve left the reader a tad more satisfied. img_2512

The book is important, what Russo is doing with this book is more important, at this time, than how it’s written and i suppose you can accept the faux pas- i would still recommend this for a read but would i re-read it? probably not. I do look forward to more literature including trans characters because i found Amanda’s story extremely interesting and it is a huge step forward for the LGBT+ community.

Her notes at the end of the book are a really nice touch and i suppose i did come away feeling somewhat uplifted. This book has changed literature as we know it, absolutely for the better- for that Meredith Russo has to be credited!

Frozen Charlotte
Alex Bell 

This is the first book that falls under the genre of horror now, i’ll be honest, i hate everything horror. I hate horror films, horror book, i don’t even really like Halloween! Everything horror triggers my anxiety but i didn’t want to miss any of the books out!

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It’s the thickest book out of the 8 but the writing is a good size and it has big margins. All in all, it took me under four hours to read it cover to cover.

The book follows Sophie, a young girl who is planning to visit her uncle & cousins in Skye over the holidays. When she arrives, she is grieving the loss of her best friend, Jay, and can’t help but think she and Jay have disturbed the spirit of her cousin who died many years ago, and that’s why Jay is dead.

When writing this kind of genre it’s really difficult to get the plot right. Everything has to make sense because these kind of plots need to be quite complicated. This story that Alex Bell tells is fantastic. The plot is so strong and i was completely satisfied- everything made sense and interlinked together really smoothly.

Characterisation was also really good, the characters were dimensional, well written and as a reader, i felt like they were in front of me. The way in which Sophie was written, made me feel like i was her so somehow i adapted her to myself. It was like i was experiencing it first hand and i was going through all the emotions as Sophie was… please allow your mind to do this when reading the story because you’ll enjoy it so much more!

It wasn’t too scary, that being said i was always on a train when i read this- i wouldn’t read it alone at night!

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My only criticism is the blurb at the back of the book. It kind of gives away the ending and had i not read the blurb… i wouldn’t have expected it. None the less, the ending was executed really well.

Overall i’d really recommend this book, if you’re not into horror books then read it in a busy place, through the day and hopefully you’ll surprise yourself & enjoy it!

Please let me know if you’ve read, are reading or would like to read any of the books mentioned in this post- or indeed the entire bookclub!

If you’re new around here, you can read parts 1-4 of the Zoella WHSmith Bookclub 2016 posts here .

As always, my social media is linked above if you want to check that out. I am going to be doing a giveaway in the next two weeks, i’m trying to build up a really good selection and to enter you’ll need to be following this blog, @gemmalynseyblog on twitter, and follow my bloglovin’ also so feel free to do that now if you don’t want to miss out on the giveaway!

Gemma Lynsey

xox

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