Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 19th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
With thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for sending me a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.


"'It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?"

My Review

This book has a really interesting concept which made me excited to read it. Seren lives on a spaceship which is heading deep into space, on a 700 year mission, to investigate a mysterious signal which was received on Earth.

Unfortunately, this book fell a little flat for me both in terms of the story and character development. Seren wasn't very likeable and I did not feel like she developed during the course of the novel and was a little annoying. Although I did empathise with her frustrations about the way her life was turning out.

The society on board the ship was interesting, as were the rules that had been put in place to keep the ship running smoothly and the crew healthy. However, the characters weren't very memorable.

I can't really recommend this as the story never sparked to life for me. Therefore I would give it 2 out of 5.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2016 by Penguin
With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


"A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home."

My Review

Told through the eyes of Leon, this is a poignant and moving story of a child struggling to understand why his mother can no longer look after him and why one brother may be wanted and the other not.

This book made me cry at certain moments as Leon's desperation and love for his brother shines through. I thought it was well-written when showing Leon's feelings of confusion and loss and how he views the adults around him.

I liked Leon's relationship with Maureen and with Tufty, although I found it strange that some of the adults didn't think to ask Leon more questions in certain situations.

This is an enjoyable book, set against an interesting time in England. I would give this 3 out of 5.