Review: Heartstopper Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words:I love you.
Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.
As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

I will never not love this series. Heartstopper has been close to my heart for a few years now, after a friend recommended to the Webcomic to me and I read all of the comic published to date in one go. I dropped off the Webcomic a while ago and I wasn’t sure how far through Volume 4 I was when I stopped reading, but it turns out I was around halfway through. So some of this ended up being a reread, and some was a brand new story!

Although these books are very fluffy and cute, they never shy away from difficult subjects. Volume 4 is definitely the heaviest yet, and does an amazing job of exploring some really difficult topics such as mental health, coming out, eating disorders and being in a psychiatric hospital. I love, love, love the way Heartstopper deals with these subjects, as they are so accessible and easy to read even though the topics are heavy.

Heartstopper Volume Four: Oseman, Alice: Books

As always, I adore the characters so much and in particular, Nick’s mum is a favourite. I also love that this one has the addition of Henry, who is an absolutely adorable puppy! Tori, Charlie’s older sister, is also the most amazing side character.

Overall, my favourite part of this volume is how Nick and Charlie demonstrate how to be strong for each other even through the toughest times, how to support each other from afar and that relationships aren’t just for the good parts. I love how well this was discussed and was so beautiful to see. This didn’t quite beat volume 3 for me, which remains my favourite, but is a definite close second!

5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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ARC Review: The (Un)Popular Vote by Jasper Sanchez


Goodreads | Waterstones

Optics can make or break an election. Everything Mark knows about politics, he learned from his father, the Congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son.
Mark has promised to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark risks his low profile to become a political challenger.
The problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and his few friends are all nerds. Still, thanks to Scandal and The West Wing, they know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover.
Soon Mark feels emboldened to engage with voters-and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and the bully frontrunner standing in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.

Thank you to Harper 360 YA for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Firstly, happy book birthday to this book! This book is released today in some parts of the world and I think next month here in the UK. I would also like to say thank you to Harper 360 for sending me this advanced copy, as this ended up being one of my most anticipated release of the year and I really enjoyed it. This book is slightly odd for me as the main character has the same full name as my boyfriend, and it comes up a lot in the book because of the nature of the election. Every time his name was mentioned, it made me smile because of it being my boyfriend’s name too!

I honestly loved this so much for so many other reasons too, especially because of how diverse it was. The main character is trans and I adored the discussions that this brought up. It felt so authentic and although some of this was tough to read because of Mark’s relationship with his father, it felt so natural and I found it interesting to read about. The larger cast of characters is also super diverse in gender identity, sexuality and religion. Again, all of this representation felt natural and authentic and I loved it.

The plot of this book was entertaining and kept me interested in the story, but at the same time let me down a little because it felt predictable in some ways. It followed a few typical tropes and plot lines for YA, which is why I found it slightly predictable. I also felt the author did a great job of making us feel sympathetic to Mark even when he made some mistakes. These mistakes were hurtful to other characters, but felt natural and understandable rather than making us judge him for his actions.

I adored the friendship group and they had a real found-family feel for me which was one of my favourite things about this book. The interactions between them were so heartwarming and seeing them support each other as they grow up and explore their own identities was so lovely and emotional.

Overall, this was definitely more of a character driven story for me than a plot driven story, as the plot did let me down in places. However, I did really enjoy this one and it was brilliantly queer and diverse!

4.5 out of 5 stars


May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #18

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought or received this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! I bought something else a little different recently – in the form of a colouring book. I used to love colouring books and my friend and I used to colour and watch The Vampire Diaries together years ago. Funnily enough, my friend Amy has got me watching The Vampire Diaries again and I’m loving it, and I also bought a colouring book. It’s the new Heartstopper colouring book and I love the series so much I just had to pick it up!

The Heartstopper Colouring Book: Oseman, Alice ...


This beautiful colouring book contains all the fan favourite characters and scenes such as Nick and Charlie’s first kiss and their trip to Paris, plus guest appearances from Nellie, Tao and Ellie, Tara and Darcy and many more! Featuring some empty speech bubbles to fill in with your own creative thoughts, and the entire Tara/Darcy mini-comic to colour at the end, this book has something for everyone.
Celebrate the power of love and friendship, while becoming involved in the Heartstopper world in a truly interactive way.

What did you buy this week? 


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Review: The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan


Goodreads | Amazon

17 year old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life? 

What a perfect book to start pride month with! I delved into this book with little expectations and not knowing a lot about it, and I ended up really enjoying it. I always like contemporaries with a twist that stand out from the crowd, and this one did because of it’s Bengali culture and diverse characters. Reading about how other people live is so important and fascinating, and so fun to find out how other cultures celebrate.

In fact, the representation of Bengali culture and Rukhsana’s religion (Muslim) were probably my favourite things about the book, and made me want to go back to it. Learning about how deeply flawed Rukhsana’s parents/families viewpoints are kept it so interesting and engaging, but was also written really well. For example, she understood that even though they were misguided more because of their culture, Rukhsana made us understand everyone is flawed, no matter their background or religion. Hence this quote, which I loved and found so important: “Every time I say something bad about my family, it becomes more about where I come from than just regular stuff people go through with their parents.”. Discussing this topic felt so needed.

‘We must be the masters of our own destinies. I did not learn that until it was too late. You have to fight to take back control of your life.’

From a plot point of view, this book flew by. It’s only short but not at all lighthearted, and discusses super heavy topics that left me with tears in my eyes at points. I just couldn’t help but feel heartbroken over Rukhsana’s situation, and that shows how emotionally connected to her I felt. However, it wasn’t all sad and the lighthearted scenes were so fun and heartwarming, and often included lots of food! I think the descriptions of food and drink meant so much in this novel, specifically because it pushed the feeling of Bengali culture.

Talking of more heartwarming parts, I adored the cast of characters. Rukhsana’s friends and distant relatives, plus people she found along the way, made this book what it is. Considering we had such a large group of people, I also coped pretty well, and rarely got confused. That’s definitely a testament to the writing!

‘Sometimes you will hurt the ones you love the most. But in the end, it will always have to be your choice.’

Which brings me onto my only real issue, and unfortunately the reason this book didn’t get 5 stars for me. The writing felt very disjointed and jumpy in places, especially when Rukhsana would change her mind about things so quickly. It’s very hard to describe how the writing impacted the book, but it’s almost as if the book had a very detailed plot line with a timeline of events, but the jumps between those events didn’t run as smoothly as they could have?

However, the writing only stopped me from enjoying the book a little bit, and it’s definitely something I can see improving as Khan writes more. Because of that, I’d definitely pick up other books by her!

4 out of 5 stars


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