Category Archives: Contemporary

Guest Post – All About Mia by Lisa Williamson


I am over the moon to be part of the fab blog tour for All About Mia by Lisa Williamson!

Lisa’s debut, The Art Of Being Normal,was one of my favourite reads of 2015 and I have been waiting for another book from Lisa ever since!

All About Mia was released on the 2nd February 2017 published by DFB and I’ve heard nothing but praise for it already!  I simply can’t wait to read it!

So when I was asked what I would like to feature as part of the blog tour I thought it would be good to find out EXACTLY all about Mia….literally…..

So come and find out All About Mia….


One family, three sisters. GRACE, the oldest: straight-A student.AUDREY, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. And MIA, the mess in the middle. Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends – not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control – boozing, boys and bad behaviour – and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.


All About Mia

No prizes for guessing what my new novel, All About Mia might be about! But who is Mia? And why is it all about her? Here’s everything you need to know!

Name: Mia Campbell-Richardson

Age: Sixteen

Family: Mum (Nikki), Dad (Jason), older sister (Grace, 19), younger sister (Audrey, 13)

Relationship with family: Erratic

Best friends: Stella Fielding, Mikey Twist, Kimmie Chu

Relationship status: Single

Relationship history: Ten months with Jordan Cooke

Favourite films: Clueless, Mary Poppins, Pitch Perfect, The Princess Bride, Mermaids, Step Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favourite TV: Pretty Little Liars, Friday Night Lights, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The 100, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Favourite food: Pizza, Dad’s jerk chicken, cheesy wotsits, chocolate hobnobs, McDonalds (no gherkins!), Haribo

Music: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Lorde, Rihanna, Drake, Little Mix

Signature style: short shorts, tight dresses, big hair, bright lips, ‘It’s All About Mia’ t-shirt

Best subject at school: Religious Studies

Worst subject at school: English

Personality: extroverted, impulsive, confident, daring, sexy, funny, energetic, chaotic

Talents/skills: Great negotiator, confident leader, creative thinker, justice seeker

Greatest flaw: Impulsiveness

Best quality: Bravery

Habits: Binge drinker, occasional smoker, sugar addict

Celebrity crushes: Zayn Malik, Michael B Jordan, Ryan Guzman

Role models: Lorde, Amandla Stenberg

Anthem: Shake It Off, Taylor Swift

Hogwarts House: Slytherin

You can buy a copy of All About Mia here


About Lisa Williamson

I was born in Nottingham in 1980. This year I turn 36, which will mean I’ve been an adult for over half my life. I’m suitably terrified. I think I like to write for young adults because I still feel like I am one. 

I was a weird kid. Chronically shy, I spent a lot of time drawing and hiding under tables. Then for some strange and unexpected reason, I decided I wanted to be an actor. I eventually got over my shyness and aged nineteen, moved to London to study Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Here I met some of my very best mates and spent three bizarre but happy years singing show tunes and rolling around in fake blood, blagging a degree in the process. After graduation, I adopted the stage name of Lisa Cassidy (Lisa Williamson was already taken by Dawn from Hollyoaks…) and did all sorts of daft acting jobs, from appearing in panto with Basil Brush, to playing a Witch in Macbeth: The Musical. These days I act in lots of TV commericals, usually playing the role of ‘dishevelled mum’. 

I’ve always loved books and stories and as a child I enjoyed making up stories in my head (usually rip-offs of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton). In my late twenties, I found myself craving an additional creative outlet (I was temping in an office at the time) and started to write a novel about an out of work actor. Although no one wanted to publish it, I was excited to discover I could actually write something with a beginning, middle and end. Completing it freed me up to write something new and not necessarily based on my own personal experience.

Between 2010 and 2012, I worked as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS), based at the world-famous Tavistock Centre in North London. GIDS is the NHS service for under-eighteens struggling with their gender identity. The young people who used the service inspired me to write a story from the point of view of a transgender teenager. This eventually became The Art of Being Normal. 

You can find out more about Lisa on her website – www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com

Or why not follow Lisa on Twitter – @lisa_letters


Blog Tour

You can catch up of follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to the lovely Lisa Williamson for such a fab post and going along with my idea in the first place .

Also a huge thank you to Nina Douglas and DFB for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

You can find a review of The Art Of Being Normal here

Or a Q&A with a character from The Art Of Being Normal here

Have you read All About Mia?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued by Mia?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford by Perdita & Honor Cargill


I am so beyond honoured to be celebrating the release of Waiting For Callback:  Take Two by the super lovely, hilarious and best mother/daughter writers around, Perdita & Honor Cargill.

Waiting For Callback:  Take Two is the hilarious follow up to last years debut Waiting For Callback which was one of my favourite reads of 2016

Take Two is released today, 26th January 2017 published by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and I simply cannot wait to find out what Elektra gets up to next!

I know one thing for sure…..I will be smiling and laughing lots!

I’m over the moon to have been asked to be part of the fab blog tour and today Perdita and Honour chat about direction in this fab and super funny guest post….


Elektra has finally landed a part in a film. It’s the dream. Well … until she works out that Straker is a movie so dystopian that within weeks most of the cast and all of the crew wish that the world had actually ended (preferably in scene one). And while it’s obviously great news that she’s moved from the friend-zone with Archie to become his almost-girlfriend, it would be better if he hadn’t immediately relocated to Transylvania to play a vampire hunter surrounded by ‘maidens of peerless beauty’… Full of humour and warmth, this new series is perfect for fans of Geek Girl and The It Girl.


DIRECTION – Working Together, Collaborating London-Oxford

Day Four of our Take Two blog tour and today we’re chatting about Direction (although we should have called it Co-Directing). Just to set the scene this time I (P) am talking and typing this while Hon is talking very fast and eating (classic multi-tasking).

H: Have I said enough in the last year to explode the No. 1 Misconception that because we’re family we work side-by -side sitting at the kitchen table, steaming mugs of tea and freshly baked cake in front of our matching notepads, birdsong in the background?

P: I don’t think that anyone who knows us will still be under any illusions. And we’re getting further and further apart. This time last year we were working in different rooms then you (Hon) discovered the joy of working in cafes and I stayed in the attic.  Then you went to Uni and now in term time at least you’re in Oxford and I’m in London. God, I hope it’s not some dark metaphor…

H: Not that ‘dark’… Oh God, except for That Train Journey – the one where we sat side by side working on edits all the way from London to Newcastle and had nearly dissolved the partnership by York. That was dark.

P: *shudders* But we do loads of the actual writing during your holidays.

H: I work very hard in London cafes! But (at arm’s length) we’re surprisingly harmonious collaborators. Ok, there’s some pretty brutal editing along the way but I can’t think of any bits that in the end we disagreed on.

P: No, it works well. Although there were a couple of…misunderstandings that underlined that I must never be allowed to write contemporary teen on my own.

H: Ha! Like your tendency to put add full stops to the end of texts and the great bucket hat fiasco?  We probably plotted better together because we were on a tighter schedule for Take Two so we had to be more focused.

P: I’m quite proud that we got Take Two done to deadline. It was hard work. You did so much of the writing this time that I wanted to change the name order on the cover because I felt guilty! (We couldn’t).

H: I still didn’t do any of the copy editing stuff. I’d be useless at that. And I think Take Two was easier to write than Waiting for Callback because we know all the characters so well. I am genuinely fond of them – even Flissy.

P: Have you got a new fave character or does your heart still belong to Archie?

H: My heart will always belong to Archie… whether he’s in character as a vampire-slaying-hero or not …

(Random cute baby vampire bat)

But I’d quite like to go clubbing with Hot Carlo…

P: I’m quite glad that we’re talking about fictional characters.  I’ve got a soft spot for Amber. She is truly dreadful (“very shiny, possibly made in a lab in Beverley Hills. Scary handbag dog named after a vegetable.” Ch. 7) and yet mastering yogic breathing is definitely one of my 2017 resolutions.

H: Good luck with that.

Thank you Chelley for hosting us! Come and join us tomorrow on Vivienne’s blog, Serendipity Reviews where we will be chatting about Special Effects (our glossy cover and lovely inside Extras!)

You can buy a copy of Waiting For Callback: Take Two here or from you local bookshop


About Perdita & Honor Cargill

Perdita Cargill

I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series with Honor Cargill. She’s my daughter and it’s something of a miracle that no only do we write together but we have a lot of fun doing it. She’s in her first year at Oxford University reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (niche…). I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise in the English courts. It was a relief to everyone when I hung up my wig and gown and took to writing funny teen novels…

Honor Cargill

I’m 18 and I’m in my first year at Oxford Uni reading Classical Archaeology and Ancient History (bit rogue) and I co-write the WAITING FOR CALLBACK series of funny teen novels with Perdita Cargill (who is, conveniently, my mum…). I’ve done some acting and although I’m nothing like Elektra (our main character) I feel her pain because her most humiliating moments are strangely similar to mine…

You can find out more by visiting the website – www.waitingforcallback.com

Or why not follow Perdita on Twitter – @perditact

Or Honor on Instagram – honorcargill


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of the awesome blog tour at the following stops.


A huge thank you to Perdita and Honor for a fab guest post and making me laugh always.  Also a huge thank you to Jade for asking me to be part of the blog tour and for organising.

Have you read Waiting For Callback:  Take Two?  Are you intrigued? Did you read the first book in the series too?  What parts made you laugh out loud?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – The Kingdom of Bhutan by Katherine Webber


I am SO excited to be hosting another post on the epic blog tour for the brilliant Wing Jones!

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, which was published earlier this month, 5th January 2017 in the UK.

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers have been / will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

#WJphototour

As well as all of this Katherine Webber is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 debut of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Katherine and Wing Jones and find out why people are loving Wing Jones – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

So without further ado here is the next photo for the tour…..


About Wing Jones

For fans of David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop


The Kingdom of Bhutan

One of the best trips I took while living in Hong Kong was to the Kingdom of Bhutan with my mom.

It was incredible and hugely inspiring.

It actually inspired my second manuscript — a fantasy YA novel set in Bhutan. I wrote it during NaNoWriMo 2013, and started querying it the following spring. I got some agent interest, but nothing ever came from it. I think it will stay forever in a desk drawer now, but I’ll always be grateful to Bhutan for inspiring me so much.

#WJPhotoTour.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop


About Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention.

You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites

Find out more about Katherine on her website – www.kwebberwrites.com


A huge thank you to Katherine and also Rosi and Kirsten at Walker books for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17 and having me as part of this fab tour!

Have you read Wing Jones?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – An EXCLUSIVE Interview with It Girl, Anna Huntley By Katy Birchall


Anna Huntley is back in this third instalment of The It Girl series, Don’t Tell The Bridesmaid and being a big fan from the beginning I am super excited!

I LOVE this series.

This third book in the series is due to be released on the 12th January 2017 published by Egmont and I can’t wait to laugh at Anna once again.

But that’s not the only brilliant thing!

 All of the series has had a makeover with these fab new awesome covers!

Just look at them!


Super gorgeous!

So today I have an exclusive interview with the girl herself!

The one and only….

Anna Huntley!

Our main character in the It Girl series chats to us about book 3, Don’t Tell The Bridesmaid!


About The It Girl Series

A hilariously funny and deliciously romantic ‘clean teen’ book for teens. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Girl Online.

Everybody wants to be a famous It Girl. Don’t they?

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

1) To recreate famous film scenes with Dog (pet Labrador) such as the lift from The Lion King during that Circle of Life song.

2) To not accidentally set Deputy Queen Bee, Josie Graham’s, hair on fire. Again.

3) To keep first and only school friends by not doing anything in usual manner of socially inept dork and outcast.

4) To work out whether 1) and 2) constitute being socially inept – or outcastish.

5) To hide in the cupboard FOR LIFE after her dad gets engaged to one of the most famous actresses EVER, the paparazzi move in and everyone in school (The World) is on the brink of discovering why no one wants to be friends with Anna . . .

A fantastic, laugh-out-loud read for girls aged 11+ who love Louise Rennison and Zoella.

You can find my review of The It Girl:  Superstar Geek here

The brilliant sequel to The It Girl. Hilariously funny and deliciously romantic – perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison.

If everything Anna does is going to be seen by more than 10 million people, then she’s determined to find something that she’s really good at. Everyone else seems to have a ‘thing’ – especially the new girl at school, who’s been distracting Connor with their shared love of art. Luckily the school sports day is looming, and Anna is limbering up!

What could go wrong?

The third book in the hilariously funny, super accessible and charmingly romantic The It Girl series. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison.

Preparations for the Wedding of the Century between Anna’s dad and super famous actress Helena Montaine are in full swing (all Anna needs to do is escape having to wear the biggest meringue of a bridesmaid dress that EVER existed.) And not only that but Anna, her friends and her ACTUAL BOYFRIEND (definitely requires shouting), Connor, are due to go on a school trip in romantic Rome.

So as long as Anna can avoid doing something like falling face first in the Trevi Fountain, nothing could spoil this perfect pasta-filled moment. Could it?

You can buy the books in The It Girl series here or from your local bookshop


An EXCLUSIVE interview with It Girl, Anna Huntley!

On 12th January 2017, a new book will be hitting the shelves, the third in a series all about ANNA HUNTLEY. Anna was first launched into the spotlight when her father proposed to Helena Montaine, the most famous actress in the world. Today we talk to Anna about how she feels in the lead up to book number 3, DON’T TELL THE BRIDESMAID.

Thank you for joining us Anna and agreeing to do this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Sure, yeah no problem. I was actually quite pleased to get out the house because Dog, my yellow Labrador, was driving me NUTS. He kept attacking any scented candles around the house so I put them all away in cupboards and he got in a sulk with me and now won’t stop howling at my slippers.

Right…OK…well, anyway, we’re here to discuss the third book coming out in January…how does it feel to have three books written about your life?

I guess it’s weird because I’m not really the sort of person that has books written about them. Like glamourous celebrities or whatever, they’re the people who should have books based on their lives because they go to parties and win awards and stuff.

I mostly sit at home eating Nutella out the jar.  

But then I guess Dad did go and ruin my life. So that’s kind of interesting I suppose.

It must have been bizarre to go from a normal teenager to a famous one…

Yeah, well, it kind of sucks because whenever I fall over or anything it’s in the news.

 Do you fall over a lot?

Not on purpose but it happens a lot more recently because I always have stupid flashbulbs going off in my face from the photographers trying to get a shot of Marianne or Helena, so I get all those splodges in my vision and can’t see anything.

Marianne did buy me this posh pair of sunglasses but Dog ate them.

How does it feel to have a step sister like Marianne Montaine, the renowned It Girl?

I mean, it has its disadvantages. Like the other day when I put on my favourite jumper and she was like, ‘what on EARTH are you wearing? You look like a fruit pastel. Go change.’ So, you know, she’s quite blunt. And she hogs the bathroom a lot.

But most of the time it’s great, because she looks out for me. She’s one of the best people I know.

Your best friends must be super excited to see that there’s another book coming out about you?

Danny has been very sweet about it and says he thinks it will be a ‘witty and fascinating read’.

Jess on the other hand has been very rude and keeps saying things like ‘what are they going to write about in this book? All those times that you walked into a lamp post? HAHAHAHA.’

Which is extremely unfair because that was literally ONE TIME and it was her fault anyway by distracting me with an ice cream.

 Finally, Anna, what’s in the future for you?

It would be great if I could do fewer awkward things like, you know, when I set a classmate on fire, when I fell into a plant pot which was filmed and went viral, and the time I hit the same classmate in the face with a discus… If I could not do stuff like that, that would be great. Here’s hoping!

You can buy the books in The It Girl series here or from your local bookshop

You can catch some previous guest posts from Katy and my review of the first It Girl on the below links….

How To Survive Sports Day

10 Things I’ve Learnt About Being An Author

Spotlight and Extract of The It Girl:  Superstar Geek

Review – The It Girl Superstar Geek


About Katy Birchall

Katy Birchall is the author of The It Girl: Superstar Geek, The It Girl: Team Awkward and its eagerly-awaited sequel The It Girl: Don’t Tell the Bridesmaid. She also works as a freelance journalist. Katy won the 24/7 Theatre Festival Award for Most Promising new Comedy Writer with her very serious play about a ninja monkey at a dinner party. Her pet Labradors are the loves of her life, she is mildly obsessed with Jane Austen and one day she hopes to wake up as an elf in The Lord of the Rings. Katy lives in Brixton, London.

Find out more about Katy on her website – www.katybirchallauthor.com

Or why not follow Katy on twitter – @KatyBirchall


A huge big thank you to Katy for such a fab guest post and Alice at Egmont for asking me to feature this post and for being so super wonderful!

Have you read any of The It Girl series?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  Are you excited for the third book?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – “My First Memory Is Of My Brother” by Katherine Webber


I am SO excited to be kicking of the epic blog tour for the brilliant Wing Jones!

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, publishing today, 5th January 2017 in the UK.

Happy Debut Book Birthday Katherine!

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

#WJphototour

As well as all of this Katherine Webber is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 debut of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Katherine and Wing Jones and find out why people are loving Wing Jones – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Walker Books I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 x Signed Finished Copy of Wing Jones here!

So without further ado here is the very first photo for the tour…..


About Wing Jones

For fans of David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop


“My First Memory Is Of My Brother”

I’m so excited that my debut book WING JONES is finally coming out!

A huge thank you to everyone who has talked about it, tweeted about it, read it, reviewed it…and extra-special thanks to all the amazing bloggers for their incredible support! I’m so grateful.

I hope you check out all their blogs to see the photos of my path to publication and what inspired me over the years!

Chelley is kicking off the tour with the first picture, and she also is doing a giveaway of a signed, finished copy of the book – here !

Now, without further ado, here is the first picture of the #WJPhotoTour.

Let’s start at the beginning…

The first line of Wing Jones is “My first memory is of my brother.” Wing is the youngest in her family, and I’m the oldest, but my first solid memory is also of my brother. I was four, at the hospital waiting to see my brand new baby brother. Sibling relationships are a huge part of the story of WING JONES, and a lot of this stems from my own close relationships with my brother.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop


About Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention.

You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites

Find out more about Katherine on her website – www.kwebberwrites.com


Giveaway

Don’t forget with thanks to Walker Books you could win 1 x Signed Finished Copy of Wing Jones here!


A huge thank you to Katherine and also Rosi and Kirsten at Walker books for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copy of Wing Jones to giveaway and having me as part of this fab tour!

Look out for another Wing Jones related blog post during the month of January!

Have you read Wing Jones?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Debut Of The Month – Wing Jones by Katherine Webber


I am so excited to have announced on January 1st that the super lovely  Katherine Webber is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Debut Of The Month for January 17 with her debut Wing Jones!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

Wing Jones is due to be released on the 5th January 2017 published by the awesome Walker Books and is set to be a runaway success!

Wing Jones is currently sitting very high on my January TBR and from what I have heard already I’m in for a huge treat!  Katherine Webber is one of the most loveliest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  Her enthusiasm and love for all things books shines through and I can’t wait to see what Wing Jones has in store!

I’m super excited to be shining the spotlight on Katherine and Wing Jones today along with some love for Wing Jones from fellow bloggers.

You can also catch a brilliant Photo Guest Post kicking of the #WJPhotoTour here

And remember if you read, review and link up Wing Jones for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entry into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for some special Wing Jones related posts with Katherine this January…..and there may even be a giveaway!


About Katherine Webber

Katherine Webber is originally from California but currently lives in London.  She spent four years living in Hong Kong and has also lived in Atlanta, GA and Hawaii.

(NB – As we are lucky enough to have Katherine living in London we have therefore adopted Katherine as one of our own for the #BritishBooksChallenge17 – we are so very lucky indeed!)

She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life.  Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.

Her debut YA novel, WING JONES, will be published in the UK on January 5th, 2017 by Walker Books and in the US on March 14th, 2017 by Delacorte/Random House

You can find out more about Katherine on her website – www.kwebberwrites.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @kwebberwrites


About Wing Jones

For fans of David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

You can buy a copy of Wing Jones here or from you local bookshop


Praise for Wing Jones

I managed to catch some quotes from some lovely bloggers about Wing Jones….


A huge thank you to the lovely Wing Jones fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  Wing Jones comes highly recommend as our Debut Of The Month!

Look out for some special Wing Jones related posts with Katherine this January…..and there may even be a giveaway!

You can also catch a brilliant Photo Guest Post kicking of the #WJPhotoTour here

And remember if you read, review and link up Wing Jones for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entry into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Have you read Wing Jones?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Juno Dawson


I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Juno Dawson is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for January 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Juno and her books whether it be YA Horror, YA Contemporary or Non Fiction, Juno will captivate you with her writing.  Juno is a brilliant UKYA talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Juno’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entries into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!


About Juno Dawson

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017) which will be followed by her adult debut, the memoir THE GENDER GAMES (Jul 17).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014 Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

You can find out more about Juno on her website – www.junodawson.com

Or why not follow Juno on twitter using @junodawson


The Books and Why We Love Juno Dawson

Fiction

Something wicked this way comes…

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her.

Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps…

Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps.

One year after the suicide of their friend Janey, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They’re hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives, claiming to have evidence that Janey’s suicide was actually murder. When the guest is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of the group – but who is it? And will they strike again?

A compelling psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

Drip…drip…drip… In five days, she will come…

Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror – five days – but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from ‘Queen of Teen’ author Juno Dawson.

You can check out my review of Say Her Name here

Meet Molly Sue. Once she’s under your skin there’s no getting rid of her…

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.

A funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by the Queen of Teen 2014.

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are, all in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria . . . but then there’s Polly. Love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

An exclusive World Book Day story from UK Queen of Teen Juno Dawson. Avery has always suffered at the hands of bullies, so when she’s given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join the ‘A-list’ she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery’s not so sure she likes this new version of herself. And it’s only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery . . . and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart . . .

Please note this book is due for release on the 26th January and can be pre ordered here

Non Fiction

In this essential guide to growing up, acclaimed author and former teacher Juno Dawson, writing as James Dawson, gives readers the gritty truth to what’s going on with their bodies, how to survive on the social food chain and much more!

A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious – for everybody, no matter their gender or sexuality

Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author Juno Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it’s like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell’s hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-read.

From the critically acclaimed author of THIS BOOK IS GAY,  Juno Dawson.

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people’s mental health – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them. With real-life stories from young people around the world and witty illustrations from Gemma Correll.

 

Short Stories

Juno also has original short stories featured in these brilliant anthology’s

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts – both brand-new and old favourites – about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, and with a new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk

You can buy any of Juno Dawson’s books here or from your local book shop!


A huge thank you to the lovely Juno fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books from our January Author Of The Month!

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Juno’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entries into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Are you a Juno Dawson Fan?  Do you have a favourite Juno Dawson book?  Are you new to Juno Dawson?  Which book do you think you would read first?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – The Best Yuletide Audiobooks


Today is my stop on the brilliant #YaXmasTour organised by the lovely @ChouettBlog and I thought I would tie this in with brilliant post that the lovely people at Midas PR asked if I would host.

With Christmas getaways, shoppers and commuter traffic, the festive period is one busiest times of the year. Last year alone over 14 million drove home for Christmas and with journeys on some roads taking almost three times longer than normal, festive entertainment is a travel essential.

With this in mind, the editors at Audible have compiled a list of the ultimate Yuletide audiobooks to keep the festive spirit alive in a traffic jam, in flight, or after you’ve shopped till you’ve dropped.

I love a good audiobook!


Hear Hear For Some Christmas Cheer

A Christmas Carol: An Audible Original Drama

Author: Charles Dickens

 Narrated by: Various cast

You can buy this audio book here

This title will be free to download until January 2017

Jenna Coleman, Miriam Margolyes, Derek Jacobi, Brendan Coyle and Roger Allam are amongst the celebrity voices coming together this Christmas in a brand new multi-cast dramatization of Charles Dickens’ ghostly Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol.

The festive tale has been released as a free gift to members.

A Boy Called Christmas

Author: Matt Haig

 Narrated by: Stephen Fry

You can buy this audio book here

You are about to listen to the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this audiobook is full of impossible things. Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin….

 The idea for the series came when Matt Haig’s son asked what Father Christmas was like as a boy. A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an 11-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

Author: Matt Haig

 Narrated by: Carey Mulligan

You can buy this audio book here

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end? When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

Midnight Gang

Author: David Williams

 Narrated by: David Walliams, Peter Serafinowicz, Morwenna Banks, Nitin Ganatra, Ellen Thomas

You can buy this audio book here

Midnight is the time when all children are fast asleep, except of course for…the Midnight Gang. That is when their adventures are just beginning….

 The Midnight Gang tells an extraordinarily heart-warming and, of course, funny story of five children on a hospital ward and on a quest for adventure. It is a story of friendship and magic – and of making dreams come true.

 Listeners are set to be utterly spellbound by this heartfelt story that will bring magic to everyone’s Christmas.

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days

Author: Jeanette Winterson

 Narrated by: Jeanette Winterson, Imogen Church

You can buy this audio book here

New York Times best-selling author Jeanette Winterson brings together 12 brilliantly imaginative, funny and bold Christmas tales. For the 12 Days of Christmas – a time of celebration, sharing, and giving – she offers these 12 plus one: a personal story of her own Christmas memories.

 From trees with mysterious powers to a tinsel baby that talks, philosophical fairies to flying dogs, a haunted house and a disappearing train, Winterson’s innovative stories encompass the childlike and spooky wonder of Christmas. Perfect for listening to by the fire with loved ones or while traveling home for the holidays. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic courtesy of one of our most fearless and accomplished writers.

A Christmas Feast and other stories

Author: Katie Fforde

 Narrated by: Jilly Bond, Rita Sharma

You can buy this audio book here

A delicious Christmas feast of short stories from the Sunday Times number one best-selling author of A French Affair and The Perfect Match.

 Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas by joining Katie Fforde for a perfect romantic Christmas feast of short stories. Collected together for the first time and including one brand-new story. Make your Christmas wishes come true….

The Night Before Christmas

Author: Clement C. Moore

 Narrated by: Jeff Bridges

You can buy this audio book here

Academy Award Winner Jeff Bridges’ iconic voice brings the beloved holiday classic story “The Night Before Christmas” to life.

 Celebrate the holiday season with the only audiobook of “The Night Before Christmas”, read by Jeff Bridges. No other narrator brings Santa and these merry scenes to life quite like Mr. Bridges – it’s an instant Christmas classic! Create a new family tradition as you add this audiobook to your holiday activities leading up to December 25th.

Letters from Father Christmas

Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

 Narrated by: Derek Jacobi

You can buy this audio book here

Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply?

 Every year, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien would write to Father Christmas, and the letters they received told wonderful stories of his adventures at the North Pole.

 These humorous tales are brought to life by Derek Jacobi as Father Christmas, John Moffatt as Polar Bear, and Christian Rodska as Ilbereth the Elf, complete with specially composed music.


A huge thank you to Leanne at Midas PR for asking me to feature this post and again to @ChouettBlog for having me as part of #YaXmasTour.

**Please note that I was not sponsored by Audible to do this post – I was asked by Midas PR if I would like to feature to share some Christmas joy.  I was not provided with any audio books in exchange for this post**

What is your favourite Christmas read?  Have you listened to any of the above books on audio book?  Which one is your favourite?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

 

Guest Post – Pickles, Parables and Proverbs by Chitra Soundar


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I am super excited to have been asked to host a brilliant guest post by Chitra Soundar author of A Jar Of Pickles And A Pinch Of Justice which was published by Walker as part of their Racing Reads in October 2016 and illustrated by Uma Krishnaswamy.

So sit back and relax and read all about this fab book…..


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Prince Veera and his best friend, Suku, are left in charge of King Beema’s court when the king goes off on a hunting trip. Each day the king’s subjects come before the boys with their problems and petty disagreements. Can Veera and Suku settle the dispute between the man who sells a well – but not the water in it – to his neighbour? Or solve the mystery of the jewels that have turned into pickles? And what about the old washerwoman who is set the task of washing the king’s elephants until they turn white?

These clever, funny trickster tales, full of humour and colour, are sure to delight.


Pickles, Parables and Proverbs

In the 1970s I grew up on a spicy menu of South Indian pickles, parables and proverbs. I gravitated towards the parables and folktales that were funny and engaging – rather than moral tales. When my grandmother told me these stories, she never once “highlighted” the moral of the story. She laughed a lot and we giggled together how Tenali Rama or Raja Birbal got out of their quandary or tricked their enemies. It was good fun.

But those stories stayed with me longer than any other I read or listened to. My conversations with my Gran used to be often punctuated by these parables – a kind of code.

For example there is a story called Tenali Rama and the Cat that illustrates the phrase – “Once Bitten Twice Shy.” But I don’t think I was ever explicitly told that. Every time I hesitated to do something – whether a food I hadn’t liked before or a hobby I wouldn’t pick up, I would be told, “Don’t be like the cat that drank hot milk.” Stories were and are life lessons.

These stories stuck with me. I read every one of them I could get my hands on, in prose form and in comic book form.

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Like most storytellers, I think I remembered the core, the spine of the stories I listened to or read. These were tucked away in a corner in my memory.

So when I was asked by my editor at Walker Books to find stories that appeal to young readers, I decided I would bring these stories to today’s children, wherever in the world they are. But I didn’t want to tell them in the political context of the 16th century when these characters had lived. While keeping the feel of the bygone days, I wanted them to be closer to young readers.

So instead of just retelling them, I adapted them from the original essence of Birbal and Rama stories, which had themselves evolved, mutated and grown across India.

As many of the Birbal and Rama stories happened in king’s courts, I created a kingdom and Prince Veera, a prince who had the able advice of a good friend and co-conspirator Suku, who knows how the common man works. In India, the monarchs had a custom, to walk the streets dressed as a commoner so he could listen to the problems of the people. In these stories Prince Veera doesn’t have to go in disguise. He spends a lot of time with his best friend Suku and his family and in touch with the real world.

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These stories are first and foremost full of friendship. The camaraderie between the prince and his friend are important to the stories too. The original heroes of these stories – Raja Birbal was a good friend of Emperor Akbar and the south Indian Tenali Rama was a favourite of King Raya.

Read these stories to a group of children and watch them argue and discuss. Hear them talk about fairness and deception. Get them to find the solution to the puzzle set in front of them. Talk about the ending, the solution to the puzzle – how Prince Veera or Suku solved it – did they go “Oh Yeah!!” – that’s the feeling I used to get when I read them as a kid – the feeling of inevitable but unexpected. And that’s the feeling I want to pass on to today’s readers.

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So go on, read A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice and see if you go “Oh Yeah!” too!

A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice by Chitra Soundar (£5.99, Walker)

You can buy a copy of A Jar Of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice here


About Chintra Soundar

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Chitra Soundar was born in Chennai, a coastal city in South India. She speaks Tamil at home and can also read, write and speak Hindi, the national language of India. Chitra fell in love with English, when she started the English Alphabets in kindergarten. She taught herself to read by looking at words and pictures, for hours together. She also loved listening to stories from her grandmother and grandmother’s sisters.

Chitra read non-fiction features and jokes from Reader’s Digest when she was ten. She is usually quiet amongst new people. But her friends know her as talkative and funny . Chitra makes friends easily and is always ready to help them. She won the Best Storytelling prize when she was seven. She loves being with young children and started storytelling to her cousins when she was eight or nine. She made up limericks and stories and acted in plays written and directed by her mother every year during summer vacation.

Along with friends, she also started a magazine for local residents, written and copied using carbon and charged 25 paise for each copy. She took to fund-raising and volunteer work while in school, following in her mother’s footsteps.

Chitra started  writing poetry in Tamil when she was 14. Encouraged by her teachers, she wrote about nature, love and her country. She went on to write in Hindi and English as well. During her years in Junior College, she wrote songs for puppet shows for her Economics projects and wrote for her school magazines. She won the Best Poetry Award in Junior College. During her first year as an under-graduate, Chitra entered an essay in Tamil, on the state of education in India. Her essay won the first prize in the all-state competition.

In 1999, she moved to Singapore, to work as a programmer in a bank. That was when she decided to go back to writing. Her first choice was writing for children and after ten years of learning the craft and the business, she is proud to have published over 20 titles and hopes to keep writing for a long time.

When all the writing and reading is done, she is a whiz in the kitchen, whipping up spicy, hot Indian vegetarian food. Currently she lives in London, where she works in a bank and writes children’s books in all the free time she can get.

She visits the SouthBankHyde Park to write and to get inspired. She also takes an active interest in the writing community of SCBWI.

Chitra now has two muses – her two darling nephews who spend at least a day a week with her.

You can find out more about Chitra on her website – www.chitrasoundar.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @csoundar


A huge thank you to Laura on behalf of Walker books for organising this post and to Chitra for a fab guest post!

Have you read A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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Tales Q&A with Sara Barnard


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Following a brilliant #MKBParty weekend a couple of weeks ago I was thrilled to find that Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard was one of the featured books in the party packs that were sent out all around the country.

You can find out more about #MKBParty here

I absolutely adored Beautiful Broken Things and it’s been brilliant to see how much the book has grown since it’s release in February 2016 and following the book being part of the first ever #ZoellaBookClub this year too!

I have been lucky enough to have put some questions to the lovely Sara Barnard about Beautiful Broken Things, writing and her next book A Quiet Kind Of Thunder…..


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Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.


Hi Sara!

Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I’m so happy to have you here! I hosted a brilliant #MKBParty last week and I was so happy that Beautiful Broken Things was one of the books featured. I’m a huge fan.

For those who don’t know can you tell us a little about Beautiful Broken Things?

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 It’s a story about teenage girls, friendship and emotional trauma. It’s a love story without a romance, and it’s about how other people can surprise you, and how you can surprise yourself.

 Can you tell us a little about the main characters in Beautiful Broken Things?

 The story is told from the point of view of Caddy, who is a 16-year-old girl who goes to private school and is kind of just plodding along, waiting for her life to start happening. She’s quite insecure about herself and what she has to offer. Rosie is her long-time best friend who goes to a different school and has a bit more life experience. She can be quite blunt and snarky but she’s very loyal and would do anything for her friends, especially Caddy. Suzanne is the new girl in Brighton and she brings with her lots of secrets and emotional baggage. She’s exciting and fun, but she’s struggling to deal with things that have happened in her past and it makes her a bit wild and self-destructive. 

 Beautiful Broken Things is about friendship was it important to you to represent friendship in all shapes and sizes?

 I wanted to represent the friendship between these three girls specifically rather than try and show what all kinds of different friendships are like. Every friendship is unique because we all bring different things to them, which is why it’s particularly interesting to explore the dynamics of three. I wanted to show how intense friendship is during the teenage years, and how fiercely loyal teenage girls are. The three girls are flawed, and sometimes they aren’t all that nice to each other, but they love each other so much. 

 A few people have said to me that Beautiful Broken Things would be a very different story told from anyone else point of view other than Caddy’s – why did you pick Caddy’s voice to tell the story?

 I wanted to explore the aftermath of trauma from a distance and how it affects young people who are still learning who they are. Caddy is essentially the reader meeting Suzanne and getting to know her, but everything she learns about her is filtered, and that’s how it is in life. We only ever see what people want or allow us to see. Suzanne made a lot of choices about how she wanted to be viewed in her new life, so it was much more interesting for me to explore that from Caddy’s naïve and trusting perspective than to give all the answers by being inside Suzanne’s head. 

 Also, Suzanne’s head is a pretty dark place for a lot of this particular timeline – it would have been a very dark book, and that’s not the tone I wanted for the story I wanted to tell. It needed Caddy’s perspective and optimism. 

 Did you experiment with any of the other characters point of view / voice?

 Sometimes I’d write or imagine a scene from another character’s POV if I was having trouble writing it, as a shift in perspective can often unlock something. But it was always Caddy’s story.

 What made you set the story in Brighton?

 The most honest answer is that I needed to set the story in a place where there was somewhere for Caddy and Suzanne to go on their midnight walkabouts. I moved to Brighton not long before I started writing it and a lot of things fell into place when I realised that it would be the perfect setting. There are so many interesting places for the characters to go, like the beach and the Pavillion.

 Beautiful Broken Things was picked as one of the first #ZoellaBookClubBooks and again for the #MKBParty – was this is exciting? How did you feel when you heard the news?

 Yes, it was very exciting! I was over the moon when I heard the news.

 What was your favourite scene to write in Beautiful Broken Things?

 I wouldn’t say I ever have a favourite scene to write because writing always throws up a challenge, even if it’s a scene I’d been looking forward to getting to. But my favourite scene to read back is when Suzanne turns up at Caddy’s windows with cookies. That whole section is such a turning point in their friendship and it’s all so vivid to me. 

 What was the most difficult scene to write in Beautiful Broken Things?

 The roof scene was tough because it had to be perfect! There was so much going on that was important and it still needed to be tense throughout, and then enough of a shock when The Thing That Happens happens. 

 Can you tell us a little about your new book out in January 2017, A Quiet Kind Of Thunder?

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 It’s about a girl called Steffi who’s been a selective mute for most of her life and what happens when she meets and falls in love with a deaf boy called Rhys.

 If you could sum up A Quiet Kind Of Thunder in 5 words what would you choose?

 It’s a silent love story 🙂

 Beautiful Broken Things was your debut and A Quiet Kind Of Thunder your second book – did the writing process change at all from first to second book?

 It did in the sense that I had less time to write the book, and also that I didn’t have a full-time job. I wrote a lot of BBT during my lunch breaks and on my commute, so it felt very different to be able to write all day in my own office – and not always in a good way! 

 What have you learnt about yourself since becoming a published author?

 That the more time I have to be productive, the less productive I am. 

 What would you like your readers to take away from reading your books?

 If they come away feeling something, that is good enough for me!

 I know you’re in the throws of writing again at the moment could you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing next?

I can’t I’m afraid! It’s all seekrit 😉

Well I’m sure we all can wait a little longer 😉

 Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Sara!  Beautiful Broken Things was a stunning debut and I simply cannot wait to read A Quiet Kind Of Thunder!

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You can buy Sara’s books here or from your local bookshop


About Sara Barnard

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Sara lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of secondhand book shops at a young age.

Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.

Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.

You can find out more about Sara on her website – www.sarabarnardofficial.com

Or you can follow Sara on twitter – @saramegan


A huge thank you to Sara for answering so many of my questions and to Bea at My Kinda Book for organising for me.

Have you read Beautiful Broken Things?  What did you think?  Are you excited for A Quiet Kind Of Thunder?  What do you like about it? Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

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