Saturday, 10 December 2016

Nothing Tastes as Good and The Graces

I am combining blog posts for these two brilliant, although very different UKYA novels as I'm so behind on my reviews!

Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy

Don’t call her a guardian angel. Annabel is dead – but she hasn’t completely gone away. Annabel immediately understands why her first assignment as a ghostly helper is to her old classmate: Julia is fat. And being fat makes you unhappy. Simple, right?

As Annabel shadows Julia’s life in the pressured final year of school, Julia gradually lets Annabel’s voice in, guiding her thoughts towards her body, food and control.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. Spending time in Julia’s head seems to be having its own effect on Annabel . . . And she knows that once the voices take hold, it’s hard to ignore them. {Goodreads Summary}

I had read a lot about NTAG on twitter before picking up a copy and read it as part of the SundayYA bookclub. 

While I thought NTAG was amazing, it was also quite a hard book to read. It's dark and it's upsetting. Hennessy takes you deep into Annabel's head and it isn't a particularly pleasant place to be. However, the thing that troubled me most about it was that it didn't really provide any solutions: everything anyone said or tried to do for Annabel and Julia made things worse instead of better. It highlighted how difficult it is to help and support someone with an eating disorder. 

“Maybe she knows, like I do, how harmful help can be, how sometimes the people who claim to care about you can hurt you the most.” 

Annabel would definitely feature in a top ten list of my favourite unlikable protagonists (something I might look at putting together in the New Year). There were so many times that I wanted to shout at her and tell her not to do something and her voice was one of the real strengths of NTAG. 

The Graces by Laure Eve

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on? {Goodreads Synopsis}

A good synopsis shouldn't give much away. It shouldn't have to. This summary of The Graces drew me in without really giving me any indication of the story that was about to unfold. I spent a large portion of the novel trying to decide if it was a fantasy story about witches, or a contemporary story about a girl who wishes magic was real. There were so many twists, turns, secrets and big reveals that I never knew what was about to happen. 

All this was accompanied by a picturesque setting (I'm going to try and read more novels set in Cornwall next year), intriguing characters and beautiful writing. The only thing I wasn't quite so keen on was River's feelings for Fenrin, which never really made much sense to me. But the ending was superb and I have very high expectations for book two. 

No quotes as Goodreads doesn't seem to have any for some reason and I finished it too long ago to remember where my favourites were. 

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