Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier.

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New Boy: Othello Retold by Tracy Chevalier
(Hogarth Shakespeare)
Genres: Adult, Historical, Retellings
Release Date: 11th May 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

From the New York Times bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring comes the fifth installment in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, a modern retelling of Othello set in a suburban schoolyard

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat’s son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

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Book Review ~ ‘New Boy’ by Tracy Chevalier ~ 5 Stars!

In ‘New Boy’ Tracy Chevalier has created an incredible retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello that creeps up on you, and lingers in the mind long after you’ve turned the last page.

The never altering routine of a school playground is thrown into disarray when 11 year old Osei arrives at his new school. Why does this young boy cause such an uproar? Because this is 1970s Washington, and Osei is black. The themes of race and segregation of the time are heartbreakingly portrayed in this retelling where not only is Osei victimised for the colour of his skin, but so is the young Dee, a white girl who chooses to befriend him.

Chevalier’s decision to base this story in a school was so clever, as nowhere else in a modern setting would the trail of lies, rumours and jealousy be so rife as in a school playground where, as is truthfully stated by one of their teacher’s “kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime.”

I adored this retelling of Othello, and many parallels can be found between this and the current Black Lives Matter movement in America. I strongly recommend this book, as the issues raised are made even more black and white by their being portrayed and noticed by children who can only have picked up their casual racism from the careless comments of adults.

5 Stars!


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Tracy Chevalier

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Book Review ~ ‘Stealing Snow’ by Danielle Paige.

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Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Stealing Snow #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling,
Release Date: September 20th 2016

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SYNOPSIS

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave.

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate.

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

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Book Review ~ ‘Stealing Snow’ by Danielle Paige ~ 4 Stars!

Stealing Snow was an exciting and engaging first installment to Danielle Paige’s new series, which showcases her ever-growing literary talent. In a very different world to Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, Stealing Snow takes us on a very different adventure which sees the Snow Queen retold as never before.

My favourite part of this novel, strangely, was the opening chapters. The atmosphere that Paige created throughout the scenes in the Institution were brilliantly claustrophobic, haunting and nail-biting. I really got to know and root for Snow early on, even though we didn’t know who she exactly she was. Her lack of knowledge of the real world made her escape that much more exciting and frightening.

The world of Algid was brilliantly built, and I loved entering this magical world, where not everything is as it seems, and where the Snow King’s power is held over everybodys heads. Seeing Snow struggle to accept the new knowlegdge of her birth right, and the part she must play in fulfilling her destiny, was pitched perfectly, and I loved how she was unwilling to be a hero, and only wanted to save the boy she loves.

My favourite character was Kai. I LOVED LOVED LOVED him. I cannot wait to see more of him in the rest of the series, and hopefully he and Snow can be reunited.

My only issue was the love-square. Three love interests in the space of 375 pages was too much. Particularly for a girl who has spent her life in an asylum. I felt it was unnecessary to make Jagger a love interest, as their relationship would have been stronger, and more rounded without a romantic interest. I felt she needed an older-brother style protector in Jagger, and would have benefited better from that, and hurt more from his subsequent betrayal.

Nevertheless, bring on Book 2, I say!

4 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Danielle Paige

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Book Review ~ ‘Midsummer Dreams’ by Alison May!

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Midsummer Dreams by Alison May
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Modern Retelling.
Publisher: ChocLit UK
Release Date: June 12th 2015.

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SYNOPSIS

Four people. Four messy lives. One night that changes everything.

Emily is obsessed with ending her father’s new relationship – but is blind to the fact that her own is far from perfect.

Dominic has spent so long making other people happy that he’s hardly noticed he’s not happy himself.

Helen has loved the same man, unrequitedly, for ten years. Now she may have to face up to the fact that he will never be hers.

Alex has always played the field. But when he finally meets a girl he wants to commit to, she is just out of his reach.

At a midsummer wedding party, the bonds that tie the four friends together begin to unravel and show them that, sometimes, the sensible choice is not always the right one.

A modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Available for Pre-Order

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Book Review ~ ‘Midsummer Dreams’ by Alison May ~ 5 Stars!

If you ask anyone what my favourite Shakespeare play is, they’d probably umm and argh, thinking ‘something romantic’. In actual fact, it is ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, and if you ask me why? Then I will tell you to read this novel. Why? Because this book captures every single one of those parts of the Bard’s original play that we love, and makes them accessible to a contemporary audience, all without losing its essence.

Alison May surprised me with the emotional wringer she put me through with ‘Midsummer Dreams’. I was expecting the comedy (which she does perfectly), and the sticky romantic tangle that our heroes and heroines find themselves in, but it was the punch that came with it from highlighting the characters inner turmoil and feelings that most reader’s will identify with, that made this book so special.

The story starts a few months before the events of the midsummer night it is famous for, and I loved seeing how all our characters fit together in each others lives, building a foundation for the later romantic turmoil. I especially loved Emily (funny considering how different we are), as I really felt for her, knowing that her desperation to keep her relationship with Dominic strong comes from a deep psychological fear of abandonment. I especially loved reading the scenes between her and Alex, as it is then that we really see how scared she is of anything unplanned, and it is what makes the attraction between her and Alex all that more exciting.

I really enjoyed the changes that Alison May adopted for this story, particularly that of the relationships between the four lovers are, and how they play out throughout the course of the novel. Dominic and Helen’s slow-burning relationship allowed for some hilarious scenes between Helen and Alex, where we see her attempting to rid herself of her infatuation with her best friend’s boyfriend, whilst Alex kids himself that his persual of Emily is all for Helen’s sake so that she can get the guy.

This perfectly fits the category of Romantic Comedy, and I enjoyed every second of it.

5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Alison May

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