Friday 28 June 2013

The Drowning by Rachel Ward

What happens if you've done something terrible? But you can't remember what. And you don't know how to put it right ...When Carl opens his eyes on the banks of a lake, his brother is being zipped into a body bag. What happened in the water? He can't remember And when he glimpses a beautiful girl he thinks he recognizes, she runs away. Suddenly he knows he must find her - because together they must face the truth before it drowns them.

This is my first Rachel Ward book and I am incredibly impressed with her writing style, her pace, characters, settings be they gross or not, everything. She made me love a book that I would normally go nowhere near, that is impressive! So, the protagonist Carl has woken up after a major accident that leaves him confused and with little memory of, well, anything. Because he has amnesia, we learn about his world the same time he does, making for some excellent world-building and mystery-solving as we piece together what's happened to him and his brother. 

The major thing about this book is that it is so very, very creepy and spooky. Carl is haunted by his brother and for a long time, he can't figure out why. This makes it even scarier as he can't stop him from hurting him or Neisha, Rob's girlfriend. When he does discover that it's the connection to water, I was a little terrified of the bathroom for a while! Even when he realises what's going on, he still believe it himself, how can he make his mum or Neisha understand that his brother is haunting him, hell bent on revenge? 

Mixed in with the thriller elements is the almost normal contemporary style. Ward describes their crappy home life: father abandoned them, beat their mum, mother an alcoholic, house falling apart, both brothers getting in trouble in and out of school. This made me feel so very, very sorry for Carl and wanted to give him a hug, even when he was being ridiculous and dramatic. Plus, poor Carl doesn't just have this odd survivor's guilt, but with his memories out of whack, he has this horrible moment when he believes the dead guy haunting him and blames himself for Rob and nearly Neisha dying. It was at this point that I wanted to shake him and yell "Do you not read? Dead people can lie, you know!"

All in all, a very spooky and addictive read with great pace and characters. Carl is such a brave kid and desperately wants to do the right thing as he pieces together what happened to them all at the lake. As for the rest of his family, Rob was plain evil but I felt so sorry for their mother, being put through losing one son and the other going a little crazy. Lastly, I have to warn you, do not read this anywhere near water, you will get paranoid! 

Published 2nd May 2013 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy. 

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.

Meena Harper is familiar with the supernatural. After all, she knows how you're going to die (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.) 
But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for Lucien Antonescu—who she meets and then makes the mistake of falling in love with—a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side for which an ancient society of vampire hunters would prefer to see him dead.

The problem is Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met with whom she could imagine herself having a future. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's destiny, she's never been able look into her own. Lucien seems to be everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, though he might turn out to be more of a nightmare. 
So now would be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . . if she has one.

As you may have realised about me, I love a good vampire story. And one written by Meg Cabot has to be good, just like everything else she's written! I entered this book with minimal expectations, just hoping Cabot's writing was as good as I remember from my pre-teen reading. Thankfully, it was: it was well-written, with interesting alternate chapters and time stamps at each new chapter. And of course highly intriguing characters, from Meena knowing when people are going to die, to her best friend, very pregnant and incredibly funny. 

Mentioned in the synopsis, Meena has a bit of a thing against vampires. All these stories about girls falling for the horrid creatures of the night who will inevitably kill her, Meena hates them. Especially because her job as a soap opera writer is being jeopardised by vampires taking over all aspects of the media. So when she is invited to a neighbour's dinner party and cannot help moaning about the "vampire wars", Lucien is understandably worried. 

Which brings me to Lucien. He is the vampire anti-hero of the story, a gentleman (maybe not actually, because he sleeps with Meena after about 2 days!), pretty old-fashioned, a prince... well, actually he's the prince of darkness himself, Dracula's son. Yeah, so there's that. But he's trying to be a good guy, enforcing a rule for all his subjects not to kill, to only feed from willing humans, but his brother and some other typically macho vamps are going around draining young women. Which is not just horrible but also threatens to expose vampire existence to humans and the vampire hunters. Speaking of which, I can't not mention Alaric, the vampire hunter. Every good vamp story needs one and Alaric has to be one of the best I've ever read. He was strong and masculine, bit hot-headed and stubborn, didn't really think things through. Which is how he came to meet his match with Meena. Even as much as he annoyed her, they had great verbal sparring and chemistry.

This story was not the paranormal-romance I thought it was going to be, and for that I'm actually glad. It was much more complex and juicy with all the drama, not even including Meena's ability and the vampires! Highly recommended for any fans of vampires, you know proper ones that fight dirty and drink blood and want to take over the world, and fan's of Meg Cabot's writing because she's done it again! 

Published 21st June 2012 by Harper Voyager. 

Sunday 23 June 2013

Weekly Highlights: the signed edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

On The Blog

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent 
Discussion: stand alone's or series? Check out my thoughts and add your own here

Currently Reading

Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood - very good, very creepy and gripping. And am about to start Ink by Amanda Sun, which I am really looking forward to!

On My Bookshelf

Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood
How far would you go to fit in? Sorana Salem is ok with being not quite bottom of the pile at her exclusive private school. Until the mysterious Johansson twins arrive unexpectedly mid-term. Hypnotically beautiful and immensely cool, magnetic Elyse and mute Melanie aren’t like the school’s usual identikit mean girls.Soon Sorana’s sharing sleepovers and Saturday nights out with the twins. But their new world of Ouidja boards and older boys might not be as simple as it seems. And the dark secrets that they share could be about to take Sorana down a path that’s impossible to turn back from…

Thank you to Mira Ink and netgalley for this, I'm halfway through it and it is really good!

The Weight of Souls by Bryony Pearce
Sixteen year old Taylor Oh is cursed: if she is touched by the ghost of a murder victim then they pass a mark beneath her skin. She has three weeks to find their murderer and pass the mark to them – letting justice take place and sending them into the Darkness. And if she doesn’t make it in time? The Darkness will come for her…

She spends her life trying to avoid ghosts, make it through school where she’s bullied by popular Justin and his cronies, keep her one remaining friend, and persuade her father that this is real and that she’s not going crazy.

But then Justin is murdered and everything gets a whole lot worse. Justin doesn’t know who killed him, so there’s no obvious person for Taylor to go after. The clues she has lead her to the V Club, a vicious secret society at her school where no one is allowed to leave… and where Justin was dared to do the stunt which led to his death.

Can she find out who was responsible for his murder before the Darkness comes for her? Can she put aside her hatred for her former bully to truly help him? 

And what happens if she starts to fall for him?

This sounds really cool and can't wait to read this  - thank you netgalley and Strange Chemistry!

Behind the Blog

Thursday night at my local library, I attended a Q and A type event with CJ Skuse and Rachel Ward. I hadn't met either of them before, though I have tweeted, so it was really nice to put a face to the name and all that. I arrived pretty early and was the second person there. The children's librarian Tracy introduced me to them both and they recognised me from our brief conversations on twitter! This made me stupidly happy.

Anyway, once most people had arrived, Tracy got things started by asking them both about their books and to read a bit from their newest ones. Then the questions started. Tracy had a couple of really funny questions, like had they ever had a stalker and had they ever made themselves cry while writing? We found out that CJ had once gotten a letter from a sex offender in prison about Pretty Bad Things and Rachel had to stop writing for a day because she made herself feel physically sick while writing The Drowning

A few questions from the audience included their favourite books - CJ said The Fault in Our Stars, and Rachel said The 5th Wave had been very good - and their favourite characters of their creation - Paisley from Pretty Bad Things and Spider's Nan from Numbers. We talked recent books, like Divergent, and their writing styles, how they planned their stories and generally had a laugh!

It only lasted an hour and we ran over a little, especially as most of us had books we wanted signed! Check out what CJ wrote in my copy of Rockoholic! But they were both really great and it was amazing to meet them. Big thanks to both of them for agreeing to do this event and to Tracy for organising it! It was so much fun and I would love to do something like this again, I highly suggest keeping an eye on your own local library events!

Friday 21 June 2013

Discussion: stand alone's or series?

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, just because I have a series to read (Demon Trappers by the way) and I'm debating doing one big review for the four books, because I will read them one after the other. So, that is one thing, but the other is that because of this, I've realised how many stand alone books I've been reading recently. In fact, apart from continuing a long-favourite series like Morganville or Night Huntress, nearly everything I've read for the last several months have been stand alone books. And I was curious about fellow bloggers and readers opinions on this subject. 

So how about some pro's and con's? That's fair, right? Actually, it's probably going to be a sort of list-type collection of thoughts, but hey-ho:

  • from a book collector's point of view, stand alone's are very helpful so I don't have to keep up with the series and keep a space open for the rest of the books
  • used to be that I would actively seek out stand alone books because I had enough series to get through but now I'm warming to series again
  • series generally allow for well developed story lines and characters because of the length of story and space to expand on themes and flaws and stuff
  • yet stand alone's, and even companion novels, have their place and I do love them - for example ACID by Emma Pass, You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - because of their engaging plots and rememberable characters
  • I don't know if I'm the only one but it does kind of annoy me when I have to review a series of books continually. Hence the internal debate of doing one post split into the four books for Demon Trappers
In any case, even if I can't come to any sort of conclusion, I did want to start a debate about what type of books you prefer? Does it change depending on what you're reading lately, or feeling, like me? And how about my idea of doing one massive review for a series, rather than four consecutive reviews when most people won't read the next three for fear of spoilers?

Tuesday 18 June 2013

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

She doesn’t see dead people, but...

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who’ll be next...

Kayless has a strange gift: she knows if people she meets are going to die soon. Bit of a naff gift, if I'm honest, but all becomes clear when the truth behind her gift is revealed. And I don't want spoil anything, because it is a good twist, but it is surprising and a fresh take, but still a bit odd. Hopefully full exploration of her powers would occur in later books. 

Anyway, when she meets cute boy from school while she's trying not to scream blue murder, she is understandably worried about her reputation for a weirdo. Yet Nash knows things, things about her gift and how to calm her. That's because he shares this secret. The whole story develops just over a couple of days, which was a little confusing because I thought more time had past and I thought 'really, that was just yesterday?'  To keep Kaylee and Nash occupied as well as learning more of her gift, there are a few unexplainable deaths that are spooking the town and especially Kaylee and Nash because her screaming is the only warning some of the girls got. I loved this added element to the story, which made this contemporary tale all the more interesting with some supernatural and murder mystery elements. 

As for the love interest, Nash is first introduced with a reputation as a player but then as we get to know him, he hints that it is all talk. And when we find out that Kaylee's cousin lied big time about the apparent tryst she and Nash had: hilarious. Yet, as much as I liked him, unfortunately I did not believe Kaylee and Nash's love story. Don't get me wrong, I liked them both enough, but together I just didn't feel the love! 

One character I loved wholeheartedly was Tod. A reaper stuck in a hospital, he gives Kaylee and Nash (some) information they need to discover who or what is behind these strange deaths. His appearance and part in the story made it all the more fascinating and fantastical, with his mysterious past and magic.

All in all, an amazing take on folklore and the magic that surrounds us, with death and murder mystery to boot! And never mind my lack of love for their romance, that's just personal preference for slow wooing that teens surrounded by death apparently have no time for! 

Published 1st January 2011 by Mira Ink.

Saturday 15 June 2013

ACID by Emma Pass

2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

This is Emma Pass's debut and boy, was it good! I flew through it, Emma painted this futuristic world that was real and very possible the way our country's going at the moment! Speaking of, it was set in London! Not enough dystopians are set in the UK but they make for very good end-of-the-world settings as well as being that little bit more relatable for a UKYA audience. It was more totalitarian then post-apocalyptic which was interesting but very well done. ACID is the full-force police over the UK, ruling with an iron fist and all that, with curfews and mandatory arranged marriages and a terrifying no crime policy. 

Jenna was everything she promised to be: a proper kick-ass heroine that won't sit around and wait for others to save her. She wasn't in the prison for very long, in fact only a few chapters. Pretty soon, she is broken out and on her way to fighting for her life against a massive conspiracy and typical dystopian government - very 1984. But she's not done there. There were so many layers and stages to this that I very nearly got lost but couldn't possibly put it down: I had to find out! First Jenna was Jenna, then Mia, then in hiding from ACID, then Jess - just wow, no wonder she wanted them to stop messing with her life! It was unbelievable what they had done to her, messing with her mind just to protect ACID's control over the country. 

Then there was Max. The son of the man that helped Jenna break out of prison, he spends most of the book not knowing who she is because she's on the run. But their love story, as it were, was really sweet and a little heart-breaking because Max was adorable but he didn't realise that Jenna was effectively responsible for his father's death! They were so cute together and I could understand why Jenna was so protective over him, after everything ACID had taken from her.

And finally I have to mention the extra articles and letters that inter-spaced the story, giving us a bit more information about ACID's regime and Jenna's back story. Very intriguing and well portrayed, just teasing us with a few more clues! And while I'm pretty sure this was a standalone, the ending was just as teasing and purposefully left open, giving the impression that Jenna lived on and maybe everything wasn't perfect but she was done bowing down to overruling governments. 

Published 25th April 2013 by Random House.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Reading Agency roadshow

You probably don't know this but I volunteer at my local library with Chatterbooks, a children's reading group. I've been doing this since last December, it is really fun, the kids are awesome and the other volunteers and librarians are really friendly. Anyway, the main organiser Lynne works for the Reading Agency, a charity that helps with children reading and promoting new children's books, stuff like that. She invited me to their roadshow, this time in Cardiff, where librarians and publishers meet to discuss upcoming children's releases and how to best promote reading in libraries, etc.

So what happened? Well, first I took over the front desk, helping the last few people sign in and take their badge and direct them to the presentation and coffee. Then I followed them upstairs where we then spent the morning listening to publisher's presentations where they detailed upcoming releases. We had Macmillan, Hot Key, Bloomsbury and Oxford University Press, to name but a few. I didn't have a lot to do in this part, but I did get some good book recommendations! Next up was lunch, where I mingled with publishers and librarians, and got some really good advice on getting into the industry.

The afternoon was organised for speed-meeting where the librarians got ten minutes with each publisher to chat about books and promotion. Because I was "time keeper", I was able to wander between the tables, picking up on conversations about new books and school/library events. And I also got some swanky leaflets - Goth Girl from Macmillan, new-kid-on-the-block Curious Fox bookmark and sample chapter from "the new Harry Potter" Oksa Pollock, published by Pushkin, translated from French. Looks cool, right?

It kind of ran over time, so I had to leave before it finished to catch my train home. But it was a lot of fun and rather enlightening as I had no idea that these events even happened!

Tuesday 11 June 2013

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now. 

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

I'm not really sure how to start this - I have so many feels about this book, most of them extraordinary, but quite a few heartbreaking, and although I'm sure most of you have read this already I don't want to spoil anything either. 

So let me say: I knew this would be sad. Honestly, I was a little scared to start it, no matter how excited I was! But I am ever so glad I did because this book - this book - is made of all sorts of awesome. This is a cancer book, sort of. Instead of dealing with cancer, it's about two teenagers that just happen to have cancer. Which I think makes it better, because they have to deal with their issues but it's not that make them who they are.  I really have no idea how John Green wrote about the struggles with cancer so... astutely. I was very impressed with how he wrote of cancer and just normal teen problems with balanced attitudes to both, as both are equally important to Hazel. 

Hazel was the most amazing teenage girl I think I've ever read. She was sarcastic and funny and sweet, so strong yet so little. The way John Green got inside her head and laid out her dreams and fears was incredible and awe-inspiring, both from a reader's and a female's point of view. And of course there's Augustus. They are perfect for each other. Just like Hazel, he was funny and smart and a little self-deprecating, but then he struggled with everything going on, he changed so drastically it was a bit scary. But mostly sad; I wanted to cradle them both in my arms. 

This book is an emotional roller coaster and I really have no idea how John Green made me laugh and cry at the same time, balancing the good and bad with this black humour that made it funny and sad, which in turn made me feel bad for laughing at the serious bits. But sometimes that's all you can do, and John Green understood that with Hazel. I recommend this book to everyone with everything I've got; no matter how much it makes you cry, you will change for the better having read it. 

Published 10th January 2012 by Dutton Books. 

Sunday 9 June 2013

Weekly Highlights: the 'pretty' edition

Weekly Highlights is a regular feature hosted by Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts. It allows me to highlight my favourite stuff of the week and show off my new books :)

On The Blog

Two reviews this week:
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (4 stars)
Blood Calling by Joshua Patterson (3.5 stars)

Currently Reading

Just finished ACID by Emma Pass yesterday - oh my God, go buy this book, it was incredible! Right now, I'm reading Insatiable by Meg Cabot.

On My Bookshelf
Three very pretty new books this week. My shelves are beginning to look very full!

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

I won a signed copy on a competition Rachel Caine run last month - I've been looking forward to this for ages, and I got the American hardback which is gorgeous! And it's signed!

Shipwrecked by Siobhan Curham
I jump at the sound of a whispered voice over my shoulder. But when I turn round all I see is sand, and the towering, green wall of the rainforest. I guess it must have been the breeze, but I can't help shivering. I have the weirdest feeling that we're being watched. Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students are en route to perform on a South Pacific cruise-ship when a freak storm hits and they find themselves stranded on a deserted island. With the tropical heat rising, passions and tensions swell to breaking point. And the island itself is quietly steaming with a terrible secret...

An ARC hand-me-down from Sophie, but that's ok because I really wanted this! I loved Dear Dylan and have been meaning to read Finding Cherokee Brown because I love Siobhan's writing. Plus, how amazing does this sound?

Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman
Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.

The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology.

Found this in a charity shop, I love Neil Gaiman's writing and paranormal stories rock!

Friday 7 June 2013

Blood Calling by Joshua Grover-David Patterson

Lucy Leary's eighteen year old life is a wreck. Her parents divorced, she's earned a DUI, and her grandfather has died. He left her a single possession: A vampire slaying kit with a note that says, "They're real. Fight them."

Lucy finds answers in a place she never expected--the homeless shelter where she has to perform her community service. The Sundown Shelter is only open at night, and the man who runs it disappears during the day. But digging into the truth is dangerous. What Lucy learns will force her to abandon her life and confront an ancient vampire out to get her family.

I picked this up because it was a cheap e-book and I like vampire stories. And it was surprisingly good! Proper vampires that burn in the sun, some murderous and some with remaining humanity, that weren't romanticised. However, the story does take a turn that the synopsis does not mention, so look out for that! 

So Lucy was the typical female protagonist of a vampire story: normal looks, little anti-social, broken home life. But she wasn't anything special. In fact, she was a little annoying, rambling on about nothing when there was nothing else to say. Very much like real life, yes, but not dramatic enough for a vampire tale. Plus, half the time I forgot her name, but that's just because of the first person narrative. Her counter-part, sort of, was Wash, the boss at her community service homeless shelter, who just happened to be a vampire. Wash was pretty epic; a secret vampire that ends the life of those about to die. He gives them a chance, a painless death that also helps him - having never seen this before, I thought this was nicely fresh take on humane vampires. And then there's Emma, the other vampire. Her story was fascinating and a little heartbreaking, and although I kept forgetting she was supposed to be about 16, I really liked her.

The narrative is worth a quick mention: it was written in past tense, as Lucy was, apparently, way older and looking back at the beginning of her story. It was good, reasonably well done but I kind of forgot about it half the time which meant when future-Lucy butted in, I was a little confused. 

All in all, it was a good, funny, fairly original vampire story with some good dramatic scenes that were too few and far between the bore of normal life and hiding out in hotels rooms. Worth a try for paranormal lovers and hopefully would pick up speed in the next book. 

Published 11th October 2012 by Red Iris Books. 

Tuesday 4 June 2013

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy - loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

This is my second John Green book, and after Looking For Alaska, it had a lot to live up to. Surprisingly, I liked it! I did not understand the maths, but Colin was an annoyingly relatable character in his search for purpose in life, and having just finished university, I could totally understand. 

As he embarks on a, rather short, road trip with his best friend, Colin is still mourning his latest break up with Katherine number 19. His re-telling of his past relationships are inter-spaced within the main story of Colin and Hassan meeting Lindsey in Gutshot. What fascinated me most about this story was the characters. They all were very complex and intriguing in their identities and personalities. Plus I could really relate to Lindsey's issue that she was a different person for everyone; I thought that was a simplistic but really nice attitude to the human condition, at least in teenagers. As for Hassan, he was really funny and pretty adorable and played the role of brain-to-mouth filter for Colin when he was being boring. Not that all the random facts were boring, just some of them. 

The other main point of this book, as already mentioned, was the maths. That, I didn't always understand; maths and I don't get on but I really tried, because it was important to Colin! The other thing was language. Now that I loved. Anagramming has never been my strong suit but I loved that it fascinated Colin. That with the historical knowledge made Colin just plain awesome, but maybe that's just me!

This might not be John Green's best book but still a great read, if only for the slightly-useful facts you might learn, for life or about yourself. 

Published 10th May 2012 by Penguin Books.