Sunday, 2 September 2012

Book reviewing at a funny time

It is a funny time to be reviewing books at present. A pretty big scandal broke in the book world over the past few days. Authors have been creating false names and accounts on Amazon (at the very least) to positively review their own books and to do the same but negatively to their rivals.

I don't review on Amazon - the closest I come is leaving feedback on 2nd hand items! From the outset I think I've been honest if a book was won, a proof or by a friend. My views are all my own and there is even a picture of me on the blog.

Enough disclaimers. I actually started this post to review a book I won in a Twitter competition:

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.

This is where I start with a confession to the publisher - I wasn't paying too much attention when I entered the competition. I saw the publisher and the title and thought it would be a simple, non fiction first aid book that would be great to pass on to a family member who is a Cub Scout once I'd read it!

When a teen novel appeared on the mat I was a bit nonplussed, but then I opened the book. 4 hours later, with a great deal of sniffling I closed the most fantastic teen novel I've read in years.

At the start I thought I knew where the book was going but it continued to surprise throughout and while the ending was happy it was totally appropriate for the story.
I don't want to say any more about the novel as I'd like for others to come to it as unprepared as I was. Not because a spoiler will ruin it, but because the plot may seem trite and something that has been done many times before - it isn't and it hasn't!

If I still worked in retail this is the book I'd be hand selling to everyone buying for a teenage girl this autumn/winter however I will be raving about it to all and sundry in the library service and hoping to get at least one book group (not necessarily a teen one!) to try it.

This was a real surprise gem and again thanks to Usborne for sending me a copy.

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