Monday, 21 January 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Plot (taken from

She turns to face the future in a world that's falling apart. For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead...A debut novel that will leave you breathless.

Rating 5*- I do not think I will be able to express the amount of enjoyment and entertainment I had when I read this novel. I truly was breathless after finishing the first in the series. It has to be the best novel I have read (maybe excluding Harry Potter- but maybe that is overrated now). If you’re not one to read, the rights have been bought by Summit entertainment and will be released in 2014.

I cannot recommend this novel enough. The use of the different factions (Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Candor and Erudite) shows the way in which the society is split. “Faction before blood”, that is the motto and without your complete loyalty you will end factionless.

Tris is a fantastic character, written in the 1st person you see events from her point of view and her strength and willingness to fight is truly inspirational, in a society that may become reality.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon

Plot (taken from

Jack Mann finds Beebo Brinker (real name Betty Jean — she was unable to pronounce it as a child) wandering the streets of Greenwich Village. Beebo is 18 years old, tall and handsome, vacillating between overconfidence and vulnerability after leaving her family's farm in Wisconsin for New York City. Beebo is clearly welling up with a terrible secret that forced her to move east, and guilt that comes with leaving her father alone.

Jack helps Beebo get a job delivering pizzas (one of the advantages is that she can wear pants) for Pete, who is a little creepy, and his wife who cooks. Jack also allows Beebo to live with him until she gets on her feet, and allows her the time and space to ask the questions he knows she needs to ask. When she admits her frank admiration for a woman she sees, Jack tells her about lesbians, and she reacts with obvious fascination. He escorts her to several gay bars in the Village where she is astonished and touched by what she recognizes in herself.

After being treated cruelly by a vindictive woman playing a game with Pete, Beebo happens upon Paula one evening at her apartment, and it is Paula who verifies the suspicion of Beebo's sexuality. She is roused a couple days later to make a delivery to the apartment of a rather outrageous movie star, Venus Bogardus, who lives with her lonely teenaged son whom Beebo befriends. Beebo is infatuated and unnerved by Venus, who proposes that Beebo join them to return to California as company for her son — and to bridge the gap between them. Venus, in turn, divulges her past loves with men and women and seduces Beebo.

As Venus rehearses for a television show, Beebo learns her new precarious place at Venus' ranch in California negotiating around Venus' business-minded husband, her public persona, and her vulnerable son. She is essentially, kept in secret. It dissatisfies her and she begins to miss Paula. She is seen briefly with Venus in public and it causes gossip columnists to start asking questions, and Venus' husband warns her to stay away from Venus in public. But on the night of the show, Venus' son has an epileptic seizure and cuts his head open. Beebo must find Venus at a party celebrating the show's end, but is intercepted by her husband, who beats her in a rage before she can tell Venus what has happened.

The morning papers unleashed rumors of Venus being a lesbian. Unwilling to live in secret with Venus, Beebo returns to New York to recover while Venus and her husband appear happily in public. After a while, Beebo goes to find Paula again, who is thrilled to see her once more. Paula assures her that love can be better and they decide to see for themselves how.

Rating 4*- After reading ‘I Am a Woman’ I decided to have a look at some of the other novels in the series. This novel is very different to the first, and although it includes some of the same characters it is somewhat more mysterious. The characters reveal themselves in a more subtle way and live their lives, as homosexuals, very differently in the way Laura does in ‘I Am a Woman’.

I love the pull of New York City in these novels, and more importantly the importance of Greenwich Village. The characters living in the city are described with fantastic detail and the insight in the 1960’s allows for a very different perception of the people in the novel.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Plot (taken from

Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Rating 5*- I was given this book as an early Christmas present from my flatmate. We originally went to the cinema to see the film, which I loved. Emma Watson made a break out away from Harry Potter and the whole cast really were suitable for the characters introduced in the book.
I was expecting this novel to be very different to the film, as books usually are. However, what I did not know is the novel was written by a screenwriter and film director.
Being an English student I was surprised to pick out a minor typo of one of the characters names. Although I have not given this novel justice yet, this truly is worth a read. The coming of age story is unique in its plot and heartfelt, after finishing the novel I really do have a different outlook on life and the way in which people actually think and perceive things around them. I guess you become involved in the way you perceive your surroundings but seeing Charlie’s deep thoughts is something you don’t get a feel of with the film. If you loved the film, you really will love the book. But definitely be prepared for some very similar scenes, the film very much sticks to the book.