Clean by Juno Dawson – Book Review

Clean by Juno Dawson – Book Review

I met Juno Dawson at YALC last year and I was instantly a fan. I bought two of her books right there and then, and I was excited for her latest release, Clean. I’ve just finished the book in about 3 days flat and my god, what a good book!!

I met Juno Dawson at YALC last year and I was instantly a fan. I bought two of her books and I was already excited for her new book, Clean. And I loved it!!

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom.
She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility.
From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady.
As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all…

I’ve been waiting for the book that will pull me out of my reading slump that I seem to have been in for this entire year, and I think — I don’t want to be confident — but I think this one has done it…

Clean by Juno Dawson:
My Thoughts

Clean is the story of Lexi Volkov, the 17-year-old daughter of an international hotel chain owner. After falling in (what she thinks is) love with her drug dealer Kurt, she tumbles down into what feels like an inescapable drug problem.

When her older brother Nik decides to intervene, Lexi finds herself in the place she never thought she’d see: rehab. The rest of the book follows her 70-day, 10-step recovery process at the Clarity Centre, a rehabilitation centre for the rich and famous, situated on its own picturesque island. For party girl socialite Lexi, it’s hell.

I really loved getting to know all of the different characters that Lexi stays with at the Clarity Centre. It was so interesting to read about all of the reasons for their rehab attendance, from sex and drug addictions to OCD and eating disorders. All of the characters were completely unique and explored in so much detail. Sometimes, when a book has a lot of characters that are central to the story I forget some of them, but with this one, I can remember every single person in detail.

Clean really does bring the light the struggles that people go through when battling addictions and disorders. The book is filled with sadness, pain, happiness and so much hope that these characters you grow to love will make it through.

It’s clear to see that Juno has done her research, because everything is completely believable. I don’t know very much about how the rehab process works, and as someone who has never even been drunk (OK, call me boring) I wouldn’t begin to imagine how it must feel to have to overcome an addiction. But the writing in Clean makes it so easy to imagine, and although the characters are so far from being relatable (I’m definitely not a super rich socialite daughter of a hotel chain owner), you still feel for them and wish for them to succeed every step of the way.

I loved this book, and it’s definitely one of those that I think everybody should read. If you love a book that will make you appreciate the small things in life and make you realise how important your life is to those around you, read Clean. Grab a copy from the library, or next time you go shopping — just whenever you get a chance, please read this book!

Have you read Clean, or anything else by Juno Dawson? Let me know your thoughts!

I’m Charlotte: media graduate, virtual assistant and avid reader. I’m a Hufflepuff, a space fanatic, and I love to write about books. More about me…

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Ready Player One – An Okay Film That Slightly Improves on an Okay Book

Ready Player One – An Okay Film That Slightly Improves on an Okay Book

A couple of months ago, I posted my book review of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I had a lot of mixed thoughts about it, so it turned out pretty long… you can read it here if you want to see what I thought!

The day after I finished the book I went to see the film in the cinema, and my god, I was TORN. I tend to be very sensitive about how close film adaptations are to their books, and Ready Player One had me torn in two. I won’t go into it to much here… here’s my review of the film and how it compares to the book.

A couple of months ago, I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and it was... okay. Then the film came out and I had NO idea what to make of it when I saw it. Here's my attempt at a review...

The Positives

World Building

My very first opinion of the film was that it was that it set up the world and the characters very well. The book is packed full of world building – like, I think it’s about 85% description – so I wondered how this would translate to the screen. It actually did pretty well – there was a lot of explaining in the form of narration at the beginning, but they did a good job of picking the most important parts of Cline’s extensive world building to highlight.

Appearance

I was also impressed by the appearance of the main character, which pretty much matched the image I had in my head when reading the book, and the look of the real world as well as the virtual world inside the OASIS. It all looked great, and again, almost exactly how I imagined it!

This is where the similarities ended, though. The rest of the film was SO different, and I was overwhelmed with the changes. That’s not to say that these changes are a bad thing, though… there’s a mix of both. Some changes left me a bit irritated because I loved them in the book, whereas others vastly improved on their respective sections in the book.

Challenges

Possibly the biggest change is the challenges that the ‘gunters’ have to do in a bid to win the game – and this was one of the changes that was a huge improvement on the book. The book’s challenges are, quite frankly, a bit boring, and when I read them I was a bit confused how they’d translate. So, I wasn’t shocked to see that for the film, the challenges were completely revamped to make them more exciting, more intense, and a lot more dramatic.

The rest of the changes, though, didn’t impress me as much… instead, they left me feeling a bit disappointed that they changed some of the best bits of the book.

The Negatives

Art3mis

Art3mis is another ‘gunter’, and someone that Wade looks up to. He reads her blog, and she’s practically famous in the ‘gunter’ community. In the book, he doesn’t meet her throughout the whole book (until they’re forced to at the end). She’s worried about meeting Wade in real life because she thinks he’ll find her hideous due to a large birthmark on her face and the fact that she’s overweight.

However, in the film, Wade literally meets Art3mis within 20 minutes. Not only that, but she has the faintest little birthmark and she’s conventionally Hollywood attractive and thin. Not at all how I imagined someone who hides her appearance behind a beautiful online persona, and definitely not someone who matches her description in the book.

I really liked the suspense of him meeting Art3mis and the rest of the gang in the book, and the build-up to their meeting with Wade wondering if they’d look like their virtual characters. But in the film, he kind of stumbles across them and it’s all very unplanned and convenient. Ugh, I didn’t like it.

Romantic Emphasis

While I’m on the subject of Art3mis, they did the exact thing I expected (and dreaded) from a high-budget Hollywood film: they focused waaayyy too much on the romantic relationship between Wade and Art3mis. The book didn’t have too much emphasis on the romance between them. It was there, sure, but it wasn’t really at the forefront of the story. In the film though, it took up far too much of the story, and it was boring!

Super Long Battle Sequence

Another thing I hated was how long the battle sequence went on at the end of the film. In the book, I appreciated that the battle only lasted a couple of chapters. I’m not a huge fan (if a fan at all) of battle sequences, which is one of the reasons I don’t like superhero or action films. So when the big battle scene in Ready Player One lasted about 4 hours, I was ready to either fall asleep or leave. 😀 It just wasn’t needed – it was dragged out for way too long and it reminded me a lot of the scene in Avatar, where it could have lasted 5 minutes instead of 5 hours.

Summary

I’m sure there are other things I’ve missed out of this review, but I’ve tried to remember as much as I could. As much as I wasn’t a big fan of the book, I still wanted the film to be a good adaptation. It was a very odd experience, because there were a lot of things that were great and improved so much on the book, but there were possible a lot more things that I didn’t like.

Generally, it’s a fun film to go and see, and I think the consensus is that if you haven’t read the book, you’ll like the film a lot. But as someone who finished the book just a day before I saw the film, I just couldn’t help but compare the two. Maybe if I hadn’t read it, my opinion would be a lot more positive… but I’ll never know. 😀

What did you think? Have you read the book, seen the film, or both? And if you’ve seen both, how did they compare for you?

I’m Charlotte: media graduate, virtual assistant and avid reader. I’m a Hufflepuff, a space fanatic, and I love to write about books. More about me…

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Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart – Book Review [Blog Tour]

Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart – Book Review [Blog Tour]

Confession: sometimes I’m a really bad blogger. I’ve reviewed books in the past where I’ve read them the day before my review was supposed to go up, and I’ve struggled through them. This was especially the case if I didn’t get into a book as much as I’d hoped and it can feel like a real slog.

Today, I’m on the blog tour for Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart and I must admit, I did the same thing: I left it until a couple of days ago to start reading. I’ve been in such a huge reading slump recently and I really had to motivate myself to start reading. I literally finished the book about 30 minutes before I wrote this review.

The good thing, though? I LOVED IT.

Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of wonder might just save them both.

Last year, I read A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart and it instantly became one of the best books I’d read that year. It was heartfelt, funny, raw, and made me feel every emotion I could possibly feel. So when I was asked to join the blog tour for Stuart’s second book, Days of Wonder, I couldn’t wait to get my copy!

OK, as I said above, I didn’t start reading it until the last minute. But when I did start reading it, I finished it within 48 hours. I stayed up until almost 1am because I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books where you get to a point where you want to go to bed and stop reading, but then something else happens, and then something else, and you find yourself still reading 50 pages later.

I loved how the book is split into two perspectives – Hannah, and her dad Tom. It gave a great insight into the minds of these two characters and how differently they react to Hannah’s situation.

When I read the synopsis, I hoped the whole book wouldn’t be filled with doom and gloom – but I knew that in A Boy Made of Blocks, Stuart did a great job of making the optimism shine through in any situation, no matter how rough. Days of Wonder, luckily, was the same.

The book really teaches you to be thankful for everything you have, no matter what is thrown your way. Hannah knows that one day she might die, whether it’s next week, next year, or in 5 years’ time. And meanwhile, Tom knows that he’ll lose his daughter long before her time should be up – which I can imagine would be any parent’s nightmare.

Even though this seems pretty bleak, especially being combined with the possible closure of the theatre that Tom has managed for 10 years, there were so many moments that made me laugh out loud. A book really has to be special to make me do that. (I’m usually an emotionless robot.)

Oh, and to top it all off, this book also has great mental health and LGBT representation. How could it be more perfect?!

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Days of Wonder. If you want a book that makes you laugh, cry, tugs on your heartstrings, and makes you learn to see the positives even when everything seems bleak, read this book. I know you’ll love it.

Thank you to Little, Brown Book Group and Clara Diaz for sending me a review copy of Days of Wonder. The book comes out on June 7th in hardback, so don’t miss it! Click here to read about the book on Goodreads, or click here* to buy it on Amazon.

See some of the other bloggers taking part in the tour today, and for more of the action, follow the #DaysofWonder hashtag on Twitter!

*Note: Affiliate link used – click here for details. 🙂

I’m Charlotte: media graduate, virtual assistant and avid reader. I’m a Hufflepuff, a space fanatic, and I love to write about books. More about me…

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Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Book Review

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Book Review

In case you don’t already know, Neal Shusterman is one of my favourite authors ever. I’ve read most of his books and he’s definitely one of the highest on my list of auto-buy authors. So when I finished Scythe last year, I couldn’t WAIT to read the sequel, Thunderhead!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The dark and thrilling sequel to Scythe, the New York Times sci-fi bestseller.

The stakes are high in this chilling sci-fi thriller, in which professional scythes control who dies. Everything else is out of human control, managed by the Thunderhead. It’s a perfect system – until it isn’t.

It’s been a year since Rowan went off-grid. Hunted by the Scythedom, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. Citra, meanwhile, is forging her path as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning with compassion. However, conflict within the Scythedom is growing by the day, and when Citra’s life is threatened, it becomes clear that there is a truly terrifying plot afoot.

The Thunderhead observes everything, and it does not like what it sees. Will it intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?

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Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller – Book Review

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller – Book Review

If you read my review of Ready Player One a couple of days ago, you might know that books about virtual reality and not-so-distant technology-advanced futures are my current favourites. So when I managed to get a proof of Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller at YALC last year, I was instantly intrigued!

The company says Otherworld is amazing – like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive – that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

My taste in books has changed quite a lot over the years. It’s been teen dystopians like The Hunger Games and Divergent, crime thrillers, and even a period of lighthearted chick-lit. But at the moment, as well as contemporary YA, one of my favourite genres is futuristic sci-fi – especially if it includes virtual reality elements. That’s why I couldn’t wait to read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Book cover - Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

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