The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 388

Format: Ebook

Rating: 4/5 stars

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.“

So before I even started reading this book I knew I was going to like it. There was so much hype going around about it and everyone seemed to be reading it and absolutely loving it. I can say that from the moment I sat down to read this book, I was hooked.

The writing was so beautiful, I mean it really was. I don’t even know how to describe it but it was just such a nice book to read. It had a calming effect on me and I found that I could not put this book down. It was set in the desert, and had a sort of Arabian thing going on that I found really interesting and it just added that element of something different to the story. This was nothing like the YA fantasy that I have read before.

I loved all of the characters. There was some much to each one that I found myself wanting to hear about Shazi’s handmaid and all that was happening with her. I wanted to know about each of the characters, never finding them lacking description wise, they were all formed really well.

Shazi herself was really clever. The things she said would not be something you would expect to come out of a sixteen year old’s mouth. She was so wise and knew exactly what to say at the right times. I really enjoyed reading from her point of view and seeing her inner struggle as the book progressed as to what she was going to do about Khalid made me sympathize for her.

Khalid on the other hand, I can’t say if I ever thought him to be a bad person. I think the author revealed to us that he was “good” before Shazi knew it herself. So I was always kinda rooting for him throughout the novel. He was just a heart throb all over!

Now there were one or two things I had an issue with. I won’t go into exactly what they were, but there were certain moments that seemed to not fit with the story. That were not as believable and just didn’t sit well in it. Also one thing that has been bugging me since finishing the book, was the ending. What a whopper of a cliff hanger! I had no idea going in to this book that it was not a stand-alone. So when it was getting nearer to the end and things weren’t being resolved I was staring to freak out.

So there I am, unbeknownst to me, reading the last page of the book. I turn to the next page and I’m like, where is the rest of it? The book just finished! Now I have to wait an entire year to know what happens next, the torture. However, it was a pretty epic ending. But I’m still not happy about it(she says whaling like a child). I shall wait and I will wait for the next book to come out. Besides that, overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

I would recommend this to lovers of fantasy, with a mature edge to it. There are non of the teenage angst’s found in this book.The romance was fantastically handled and you just have got to read it. This book is suitable for 15+.

The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

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The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

Published January 1st 2004 by Plume

Genres: Adult, Romance

Pages: 320

Format: Hardback

Rating: 3/5 stars

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In Anthony Capella’s delicious debut novel, Laura, a twentysomething American, is on her first trip to Italy. She’s completely enamored of the art, beauty, and, of course, food that Rome has to offer. Soon she’s enamored of the handsome and charming Tommaso, who tells her he’s a chef at the famed Templi restaurant and begins to woo her with his gastronomic creations. But Tommaso hasen’t been entirely truthful he’s really just a waiter. The master chef behind the tantalizing meals is Tommaso’s talented but shy friend Bruno, who loves laura from afar. Thus begins a classic comedy of errors full of the culinary magic and the sensual atmosphere of Italy. The result is a romantic comedy in the tradition of Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne that tempts readers to devour it in one sitting. Evoking the sights, smells and flavors of Italy in sensuous prose, this lively book also features recipes for readers to create (or just dream about) Bruno’s food of amore

I really enjoyed reading this book. Although I only gave it 3 stars, I still found it really interesting and couldn’t put it down. It was so different from what I usually read, even though it was a romance novel it was like no other I have read. There was such a focus on food it was magnificent. It was like I was there experiencing the meals along with the characters. And don’t get me stated about the setting. It was just beautiful to read about Italy, the culture and the people that lived there. The descriptions were so vivid, it just brought this feeling of being on vacation, to the book, even though I was in my sitting room the entire time I was reading it. It just had this quality to it that was capable of taking me out of my world and transplanting me in Italy.

Reading from multiple POV’s wasn’t something I was expecting. I thought it would be all from Laura’s POV. I was very surprised when I started to read from the guys perspectives, and didn’t like it at first. But after a while I got used to it and was looking forward more to reading from Bruno than I was anyone else. I found myself starting to dislike Laura as the story progressed and was getting irritated at the actions that she was taking throughout the story. There wasn’t anything specific she did, but my disinterest grew as I continued reading. Bruno however was brilliant. He was such an enjoyable character to read about, with his obsession to make the perfect meal. The food that was described in this book sounded truly mouth-watering, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d found myself drooling at one point. I felt like Laura wasn’t worthy of him and all that he went through to make her happy.

The writing in this book was good, in the way that you didn’t notice it. By that I mean it wasn’t so terrible that it pulled you out of the story, but wasn’t amazingly beautiful either. It was the perfect in between that allowed for an intriguing story. There were moments though where things got a bit strange. Like in some of the sex scenes Laura started to make some freaky imagery about what she was doing and it was just straight up weird! From what I remember there was something about her riding a black stallion? Sometimes some of the actions that the characters took and their thoughts came across random, being thrown into the middle of such an exquisite book. But I suppose it all came together to create a true sense of Italy.

So basically what sold me on this book was the fact that it was set in Italy. Otherwise I wouldn’t have liked it as much as I did. I definitely want to read more books set in Italy, the culture and people were just so interesting to read about and were portrayed as I would imagine them to really be like. I absolutely loved reading about the food and how they cooked everything, the emotion that was connected to it all and how it made people feel differently.

I would recommend this book to food lovers with an urge to travel and experience new culture. This book is truly an experience on and of it’s own. This book is suitable for older readers.

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Published October 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genres: Adult, Mystery

Pages: 288

Format: Ebook

Rating: 4/5 stars

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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.

I can’t remember exactly how I first found out about this book, but all I can say is I’m glad that I did. The whole concept intrigued me when I first heard about it. This book wouldn’t have been the usual type I would generally pick up, but lets say I’ve been branching out lately. However this book was on my TBR for quite a few months before I finally picked it up. And that was only because it fit the category for the read-a-thon I was doing. Otherwise I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have been read any time soon. But in saying all that, I have read it and all I can say is that it was great.

The characters were created so well, I got a very clear sense of who they were. I really enjoyed reading about the customers that came into the bookstore and how Clay got to know them with each passing night. Each character had such distinct quirks about them, which made for an interesting and entertaining read. Reading from Clay’s perspective allowed me to experience the story and the events that unfolded through his eyes. I was just as much in the dark about the mystery of the bookstore as he was. It had me wondering, was this going to turn out to be a book about magic? A book about cults? I really had no idea at some points where it was going. This was a good thing though, because it kept me on my toes, interested to see what happened.

The whole mystery that shrouded the bookstore wasn’t what I was expecting. It was an interesting twist to the story, and wasn’t really something I had ever read about before. I think my favorite part was at the end was when Clay figured everything out. I just loved that scene where he gathered everyone together and revealed the secret that they had been trying to solve for centuries.

The overall world building within the story was done quite well I thought. The setting of the bookstore was interesting. It was written in such a way that I felt as if I were there. I got a clear sense of what it was like. The severe height of the shelves, towering over you. The film of dust coating every surface. How the night crept in and shrouded everything in shadows. The descriptions were so clear I felt like I was Clay, sitting behind that desk at night. It was really fun to read about Clay’s adventures, all the different places he went. New York, Google HQ, just him living in San Francisco was really intriguing to read about, since I’ve never been to any of these places myself.

I must say that I enjoyed this book and was often surprised at the events that unfolded. There were so many elements to this book. Mystery, comedy, romance, it was fantastic. And it’s always fun to read books that are set in bookstores.

I would recommend this to people who like nerdy narrators and books that are just a little out of the norm topic wise. This book is suitable for readers of all ages.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

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Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

Published October 8th 2008 by Flux

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal,Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 325

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She’s about to find out she’s also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky—and equally dangerous—dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen’s sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren’t so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn’t exactly what she had in mind . . .

Lament is a dark faerie fantasy that features authentic Celtic faerie lore, plus cover art and interior illustrations by acclaimed faerie artist Julia Jeffrey.”

I personally didn’t think this book was very good. When I began reading it, it was almost like I had missed the start or something, because I had no idea what was going on. There was no setting the scene and a very quick character introduction, it left me feeling confused from the first page. There was also the fact of insta-love between Deirdre and Luke. There is no situation where I may find that acceptable. It came across very fake and was not done well, which was disappointing because Stiefvater has written some good books.

The writing was good but there wasn’t much character development. They were very much two dimensional and I never felt like there was anything interesting about them. Deirdre seemed very lost and didn’t know what she wanted. She was a very fragile character and was easily swayed with things. So trusting of Luke when she had never met him before. It never once occurred to me that Luke was actually going to kill her like it said in the synopses. He gave no inclination as to why he was following her, which I suppose was the point of the story but it came across quite random.

There were moments in the story where things just didn’t make sense. Like how it seemed that her mom was a single mother because there was never any mention what so ever of a father, then all of a sudden he just popped up out of nowhere. It was confusing and made the story difficult to get into when things like that happened.

I read this book quite quickly, but it wasn’t fast paced nor did much happen in the story. As I got closer to the end of the book I started to wonder how the story was going to end and be wrapped up well. There just didn’t seem to be enough pages to finish the story well with. The ending came across very random to me and it wasn’t something that I was expecting to happen. It seemed like the author just went, oh I think I’ll just change things around and make the book end the complete opposite to how it should. It just made no sense.

The whole aspect of magic in this book didn’t go very well. It wasn’t described well and I never really got what was going on. It’s made to seem like her being a cloverhand is a big thing when it’s really not. Also this character Aodhan isn’t in the story very much at all. The whole synopses is very misleading actually. Deirdre isn’t even “painfully shy” like it says either, she’s a completely normal teen, just quiet. But then again it’s hard to tell if she’s quiet because the book is set during the summer and there are like no interactions between her and other people.

Redeeming qualities, there wasn’t really any. I mean I suppose it would be an okay book to get you into the genre, but because I have read so many books like it, it fell a little flat for me. I was disappointed with it needless to say. Stiefvater has written some really good books that I have enjoyed immensely. Sadly this book was not one of them.

I would recommend this book for beginners of the YA fantasy genre, or just the YA genre in general. This book is suitable for teens of any age.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

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A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

Published May 2nd 2006 by Riverhead Books

Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 257

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Meet Martin, JJ, Jess, and Maureen. Four people who come together on New Year’s Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. Three are British, one is American. They encounter one another on the roof of Topper’s House, a London destination famous as the last stop for those ready to end their lives.

In four distinct and riveting first-person voices, Nick Hornby tells a story of four individuals confronting the limits of choice, circumstance, and their own mortality. This is a tale of connections made and missed, punishing regrets, and the grace of second chances.

Intense, hilarious, provocative, and moving, A Long Way Down is a novel about suicide that is, surprisingly, full of life.”

I really enjoyed reading this book. The idea that four people can be so sure that they want to end their life, then in each other find the will to live, was a truly heartwarming concept. I found that I could understand them even though I myself have never been in that situation. Hornby’s writing captured the mindset of this group of people so well I felt as though I was experiencing everything with them. I loved all of the characters, they were each funny, crazy and completely normal all at the same time and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Soon after reading this book I saw the movie adaption for it. I would like to say that it was almost better than the book. The movie captured the characters very well and I thought the story was portrayed in a happier way than it was in the book. Because after all who wants to read a sad book, maybe that’s why I liked the movie better. However there were a few things that I didn’t think were great in the film. For example, Jess is meant to be a strong, independent character, but she was portrayed otherwise in the movie. They made her look fragile and crazy, I mean she is most certainly crazy but a good crazy. Fragile would not have been a word I would have thought of in relation to Jess. And they changed the ending as well, which made for a more cinematic effect but non the less didn’t stick to the original story and the impact that the true ending gave.

I have to say that Jess was my favorite character. She was so full of energy and really cared for the others although it may not have seemed like it. Jess wasn’t perfect, and knew that she often got on people’s nerves, but tried to be kind anyway. She said things that came across quite crass, but were never intended to be that way. She was actually a very intelligent character it seemed. Reading from her POV was so interesting and hilarious at times, without Jess the story wouldn’t have been the same.

I found the plot for this book to be intriguing, but at times it went a tad slowly and I got a bit bored. The whole concept of four people banding together agreeing to live and seeing where that takes them was really fascinating. This is an emotional subject and reading about these kinds of things always pulls at my heart strings. But at some points I found myself getting bored. I can’t really say why. Maybe it was because the characters were older than me, or there wasn’t anything happening at that point in the story. I don’t know. There were just some points where the story lulled, but there are moments like that in every book. Overall I found it a compelling read and the story was choc-a-block with humor, which helped to balance out the fact that they were going to commit suicide. The characters all seemed like normal people, but as you got to know them that seemed to change.

Nick Hornby is a truly captivating writer and I found my self enthralled with this book. In the future I will most definitely be reading more of his books. Probably About a Boy, since I saw the movie and liked it, which will give me more motivation to read it. He seems to write about touchy subjects or things that aren’t the norm, which always guarantees a unique read for me. Those types of books are the kind of thing I pick up when I’m feeling like I want to read about something real and not the silly contemporary crap I read most often(even though I still love that stuff). The individuality that springs forth from Hornby’s work is something I strive to read, and hope to learn from.

This was genuinely a great book and I would recommend that people read it. It’s won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like eccentric characters and lots of humor alongside a serious topic, then this book is for you. This book is suitable for readers 15+ due to a mature story line. (Oh and if this doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, I would still suggest to watch the movie, it was really good).

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 459

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4/5 stars

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From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind”

This book was really good, when you look at it by itself. But compared to Rowell’s other books, it wouldn’t be her best. I think I prefer when she writes adult fiction, from my reading of Attachments, which I thought was really cute. However, that’s not to say that this wasn’t a good book, because I really enjoyed it and thought it was a great story. I absolutely loved seeing all the different aspects of Cath’s life and how she was not your normal girl you would come across in books nowadays. The copy that I had had some really cool illustrations of the characters, comic book style. I thought that was a fun little thing to add to it. It was nice that at the end of each chapter there was a little extract from a Simon Snow story, being from the actual book or a fanfic, so it felt like I was reading two story’s sometimes.

Looking at Cath as a character, I think she was formed really well. It felt like she was a real person who you could meet in the street, knowing that there was more to her than meets the eye allowed for a better understanding of the story. When she finds out that her twin Wren doesn’t want to be her roommate, the emotion was so real it just made me feel sorry for her. I was able to relate to her in some aspects, like with her anxiety. I can see where she’s coming from with her feelings about meeting new people and how college life was going to work for her without her sister to help her. As Cath starts to discover who she is without her sister, she begins to experience things for herself rather than in Wren’s shadow. The writing was phenomenal in this book and the characters were all really interesting. Regan, Cath’s roommate, was so much fun to read about, with her “I don’t care” attitude and curvy figure, she felt like a real woman. When she takes Cath under her wing and try’s to show her new things, how to live and what she should be doing with her life, I just started to love her even more. As you can tell I just love all of these characters, they were all written to so well and in such a way that you can’t help but be entranced. Now on to our lovely Levi, I wish I could talk more about him, but I feel like if I do then I will be giving the story away, which wouldn’t be good. So, all I’m going to say is that he is my new Book Boyfriend. He’s so cute and you just want to hug him anytime he’s in the story. He’s always so happy and nice to Cath, trying to get her to come out of her shell and try new things, I think we all need a Levi in our lives.

If you’ve read the book you’ll probably already know this, but the Simon Snow story’s are like a remake of Harry Potter. They are set in a wizarding school and there is a really smart female character that’s way ahead of her class, just like Hermione. The main kid Simon is like the chosen one and is meant to save the world or something. So yeah it was sort of funny that it was liked Harry Potter. It’s like in books or movies where there is something that is close to the real thing in reality but isn’t it and they talk about it as though it is the real thing, because it’s essentially replacing that thing. Simon Snow was like that, except for the part where Harry Potter is mentioned in the book. That sort of ruined it because it just didn’t make sense any more. Why make up a book series exactly like HP and then keep HP in that fictional world, it just doesn’t make any logical sense. But besides that there wasn’t anything wrong with this book. It was actually pretty great and I really enjoyed reading it.

I would recommend this book to people who like story’s with real life problems and cute romances. This book is suitable for readers 15+.

Cold Water by Gwendoline Riley

cold water

Cold Water by Gwendoline Riley

Published May 1st 2003 by Vintage

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary

Pages: 149

Format: Paperback

Rating: 3/5 stars

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Carmel McKisco is wry, volatile and full of longing: a twenty-year-old girl working nights in a Manchester dive bar. Cut off from her family, and from Tony, her carefree ex, she forges strange alliances with her customers, and daydreams, half-heartedly, about escaping to Cornwall.

Cold Water is a poignant picaresque of barmaids and barflies; eccentric individuals all somehow tethered to their past – not least Carmel herself, who is nurturing mordant fixations on both her lost love, Tony, and her washed-up adolescent hero: a singer from Macclesfield. As she spins out the days and nights of an unrelentingly rainy winter she finds herself compelled to confront her romantic preoccupations, for better or worse.”

This book was so random, I mean it really was. I’m not really sure if there was a specific line of events that were meant to lead to anything. The book just sort of ended and I was confused as to what had happened. But that’s not to say that I didn’t like it, it was a nice read. This book wouldn’t have been what I would usually have read, but I’ve been trying to branch out lately so I thought I would pick it up. Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m glad that I read this book, or that I feel enlightened by it or anything. But it wasn’t a waste of time, only because it took me like two hours to read it. It was different and quirky and portrayed some interesting characters throughout the story.

This book showed a very different side of love and being young. The main character Carmel wasn’t what you would be used to reading about. She was quite harsh as a character, almost always drunk and staying out late with her girlfriends. The reality of her life wasn’t one that you could see as a good one. I got the sense that as a character she isn’t happy and because of that, drowns herself in alcohol to make it all go away. I wouldn’t be able to count how many times Carmel was drunk during this novel. It really showed how she struggled with her life and how things weren’t going to plan. But it got to the point where I was wondering what kind of idiot she was with all alcohol she was consuming. She was going to end up killing herself one day if she didn’t stop. She could be quite annoying at times and I felt like throttling her at some points. All of the characters in this novel seemed to be party people who go out and get smashed every night and maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy this as much as I could have. I’m not a party person or a drinking person, so I didn’t feel like I could connect with the people in this book, especially the main character Carmel. But I feel like that’s not why this story was written. I think the author was trying to convey the difficulty’s for a young girl living on her own and how that’s effected her so far in life.

The writing was good and there was a bit of humor at some points. I thought the characters were well-developed and I could understand how they had gotten to the point in their life that they were at. All the characters were each unique and different and I hadn’t read ones like those before. I think Riley captured the essence of the lower class very well and portrayed a sad image of the lives of those people. So it was more the fact that this wasn’t my kind of story, rather than it not being a good book, that caused me to not like it or to not think it was amazing. I did like it, but I wouldn’t be reading it again or book’s that are similar to it. One last thing that I want to say is, I thought the ending was sort of anti-climactic or something. After all that Carmel experienced in the story it was sad to see how she continued to let others control her and her life. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give the ending away, but I was disappointed with it.

I would recommend this to people who like books about the lower class and a harsher reality than the usual fluff story’s. This book is suitable for readers 15+, but would recommend for older readers as there is a mature story line.