Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

Just breathe, Kacey. Ten tiny breaths. Seize them. Feel them. 
Love them.

Four years ago Kacey Cleary's life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside the wreckage, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty year old Kacey and her fifteen year old sister Livie escape Grand Rapids, Michigan to start over in Miami.
With little money and even less food, Kacey needs to figure out how to get by. But Kacey's not worried. She can handle anything - anything but her mysterious neighbor in apartment 1D.

Star Rating

I received this book from Simon & Schuster, through Net Galley, for an open and honest review. 

"Just breathe," my mum would say. "Ten, tiny breaths...Seize them. Feel them. Love them."
What the hell does a tiny breath do? Why not a deep breath? Why ten? Why not three or five or twenty?

Ten Tiny Breaths tells the story of Kacey Cleary, a troubled and damaged young woman struggling to cope with life after the harrowing accident that killed both her parents, best friend and boyfriend. The explosive opening chapter was very reminiscent of some of my favourite YA novels such as 'The Memory Game' and 'The Lovely Bones' with the reader being taken straight to the scene of the accident. Told in the first person, through the eyes of Kacey, the reader is thrown slap bang into blind panic. "Dim lights...voices...I see them. I hear them. The smashed windshield. The twisted metal. Dark smears. Liquid pools. Blood. Everywhere."

Sufficiently gripped from the start, the reader is taken on a journey with Kacey to discover how she will ever heal and overcome this terrible tragedy.K.A. Tucker cleverly reveals this process through the use of chapter names. The story is organised into nine stages: Comfortably Numb, Denial, Resistance, Acceptance, Dependence, Withdrawal, Breakdown, Recovery, Forgiveness. These headings set the reader up with an idea of where the plot is going and I found myself racing through to find out what the 'breakdown' was going to entail for Kacey and Livie.

Eager for a new start, Kacey and Livie move to a run-down apartment block in Miami which is where Kacey meets Trent Emerson with his 'smouldering blue eyes and deep dimples.' As with nearly all YA novels, the story wouldn't be complete without a love interest and Kacey very quickly falls deeply in love with her handsome, new neighbour. Trent tries with all his might to make Kacey smile again but it becomes clear that he has his own demons that he needs to resolve first.

As explained in the synopsis,

'Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey's guarded heart - even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds.'

Where this novel fell down was in the revelation of Trent's secret. I am usually one of those people who doesn't see things coming, who always fails to anticipate the twist ending to a good film. However, I did see Trent's secret coming. Very early on! So when the 'explosive' secret was revealed it was more of a 'meh' moment for me.

However, this is still a great novel packed full of emotional ups and downs. Anyone who has undergone similar traumas in their life will, without a doubt, be able to empathise and resonate with Kacey's story. A recommended read for lovers of YA fiction!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Zoe Collins has a dark and terrible secret that she dares to confess to no one. But one day she hears of a criminal on death row who knows all about secrets. And lies. And betrayal. 
Desperate to confide in someone, Zoe picks up a pen. 
These are the letters that she wrote. 

Star Rating 

This book had been on my to read list for ages so when I saw it on offer in Waterstones I just had to buy it and boy am I glad I did. Unfortunately it didn't quite make the 5 star mark purely because I found the beginning quite slow, however don't let the four stars put you off. This book was brilliant and, for any fans of YA fiction, a must read!

I have always been a fan of stories told in letter/diary form, having enjoyed the likes of 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' and the old, but brilliant, 'Adrian Mole's diary'.
The letters in this book are written by a young girl named Zoe who lives a seemingly ordinary life with her loving family. However, very early on, the reader is made aware that Zoe holds a terrible secret that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. 

Zoe begins an unlikely friendship with Max, a popular guy with the ladies, from her local high school. However, at a party that Max also attends, Zoe locks eyes with Aaron and a new romance blossoms. Zoe finds herself in the centre of a love triangle and, not realising that the two boys are in fact brothers, finds herself in a very sticky situation. 

"I laughed. I couldn't help it, even though my mind was conjuring up a picture of two brothers side by side in the same room with their phones, no idea they were texting the same girl."

This novel by Annabel Pitcher is extremely hard to put down as the reader is always eager to know Zoe's terrible secret. Although it had a very slow start (as the month's coincide with the incident that happened one year previously) I was gripped by the events unfurling and was desperate to know what had happened.

The novel was filled with touches of humour and some characters that readers can really relate to. Annabel Pitcher includes subplots of family troubles such as parental arguments, money troubles and living with siblings with disabilities. 

This is a very well written book with enough mystery and suspense to force you into reading it in one sitting. It is a moving and edgy story that again will stay with you long after finishing. Why the ketchup clouds I hear you ask! Well to be honest, I don't really know. But what's in a title.