SPARK TRILOGY GIVEAWAY! (AU/NZ) + Special Post by Rachael Craw

Monday, 28 November 2016

Graphic made by Eugenia @ Genie in a Book

With the holiday season approaching, we all know the feeling of glancing wistfully at our shelves...and making enormous lists of books we want to add to them for the new year. Thanks to Walker Books Australia and Rachael Craw, I'm giving away the whole SPARK trilogy to one lucky winner from Australia or New Zealand. 

Not to mention...yes - this series is one of my favourites of all time

BUT THEY ALSO LOOK AMAZING. 
You know, for that bookshelf aesthetic that's impossible to turn down.

Image provided by Walker Books Australia

You can also have a read of my thoughts on the series here:

Review: Spark by Rachael Craw
Stray by Rachael Craw Review and Author Interview
Review: Shield by Rachael Craw
Some of my favourite moments from the series

Special post from Rachael Craw

Merry Christmas, friends! A colossal thank you to Walker Books Australia and Spark Army General, Eugenia, for generously hosting week one of the Spark Trilogy Christmas Giveaway on her beautiful blog. And thank you everyone for taking the time to stop by be sure to enter to win a complete set. And if you’re not lucky this week, keep your eyes peeled for Kelly’s blog next week and my newsletter the week after! (Don’t forget to subscribe @ www.rachaelcraw.com)



Since the release of Shield, the final instalment in the Spark series, I have started work on a new novel which is both exciting and daunting. A whole new world to explore, new characters to fall in love with and new dangers and adventures to send me running for the heart medication. Y’all know me well enough by now to expect a story set in the real world with a fantastical/speculative twist. Well, at the moment the twists are giving me whiplash and making my head spin! So, this weekend I indulged in some quality procrastination to ease the agony of drafting my new WIP.

If you’ve been neglecting your nanowrimo or hiding from your TBR here are:

Rachael’s Top 5 No Regrets, Pre-Christmas, Procrastiwriting/Procrastireading Activities.

5. Put up the Christmas tree!

Traditionally, I am a December 1st girl but I have a busy week and no patience for a mid-week decoration project. Besides, our tree is a colossal 6 footer and it takes hours of sweaty, scratchy negotiation to get it up and looking pretty. I must confess to being a bit of a Christmas tree Sergeant Major. I like it, just right. Clearly, I have traumatised my children enough to follow in my footsteps and they all pulled together to produce a dazzler. Can you rope in a sibling or flatmate to get your tree up? Since it’s such a wholesome family activity – bonding over twinkle lights – guilt about avoiding your WIP or TBR recedes nicely.


4. Spring clean a bedroom!

In this case, my little girls’ room. How hard can it be, right? How long could it take? Brace yourselves. My children are chronic hoarders of crap. A dozen supermarket bags full of trash, broken plastic what-nots, bric-a-brac, and miscellanea later and that’s just what was under their beds and hiding in the toy box! I haven’t even started on their wardrobe. It took all of Saturday and Sunday afternoon but oh the glorious smugness of a clear floor. One can’t feel bad about a neglected first draft or review copies waiting to be read when you’re spring cleaning! What’s collecting dust under your bed? Behind your dresser?


3. Pausing over old treasures!

Memory-lane is a sweet place linger. A good tidy up unearths old treasures, photo-albums and journals. Some of my favourite things to keep are the kids’ old “Story Writing” books from school. Dragons, mermaids and talking animals feature a lot. The kids laugh at their handwriting and illustrations. It always warms my heart. See how writing/reading guilt can be smoothed away?

2. Setting aside items for Goodwill or the Salvation Army!

This weekend we culled soft-toys, dress-ups, dolls, tea-sets, books, games and clothes that the girls had grown out of. We put the teddies and costumes through the wash and wiped down the plastic toys. The girls loved choosing things to giveaway – great opportunity to be generous and help others. Have you got anything you could donate to help others have a great Christmas? You can’t feel bad about your draft or your TBR when you’re doing good deeds!
And the number one best way I procrastinated this weekend …


1. Binge watching Gilmore Girls!!!

ARGH!!! I have been binge re-watching the original series in preparation for the Gilmore Girls Revival over the last couple of months and it was AGONISING listening to my eldest daughter squealing and wailing in her bedroom as she watched the new episodes without me! I am halfway through season 6 and live in TERROR of spoilers!!! So, I squeezed in several episodes this weekend and I HAVE NO REGRETS!!! Any Gilmore fans out there?!
Well, I hope I’ve inspired you! Now … I better get back to my WIP!!!! ARGH!!!

Enter here:

Watch out for more chances to win this series!

Kelly @ Diva Booknerd will be hosting her giveaway and with another special post from the author next week.

Rachael Craw herself will be hosting the final giveaway, keep an eye out for her newsletter for all the exciting details!


Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers - Revenge is sought and lives 'clipped' short

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Released: 22nd August 2016
Published by: Harlequin Teen Australia
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Pages: 424
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames.

The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down. Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Even though YA fantasy isn't usually a genre I'll reach for, Assassin's Heart still provided enough intrigue to keep me interested. Though it did take a few chapters to really convince me of its merits, towards the end there were a number of twists and a solid message to take away. 

Maybe Family wasn't stronger than family. And maybe family was what we made of it. 

The bounds of familial loyalty and a quest for vengeance lie at the heart of clipper (assassin) Lea's plight. Her family, the Saldana's are the 'First Family' in the kingdom of Lovero. However, a  secret romance with a member of the rival 'Second Family' the Da Vias, is ultimately the cause of their demise. It's interesting how this book features masks as identifiers - both literally and figuratively. While each of the Families have their own unique colour scheme or pattern which identifies them, it's clear that some are able to hide their emotions without them, and betray one another when you'd least expect.

They were so different, Val and Les. Val was arrogant and believed everyone was below him. Les was kind to people, even those who tried to push him away. Val tried so hard to be the person he was, with his appearance and his manner. Les didn't try at all, and his nature came through in a way that made my heart stutter, my breath catch in my throat.

Lea as a character was one I definitely wanted to see succeed. She definitely delivered as a badass assassin who, although not perfect - was flawed enough to make her realistic. Her strength and enduring loyalty to avenge what happened to her family were elements which gave her character complexity. While at first there may have been a slight 'love triangle' between Val and Les, ultimately these relationship dynamics gave Lea a chance to discover who she wanted to be, and what she would stand for. Another element to note was the touch of the paranormal with some ghosts making an appearance, and the spiritual emphasis on their god Safraella who dealt with souls in the afterlife. Though detail was lacking in terms of the physical worldbuilding, it was nice to have some insight into where the character's values and motives came from. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In all, Assassin's Heart proved to be a satisfying read featuring an edgy protagonist and a hint at the paranormal. As a debut novelist, I can definitely see that Sarah Ahiers has a lot of potential. 

Genie's Weekly News (53) - Shiny new look - Survey - Clearing my shelves with #booksfortradeau

Sunday, 20 November 2016




Okay, okay...it's been way more than a week since my last blog update, but I'm finally back to be posting more often, and I have some fun things planned too! With uni done for the year it's been such a great feeling to read so much more again and be able to revamp Genie in a Book which I'd been wanting to achieve for a while. It seems to have gotten a positive reaction from you guys so far, but I'd be interested to know if you have any other ideas or feedback on what you want to see more of here, so there's a survey at the end of this post for that. 

Currently Reading



I'm reading two novels by emerging Australian authors at the moment, and though they're both very different to each other I'm enjoying them. Arrival is more of an adult mystery/thriller and The Price of Magic is a standalone YA novella with a heartwarming message at its core. Watch this space for reviews and author interviews coming soon!

Recommendation of the Week


Tara Eglington's latest release is a true gem in the field of Aussie YA. It's got realistically written characters which shine through right until the end.

Previous Posts

From the Interwebs


#booksfortradeAU


Once again I've been clearing my shelves and this time to actually make space I'm giving books away to fellow Aussie readers for the price of postage. Everything is up on twitter, though some are being snapped up fast! 

Book Haul


Even when I go to the library "just to return a few things"...I end up coming out with more books for my TBR.

  • Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman: 3/5 stars - This short story collection was in some ways compelling, but a few of them just didn't resonate with me. 
  • Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison: I liked the sound of the premise for this one, on how music/playing the piano can play such a big role in someone's life. 
  • Way Down Dark by J.P. Smythe: This book was pretty hyped by bloggers last year so I'm keen to see how I like it.
  • A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: This is another book that's gotten a lot of attention since it was released last year, and I'm looking forward to the emphasis on family.
  • When There's Nowhere Else to Run by Murray Middleton: Admittedly it was the cover which first lured me to this book, but the blurb definitely reaffirmed that it's something I'd want to read. A collection of short stories set in Australia, I'm hoping to find some well-written ones in here.


Bookish Quote of the Week

If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book. – J.K. Rowling

What I've Been Watching

Image source: Netflix Australia 

It's been back to historical dramas for me, finishing Season 3 of Peaky Blinders and starting to watch The Crown on Netflix. I've found The Crown really interesting so far and the cast is brilliant - Claire Foy and Matt Smith work so well as the Queen and King. 

Survey

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott - The tumbles and malevolent twists of elite gymnastics

Saturday, 19 November 2016

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Released: 26th July 2016
Published by: Picador
Genre: Adult thriller
Source: Publisher
Pages: 352
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Katie and her husband Eric have made their daughter Devon the centre of their world. Talented, determined, a rising gymnastics star, Devon is the focus of her parents' lives and the lynchpin of their marriage. There is nothing they wouldn't do for her.

When a violent hit-and-run accident sends shockwaves through their close-knit community, Katie is immediately concerned for her daughter. She and Eric have worked so hard to protect Devon from anything that might distract or hurt her. That's what every parent wants for their child, after all. Even if they don't realize how much you've sacrificed for them. Even if they are keeping secrets from you...

 A mother knows best... doesn't she?
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

This is what she knew: you win or you lose everything with a flick of the wrist, a turn of the ankle, not enough lift, a slipped hand on the beam.
And everything changes, everything goes dark, and is gone. 

If you thought Megan Abbott knew how to write about the toxic world of cheerleading in Dare Me, just wait until you've read this book exploring the merciless fallacies of elite gymnastics. The characterisation is as intricate as ever, with prose that captures every moment, every emotion in the sharpest turn of phrase. A family's devotion to their daughter's potential for greatness and an accident leaving those in their microcosm reeling, converge to form a book that shatters the delicate illusion of grace these athletes supposedly possess. 

She hadn't learned, no one had taught her - Katie and Eric hadn't taught her - that the things you want, you never get them. And if you do, they're not what you thought they'd be. But you'd still do anything to keep them. Because you'd wanted them for so long. 

Once again, Megan Abbott has wowed me with her attention to the nuances of human behaviour and the most significant relationships which define both our lives and identities. The story is told from the perspective of Katie, the mother of a gifted gymnast whose gleaming potential must be harnessed. This book is not simply about the sport itself. As always there is a malignant turn of events, an undercurrent of simmering unease and familial tension. Could Katie and Eric's unwavering devotion to 'The Track' for their child's life compromise the quality of their own? What are the consequences of the suspicious death of someone in their BelStars community? Does mother really know best?

What makes this book one which kept me reading until I couldn't stay awake any longer is the fact that there are so many paths to follow. The term 'secondary' characters in this case does not apply. Each persona Abbott has molded is subtly explicated so that we as readers begin to understand their motives, fears, and hidden desires.

...she could feel Devon before she saw her. The energy she held so tightly until she let it thunder forth: a soaring vault, an epic tumbling pass, a delirious aerial on the beam. 

If you're like me and your main insights into the world of gymnastics is from watching the Olympics and 'Stick It', then You Will Know Me will serve as a stark comparison. All of the technical jargon of this world the novel is set in validates the storyline and enables some parallels to be drawn with the secrets which unfold in other aspects of the book. This is a novel where the girls training under Coach T at BelStars look to Devon both as an image of a champion to be revered, and jealous of. But perhaps there is a danger to this obsession with perfection, this enduring quest to become one of 'the Elite'. She is a streamlined missile who knows her target, and will make any sequence on the beam or perfect execution of a Yurchenko twist count. Ice queen. Golden girl. Someone who believes that 'almost' isn't good enough. It was fascinating to scrutinise her character and the parents of her peers through the lens of Katie's eyes, looking back on the events which shaped Devon into who she was and what she would do to reach that ultimate goal.

FINAL THOUGHTS

You Will Know Me is an exhilarating and turbulent psychological thriller where blinding ambition and hidden weakness come into conflict. This complex and twisted novel is everything I expected from Megan Abbott, and all that I could have asked for. 

New Blog Design Reveal!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


With exams for the year over, it's been time to re-focus my time on Genie in a Book. I started this blog back in 2014, and it's still hard for me to believe just how far it has come. Part of that transformation is changing the blog design to reflect how I have evolved as a person and a reader. I've created a fresh new look, featuring the colours I love, and anyone who knows me won't be surprised by the florals I've featured too.

Before I go, here's a last screenshot of the blog before:


























Yes, it is hard to say goodbye to what this blog has looked like since it first began, but I hope you all like this new one :)

Thank you so much to all my followers and readers for your support over these past couple of years, I look forward to bringing you more content to celebrate the books I love!

What do you think of redesigning a blog - have you changed yours since you started?

{Blog Tour} - Sapphire Falls by Fleur McDonald - Guest Post

Monday, 14 November 2016

Australian fiction like Sapphire Falls is popular for a reason - it represents not only an aspect of our landscape, but the camaraderie between the people in it. In this novel there's an extra element of suspense to keep your interest piqued, and with a heartwarming ending this novel makes a satisfying read. Thanks to Allen and Unwin organising the blog tour, I have a guest post to share from the author Fleur McDonald!

9781760112646.jpgSapphire Falls by Fleur McDonald
Released: 26th October 2016
Published by: Allen and Unwin
Genre: Popular Fiction
Source: Publisher
Pages: 340
RRP:  $29.99
Booktopia | iBooks | Kindle
While mystery surrounds the death of her husband, Fiona Forrest struggles to preserve the family farm in a suspenseful, pacy and action packed novel from the author of Crimson Dawn and Indigo Storm.

Fiona Forrest is devastated when her husband Charlie commits suicide after the accidental shooting of his mate, Eddie. Though Fiona decides to keep farming their successful property, rumours that she intends to sell keep circulating.

When Detective Dave Burrows arrives to sign off on the investigation into Eddie's death, his suspicions are aroused by some strange anomalies at the scene. As Dave becomes increasingly convinced that something sinister is going on, Fiona finds herself dealing with a series of disasters on the farm...

By the bestselling author of Crimson Dawn, this suspenseful novel about a woman fighting to preserve her husband's dream and a detective determined to uncover the truth will keep you guessing till the very last page.
Guest Post from Fleur McDonald - "Love ya Dave!"

Dave Burrows has featured heavily in four of my novels, with mentions in a couple of others. He’s grown to be one of my favourite characters to write and although he’s never the main one, he’s certainly pretty up there.

Dave arrived on the scene as a forty plus detective, working with an offsider named Craig, in Red Dust. He was country-wise, stock-wise, laid back kinda guy, who mentored younger policemen. He lived in Perth, was married to a nurse, had two children – daughters and loved his job. 

As he’s continued on, his character has grown with the books and, as in life, had some challenging thing happen to him. When he made his entrance in Emerald Springs, he’s reeling from a marriage break up. He’s moved back to SA and is working in the mid north. 

I’ve loved being able to take him from being a lonely bachelor; a bloke who was lost and broken, with nothing but his work, to a guy who now has a happy and fulfilling relationship with Kim. In turn, Dave’s marriage to Kim has given me another stable character to get to know and write into each book. 

A reader wrote to me once and told me how she was ‘just a little bit in love with Dave.’ Well, you’re certainly not on your own! I love writing about him and seeing what adventures and investigations he’ll be involved in next. Often I never know until I start typing and Dave directs the play. 

However, he’s not without his faults. He finds it hard to talk about his feelings (Ha! I’m sure we all know of someone like that!). He tends to be married to his work, but the sassy and vibrant Kim is slowly changing him. 

Sapphire Falls is not without Detective Dave Burrows! In fact, he’s pretty important. I hope you’ll come along for the ride and read his story this time. Dave is on the wrong side of fifty now. He’s a bit slower and although trying hard to keep up with the technology, he tends to battle a bit. I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to hang around, which is why I created a Dave Burrows replacement in Sapphire Falls. When Dave does decide to retire, there’s someone waiting in the wings to take his place…


About the Author

Fleur McDonald has lived and worked on farms for much of her life. After growing up in the small town of Orroroo in South Australia, she went jillarooing, and co-owned an 8000-acre property in regional Western Australia.

Fleur likes to write about strong women overcoming adversity, drawing inspiration from her own experiences in rural Australia.

She is the best-selling author of Red Dust, Blue Skies, Purple Roads, Silver Clouds, Crimson Dawn, Emerald Springs and Indigo Storm.

Fleur lives in Esperance, WA with her partner, two children and two dogs who keep her company while she writes.



Check out the other stops on the tour!

Mini Reviews: Saving Jazz and Nightwanderers

Thursday, 10 November 2016




Saving Jazz by Kate McCaffrery
Released: 1st August 2016
Published by: Fremantle Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 297
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Jasmine Lovely has it all – the looks, the grades, the friends. But when a house party spins out of control, Jazz discovers what can happen when your mistakes go viral ... We know our kids are at risk of becoming victims of cyberbullying. But do we know how at risk they are of becoming perpetrators?

This controversial new novel tackles cyberbullying from a whole new perspective.
Thank you to Fremantle Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


Saving Jazz is a novel which was much more intense than I was first expecting. A story which confronts the topic of sexual assault in not only the issues surrounding how it occured, but the aftermath, it just goes to show that the perpetrators are not always the 'type' you would expect. This book is one which is particularly relevant in society as we know it, where one post can spiral out of control, and it's not only the 'reputation' of a person affected at stake, but their lives also.

Jasmine was quite a complex character to say the least. She clearly feels responsible for what happened that fateful night where the unthinkable happened to one of her closest friends. It was interesting to see how the definition of 'rape' was explored in the novel, and its boundaries challenged. The format of the novel told through blog posts by Jazz herself allows us readers to really understand her side of the story, and how she in some respects, was both a perpetrator and victim. While especially towards the end a whole host of other issues raised drew attention away from the main events in the first half, I could appreciate the message about how social media can be so easily exploited, and that young women becoming objectified is more prevalent than we may think.

In all, Saving Jazz has reminded me of the likes of Risk by Fleur Ferris. If you are interested in an intense read which tackles this very real problem appearing on both the internet and reality; this is for you.


Nightwanderers by C.J. Flood
Released: 1st February 2016
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 300
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
It all started with a poo in a flowerbed. Rosie and Titania are as close as sisters - closer, in fact. While Rosie is shy, red-faced and passive, Ti is big, tough and daring. They shouldn't be friends, but they are. Creeping out at night, the girls love to secretly wander through their coastal town, exploring empty streets and sharing their frustrations about school and their different, but equally difficult, families.

But when Rosie betrays Ti, the two girls run in different directions - making decisions that could do irreparable damage to both of their lives. As Rosie confronts harsh truths, she must find a way back to Ti, and to herself.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

C.J. Flood enchanted me with her coming-of-age novel Infinite Sky, and with Nightwanderers I was similarly impressed. Novels like this which focus on friendship and the strains when these relationships are put to the test are both gripping and emotional. Flood's unique writing style and well-formed characters make her a stand-out author whose YA contemporaries succeed in being both rounded and realistic - with a touch of the whimsical.

Rosie and Ti's personalities and family situations may be different, but it is these variations in their characteristics which make them so compatible as friends. The hint of rebellion as they became 'nightwanderers' together added an intriguing setting, and it was good to see that the 'parent' element in the family dynamic actually played a role in their lives. Another positive was the fact that romantic interests may have been present, but didn't detract from the essence of the story - how a friendship can be broken, but hopefully mended. This is a touching story of self-discovery and forgiveness, of moving forward and accepting the reality of a situation.

If you're like me and already a fan of C.J. Flood's work, then Nightwanderers is a book you won't want to miss. I think this is an underrated release which is definitely worth a read!

Review: My Best Friend is a Goddess by Tara Eglington

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

My Best Friend is a Goddess by Tara Eglington
Released: 24th October 2016
Published by: HarperCollins Australia
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Author
Pages: 386
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Two best friends crushing on one very cute guy ... someone's going to get their heart broken. Emily has been friends with Adriana since Year One, way back when Adriana had a huge gap between her teeth and was super skinny. Emily wasn't any less awkward looking, but the girls are the best of friends and that is the way it has always been. When Adriana's mother dies, very suddenly, everything changes. Adriana's father accepts a job in Borneo and the girls spend Year 10 apart. Despite the rubbish internet connection (on Adriana's side of things) the girls manage to stay in touch. And then Adriana returns home. And she has gone from awkward to AMAZING and turned into a goddess!

But the saving grace is that Adriana is no different on the inside. She's still the same best friend Emily knows and loves, and they're certainly not going to lose their friendship over the fact that Adriana has lucked out genetically. Emily just wishes that one guy, any guy, would want to get to know her for some other reason besides being Adriana's best friend. In the meantime, she's committed to helping Adriana manage the throngs of potential suitors that are texting, emailing and adding Emily on Facebook in the hope of an introduction to 'the goddess', as Adriana is still pretty shy around boys and no-one's made her want to step out of her shell.

MY BEST FRIEND IS A GODDESS is about what happens to a friendship when two girls change - and not just on the outside.
Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Best Friend is a Goddess is a fun and fresh take on the highs and lows of being best friends, and how these relationships transform. I've been a big fan of Tara Eglington's novels since her 'Aurora Skye' duology How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You and How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You. There's an immediate sense of familiarity when beginning this latest release as it is also set in Jefferson. However, Emily and Adriana share their own unique hurdles; from coping with the enduring implications of grief, to dealing with a crush on the new guy. This novel is one which proves that a compelling contemporary read doesn't have to be the 'dark and serious' kind to be an excellent one. Instead, My Best Friend is a Goddess stands as an example of a story which does have the drama and humour, while remaining grounded by honestly exploring the real issues teenage girls face.

No, my fantasy is all about me talking to art-guy about everything I can't discuss with anyone my own age. The type of nerdy stuff that would make any sixteen-year-old guy at Jefferson back away from me, but which hot-guy-in-art class will go crazy for. He'll ask me questions about art. Look at me like...Henry Cavill/Four is looking at me right now, like he's dying to hear what I have to say.

There are some of the 'stereotypical' tropes which may cause some eye-rolls when they come up in a book, and the 'love triangle' is one of them. But dare I say it - in this case it actually is done well, and doesn't necessarily play out in the way you would expect. Perhaps there is a place for these plot devices after all, and Tara Eglington has shown that you can make it work without it being too cheesy or predictable. Theo is the type of guy that almost any girl would be interested in - he's got the looks, the gentlemanly demeanour and the intellect to be genuinely interested in things like art. Like the other teens in this book however, he too has his own issues to work through, and it's this depth in the characters overall which makes them so endearing.

I don't want it to get to me. Happiness shouldn't have anything to do with 'pretty' or 'not pretty'. And yet none of that logic stops me from falling into the oh-so-predictable trap of looking in the mirror and wishing I looked different. And with that, I let 'pretty' rule my world too. 

Emily and Adriana are best friends with a complex dynamic. Both of them have struggled with their own insecurities about their appearance, and with Adriana coming back from Borneo looking like a goddess it's no wonder that Emily is feeling like she's left in the background. What the story achieves is portraying those internal perceptions of inadequacy or simply not feeling attractive enough in a realistic light. Through the alternating perspectives and insights into 'secret thoughts of Adriana Anderson' and 'Emily's Diary' sections, we really get to know how these young women are developing together and as individuals. From falling into the world of the instagram-obsessed and pressures of 'accentuating your assets', to accepting your imperfections as something which don't have to be a hindrance, this book tackles many themes which will hit home for its target audience.

I might look like a swan and quack like a swan and have everyone around me fooled, but in the back of my mind I'm always waiting for the other birds to realise it's all an illusion and then attack me, stripping my feathers with their beaks. 

Finally, a unique aspect of this book which I really appreciated was the research that had gone into making references to artworks and mythology along the way. In the scenes of Emily's art class, it's these little quirks like explaining the history of Rodin's 'The Kiss' to 'Dante's Inferno' and the Renaissance which add a subtle touch of culture and extra point of interest for the reader. It's refreshing to have a contemporary novel which can strike the perfect balance between the character drama and extra information which you also may learn something from.

FINAL THOUGHTS

My Best Friend is a Goddess is my favourite book of Tara Eglington's so far. It's a well-written, relevant and bitter-sweet story on the evolution of a friendship and young women finding the confidence that was within them all along.