Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – Book Review

In Orïsha, a fantasy land based on Nigeria, magic is outlawed. A land that was once full with the Maji clans practicing their many forms of magic is now a place where the remaining few with magic constantly fear the heartless King Saran.

Zélie is a Divîner; she does not possess the full powers of a Maji, but has the ability to become one. All the diviners in Orïsha are oppressed by the ruling class, the Kosidàn, and are marked out by their striking white hair.

One day, Zélie and her brother Tzain head to Lagos to raise money for the crippling taxes placed upon them, and cross paths with Amari, who is escaping from the royal family of Orïsha with a magical scroll in her hand. This scroll provides hope for the Divîners of Orïsha, which prompts the trio to embark on a demanding journey to bring back magic and loosen the grip of the monarchy on the lives of the people. With the Crown Prince hot on their heels, it is a race against time to complete a ritual that would mean everything for Zélie and the Divîners. This is difficult enough, but is made more complicated when Zélie begins to have feelings for an enemy…

I took a while to get started with book, but, as with many fantasy books, once I reached middle of the book I felt like I had got into it. Adeyemi creates a world that is unique in YA fantasy – a setting based on Nigeria and West African mythology.

I am glad that this book has become well-known and liked; many YA fantasy books have very western settings and characters. Those who have read other fantasies or TV shows such as BBC’s Merlin will see a familiar plot curve, but made up for by the vividness of the world in which the story took place. If you enjoyed Throne of Glass, you’ll probably enjoy this novel.

While this is a fantasy novel, the struggles faced by the characters serve as an allegory for slavery, oppression and the police brutality against African Americans.

My main issue was the romance in this story – it seemed rushed and made little sense. However, as this book is the first in a trilogy, I hope that this will be resolved in the books to come. There are 3 points-of-view in this novel, which are all very similar – I always had to check back to remind me which character’s POV it was being told from.

The rights for the film have been sold, and as I was reading the book I thought that it would make a great film. I even believe that it will make a film that is better than the book – I am interested to see what Adeyemi has in store for the series, with Children of Vengeance and Virtue being released very soon!

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My 2018 Summer Break Rom-Com Rundown

As I’ve probably mentioned before, last summer I took my GCSEs, the culmination of two years of hard work and pain. This also meant that I had a really long summer break, and a lot of time on my hands – probably too much time, if I’m honest. Instead of spending most of my time preparing for my A-levels, (well, I spent some of my time working…) I decided to delve into Netflix’s wide array of Teen Rom-Coms. Now that I’m back at school, I’m turning my attention to my A-levels, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you.

The 3 I watched have two key things in common; they have very similar storylines (intelligent/slightly awkward girl with a quirky/overenthusiastic best friend who overcomes the obstacles set by a mean “popular” girl to be with a hot “jock” boy), and like most teen Rom-Coms, are set in American high schools. As a British teen, I have no experience of what these schools are like – are they very different from the films? Are they that cliquey? Let me know in the comments!

I have rated each out of 5 for two categories: Realistic to Teen Struggles (RTS) and Feel-Good Factor (FGF). The first is about how well they represent some of the issues that teens face when growing up, and the second is about if they lifted my mood and gave me a positive feeling.

  1. The Kissing Booth

Based on a book by Beth Reekles

The Kissing Booth

Elle (Joey King) and Lee (Joel Courtney) have been best friends for as long as they can remember, but with this long-term friendship there are rules – one of them being that the other’s relatives are off limits. When they decide to run a Kissing Booth at the School Carnival, things start to get difficult when Elle is paired with her long-term crush, Noah (Jacob Elordi) , who also happens to be Lee’s brother. Will she break their agreement, or stay loyal to her best friend?

I really like the friendship between Lee and Elle – they had such a caring relationship at the beginning of the film. However, I did have a few issues with the film. Noah consistently got into fights and was controlling of Elle’s romantic life, which he had no business meddling with, and Elle agreed to go out on a date with a guy that harassed her. The behaviour of the guys in the film let it down for me, but I did find Elle’s character to be sweet and likeable.

RTS: 2/5 FGF: 3/5

2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Based on a book by Jenny Han

To_All_the_Boys_I've_Loved_Before_poster

Lara Jean (Lana Condor) decided to write five letters to all the boys that she has had a crush on – a way to express her emotions. Of course, these letters were never meant to be sent. Until one day, when they mysteriously find their way out of her special hiding place, and all of a sudden her next door neighbour and her sister’s boyfriend, Josh Sanderson (Israel Broussard) , and the popular loved-by-everyone Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), among others, know the intense feelings she once had for them.

This was my favourite of the bunch – it’s about time that a teen rom-com has an East-Asian lead. I loved the sister friendship and support in Lara Jean’s family – I really appreciate seeing teenage girls supporting one another. I think that Lara Jeans is a very relatable character, especially for me – her character was not a cliche.  Another highlight of this novel is Peter Kavinsky – not simply for his good looks, but for how well he treats and respects Lara Jean, which I think is really important in teen movies, especially as they are watched by so many. The post-credit scene made me want a prequel, so I’m reading the books at the moment so I can find out before it’s released (review coming soon!)

RTS: 4.5/5 FGF: 4.5/5

3. Sierra Burgess is a Loser

Sierra_Burgess_Is_a_Loser

When jock Jamey (Noah Centineo) asks for Veronica’s phone number, it’s not hers he gets – it’s that of Stanford Hopeful Sierra (Shannon Purser). They then decide to work together to win over Jamey, without him knowing that Sierra is writing the texts, not Veronica…

Sierra Burgess is a Loser also stars the charming Noah Centineo as Jamey. I really respect the show for the way they handled body positivity – the unrealistic beauty standard teenagers face is mentioned, but Sierra is confident within herself, and most importantly, shows signs of accepting herself for who she is. However, there are some negatives that I think are worth mentioning. Firstly, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think Sierra deserved Jamey. She basically catfished him about her identity, even though she had many opportunities to back out. That’s not how I would have treated Jamey, is all I’m saying. The story did however end nicely, and all was resolved.

RTS: 4/5 FGF: 2/5

Overall, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before came out on top – It was a feel-good movie, one you can curl up and watch on an autumnal day. It doesn’t really follow the book, with many of the scenes in a different order, but I think it works really well, with the personalities of Lara Jean and Peter really coming across.

If you decide to watch any of these, please let me know! If you want to keep up with all things Fiction For Teens, then please don’t forget to check out my Instagram here  and my twitter here!

Running Girl by Simon Mason – Book Review

Running Girl

Meet Garvie Smith, a 16-year-old with a genius IQ, and, to his teachers’ and mother’s dismay, the student with the lowest grades. Nicknamed ‘Sherlock’ by his friends, he is known for solving every puzzle that his friends give him. His skills are put to the test when he tries to solve a real crime – the disappearance and murder of his ex-girlfriend, Chloe. He soon learns that people aren’t who they seem – as he delves into Chloe’s secrets, he realises that there is more to the case than originally thought…

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