Friday, June 06, 2014

Charli Reviews: Hope is a Ferris Wheel and Playlist for a Broken Heart

Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

Author: Robin Herrera
Publisher: Amulet (US)
Date of Publication: March 2014
Pages: 272
Source: Borrowed from library
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I took out Hope is a Ferris Wheel from the school library, out of sheer desperation for something contemporary; I was only reading fantasy and dystopia, and I wanted something to read in exam week. I think this is one of those books that isn't mind-blowing, but it's nice to read and is actually higher than your expectations probably were for it... Mine certainly were.

The protagonist of this book is ten; but more intellectual than most. I found it refreshing, that an author could write such a young person - but keep them sounding that age whilst intelligent.

Another impressive factor was Star's relationship with her sister, Winter. A lot of books say that teenagers abandon their younger siblings, which I think is inaccurate. I'm 13 now, and my sister is 3, and I can't see myself abandoning her in any years to come. So, it was nice to see the two so close.

This book made me laugh, and it made me empathise. Star is such a creative character that I loved seeing her shine (totally unintended pun there) and develop, but it broke my heart when she found out things that she shouldn't have known, or people let her down.

I really enjoyed this. It's not particularly tear-jerking, or mind-blowing. But it's cute, and funny, yet sad and heart-breaking at the same time.

When Paige finds an old mix CD in a local charity shop, she can't help but wonder about the boy who made it and the girl he was thinking of when he chose the songs. The tracks tell the story of a boy looking for his perfect girl, a girl to understand him, a story of being alone, being let down, misunderstood and not knowing where to turn.
Following the clues of the music, Paige sets out to find the mysterious boy, going from gig to gig and band to band, hoping to track him down. But will who she finds at the end of the trail, be the boy she's imagined?

Author: Cathy Hopkins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date of Publication: May 2014
Pages: 281
Source: Borrowed from library

I have adored Cathy Hopkins books for years, so I squealed when I saw it in the library before promptly taking it out. And, of course, it didn't let me down. When I should really have been revising, I devoured it in about two hours, pausing only for food.

Playlist for a Broken Heart is about Paige, who finds a mix CD when she moves from the family house in London to live with their auntie, in Bath, due to money problems. So, she tries to find the maker of this CD, and unknowingly, is sent on a bit of a goose chase, concerning love, school, and a lot of music. 

As a character, I liked Paige; to a point. To begin with, she was a little moany and needy, but as she grew into herself and made friends in her new surroundings, I found her more tolerable, and fun to read about. She became an enjoyable voice. 

I adored the romance in this book; it's gorgeous and developed within the plot as a main theme extremely well. The fact that the boy is a mystery (due to the mixed tape) makes it all the better and keeps you guessing. Once you know who it is, it will curl your toes and make you feel all squidgy, I guarantee. 

This is a perfect summer contemporary; sweet, light, and full of romance; but with a mystery added to the mix!

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Charli and Tori