There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…
One of my most favourite things about living in the future is technology. When I was growing up, ebooks weren’t really a thing because you had to read them on your desktop computer screen. Who wants to do that when an actual book is so much more portable and easy to read?
These days, you can buy an ebook and read it on your phone, iPad, computer or on a specialised ereader like the Kobo or Kindle.
To be completely honest with you, I’m torn on the entire ebook issue. I love real physical books. I love them as objects. My house is filled with them and I work in a shop that sells them so I have to believe that demand for them will continue.
That said, I also love eproofs. I get a little thrill when a “you have been approved” email pops up in my inbox from Netgalley.
I was recently lucky enough be approved for an eproof of It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning. This was even more exciting than usual for me because I love Sarra Manning’s books and they aren’t usually available for advance readers.
I actually feel sort of creepy about my fannish love for Sarra Manning. I think she caught me at an impressionable age. I was 14 (and a compulsive J17 reader) when Diary of a Crush was first serialised and I still have my original copy of French Kiss, which came free with the magazine. Look, here it is:
Since Diary of a Crush, I’ve read almost everything that she’s written. I was going to take a photo of all my Sarra Manning books but some of them have mysteriously gone missing, so here is a photo of most of my Sarra Manning books:
I think if I tried to tell you about all of them, I’d never finish writing this blog post so I’m just going to choose a few to tell you about. I haven’t been disappointed by her yet, though, so if you happen upon one that I haven’t written about here, you should still give it a try.
Books for Teens:
The ‘Diary of a Crush’ Series
These books were my gateway drug to Sarra Manning. As I mentioned above, it was originally serialised in J17 and I remember the agony of waiting until the next issue to find out what was going on with Edie and Dylan. I had such a braincrush on uncommunicative art boy Dylan and I really wished I could be friends with Edie. The characters in the diary feel believable and the story is filled with realistic embarrassing teenage moments and the same kind of poor decisions I remember making as a teenager (agreeing to go out with the guy who seems interested in you because the guy you actually like is aloof and unattainable, for instance). I think it’s a sign on how great these books are that they’ve been reprinted several times, just with slightly updated music and pop culture references. The current editions have updated covers and can probably be found in your local bookshop.
let’s get lost
There are lots of other great teen books by Sarra Manning, but ‘let’s get lost’ is my favourite. First of all, I think the cover is gorgeous. Mainly what I like about it, though, is that it takes an “unlikeable” character and shows you what’s under the surface. In any other book, Isabel would be the one-note antagonist. In this book, she’s the hero and you love her despite how broken she is. Isabel is the mean girl that everyone remembers from school. She isn’t really nice to anyone, not even her friends, but when she meets Smith her life starts to come off the rails even more. Smith thinks that she’s the kind of cool, confident girl who has her life together and Isabel is terrified of letting him see the real her – the one who is angry and depressed and doesn’t know what to do. Every teenager sometimes feels alone and misunderstood and this is the kind of book that makes you realise that it’s not just you.
Books for Adults:
I love this book a whole lot. I have very strong feelings about Grace and Vaughan (which is why I was SUPER EXCITED when they turned up in It Felt Like a Kiss!) I think it’s probably the most romantic of unromantic stories, which actually doesn’t sound so great so I think I’d better explain a little better. When the story starts, Grace’s life is a total mess: she’s drowning in debt, she can’t figure out how to get ahead in her job, and she’s just been dumped. On her birthday. When she meets Vaughan, he’s successful and wealthy and offers her a whole new life, funded by him, if she’ll agree to be his trophy girlfriend. The book acknowledges, in depth, all the problems with this premise and yet Grace and Vaughan complement each other perfectly. In another book, I would find a happy ending problematic. In this one, it is well earned and wonderfully handled.
Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend
I wavered between choosing this one or choosing You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. This won because, although I loved YDHTSYLM, I feel like Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend is the book that might not be recommended so often. It’s very different from her other books, which are mostly love stories. This is a life story, instead. Hope has been in love with her boyfriend Jack forever and Jack is the perfect boyfriend. Except when he isn’t. The story is about Hope’s struggle to figure out who she is if she isn’t Jack’s girlfriend and she makes mistakes along the way, like we all do in life. Hope isn’t perfect and this isn’t a book that ties things up in a neat bow, but it is a hopeful book (sorry about that terrible pun, there!) and one that I think people should read.
Sara’s newest adult book, It Felt Like a Kiss, is due for release today (January 30th 2014) and I’d definitely recommend that one too. You should be able to find it in your local bookshop, or it’s available as an ebook. Her next teen story, The Worst Girlfriend in the World is due in May and I can’t wait!