‘Goodbye, Perfect’ by Sara Barnard

/5 stars

Published by Macmillan!

Eden and Bonnie balance each other out. Eden is wild, whilst Bonnie is sensible. Bonnie exceeds at school, whilst Eden… barely scrapes by. It is perhaps the reason these polar opposites become best friends in the first place. But then Bonnie does something entirely unexpected, breaking the mould they so meticulously squeezed themselves into, and Eden is left to pick up the pieces, to decide her own right from wrong. When Bonnie runs away to be with their music teacher, Mr Cohn, Eden questions just about everything; the authenticity of her friendship when a secret so monumental goes unshared, her relationship with her adoptive family, boyfriend and teachers. Most important of all, Eden has to decide where she fits in all of the chaos and decide, when push comes to shove, if she wants to live up to the stereotypes she has forced upon herself for so long.

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The month of September & October

As you can tell from the title — and if you happen to be a regular reader of my here blog — (if so, hello, I love you and appreciate you), then you’ll know I missed out a month of my usual summary drawl. As months go, September wasn’t a bad one. In fact, it was relatively good. We moved offices at work to the gorgeous Milsom Street (not twenty metres from Waterstones, rejoice!), my mum had a lovely birthday induced with bubbles that made her all giggly. It was an alright kinda month. But then we lost my Nanny, somewhat suddenly and it cast a cloud over me and my family, and, like any loss, continues to because it doesn’t just miraculously get better and fix itself. It’s a gaping hole for us all and I know it’ll creep up on me as I go about life, living moments she won’t be able to live with me. She won’t be able to live the day I might get married or have kids quite like she did the days I talked excitedly about my plans for university and the day I called her on the landline to tell her I’d got a First Class Degree. And, to put it bluntly, that sucks. She had such a presence in our community that I’m still struggling to grasp not bumping into her in town, weeding the sides of the roads as she so often did. So that’s why I’ve not been around. But I’m here now and I’d like to update you as usual on September and October.

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‘The Memory Book’ by Lara Avery

/5 stars

Published by Hachette!

An almost national championship winning debater, heading straight for her valedictorian speech and a place at NYU, Sam McCoy has been anticipating her senior year of high school for a long time; mapping it out meticulously bit by bit. But then NPC happens. Nieman-Pick Type-C, otherwise known as Childhood Alzheimer’s, doesn’t usually affect kids Sam’s age, though. So she sets out to defy the odds, to prove she can live a normal life and check off all the things she’s always wanted to do. Beginning her memory book, Sam documents her life for Future Sam, bringing a collection of bigger and smaller moments, like the summer Stuart Shah finally notices her and an old friendship is rekindled, together.

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The art of re-reading books

I have never been one to re-read a book after I’ve read it once. The only exception to the rule is Harry Potter and even then I’ve not re-read it that much and sometimes not entirely in full. (A travesty, I know!) As a young’n, I think my attention span was at fault for this. I didn’t see the satisfaction in living in the same book again, carving out a hole in its pages and being comforted by familiar words. The difference between now and then is I definitely do. In fact, I crave it. Surprisingly from other books and not just Harry Potter, though, like for many, that series will always be a safe place in my times of great need above all else.

These days I whizz through books so fast and, as much as I love inhaling books and being efficient in my reading, it’s that bittersweet feeling of never wanting a book to end, but also already anticipating your next. The only way to truly savour any of these much-loved reads is to go back and make the conscious decision to give the words extra time to seep into your skin. So that’s what I’m planning to do more of. Re-read books I loved — and not just Harry Potter.

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