Review | The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount

Title | The Way It Hurts
Author | Patty Blount
Pages | 352
Publisher | Sourcebooks
Series | None
Release Date | August 2017
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program―and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and his swooning face is captured on camera and posted with an out-of-context comment. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life. 

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The name Patty Blount is a name synonymous with some of the best young adult fiction available – novels such as TMI and Some Boys. While these books had me absolutely hooked and willing to read on, her latest fictional piece – The Way It Hurts – sadly did not. Although the plot did seem pretty solid, the pacing and the execution of the novel seemed too slow and drawn out for me. Because of this, I only read up to page 179, regrettably making it part of my DNF (did not finish) shelf.

Music was peace to me – sanity in all the chaos Anna caused.

The book itself has a pretty strong story to it – girl needs boy, boy needs girl, sexual chemistry and boom! Together by the finish. However, as I stated before, the execution of such a story seemed far to drawn out for me. Whether it was such to establish narratives from both Elijah and Kristen, I’m not entirely sure. But something about it just didn’t work for me. The plot does seem like a few books I have read previously, and while I’m sure that The Way It Hurts is an entirely original piece of fiction, I could just not shake off the boredom.

“You know, Richard, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

“Of course, Mother. I was merely catering to my audience, as you taught me.”

Two characters I did absolutely adore from what I read, were Elijah and Etta. As soon as Etta was introduced, I fell in love with her brutal honesty and unwitting charm. She had some serious personality for a fictional character, and I saw one of my closest friends in her phrases and mannerisms. Patty Blount brilliants portrays her fabulously privileged character through her behaviour in the story. In reality, it would have been a hard task not to fall in love with Etta.

As for Elijah, the situation with his disabled sister Anna really broke my heart. It was adorable to read how he used music to communicate when she could not. The bathtub scene at the start was something I absolutely loved, and his desire to protect his younger sister was admirable. In all the rush of being Elijah, the Rock Star, he didn’t forget his sister. Instead she was his motivation.

She smiled brightly. “And now I know I am far too self-absorbed to love any man more than I love myself.”

Despite only reaching page 179 before calling it quits on the book, this has in no way coloured my opinion of the author or her books. Writing is an incredibly hard thing to do, and the fact she has already blessed the YA world with so many stories is wonderful. Although I could not personally read the rest of The Way It Hurts, that does not mean to say that anyone else should be discouraged from reading it.

Finally, he shook his head. “No. You’ll sing for them.” He wiggled his phone at me.

Perhaps in the future I can attempt to re-read the story and find it more to my taste. Yet at this current moment in time, I cannot. I would like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. The Way It Hurts will only receive one star from me.

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+ Patty Blount +

Patty Blount grew up quiet and a bit invisible in Queens, NY, but found her voice in books. Today, she writes smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. She’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters. Let’s be real; Patty’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations.


Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate


Review | The Border by Steve Schafer

Title | The Border
Author | Steve Shafer
Pages | 198
Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE
Series | None
Release Date | September 2017
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

One moment changed their lives forever.

A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them.

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Not fireworks―gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.

Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families’ murders have put out a reward for the teens’ capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape…

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Honest and harrowing, The Border by Steve Schafer is a painful reality for many Mexicans. Before reading this novel, I was completely oblivious to the dealings of Mexican gangs such as La Frontera, so it’s pretty safe to admit that this book not only moved me emotionally but it was also pretty eye-opening. The author has touched on a subject that you tend not to see: which only highlight’s its relevance in today’s society.

“There’s nothing flashy about her, but she shines. I’ve noticed her before, though never quite like this.”

I think what impressed me most about the book is how believable the whole tale is. Days are dragged out in the book simply because the days turn into months for the characters. While the story is fiction, The Border cleverly shines a light on the fact that this is so many other people’s reality. There is no beating around the bush – this is the long, drawn out journey of those who risk their life to make a better one. And it’s utterly heart-breaking that in 2017, there are still people forced to owe their lives to coyotes who can help them cross. With a clever reference to Donald Trump’s promise of building a wall, all I could think was ‘thank God this hasn’t happened yet’. The journey seemed treacherous enough without there being a physical wall too.

How can trillions upon trillions of stars, planets, moons all appear exactly the same night after night, while my life is nothing like it was yesterday or even an hour ago.

Steve Schafer does not glamourize any of the characters in this story – he keeps them as these regular, everyday people who have to deal with a lot of bad things happening to them. Pato, Argo, Marcos and Gladys all have this air of authenticity around them, and the things that they encounter are genuine, believable events. It’s safe to say that the book is full of moments that sound disgusting and gross, but they are things that we cannot control as people. You feel for each of the characters and their way of coping with what is actually happening to them. And as the events that unfold around occur, you can’t but help sympathise for them. Even secondary characters such as Sr. Ortiz had such a way of tearing your heart apart.

Narcos,” Sr. Ortiz says in a scornful tone. “They’re not people. They’re prests. No, they’re a disease. An incurable disease we all suffer from.”

Living in the United Kingdom, we do not share borders with anything serious such as this. There is no real danger when I step foot out of my house, and I definitely do not need to be wary about someone trying to kill me at a teenage birthday party. But for Pato, this is something he has to worry about. And to think that somewhere in Mexico, this could be happening right now is absolutely terrifying. Although challenging to read at times, and after crying for a little bit, I am glad that Steve Schafer took the time to write such a wonderful piece of fiction. The themes and story plot is one that must be spoken about – because we need to realise that people are actually dying.

I’m a liability in my world. I need a new one.

When this book hits shelves in September, buy it. Read it, talk about it, make it a trend on twitter. This is something that can really speak out to people. And I cannot wait to see the impact it can make. Steve Schafer, you have earned an easy five stars.

5 stars

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Steve Schafer
+ Steve Schafer +

Steve Schafer has a Masters in International Studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Wharton. He grew up in Houston and has since had the privilege to live, work, volunteer, and travel internationally. The bulk of this experience has been in Latin America. Steve lives near Philadelphia with his wife and two kids.


Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate

Spotlight On | Upcoming Author Emma Rose!

Writing a story can be a hard thing to do, but getting the recognition that you deserve can be even harder. Launched in December 2010, online fiction website has provided a reading outlet for many unheard voices around the world.

One of these, and one of the most talented voices present on the site, Emma Rose, has been pleasing over fifty-thousand readers for six years now – myself included. That’s why I was super stoked when she agreed to an interview!

Wattpad Page | Twitter | | Swoon Reads

Follow the kittens for links to Emma!

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So Emma, welcome to Childishly Passionate. How about we start with a small introduction from yourself?

Well of course! I’m happy to be hear! Obviously my name is Emma, I’m a twenty year old university student, and surprisingly, I’m not studying anything to do with writing. I’m actually in Honours Chemical Engineering! I love science and math (not so much now as much as I enjoyed it in high school), and even though the thought of studying English makes me squirm, I’ve always had a large passion for reading. The writing came along later, once I discovered Wattpad about six years ago!

At what age did you start to put pen to paper, and what was the reason behind your writing?

Honestly, I kind of touched on this in the previous question, but I only started writing after I discovered Wattpad. I was about fourteen or fifteen at the time, and after reading on the website for a few months, I started to realize that a lot of the writers were actually my age, and I thought, why don’t I give this a try? And I did!

Though I don’t think I’ve ever actually written anything out by hand *laughing*. I write faster when I’m typing.

You have been an active member of Wattpad since 2011, long before its popularity peaked. What was it that persuaded you to join the community?

Funny story – it was my younger sister who showed me the website at the time, and she is not the biggest reader. Actually, she more or less hates it. A few of her friends had been reading a few bigger stories on the platform (The Kissing Booth, Nothing Left To Lose, etc.) and she found one of the stories interesting. To this day, Nothing Left To Lose is the only story she’s ever read on Wattpad. 

Anyways, even though her interested died, mine instantly peaked. I went through hundreds of stories and enjoyed them all, and I just never left.

Who inspires you the most and why? This does not have to be anyone famous.

There actually isn’t one particular person who inspires me. I simply aspire to be one of the people who work hard for what they’ve got. Anyone who has had to tough it out and climb their way to the top – that’s who inspires me.

Oh, and of course, my favourite authors too!

You’ve been granted with the title of Wattpad Star, a massive achievement and sign of talent on the website. How did you feel when your books began to develop popularity and more readers?

I became a Wattpad Star after I had finished writing Defending Parker, and if you look at the stories that precede that, that’s where all the reads are. That being said, I took it as a sign that I was doing something right. People enjoyed what I was writing, and even though I’ve never changed a story plot based on readers being unhappy or causing an uproar, I get a sense of validation that I can write, and I can write well. (But I also know there’s always more to learn!)

What book, if any, has been your favourite to write so far? Are there any characters that you have fallen in love with more than others?

My favourite story to write is the one I’m currently working on – Cloak and Dagger, just because it’s so different than anything I’ve ever written before. It makes it fun and exciting, and with every chapter I’m having to jump out of my comfort zone and know that I have to work harder to get the vision I have in my head into words on a screen. 

Character-wise however, Katie Reynolds and Dean Adams from In Case Of Heartbreak were so amazing to write. Dean is basically the epitome of what I need in a boyfriend and Katie is such a strong, selfless, and smart woman that I loved writing the dynamic between the two of them. It was hard to finish that novel knowing I’d have to let them go.

Every budding author must face some struggles. What has been your biggest challenge to date?

The biggest challenge, I think, is starting over with a new story. So many readers on Wattpad only follow a writer for the duration of one story and then move on, not thinking to look at their other stories. This is mind-boggling to me, because as both a reader and a writer, I fall in love with not just the characters, but with the way a story is written. If I like a writer’s style, I’ll always look at their other works (both on and off Wattpad). 

Yes, there are the readers like me who will follow a writer they love with whatever they decide to write, but I find on Wattpad, especially when writer’s decide to change it up a bit, they’re not willing to take the risk and read something new.

What advice would you give to someone who was hoping to follow in your footsteps?

It doesn’t happen overnight. You could get lucky, but writing is a skill, and just like all skills, you have to perfect it. You’ll fail, and that’s okay, because the next time you fail, you’ll fail better. 

Never give up if writing is something you want to do!

Harry Potter, Peeta Mellark and Edward Cullen – snog, marry, avoid?

(I’m going to first, shamelessly admit that I didn’t read the Hunger Games or Twilight books, and only saw the movies!)

But besides that fact… snog Peeta, marry Harry, and avoid Edward.

(But if Draco Malfoy was on this list… it’d be a different story)

What is your favourite book and why? Would you suggest this book to other readers?

I fell in love with Jennifer L. Armentrout’s new adult books recently (as well as a whole lot of sports romance stories that I’m going to keeping to myself), but the Wait For You series is one I’ve honestly re-read already, and I just read it for the first time in April! All of them are amazing and I’d absolutely recommend!

On a side note however, any novels by Morgan Matson, Kasie West, Marissa Meyer, Colleen Hoover, and Scarlett Cole are amazing as well!

I’m aware that you have previously submitted a manuscript to Swoon Reads. What are your hopes for after Wattpad, or where would you like your writing to go next?

I have, and I think that was my first step into seeing if my works (the more recent ones) could be turned into something worthy of publication. It’s every writer’s dream to have a physical copy of their story in their hands and see it resting proudly in the window of a book store, so that’s the top goal.

Smaller steps along the way however, include bettering my writing, learning from my friends and fellow writers, researching the industry, and simply giving it everything I’ve got.

What is your favourite quote and who is it by?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Finally, I would like to thank you for taking part in this interview. Are there any questions you would like to ask me?

And I do… how did you get into blogging? This blog has wonderful content and such a beautiful aesthetic that I’m wondering how long it took you to get everything to look and feel just right?

Thank you Emma. Blogging was an accident – an output for me to ramble on about the books I liked. I posted my first review in December 2015, out of boredom, and found myself being invited to London events months later.

As for the aesthetic, I’m a perfectionist at heart. The amount of times I’ve opened Photoshop and designed multiple designs is ridiculous. I’d say that roughly it has taken a year to find the right way to post and design everything. But thank you.

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Emma Rose has ten published works of fiction on her Wattpad page, @winx1348. Each feature different characters, all telling their own stories.

Behind The Scenes | Romance

Every once and a while you meet someone who throws a wrench in your plans. A person who messes with your heart and your mind, until one day, you find yourself falling hopelessly in love.

And for Zoe Hamilton, that person was Ryan Adams.

In Case of Heartbreak | Romance, Teen Fiction

After a devastating accident, Dean Adams finds himself drawn to his classmate, and nurse-in-training, Katie Reynolds.

What he doesn’t expect to discover is that, as much as he needs her, she needs him even more.

Defending Parker | Teen Fiction

“They say that there’s two sides to every story, but which one do you believe?”

As the daughter of a lawyer, Jillian Thomas has always been one to stay on the right side of the tracks. She’s a track and field star, a whiz in the classroom, and she’s never gotten in trouble in her life. However, when Jillian’s father gets a new job, she is forced to move to a town that is still mourning over a tragedy.

When she has a run in with Parker Collins, and slowly begins to unravel the truth behind his tragedy, she’s sees what everybody else refuses to; he’s innocent.

Will she be able to help him change his fate and prove to everyone that he’s not to blame, or will she watch as he gets sent behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit?

Until I Met You
Until I Met You | Romance

For Jessalyn and her mom, moving to the small town of Avondale, California seemed like the perfect decision; they wanted the new scenery but what they really needed was a new start.

Jessalyn Hartley had always been shy and one to keep to herself, but now, as she enters her final year of high school at Crestview High, she’s more determined than ever to stay hidden in the shadows.

However, all of that may change when she crosses paths with the supposed bad boy; Cason Michaels, and figures out that maybe she just had to meet the right person to break her out of her shell.

Maybe Perfect | Romance

Sophie Campbell is a seventeen year old senior at Jackson High that also holds down a part-time job at the local coffee shop. The way Sophie sees it, there’s no need for her to have a boyfriend in high school. All the boys are immature and she’s lasted without love for 17 years so far… why not wait one more? However, when the mysterious loner at her school comes into her work on New Year’s Eve, something between them clicks.

Between crazy friends, a motorcycle and an English assignment, will they be content with just a friendship or will they realize that they might be perfect for each other as more?

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Currently in the works by Emma is a brilliant story that is completely out of her usual comfort zone. Feel free to check it out (it’s free).

Cloak and Dagger | Action

After an attack on the night of her 21st birthday, Aspen Rigby awakens within the walls of Division 27 – a clandestine organization part of a circle of central intelligence that is kept a secret from the outside world. While trying to adjust to her new life and fight off the demons of her past, she’s also faced with the shocking realization that, with a target on her back, she needs to be careful where she puts her trust, as well as how she decides to fight at a crossroads.

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So that is all I have for you today my lovelies, but please go visit Emma and leave her some love. Her writing style is simply flawless and I really hope that she makes it big time – I’d love to see a physical copy of one of her works on my bookshelf in the near future.

If you would like to suggest someone, my contact details are below. Otherwise, peace and kisses to all xo


Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate

Bright Spotlight | Penguin Threads

If there is one thing I am guilty of when buying a book, it is that I first examine the cover. A good book is normally (but not always) encased in a fabulous, eye-catching cover. It is the first thing you see, and will be sat pretty on a book case. So for me, the cover is the difference between one book or another in Waterstones. (In a perfect world, I would be able to afford both books. But I’m a student, and students are poor.)

Perhaps one of the biggest genres of fiction in today’s society is the classic fiction. People seem to forget that for hundreds of years, these are the stories that entertained and captured the minds of generations. But with millions of books entering circulation, there is always a good reason to avoid the classic section of the book shop.

However, the classics are now being redesigned – or that is, their front covers are. After all, pretty front covers do attract business! Today’s Bright Spotlight is focusing on the redesigning of six magical books – all under the Penguin Threads scheme.

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So what exactly is Penguin Threads?

The Penguin Threads collection were six cover redesigns commissioned by art director Paul Buckley. His aim? To create a gift-worthy collection of classics.

Which books were redesigned?

The Wind in the Willows, Little Women, Emma, The Wizard of Oz, Black Beauty and The Secret Garden.

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Did Paul Buckley redesign them himself?

Responsible for the redesign were two talented artists, Jillian Tamaki and Rachell Sumpter. With each artist in charge of three books, they proved to be absolutely fabulous and made the covers look wonderful. Perhaps my favourite fact is that they used real, genuine materials such as thread when making the covers. I’d honestly pay to see the original covers.

Black Beauty | Design and copyright by Jillian Tamaki.

The Wind in the Willows | Design and copyright by Rachell Sumpter.

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The Secret Garden | Design and copyright by Jillian Tamaki.

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The Wizard of Oz | Design and copyright by Rachell Sumpter.

Emma | Design and copyright by Jillian Tamaki.

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Little Women | Design and copyright by Rachell Sumpter.

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So now that you’ve all seen the wonderfully beautiful covers, I’m going to go and hint at these books a few more times as presents. I honestly feel like they’re a sound investment, and the pure talent and time that went into making these gorgeous designs deserve the recognition and money.

The Wizard of Oz              | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House
The Wind in the Willows| Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House
The Secret Garden            | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House
Little Women                      | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House
Emma                                    | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House
Black Beauty                       | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Penguin Random House

Also, these covers almost (but didn’t) make the cut. Still, they are just as fabulous as the ones that were selected. Personally, I would be proud to display any of these covers in my shelves.

Penguin Threads | Penguin RH
Jillian Tamaki’s Blog
Rachell Sumpter’s Blog



Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate

Review | The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray


Title | The Dollhouse Asylum
Author | Mary Gray
Pages | 296
Publisher | Spencer Hill Press
Series | None
Release Date | October 2013
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields–a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus–she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.

At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne’s heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.

The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now “Persephone,” and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.

If they play it right, then they’ll be safe.

But if they play it wrong, they’ll die.

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A girl and her teacher, a forbidden romance and an psychological thriller? Surely not? I stumbled across this book on Goodreads many moons ago and merely brushed it off as something completely crazy and something I would dislike from the get-go. But I was completely off the mark with that, and perhaps I should have read it sooner. The Dollhouse Asylum was a fantastic thriller, and satisfied the bookworm inside me fully.

While I would argue that Mary Gray could have done a better job of dragging the plot out, I have to admit that she did a pretty fantastic job. The idea was completely unique, and if you’re a regular here you will understand that I adore originality. Now I do have to admit that I’m not a fan of the whole dystopian, zombie-apocalypse kind of novel. But the decision to use this as a ploy for the real reasoning behind Elysian Fields was great.

The characters, although some were completely two-dimensional, played the game quite well and it was interesting to see their story unfold. Cheyenne, albeit the protagonist, was not strong enough to lead the story on her own. Whether she was completely in love with Teo or not, I would have loved to see more emotion from her. There were things the author brushed over, such as the fact that she showed no emotion over her dead mother – this was something that made her appear more fake. Luckily, her characterisation of Teo was completely spot on. Creepy? Check. Delusional? Check. Twisted? Check. Teo was literally the living embodiment of ‘psychotic’ and this really made me enjoy the story so much more!

The Dollhouse Asylum has easily been around for a few years now, so I’d advise you to go out and grab your copy as soon as! It’s creepy, it’s chilling and it’s absolutely perfect to fill your time with this summer!

4 Stars

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Don’t just take my word for it! Here are what a few other bloggers worldwide had to say about the book.

Alison @ Lost In Believing says “The Dollhouse Asylum is a fantastic debut.”

Gil @ Writer of Wrongs says “‘I’m going to grade this book on a serious originality curve, and for creeping the pants of me.

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❤ Mary Gray ❤

Mary Gray has a fascination with all things creepy. That’s why all her favorite stories usually involve panic attacks and hyperventilating. In real life, she prefers to type away on her computer, ogle over her favorite TV shows, and savor fiction. When she’s not immersed in other worlds, she and her husband get their exercise by chasing after their three children.


Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate

Review | Sleeper by MacKenzie Cadenhead

Title | Sleeper
Author | MacKenzie Cadenhead
Pages | 336
Series | None
Publisher | Sourcebooks FIRE
Release Date | August 2017
Find it on Goodreads and Amazon

Sarah’s dreams are everyone else’s nightmares in this thriller that perfectly combines Inception and Heathers

As a sufferer of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, Sarah acts out her dreams. Usually she’s only a danger to herself, but when she almost breaks her best friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah becomes a social pariah. Luckily (and stangely), Wes, a guy she’s only seen in her dreams, turns up at school and the two become inseparable.

An experimental drug offers a cure, but she and Wes soon realize that not only are they sharing the same dreams, they can now alter other people’s dreams. It’s clear that this new drug is offering a lot more than just sleep. Will Wes and Sarah choose responsibility…or revenge?

Admittedly, I have not been in the reading state-of-mind since before Christmas now. That’s a whole four months of inactivity and wishful thinking when looking at all the fabulous YA literature that has been released recently. So Sleeper had a lot to live up to in order to bring me out of the reading rut I’ve been in for so long. I must admit, this book was definitely out of my comfort zone. However, the fact I have finished the book – something I have not done for a while – is an achievement on its own. Perhaps I could describe Sleeper as interesting. Yes, let’s start with interesting.

In other words, don’t be an idiot like me.

What I adored about Sleeper was the sheer thrill of the whole story. The wonderful concept of a drug which enhances Sarah’s REM Sleep Behaviour Order was absolutely brilliant – and truly original. Pitched as a combination of Inception and Heathers (both things I haven’t got a bloody clue on), the book was a pleasant retreat away from the modern YA literature based around romantic adolescent adventures. Sleeper is gripping. The first chapter is a hook, and like a fish on a line, you are sold into what is going on. If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’ll understand this is something I adore in literature.

I would also like to shine a line on the tone of the novel. It was an incredibly easy read, and had it not been I probably would have struggled to read it all the way to the end. Despite having no communication with books over the past four months, I kept to my usual time of six to seven hours. There was no difficulty in reading it, making it a perfect read to give to a younger, more mature reader. Sleeper is also incredibly fast-paced. I like that. MacKenzie Cadenhead did not drag out any part of the book, and all chapters were relevant and interesting to read. This is a rare trait to find within a story, as there is so much emphasis on the building up on specific events.

”I mean it, Sarah. This is way better than a sex tape.”

Ah, that wonderful point in my review where I can mention characters. Sarah is ultimately a flawed character. I had a deep sympathy for her at the beginning of the story – partly because she has absolutely no control over her actions or the consequences. But as the story developed and she found power, the consumption turned her into a creature which did sicken me. Her actions were despicable, no matter how much they could be justified. The world would be a horrible place if we lived by the idea of ‘an eye for an eye’. I’m hoping that Ms Cadenhead was going for this affect. Of course, every character in the wrong seeks redemption, but I found it hard to award it considering her foolishness and behaviour.

Wes was a much harder pill to swallow – and yet, was a refreshing addition to the plot. There is a very British swear word I would love to use in describing Wes. But I’m above that, at least orally. The bad vibes were incredibly strong – intention, I know. And while I really, really, didn’t like Wes, it was nice to see the main guy not seen as some kind of hero. His flaws are laid out on the table, and are tackled quite maturely. Hats off Ms Cadenhead!

I want to know the instant he comes back to life. Because sooner or later, he will.

Summarising Sleeper, it was definitely an odd book. It has pulled me from my hangover (both book and physical) and has surprisingly given me a lot to consider. While I still feel quite unsure as to whether this was a book for me, I do still feel it deserves high praise. For its originality, plot and story-telling – as well as all-around fabulous-ness – the book earns a four out of five!

A massive thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of the book!

❤ MacKenzie Cadenhead ❤

MacKenzie Cadenhead was born and raised in New York City, where she mastered her driver’s ed lessons in Chinatown, but somehow never learned to ride a bike. After trying her hand at a number of odd jobs—holiday gift wrapper, tour guide, pizza delivery person—she spat in the face of employability by delivering the one-two punch of a BA in English.

These days she writes children’s books and reads them to her family, most notably her dog, Smudge.

Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate

Giveaway | The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler

Hello blogosphere! Long time, no post!

Today I bring you a fabulous giveaway for all my amazing US followers – having teamed up with Sourcebooks Fire, who have recently launched the fabulous The Dead Inside by Cyndy Etler, we are bringing you a wonderful giveaway to win yourself a fantastic copy!

The book was an absolutely amazing read, and I hope to get around to writing a review for it at some point. Yet it must be pointed that this book is one with so much relevance in today’s society as it not only a true story, but still a reality for many teens.

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For readers of Girl Interrupted and Tweak, Cyndy Etler’s gripping memoir gives readers a glimpse into the harrowing reality of her sixteen months in the notorious “tough love” program the ACLU called “a concentration camp for throwaway kids.”

All Cyndy wanted was to be loved and accepted. By age fourteen, she had escaped from her violent home, only to be reported as a runaway and sent to a “drug rehabilitation” facility that changed her world.

To the public, Straight Inc. was a place of recovery. But behind closed doors, the program used bizarre and intimidating methods to “treat” its patients. In her raw and fearless memoir, Cyndy Etler recounts her sixteen months in the living nightmare that Straight Inc. considered “healing.”

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But don’t just take my word for it – YA author Kathleen Glasgow had this to say about the book :

Mika @ Mxcareyes says “Overall, I like this memoir. I like the courage that Cyndy displayed both on what happened to her and in writing this story, her story.”

The Reading Lodge says “The Dead Inside is thought-provoking, and gripping.”

A Darker Shade of Seelie says “I’m proud of how far this author has come.”

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cyndy Etler 

At 13, Cyndy was homeless. At 14, she was locked up. At 15, she was suicidal. At 30, she was teaching tough teens at an alternative school.

Today Cyndy is a young adult author. Her YA memoirs are honest and raw, taking readers into the real-life experience of a kid who will do anything to feel accepted.

@cdetler |


Twitter: @passionchildUK
Instagram: @childishlypassionate