Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Mini-Reviews: World Book Day 2016

Last Thursday was one of my favourite days of the year: World Book Day! The day when you were allowed to go to school dressed up as your favourite fictional character and were given a voucher to get a free book – it doesn’t really get better than that, to be honest! And even now at 23, I still love it, and buy at least of the £1 World Book Day books every year. This year, though, they outdid themselves and I had to buy three… Here’s the full selection of titles:

Amazing, huh? The three I bought were The Great Mouse Plot by Roald Dahl, Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson and Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell. Here’s what I thought of them!

The Great Mouse Plot, Roald Dahl
55|Penguin Random House

‘You had the idea – so you can be the one to put the mouse in the jar.’

This is a true story.

Every day the boy walks past a sweet shop filled with jars of delicious gobstoppers and sticky treacle toffees. But there is one terrible problem. The shop is owned by Mrs Pratchett, a skinny old hag with filthy finger nails. She is so mean that the boy decides to trick her – and he’s got the perfect plan…

Did you know that this boy grew up to become the writer Roald Dahl?

I’ve worshipped Roald Dahl since I was a little girl, but it’s been many years since I last read him and this little story was a complete treat!

Easily the best thing about this story is the fact that it’s a tale from Roald Dahl himself when he was eight years old! It’s always wonderful to get a glimpse into the real lives of your favourite authors and the time that Dahl was growing up really makes it feel like a story. As is usually the case with Dahl, The Great Mouse Plot features kids taking revenge on horrid adults, wonderful descriptions of sweets and fearsome headteachers.


Spot the Difference, Juno Dawson
85|Hot Key Books

Avery has always suffered at the hands of the bullies, so when she’s given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join the ‘A-list’ she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery’s not so sure she likes this new version of herself. And it’s only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.

It didn’t take long for this to become one of my favourite things that I’ve read from Juno. Of the three World Book Day books I picked up, it was the one that I felt the most connected to and involved in. 

Avery has severe acne – it’s painful, obvious and she’s ridiculed at school for it. It occurred to me that I couldn’t recall ever reading about a protagonist in a YA novel with acne before and that’s really ridiculous – acne is one of the biggest worries for teenagers, why isn’t it represented? 

Spot the Difference has something of Mean Girls about it as a miracle drug trial cleared up Avery’s skin and she was suddenly seen as pretty by the A-list girls and become embroiled in their world. I always hate to see the effects this has on the friendships that withstood all of the horrible days and the picking up the pieces after a particularly nasty comment, but I really loved Lois and Avery – they just worked so well together that I could only hope Avery would come to her senses. 

With Avery’s newfound confidence, she decides to run for Head Girl and I was cheering her along all the way! The speech she made to her school at the end of the story was particularly poignant. But I was so frustrated by the fact that we didn’t get to see if she was actually chosen or not that I had to knock a star rating off the book. I know that wasn’t the point of the story at all, but man, it was annoying!

This is an important, powerful little story and I really hope that teens take the message from it: you are more than your appearance, but you still don’t deserve to be bullied or ridiculed for anything about yourself. Ever. 

Kindred Spirits, Rainbow Rowell
62|Macmillan Children’s Books

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

I loved Kindred Spirits – it’s cute, fun and just as charming as I've come to expect from Rainbow.

In only 62 pages Rainbow Rowell managed to make me fall in love with Elena, Gabe, their love for Star Wars and give a load of backstory to both characters – she really is a special writer. I loved the way that Elena bonded with Troy and Gabe during their adventure, the things they learned about each other, united by fandom.

There are cupcakes, selfies, dances, Starbucks runs and maybe the start of something awesome.

Which World Book Day books did you pick up this year?


1 comment:

  1. I have a WBD mini reviews post in my drafts too, haha! I'll be reading one more though. And I'm glad the Roald Dahl one is fantastic - that's up next!


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