In no particular order...
I really, really loved The Look. I thought it was a wonderful story about sisters and modelling. It's a really sweet story of a girl very insecure of her image who falls into modelling almost accidentally and continues with it to please her sister who has been diagnosed with cancer. This book made me smile and then cry and then laugh again. I love how our main character really grows in confidence throughout The Look and begins to accept her appearance. This book is a great story about sisters and fashion and modelling and is one not to miss.
There's nothing I love more than a new Luisa Plaja novel. There's always some really great characters, a really delicious love story and some interesting aspect of identity to work through. With Kiss Date Love Hate we have all of that plus there's a really nerdy video game twist which plays with our characters' images and personalities. I adore the element of film-making involved and how fun and funny this book is. It's also sweet with some loveable characters and some great friendships and relationships. It touches on things more serious towards the end which made me stop and reconsider. I loved the mixture of all of this and cannot urge you to read this book or any of Luisa's books strongly enough!
Skin Deep came out of nowhere and completely surprised me. Laura Jarratt has brought us something really beautiful here with this love story between two people struggling with very different issues. We have Ryan, the traveller, who is used to being stared at and treated differently every where him and his mother go. He's so responsible, looking after things and his mother, but all he'd really like is to settle down. Then we have Jenna, who is dealing with the loss of her best friend in a car accident recently which also left her face permanently scarred. Jenna has kept herself indoors while her face is healing and doesn't like going out in public, with everyone openly staring. Both Ryan and Jenna stole my heart almost immediately. I needed both of them to be okay and I loved the pair of them together.
What I'm beginning to realise from writing this blog post is that I really, really love books involving image and identity. And the main character of Adorkable, Jeane Smith, is using her unusual and quirky image and lifestyle to make a brand name for herself. Using her blog and Twitter, she is able to forge this place for herself, and for others, that says it's all right to be different and to celebrate each others' differences. It wasn't always easy to love the characters in this book, but they also felt very realistic and believeable with their ragged edges. I'm such a big fan of Sarra Manning and of this book! Read it, you won't be sorry.
I haven't yet reviewed Heart-Shaped Bruise, mostly because I haven't yet found the words to describe how emotional this book is. I picked up this book knowing almost nothing about it and I was instantly hooked by the voice of a broken and disturbed girl in a young offenders institute. She's grappling with the loss of her identity after finding out her father isn't who she thought he was her entire life. And as she tells her story, I ended up falling deeper and deeper into her head and into her life. I felt sorry for her and understood her and everything felt so raw and beautiful and honest that I couldn't help but fall head over heels for this book. How is this Tanya Byrne's debut novel? Easily my favourite read of 2012 so far. Highly recommended!
What is your favourite book by a British author that you've read so far this year?