Blog Tour, Book Review

Blog Tour: Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

I am so pleased to be on the blog tour for Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. I’m a huge fan of history. So, I was so glad when I was given the opportunity to read about my idols during World War II.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Smith Publishing for allowing me to read the e-arc and also send me a physical arc.

Summary

Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, “The war made my mother who she was.” Audrey Hepburn’s war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor’s assistant during the “Bridge Too Far” battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem’s most famous young ballerina. Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II. Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey’s personal collection and are published here for the first time. – (via Goodreads )

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review

Dutch Girl follows young Audrey Hepburn during the Second World War. The foreword is written by her youngest son, Luca Dotti.

Audrey Hepburn was shy, introvert that longed to be a dancer in the ballet. We learn of Audrey’s childhood; her father leaving, her mother’s pro-German attitude before the war and how this effected the young girl. It was her dream to become a dancer. It was these dance lessons that allowed her to become more expressive in life.

As a reader, we follow this young girl who longed to be a dancer through her traumatic time in the Netherlands during the war. We find out in this interesting book why Audrey Hepburn was so hesitant to talk about the war during interviews with the media. Dutch Girl gives historical context to the beloved star and her family during this devastating period. We follow the family and Audrey as they grieve, they starve, and live in their cellar.

Dutch Girl is a wonderfully written book and has been well researched. There’s so much writing, context and sources mentioned that truly bring a strong description of Audrey Hepburn, her family and the Netherlands during the Second World War. I loved this book because I truly felt with every page I was learning something new. It’s truly heart-breaking.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Audrey Hepburn, like myself, or a lover of history. It’s a fantastically put together and after reading, you will sit thinking how lucky we are.

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review: Viper, The Isles of Storm and Sorrow by Bex Hogan

 

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Summary

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father. A new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas. – (Goodreads)

My Rating: 4.5/ 5 stars

Non-Spoiler Review

Firstly, I would like to thank NetGalley and Orion Books for allowing to me read the e-arc of this book.

Also, this book is being released TOMORROW!

From the very first page, Viper had me hooked. I was immediately pulled into Marianne’s perspective by Bex Hogan’s captivating writing. Marianne is an easy protagonist to fall in love with and root for. She’s struggling on board the Maiden, her ruthless father’s ship that dominates the six isles. From the very beginning, even in subtle ways, Marianne is defiant against the life her father wishes for her. Her father, Captain Adler, is cruel and a terrifying character as you are unsure on how he will retaliate against her. The only thing you do know as you read that it be brutal.

The characters in this YA Fantasy are written so well. Bex Hogan manages to create well depth characters that you can’t help but love them or hate them. Even minor characters in this novel will pull at your heart strings and will have significant impact upon our main characters like Marianne, Bronn and Grace. What I loved most about Bex Hogan’s characters was that they were diverse, interesting, and made a mark upon the reader. Also, these characters are not black and white like in typical fantasy novels. They’re all in this grey area where they have flaws and weaknesses that make them that more fascinating. For example, Bronn,  Marianne’s childhood friend and her father’s most prized assassins blurs the lines in the novel.

Viper is an action packed first novel in this trilogy. Bex Hogan builds tension throughout the piece so much so that I was constantly nervous to turn the page and find out what lurked next for these characters. The novel is filled with heart wrenching moments that pulled tears to my eyes and violent fights that were thrilling to read. Honestly, this book had everything that I love about fantasy; an amazing heroine, a kingdom, royalty, a prince, a slow burn romance, action, drama, loss. It truly is an amazing read.

I loved this book so much I’ve pre-ordered the final copy and I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can reread Viper again. Bex Hogan’s writing is truly something special, it’s spell binding and leaves you completely immersed in the world. I have a feeling this trilogy will quickly become one of my favourites of all time.

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: Love Punked by Nia Lucas

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Summary 

When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along. (via goodreads)

My Rating: 4.5/5

Non Spoiler Review

Love Punked gave me all the emotions! We follow our main character, Erin Roberts, as she goes through life after giving birth to twins when she is sixteen. From there, it’s a fantastic emotional rollercoaster that had me laughing, crying, angry. I fell in love with Erin and her, I don’t really care what others think, attitude. She’s such a strong character and watching her mature and grow as a character was one of the most wonderful things about this novel.

Nia Lucas’ writing is excellent! She captures teenager life, motherhood and being a young adult beautifully and accurately with her writing. I enjoyed watching all these characters grow up. Nia Lucas wrote her characters with so much depth that I quickly grew attached to the majority of the characters in this novel. I wanted them all to achieve their dreams and have a happy ending. I was really rooting for them all!

Another aspect I loved about this book was the humour. Nia Lucas captured British teen humour brilliantly in her writing. It reminded me of being back in school and I couldn’t stop laughing. Love Punked was an incredibly funny novel but it also had serious moments that were excellently written. I cried in this novel! Nia Lucas’ writing is truly exceptional and it is demonstrated in this novel.

When reading, I couldn’t wait to find out the ending! I am not going to spoil anything but I was getting so frustrated with certain characters that I wanted to put them in a room and tell them to sort it out their problems, haha!

This book is definitely perfect for fans who loved Love, Rosie/ Where Rainbows End.

Love Punked is truly a fantastic novel that had me hooked from start to finish. It’s a compelling read that will leave you feeling so many emotions.

I highly recommend this book!

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: Artists, Poets, Lovers by Mira Tudor

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Summary

PAL is a fast-paced yet poignant character-driven novel riding waves of romance, drama, and wit in a manner reminiscent of David Nicholls’s books (One Day)—and set in the exciting world of several vibrant Romanian artists and musicians.

Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things. ( via goodreads )

My Rating: 3/5

Non-Spoiler Review

Firstly, I would like to thank Mira Tudor for contacting me with her book and allowing me to read in exchange for a review.

This does not affect my opinion of the novel in anyway.

Poets, Artists and Lovers is set in Romania and follows several creative characters. We follow the characters over a large period of time, often seen in flashbacks which brings depth to these fascinating characters. The characters were incredibly flawed and human which I love when reading because it makes the characters more compelling to read. There was a certain characters that I didn’t like or didn’t agree with their actions but it made the novel interesting. There is a large number of characters but I loved how they were all related or connected to each other in some form. It really pulled the story together.

It is a novel filled with philosophical and cultural ideas that is incredibly fast pace, pulling you in. Each character has its own distinct voice that makes it easy to follow and keep up with the pace of the novel. The conversations are realistic and intellectual which only adds for an entertaining read. However, sometimes, the conversations between the characters went over my head slightly as I was unsure of what they were talking about. Despite this, it was not a struggle to keep up with what was happening due to Mira Tudor’s writing. This book definitely reads like Literary fiction.

I would highly recommend this book to those who are highly creative and adults who can relate to the interesting prose.

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

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Summary

Jack Ellison King. King of Almost.

He almost made valedictorian.

He almost made varsity.

He almost got the girl . . .

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.

But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves. – (via Goodreads)

My Rating: 4/5

Non-Spoiler Review

Opposite of Always is a YA contemporary that deals with time travel. What would you do if you could go back in time and save someone you love? What decisions would you make? This debut novel asks these questions and we watch as Jack makes different decisions each time and the consequences of those actions. I loved this aspect of this romance novel because each time something happened it led towards something else happening, for better or worse.

Reynolds writes flawlessly throughout this book. He writes the novel in first person and every now then address the reader which only immerses the reader further into the story. Jack is a fun, negative and delightful character. His thoughts and actions had me laughing out loud several times. Reynolds writing through Jack’s perspective adds tot he wonderful charm of Opposite of Always. Kate is such a vibrant character. She’s so smart and full of life. I loved reading the scenes between her and Jack because they worked so well together. Honestly, the characters in this novel bring the text to life so much more. As we see Jack travel back in time, we learn more and more about the other characters such as Jillian, Franny. The characters are excellent! They truly become part of you.

Despite this story, repeating the beginning of a similar situation every few chapters, it does not become repetitive. I was intrigued and so invested in the characters that I wondered what would happen, what would change in this scenario.

Opposite of Always is a fantastic debut novel that centres around love and friendship. I enjoyed reading every second of this book and read it so quickly. This is definitely a book you could read in one sitting.

This is the perfect Spring read! I can’t wait to see what Justin A. Reynolds writes next. I loved this book so much. I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo

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Summary

In a sealed-off city, it begins with a hunt. A young woman, Lena, running for her life, convicted of being a mage and sentenced to death. Her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear – those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. She knows only too well how the people of Duke’s Forest loathe magic. Years ago she escaped before her powers were discovered. But now she won’t hide who she is any longer.

A powerful and terrifying storm cloud unites them. It descends over the dukedom and devastates much in its wake. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine…Only Lena and Constance hold the key to destroying the spell. Though neither of them realise it, they need each other. They are the blood and they have the thunder within.

A stunning and original YA fantasy from a fantastic new talent. Perfect for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Melinda Salisbury. (– via Goodreads)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Non Spoiler Review 

First of all, I would like to say thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for allowing me to read the e-arc of this novel! Also, I had intended to have this posted earlier but due to me being unwell for nearly two weeks I was unable to post.

We Are Blood and Thunder is a new YA fantasy that follows the perspective of both Lena and Constance. The dual perspective in this book was done very well. The main characters are very different from each other and do not overshadow each other in the narratives. Lena and Constance are both strong female characters that go through very different journeys in the novel which I found fascinating. Lupo did a fantastic job of creating strong female characters whilst highlighting the key differences between them.

The initial pull for me to want to read this book was the premise. The idea was original, creepy and filled with magic. I loved the idea of two girls being the key to unlocking the storm that is plaguing their city. Thankfully, the novel did not disappoint! The world building was simple but endearing. The world building was embedded wonderfully into the story and it wasn’t thrown at us on the first page. I loved how magic and the relationship to the Gods had a colour system!

The plot is fast paced but it’s easy to keep with what is going on and it doesn’t feel too rushed. We Are Blood and Thunder is filled with minor twists and turns and one major twist at the end that will leave your mind blown! I loved the twist.

Kesia Lupo’s fantasy novel We Are Blood and Thunder is wonderfully written and easy to read. I highly recommend this book to this who are just getting into the fantasy genre, and of course, those who love fantasy because it’s an easy compelling read.

Thanks for reading!

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Monthly Wrap Up

March Wrap Up!

Hey, everyone!

I’m finally here to post my wrap up for the month. I did a lot of reading in the month of March and wanted to do a bit more but I fell ill at the end of the month.

However, I did read a total 13 books which I’m super proud of! I’m hoping this amount of reading continues in February.

To check out my reviews, follow me on Goodreads! I’ll be posting my rating underneath the books because I don’t want to make the post too long.

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Proud compiled by Juno Dawson-  4/5 stars

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DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 2 – 3/5 stars

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Internment by Samira Ahmed – 4/5 stars

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DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 3 – 4/5 stars

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Slayer by Keirsten White – 3/5 stars

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Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor 3/5 stars

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Love Punked by Nia Lucas – 4/5 stars

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Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman – 4/5 stars.

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman – 4/5 stars

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Lovestruck by Kate Watson 3/5 stars

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – 4/5 stars.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 4/5 stars.

This is all of the books I read during the month of March. I think my favourites were Love Punked, Solitaire and The Cruel Prince. What was your favourite read this month?

If I read like this again in April then I am going to do a recent reads post instead to break down the wrap up posts because they are becoming long!

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Summary

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. – (via Goodreads)

My  Rating 4/5

Non-Spoiler Review 

If you read my My Spring TBR post then you’ll know that The Cruel Prince was high priority for me to read over the next few months. I was excited to read the novel because I have heard so many great things about it. However, when reading, I noticed that this book has many mixed reviews.

For me, personally, I loved this book.

The Cruel Prince follows a human girl, Jude, who had been whisked away into the Faerie Lands. I’ve not read many Fae novels or stories but I really felt this novel was unique because it portrayed the Fae as cruel, violent and flawed. Even Jude and her twin sister, Taryn, who are human, have become a darker versions of themselves to survive in this world.

Holly Black was amazing at writing flawed characters! Every single character had several flaws, all of them being in the grey area between the good versus evil that we often see in Fantasy. These flawed and unreadable characters that were power hungry made The Cruel Prince such an interesting and intriguing read.

Black also did a wonderful job of creating this world. I didn’t find the information hard to follow nor was I confused at any stage by what was happening. I really enjoyed the pacing of the novel as well.

There were so many twist and turns throughout the novel that I didn’t see coming, especially towards the end of the novel.

I can’t wait to read The Wicked King, the second novel in the series to see what happens next.

The Cruel Prince is a fast paced, dark tale about betrayal and power in Faerie Lands. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something that isn’t traditional fantasy, in terms of good and evil.

Have you read The Cruel Prince? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

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TBR

My Spring TBR

Hey everyone!

I am finally back with a new post after being away last week for my brother’s birthday.

Recently, on Twitter, I posted a poll and asked if you would be interested in seeing seasonal TBRs because I’m not doing monthly TBRs this year and everyone said yes!

Last month, I posted Top 5 Books I Want to Read by Spring and unfortunately, I’ve not read any of these books because I’ve been swamped with NetGalley e-arcs. So, check out that post because that list of books are also part of my Spring TBR.

Here are another 5 books I hope to read by the end of Spring:

1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I won this book in a giveaway last year and I still haven’t read it. I definitely feel that this is a book I would love. It’s fantasy and there’s fae! I need to read it ASAP.

2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Again, this is another book that has been sitting on my shelf since last summer. I’ve read Vicious and City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab and I adore her writing. I have such high expectations for this book, so I really hope I can read the first book in this trilogy. Fingers crossed that I can read the trilogy but we’ll see.

3. Odd One Out by Nic Stone

I fell in love with Nic Stone’s writing after I read Dear Martin. Immediately after reading that novel, I pre-ordered this one: Odd One Out. This is a quite a short contemporary read so I can definitely see me getting to this one before the end of spring.

4. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

I am so excited to read this book! I pre-ordered but I want to catch up on my TBR before I fully commit to reading this. It’s such a huge book that I want to be able to enjoy reading it without worrying about other books that I need to read.

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This is a bonus addition to my Spring TBR. If you looked at the other post, I linked at the beginning of the post. I said I had originally wanted to read The Grisha Trilogy by the end of the Spring or at least start it. Obviously that didn’t happen because I didn’t realise how close Spring was when I posted. So, I’m hoping to get to that trilogy and Six of Crows by the end of Spring.

These along with Top 5 Books I Want to Read by Spring are my official Spring TBR. I really hope I can get to all these books by the end of Spring.

Have you read any of these books? Should I prioritise any?

Do you have any books you want to read?

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed

First of all, Happy World Book Day!
Second of all, Happy book birthday to Internment by Samira Ahmed.

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Summary 

Rebellions are built on hope.

Set in a horrifying near-future United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim American citizens.

With the help of newly made friends also trapped within the internment camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards.

Heart-racing and emotional, Internment challenges readers to fight complicit silence that exists in our society today. (Via Goodreads)

My Rating: 4/5

Non-Spoiler Review

I would like to thank Netgalley and Little Brown Book Group UK for allowing to read an early e-arc of this book.

Internment had me hooked from the first page. Immediately, I was sucked into this possible near future and into the injustice of Layla’s world. Samira Ahmed writes so well that the tension and fear radiate from the page. It’s somewhat terrifying how close, how easily that Muslims or anyone, could be placed into an internment camp.  This is a terrifying “What if?” that left me on edge and desperate to find out the ending. I read this in less than 24 hours and read the majority of the book in just a few hours. I couldn’t put it down. I was compelled to find out what happen.

Layla, as a main character, has her flaws. However, personally, I felt this related well to the scenario she was in. She’s a teenage girl who’s life has been completely thrown upside because of her religious beliefs. So, it’s natural for her to miss and want the normal things like to speak to her boyfriend and fight against the system that an older generation’s ignorance has put her in. Layla was a strong female character that I truly rooted for the more I read the book. She was incredibly human and I think it made for an honest and emotional read to see what was happening through her eyes.

In relation to other characters, I also loved them! The side characters were just as interesting to me as Layla. I fell in love with Ayesha, who provided somewhat comic relief in this dark period. I loved Soheil who was determined to get justice and fight against the government. Also, I fell in love with the character Jake, who is an Exclusion Guard but is fighting against the corrupted government. This is one of the many things that I loved about this book. It showed the lives of everyone that was involved in the camp: those who were suffering, those put in the camp, the guards, the people who supported the idea and who were against it.

I’m not going to talk about the ending of the novel because this is a non-spoiler review and I think it’s best to go into this book the same way I did, desperately rooting for these characters and urgently wanting to find out the outcome of these characters. Just so you know that this book made me emotional. I felt angry, frustrated, nervous, suspicious, and heartbroken for all of these characters and what they were being put through.

Internment is an incredibly powerful read that I think everyone should read. It had me completely enthralled and interested in what would happen. When reading Interment it reminded me of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. A few people that have reviewed this book has made a similar link between this book and those ones.

Internment is a powerful and emotional rollercoaster read that I would highly recommend! I can’t wait to get my hands on Samira Ahmeds other novel, Love, Hate and Other Filters. 

Thank you reading!

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