#MiniReviews - World Book Day

World Book Day - if you're not living in the UK, or have your head under a children's-reading shielding rock - is one of my favourite things ever. Basically, kids all over the country are given £1 book tokens to exchange for a free World Book Day novella, or to get the money off any other book. You can also buy those novellas for a pound, which is good for me, because my school has now decided to only give tokens to Year 7s. It's so sad (although there are a few awesome English teachers who are giving older pupils tokens in a kind of secret black market), but at least I could still read these two, because I've been waiting for them for So Long.


As they are novellas mini books, I thought I'd write some mini reviews. And if I've managed to bore you already with long descriptions of what World Book Day is, then you can get away with reading even less, because I've summarised the plot and why you should read each book in a couple of sentences. But of course, you should read my awesome reviews if at all possible.

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Short Plot Summary - A self-admitted Star Wars nerd fights her over-protective mother to spend four days waiting in line for the new movie and be among hundreds of fellow superfans. Only to find it is two people long.
Read This If - You like (or are) people who celebrate being true nerds and books that make you smile with cute characters. Also Star Wars.

I am constantly aware that novellas this short (96 quite large-print pages) are really hard to flesh out, and the amount character development that was squished into such a small, beautiful packet was ASTONISHING. Elena's Mum, for instance, was only involved in maybe a maximum of five pages, but she cracks me up, and the relationship between her and Elena was adorable. Then there's Troy and Gabe. Don't even get me started on Troy and Gabe - I might start squeeing so loudly that you hear me from the other side of cyberspace.


In fact, Elena herself was really interesting too, because you don't really know much about her life beyond Star Wars at the beginning. You have to be drip-fed her secrets like a three-year-old begging for malteasers, and while all that teasing doesn't sound fun, it really kind of is. I'm a little uneducated worm of a book reviewer, so I don't know everything, but I think it's because she's so well-rounded and believable at the beginning . . . and then you get the backstory . . .

Some people might say that this book doesn't have a very daring plot - I mean, where's that line going to go other than in the cinema? - but there are twists. There are character reveals. And I don't care what you say, because CHARACTERS SO AMAZING NOT LISTENING LA LA LA.
Oh. I need to be a little bit professional. Five stars. *ahem*

Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson

Short Plot Summary - A girl is branded a freak by almost everyone she knows because of severe acne - but then the miracle drug her dermatologist gives her works.
Read This If - You struggle with acne or feel invisible at school, or if you just want to read about a girl whose awesome friends (her true friends really were awesome) help her be comfortable in her own skin. Or if you love Juno Dawson.

I went into this book with pretty high expectations, to be honest. The title is clever, but the expectations were mostly because COME ON. What part of the words Juno Dawson - and the nuclear brilliance explosion that is All of the Above - don't you understand? I've also suffered with acne myself for the last couple of years; although mine has never been as bad as Avery's (at least, I really hope not) I was really excited to see whether the way she processed it would be different to mine.


Trepidation, however, did seep in, and that's because Avery's new skin gets her in with the A-List. When characters suddenly become popular, they have an annoying habit of abandoning their previous friends, who are almost always amazing.

I have a really hard time identifying with them when that starts to happen.

And now, after reading this, I'm really, really confused about whether I have a problem with that or not. Yes, Lois was my kind of homegirl, and I did not like seeing how Avery treated her once the popularity pulled her away, but that didn't change the fact that the ending was very inspiring and put one of the biggest smiles ever on my face. I'm giving it four stars because, if you don't have a weirdly specific vendetta against one plot point, you'll love the themes of being comfortable in your own skin, the scarily accurate portrayal of English Secondary School, and of course Lois. Again she is brilliant.
I hope you have enjoyed my mini reviews (even though, now I think about it, they aren't that mini) and would just like to mention that "Read This If" is not prescriptive. You don't need to love Star Wars to read Kindred Spirits! Spot the Difference isn't just for girls with acne!

I've said what I need to say. Now where's my coat?

***
In the comments: Are you a fan of World Book Day? What did you think of these books, if you've read them? And if not, do you want to?
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