#BookTwins If You Liked Flora Banks, You Might Like Biddy Weir #AntiBullyingWeek @Lesley_Allen_ ‏

“If you read … you’ll like …”

When you’ve read a book, do you sometimes find yourself thinking “oh, that really reminds me of *insert name of another book*”?

Welcome to a new feature, in which my team and I make reading suggestions based on your favourites, be they classics, or newer best sellers.  Our recommendations consider not just genre, but writing style, plot—and that ‘feel’ you can’t quite put your finger on.

If you liked The One Memory Of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, you might like The Lonely Life If Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen

 

Flora Banks is a YA book by internationally acclaimed author Emily Barr, about a girl with no short-term memory, while Biddy Weir is by the perhaps less well-know Lesley Weir, on the theme of bullying, but my reading mind connected them because Flora Banks and Biddy Weir are both isolated from society due through no fault of their own.

Although Flora has no memory, she one day remembers a single incident and she grasps at this one shred of hope.  Biddy Weir suffers from a seven year bullying campaign which almost destroys her. Circumstances of her upbringing kept the usual teenage opportunities closed to Biddy. She fell through a network of support systems and, sadly, people chose to gloss over her problems rather than offering help.

Biddy’s journey reminded me so much of Flora’s, although one is from rock bottom and despair, the other of hope. I found Biddy’s story heart-wrenching; the level of bullying was shocking. The book is split between Biddy’s teenage life and her still troubled adulthood, which provides plenty of opportunity for the book to appeal to a wide reading audience.

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What is it about isolated individuals that makes an appealing read?

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#Newrelease My Review of The Truth And Lies Of Ella Black by @emily_barr @penguinrandom #EllaBlack

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by [Barr, Emily]The Truth And Lies Of Ella Black is a dark, intriguing story that, with a seventeen-year-old protagonist, is suitable for both young and adult readers. The crossing out of Ella’s name in the title certainly piqued my interest before I had even read the first page.

The story covers a timespan of forty days in Ella’s life. At the start, she is an ordinary teenager enjoying a school holiday. An only child, she attends an all-girls school and enjoys art. This, however, is where ‘normal’ ends. There are two sides to Ella: the good girl tries to behave well, work hard and fit in with her schoolmates, but Bad Ella is always lurking in the background…

Bad Ella demands time and space. Bad Ella is strong, frightening and unpredictable; when she demands to be let out, Ella has to lock herself in her room, lest she escape.

The story takes another turn when Ella’s life brings forth a sudden, dramatic change. Rio de Janeiro is a place Ella has always had on her bucket list, and now she’s there. She’s thrilled, but would have preferred time to plan the trip—especially as she arrives still dressed in her school uniform.

It’s clear her parents have been hiding something from her, and, when she discovers the truth, Bad Ella takes over. Fleeing from her parents, Ella tries to piece together some clues about her parents’ deception, whilst coming to terms with having been lied to. Determined to remain hidden, Ella bravely takes to the streets of Rio.

I really enjoyed the Brazilian setting. Ella’s double threaded story, the unravelling of the truth about her past and her personal evolution, had several unexpected developments which kept the momentum of the story going well. I didn’t guess the ending, which was not what I expected, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I liked Ella; she’s brave, spontaneous and determined, and certainly had me rooting for her, especially when she was on the Rio streets. I could easily picture the neighbourhoods, from the tourist spots to the shanty towns, with possible dangers around every corner. I was particularly impressed by Ms Barr’s depiction of the younger people, who I found delightful; they jumped off the page into my imagination, and I really liked them.

The forty-day timeline over which this story was told parallels historic stories which also mark time by this length, and match Ella’s own journey to find answers. The first book I read by this author was The One Memory Of Flora Banks; if you enjoyed that, like me, then I think you’ll like this book too.

Book description

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

About the author

Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, which gave her an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became BACKPACK, an adult thriller which won the WH Smith New Talent Award, and she has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world. THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS is her first novel for young adults. She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children. Visit her website at http://www.emilybarr.com

Emily Barr

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