Tuesday 7 January 2020

BLOG TOUR: Paper Avalanche by Lisa Williamson

Today I’m excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Paper Avalanche, the latest novel by one of my favourite UKYA authors, Lisa Williamson! For my stop on the tour, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on all three of these wonderful stories. Let’s jump right in with the newest.

Paper Avalanche

Pages: 384 | Publisher: David Fickling Books | Buy The Book: Waterstones

I’m always looking for YA that tackles topics I don’t often see in fiction, so Paper Avalanche immediately called out to me. Ro Snow wants to be invisible to the world, resigning herself to the fact that she can’t have a normal life. She won’t allow anyone to get close to her for fear they’ll discover the truth about her mum and the home they live in. Bonnie is a compulsive hoarder, and Ro does everything she can to keep social services off their back. But then she meets Tanvi, and her whole world changes. 

There’s nothing I love more than a story that focuses on the importance of friendship. The friends we make throughout our lives and the experiences we share with them all play a part in shaping who we are. Tanvi doesn’t force Ro to change anything about her life. She simply helps her to see what she should be doing, as a teenager making her way through high school. She’s been caring for her mum for so long that she’s become more like the parent than the child. 

  • Tanvi. Ro’s growing friendship with Tanvi is the most heart-warming part of this story. They’ve led completely different lives and have such contrasting personalities, yet they still manage to share a bond. 
  • Eye-opening. Hoarding is a word that people throw around without understanding what it’s truly like to experience. What I loved about this story is that instead of focusing on the person who hoards, it shows us what it’s like to be a person who needs to live alongside it. Ro doesn’t have anywhere else she can call home, and she feels responsible for looking after her mum. There are so many young people who might not have the same home environment as Ro, but are in a situation where they feel trapped by their own home life. This story gives us a glimpse into that world. 
  • Ro Snow. Everything about her growth throughout the book is inspiring to read. 
  • Fast paced. Paper Avalanche manages to cover so much without feeling rushed. We get a good feel for what Ro’s life is like day-to-day whilst seeing how she deals with things long-term. 

Stories like this are an important tool for shedding light on things we don’t often understand. Ro might be fictional, but young people like her deserve to know that there are people to support them and that their voices should always be heard.  

The Art of Being Normal

This book was love at first blurb for me. From the moment I heard about it, I was desperate to get my hands on it. It follows David Piper, a character who was born a boy, but wants to be a girl, and Leo Denton, a new boy at school who’d rather blend into the background. Filled with lively and witty characters, and packed full of raw emotion, it’s a story that made me both laugh and cry. It became an instant favourite. 

  • This book taught me so much. It’s a perfect example of why we need diverse stories in YA to openly discuss important topics. 
  • Reminds people that they are not alone. Whilst every person has their own induvial experiences, there will be people out there who connect with the emotions of the characters in this story. 
  • It’s honest. School can already be difficult for so many young people, let alone someone who is going through something as personal as David’s journey. This book doesn’t shy away from showing the harm bullies and ignorance can do. 
  • Friendships and family. The very heart of this story. We’re shown how important it is to have people there for us, and to allow people to support us when we need it.

My full review for this story was posted back in 2015, if you’d like to read more!

All About Mia

Mia is the middle child. Her older sister, Grace, is as clever as they come and everyone adores her. Her younger sister, Audrey, is destined for Olympic success. Mia feels like an afterthought. With no idea what her ‘thing’ is in life, she struggles to find her place after Grace returns home from her gap year. 

Mia is the exact type of character I love. She’s someone who has a true learning curve throughout the story, making plenty of mistakes and hurting people along the way, but learning in the process. Characters like Mia always feel authentic and true to reality. There are so many students of her age who have no idea what their next step is in life, and everyone copes with it differently. But we can find our place in the end, no matter how pointless it can seem. 

  • The characters. Whilst Mia herself is a wonderful main character, her family and friends are just as interesting. Seeing their relationships shift over the course of the story had me hooked. 
  • Relatable. Though my life is very different from the one Mia leads, her feelings towards her future are ones that myself and so many others are familiar with. 
  • It’s all about the journey. Mia isn’t always a likeable character. She makes bad choices, she can be selfish, and she doesn’t seem to care. But the further we delve into her story, the more we understand why she acts the way she does. Learning slowly along the way makes for a better pay off at the end.

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to read these three stories. Lisa’s characters always stay with me long after I’ve closed the books. I look forward to her future projects! 

Be sure to check out the fantastic blogs taking part in the rest of the tour:

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