UMBRAE Blog Tour

Today on the blog, I’m welcoming author Debbie Manber Kupfer with her new novel UMBRAE, the third book in the P.A.W.S. series. You can follow the rest of the March blog tour through the banner below:

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Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.

Available in Kindle or Paperback

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Now, onto my interview with the author!

Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer

Give us a short summary of what UMBRAE brings to your world in P.A.W.S..

In Argentum (P.A.W.S. 2) Miri receives a mysterious book from an old crone in New York. But the pages are blank. In Umbrae we follow Miri to Israel to the ancient city of Safed where she meets a mystical rabbi and an opinionated werecat and starts to uncover the story hidden in the pages of the book of Argentum. The story of her omama, Celia and a place hidden in the shadows – Umbrae.

How did the P.A.W.S. story come to be?

Back in 2012 I had a sudden flash. I clearly saw a young girl receive a silver cat charm from her grandmother just before her grandmother died and I knew it was important. Over the next few days the story of P.A.W.S. emerged in my head and I started taking notes. This was in October. I had heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to give it go. During November I wrote frantically each day until by the end of the month I had the first draft of P.A.W.S.

What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing UMBRAE?

Keeping my timeline and my ever-growing character list straight. I don’t write linearly, yet Umbrae is essentially historical fiction, based around the years of the Second World War. Everything had to be matched up and crossed-referenced.

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’m an avid people watcher. I often take walks to local cafes and like to observe and listen. Often times people and snippets of conversations end up in my stories.

What is your favourite part of writing?

The ability to let go, to escape. When the story is flowing it’s a wondrous thing. I’m a discovery writer. I only have the vaguest idea of the directions my story is leading and often times my characters lead me off into the most delicious paths.

When did you realise you were interested in being a writer?

When I was about 8 years old. I used to keep notebooks with novels I was writing all based around our school playground. But although I continued writing stories and poems through the years I only got serious about writing in 2012 after I came out of cancer treatment. Dealing with cancer made me realize my own mortality and that if I truly wanted to write a novel I needed to do it and stop procrastinating.

What do you like most about the world in your P.A.W.S. Saga? Why?

Well I like that it’s supposed to be hidden in our world. That most of the places I mention are real places. I imagine readers searching Forest Park for the entrance to P.A.W.S. and I smile.

Why did you decide to self-publish the P.A.W.S. series?

I didn’t at first. I started off traditionally published with a small press. Then when my contract expired I decided not to renew it. Today I self-publish with Createspace/KDP and love the control I have over the process. The ability to set my own publication dates, prices, and choose my own covers. I’m not saying I’d never go back to traditional, but for now I’m happy being indie.

What would be your one piece of advice for authors working on a sequel?

Make yourself a timeline and character list and add to it whenever you add a new character or event. It is easy to just go with the flow when you are writing book 1 or a standalone story but for series you need to make sure it all matches up.

What’s next on your writing journey?

Londinium (P.A.W.S. 4) will hopefully by ready in late 2017. I’ve written the first draft and am just beginning the editing stage. In it (as you might expect from the name) Miri will be visiting the P.A.W.S. Institute of London.

Apart from that I’m also currently working with a local artist to draw pictures for a children’s story I’ve written, Cecilia’s Tale, and hopefully will be sharing this with the world some time in the next few months.

Thanks!

About the author:

debssmallI grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where I work as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. I believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

 

KISSING MAX HOLDEN has a cover!

The amazing Katy Upperman’s KISSING MAX HOLDEN has a final cover. Look at the prettiness! You can find KISSING MAX HOLDEN in August 2017. 🙂

Guys, Kissing Max Holden has a finalized cover, and I could not love it more!

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Let’s talk about the pretty, shall we?

The colors: I liked the grayscale of the winning cover direction, but I LOVE how this new image looks: sharp and crisp, with plenty of contrast. And then there’s the gradient pink of the title; pink is my favorite, and I’m so happy to see it featured on Kissing Max Holden‘s cover. It feels fresh and fun and romantic.

The cover models: I mean, I couldn’t have handpicked a more perfect Jilly and Max. She’s beautiful but approachable, and he’s got dark, wild hair and a jaw that won’t quit. Together? They’re adorable.

The composition: The way he’s coming over the fence for her? Yes. They way she’s touching his face? There’s a history there. The way he’s holding her wrist? Clearly, he wants her. The almost-kiss? Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Also, bonus: My name!…

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HOUR OF MISCHIEF Review

(What’s this? Another review? Well, I read on the way to work, okay.)

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Born in a whorehouse in the slums of Fortuna and burdened with a prosthetic arm, seventeen-year-old JANET REDSTONE doesn’t think she owes the Clockwork Gods anything—which is why she makes a living stealing from their temples. But when she lands her team in prison, making a pact with the God of Mischief, ITAZURA, is the only way to right her wrongs and free her friends.

Janet doesn’t trust Itazura as far as she can punch him, but with her soul in his hands, she has no choice but to do what he says. The clockwork gods and the bad-tempered elder gods of the ancient past are locked in a game of cat and mouse and the human realms are caught in the middle. If Janet can’t somehow convince the gods to step in a save the world, humanity is in an abyss of trouble.

Using her unconventional wits, an impressive tolerance to alcohol, and a strong right hook, Janet has to convince the gods that humanity is worth saving. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more difficult to stop an apocalypse when you’re slowly being driven crazy by the Lord of Mischief, especially when he starts growing on you.

(Also, yay, an excuse to use Steampunk gifs!)

Author Aimee Hydman is someone I admire, having acquired an agent and deal during college/university. So, I was eager to get my teeth into her debut, particularly as it’s Steampunk right off the bat.

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite element of the book. The setting was luscious but not over-described – Fortuna, Janet’s home city lies on part of a clock-shaped world. I am rather jealous, actually, of how Hyndman incorporated her world-building into the Steampunk aesthetic of the novel and explained through it the human characters’ relationship with the clockwork gods.

Speaking of the characters, they were also engaging. Janet’s the kind of spunky heroine that my teen MC, Agnetha, would hate and be best friends with. It wad great to have the book narrated by Janet; she makes a number of questionable decisions – yet, one understands her reasoning and even supports her. Not only because we see it through her eyes, but also because she is fearlessly faithful to her friends.

Speaking of which, I was sad we didn’t get to see more of the Pendulum Thieves, but, again in retrospect that the is a book1, My favourite character, however, was the goddess Laetatia. Despite being world-weary and as assertive as Janet, she is a foil to Janet with her femininity and elegance. She combines Janet’s strong qualities with a softness that makes her an appropriate companion/big sister figure in the novel.

There was also a lot of set up for later, with hints of foreshadowing here and there that I appreciated. Got to love some subtle foreshadowing (though, Shakespeare does tend to ram it in your face…). Granted, I didn’t realise this was the first of a (potential) series until the final chapter, so I was expecting the mysterious elements to be wrapped up by the end. Okay, I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed they weren’t, but at the same time, I liked that they weren’t all solved. Hyndman avoided rushing the reveals with some deus ex machina explanation or the old “as you know, Fred…” trope. (You can tell I’ve been editing the end of my first-draft novel, cant you? *grin*)

I planned not to be interested in any potential sequels (I have too many books on my to-read list to be involved with series at the moment) but the cliff-hanger-esque feeling to the ending meant that there are so many questions still unanswered in the novel that I want to snatch up the sequel if it’s published.

4 Steampunk pieces out of 5.

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I took a star off for the typos I noticed. I consider this not the fault of the author but of the editor, who I would expect to have caught these things before publishing, and whilst I do admire Curiosity Quills Press, I have heard of a few editorial problems from them.

Would I recommend the YA Steampunk novel? Absolutely. It’s an adventurous quick read with a take-no-trouble-from-anyone heroine and, yes, a somewhat dreamy god who’d rather give you a trick than be a hero.

~

About the author:

Aimee Hyndman, by Aimee HyndmanAimee Hyndman has been writing ever since her toddler fingers could grasp a pencil. A lover of all things speculative fiction, she spent many a night penning the beginnings of novels that would never see the light of day. Now attending college in Iowa, double majoring in Creative writing and English, she has clearly never lost her love of the craft.

When not writing and avoiding her school work, Aimee enjoys reading, singing, and acting at her school’s theater department. She is also a lover of anime and all things Disney.

Her area of specialty is fantasy of all sorts but she dabbles in many genres— whatever she feels compelled to write at the moment. The plot bunnies are never ending but, luckily, so are the words!

 

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Book

I missed the chance quite a while ago to write about the finesse of mystery accompanying the Five Nights at Freddy’s game series by Scott Cawthon that has almost haunted me since I learnt about them. Never played, but always fascinated.

The thing is, it didn’t translate well to book form. Don’t get me wrong: I wanted to love it and I did, but…there were some things I couldn’t overlook and that I still questioned once the novel was over.

It’s been exactly ten years since the murders at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, and Charlotte has spent those ten years trying to forget. Her father was the owner of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and the creator of its four adult-sized animatronic animals, and now Charlie is returning to her hometown to reunite with her childhood friends on the anniversary of the tragedy that ripped their town apart. Curiosity leads Charlie and her friends back to the old pizza place, and they find it hidden and sealed, but still standing. They discover a way inside, but things are not as they once were: the four mascots that delighted and entertained them as children have changed. The animatronic animals have a dark secret, and a murderous agenda.

(blurb from Amazon)

As the premise is based on the (not so secretive) reveal in the games that it’s not only the animatronics coming alive but also that the pizzeria has a deadly history of child murder – of the thriller of a past murder and the paranormal element that surrounds the automatons – this was the appeal to me at first, but then the story itself caught my attention.

I liked the characters; although they were mostly stock characters: the love interest, the popular girl, the smart one, they still helped to aid the story forward with their own qualities, and I think that is what made this big cast effective. I liked Charlie, and I appreciated that we saw from her perspective, as she seems to be the most sensible of the characters.

The setting, too, was well brought out. The sleepy town still reeling in the wake of the murders. The residents there, who still have their theories and hold their guards up. And, especially of course, the dark mall built around the remains of the pizzeria. I lost track of some of the rooms and the layout of the pizzeria, as the characters all darted around them repeatedly. And whilst this was disorientating – and I’d say the layout of the pizzeria should be obvious, as it’s the main location of the inciting incident and the present of the plot – it’s not that important to reading the story, as long as one knows the main rooms.

On the other hand, some turns of phrase jarred with me, or read as if they could have done with more polishing. I think the problem partly comes from the high standard I set myself for writing and precise syntax. I tend to expect it from all I read, which is no fault of the authors themselves. High expectations = being letdown somewhat.

So, 3/5 stars because it was a great story, a little roughly written at times, and missing just that added sparkle to make it a great novel. I can’t say what it was, but I expected something more from the surprises and so the reveals weren’t that dramatic to me.

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, though. If you like teen voice and tense storyline that can be read quickly, I’d say give Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes a peruse.

P.A.W.S. Reboot Blog Tour With Debbie Manber Kupfer

Today, I’m welcoming author Debbie Manber Kupfer to the blog for ten questions about her novel P.A.W.S., which is going through a rerelease reboot! Read on past the shiny new cover for the interview!

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  1. What inspired you to write P.A.W.S.?

The idea for P.A.W.S. came to me in a flash. I clearly saw a young girl being given a silver cat amulet by her grandmother when she was ten years old and realized that the amulet was vitally important. Later that day I told the beginnings of my story to my daughter, and she said “Mom, you have to write that!” and so I did.

  1. 🙂 What is your personal favourite part of the story?

My favorite part of the book is when we travel back in time with Quentin and Alistair and discover the genesis of their relationship over the centuries. I’ve also written a story, Alistair, that was published in the anthology, Writer’s Anarchy III – Heroes & Villains, that further explores Alistair’s background. As I writer I love writing these parts as it feels like suddenly it all becomes clear. The characters are telling me their story, saying “look this is why I’m this way – now you understand?”

  1. Yup, I love it when characters have a lot to say for how they live now. For P.A.W.S., you draw on your Jewish heritage. Does your faith influence your writing a lot?

ARGENTUM-CONCEPT2-FrontWell, I grew up with Jewish traditions and more importantly my father escaped from the Holocaust via the Kindertransport when he was just six years old, so yes, his experiences find their way into my writing. The street in Vienna, Grosse Spielgasse, that I use both at the beginning of P.A.W.S. and in my Sins of the Past story, Griddlebone, is the one my father’s family lived on. I visited Vienna with him when I was young and we went back to that street and to the door of his old apartment. (What we found inside I’ve used in a little segment of Argentum (P.A.W.S. book 2) – but I won’t spoil it here!)

  1. Wow. I can see why that is so important. Completely different question – do you write to music?

Not normally. I love music, but I find it distracting while I’m working. I do, however, often have songs running through my head when I write particular scenes. For example, there’s a scene when Josh is wandering through a kind of no man’s land the morning after he’s first turned into a werewolf and I can strongly hear Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams playing in my head when I visualize that scene.

  1. Do you prefer to write for adults or YA?

P.A.W.S. is YA with crossover appeal. I didn’t really set out to write it that way, it’s just the way the story came. In my short stories it’s a mix – some more for adults, others YA, and some like Cecilia’s Tale, that appears in Flash It!, children’s stories.

  1. How do you find the time to write?

Well, between my puzzles and my fiction, I’m a full-time writer…sort of! I also have a couple of kids that distract me, but that’s good distraction!

  1. What was the most important aspect you concentrated on for the rerelease of P.A.W.S.?

Re-editing P.A.W.S.. Today I’m far happier with the final result.

  1. Tell us a little bit about the P.A.W.S. journey to publication. Eg. Did you always decide on pubbing with a small press?

When I first wrote P.A.W.S. I wrote it predominantly for myself. I had the story inside me that needed to come out. I had no thought of publishing; just finishing a novel was an achievement in itself. I’d been writing stories all my life, but had never finished anything before. The other thing I’d never done, was show my writing to anyone. I considered it private, kind of like a diary. Still after finishing P.A.W.S. I felt I needed to do more, so I took my prologue to a local writer’s group. I was extremely nervous when I read it aloud and astounded by the reception I got. The group encouraged me to find a publisher.

Still I was nervous – I tried writing query letters to agents, and couldn’t find the right words. One of the members of the writing group was Robin Tidwell of Rocking Horse Publishing. I talked to Robin, she read my book, and I signed a contract and in June 2013 I became a published author. Rocking Horse went on to publish the second book in my series too, Argentum.

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I am also in the Fauxpocalypse anthology, which is where I met Debbie!

In the two years since P.A.W.S. was published I’ve met a ton of indie authors online in some wonderful groups – Fiction Writers and The Dragon’s Rocketship being my favorites. I also self-pubbed on Createspace two books, a puzzle book, Paws 4 Logic, and a short anthology, Will There Be Watemelons on Mars? I’ve also been part of a number of anthologies including Fauxpocalypse and Sins of the Past and I’ve learned a lot about publishing. So when my original contract with Rocking Horse expired this June I decided not to renew. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given by Robin and Rocking Horse, but am excited to continue my journey as an indie author.

I have a beautiful new cover created by the supremely talented Rachel Bostwick (find her on Fiverr). a newly edited book, and some bonus features at the back including a little tale featuring everyone’s favorite kangaroo animagus – Joey Marks.

  1. What are your future writing plans or projects?

I’m currently working on book 3 of the P.A.W.S. series that is tentatively going to be called Maze of Shadows. Also there’s an audio book of P.A.W.S. in the works. I’m the editor and a contributor to a sci-fi horror anthology, Sins of the Future, that should be coming out on Halloween 2015, and finally (and this one I’m really excited about) I’m working with an artist to produce a children’s picture book, Adana the Earth Dragon.

Ooh, sounds good. Thanks for popping along, Debbie.

debsprofileYou can follow Debbie on Facebook or her blog for more details.

Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where for the last 15 years she has worked as a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline.

‘Losing It’ is Out

(Pun totally intended. 😉 ) Okay, the official release date for the collection of steamy short stories by various NA and YA authors was released yesterday (11.02.15), but I…may have forgotten, sorry! 😛

Dat cover guy… 😛

LosingIt_Cover_Final_R22 Bestselling YA authors reveal what went on behind the curtain in your favorite YA novels! From paranormal to contemporary, this collection features over 200 pages of ALL NEW CONTENT full of deleted scenes, extended endings, and more from the young adult series’ you love. 

In this YA/NA crossover collection, all of your favorite heroines are cashing in their VCards! YA just got steamy, sexy, and not afraid to go all the way!

Due to the graphic nature of some content, this collection is recommended strictly for mature readers. 

Stories include excerpts and extended material—ALL NEW CONTENT—featuring the following YA novels & authors:

The Grimoire Saga by SM Boyce

The Death Series by Tamara Rose Blodgett

Penny Black Trilogy by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Dirty Blood series by Heather Hildenbrand

The Mythology Series by Helen Boswell

Stories About Melissa Series by Bethany Lopez

Keegan’s Chronicles by Julia Crane

The Tate Chronicles by K.A. Last

Fragile Creatures by Kristina Circelli

The Spellbound Trilogy by Nikki Jefford

Judgement of the Six Series by Melissa Haag

A Dark Faerie Tale Series by Alexia Purdy

The Double Threat Series by Julie Prestsater

The Elsker Saga by S.T. Bende

Ovialell Series by Tish Thawer

The Runes Series by Ednah Walters

The Cornerstone Series by Misty Provencher

The Waiting Series by Ginger Scott

Forged Series by A.O. Peart

The Arotas Series by Amy Miles

Funeral Crashing Mysteries by Milda Harris

The Wolf Trilogy by M.R. Polish

~

Want to know what it was like for these YA authors to write the dirty details?

Hop on over to their blogs and find out! Hear about their “firsts” writing the sexy scenes and get entered to win paperbacks from each and other awesome prizes! The full schedule and participating sites can be found here (through 2/18/15).

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22 Shades of Virginity…

Join all of the authors for a special Twitter chat on Thursday, Feb 11 from 7-9pm. Come hang and get all of your burning questions answered! Ask us anything and don’t forget to use: #VCARD

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Interested? I know I am. There are some great indie authors in this pack. Losing It is available now. To buy:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

An Abundance of Anagrams

Review of An Abundance of Katherines

I know, I’m a little late on the train for this one, but I finished Green’s An Abundance of Katherines at the weekend and I feel I ought to review it, seeing as it’s a book that has divided Green fans. Granted, I am not a Green fan (unless you count Hank, who I have actually met when he performed at Leaky Con London…but I digress) and it’s been a while since I read a YA Contemporary, but this means I am left with an outsider’s view of An Abundance of Katherines. This is my first Green novel, and this is my review.

Why did I pick this book up, you may be asking. Because of the concept – a formula/theorem for predicting relationships? Fascinating. A boy who keeps dating/being attracted to the same name? Possible! 19 Katherines? Oh, I know a lot of Katherines*!

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy – loving best friend riding shotgun – but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Plot

On the face/blurb of it, An Abundance of Katherines is a road-trip novel. Boy is sad, so goes on road-trip with his best friend to forget the girl. But no, actually, it’s not a road-trip novel. Boy and his best friend stop at the first place that remotely interests them, get jobs with the lady who pretty much owns the town and stay there for 80% of the novel. I wonder if Abundance would be looked at differently were it titled something else, like ‘Gutshot’.

In the end, though, it’s a romance novel if you look at it the right way. There are two intertwining romance subplots between the characters. Seems that nowadays the male and female leads in most YA contemporary are turned to romance. I’m sure the book would have been as interesting and engaging without the necessity for romantic interest – especially since Colin must accept that he’s just been dumped by the love of his life. It’s not so easy to look for love so quickly.

I enjoyed the plot, even if not much happened in the overall. Yes, it was slow to begin with, but I did not feel this detracted from the book. I read through the slower chapters with the right amount of necessary speed, and the later chapters were dynamic enough to warrant a slow build up. I enjoyed what I read, but there were times that I wanted to put the book down – purely for the slow build.

And let’s just say that a good number of the plot twists, as minor as they seemed at the time anyway, I predicted. Though, that might be a writer’s force-of-habit.

Characters

Lindsey was by far my favourite character – partly because she’s representing the female population of this novel, but also because she’s the most real and has the most changing facets of a personality. She even explicitly at one point admits that she acts differently when she’s around various different people – complains about it, in fact. That’s something to which I can relate. I think it’s mentioned about once that she’s actually hot. Reviewers have complained that she’s a stereotype, but I disagree. She’s gone through her own transformations already. Besides, I never imagined her as hot. Bleached blonde hair and thin, yes, but I grew up in a girl’s school where about 60% of the years 7-11 populace fitted that description and only 10% of that lot were ‘hot’. Most just look like they’ve fallen into a bucket of cheap makeup.

Now…a lot of reviewers have cited Colin’s mopeyness/whining/general-Colin-ness as one of the main reasons they didn’t like the book. I liked Colin. Yes, he’s intense, and I can see how people would find him a pain, but he’s actually a very sympathetic character. When you grow up as a gifted** child, particularly one like Colin, whose prodigious nature plateaus and does not lead to a ‘genius’ status, you find it difficult to adjust to the nature of the world. You’re trapped inside your own mind because you can’t even put into practise all of the ideas clustering the mind. Green does well to illustrate this through Colin’s behaviour.

If, however, in reading this book you may suffer from social anxiety or relationship insecurity (have a hug – this is way more common than people will admit), Colin’s internal monologue can be triggering at times. In one of Colin’s flashbacks, for instance, he recalls his latest breakup – from Katherine-19 – where she effectively breaks up with him because he is worried about their relationship and the fact he hasn’t had a eureka moment yet. Yes, this is rather shallow of Katherine***, who should really have been comforting Colin at that moment and caring about his sadness. Colin can’t help but worry – and to have a character break up with him for worrying can make others more insecure of their own emotions. Just saying.

Would they?

Writing Style

I’m not sure why Green felt the need to represent swear-words by ‘fug’ and its derivations. Sure, the characters’ origin of using that word instead of swearing is explaining in libris, but it basically was swearing, and one just knows that everybody is making the transliteration of letters in their heads. What I’m saying is that, even for a YA novel with a male protagonist, there was too much swearing. It got repetitive. I’m not the only one who thinks this, by the way.

And, in case there was ever any wondering, I didn’t find the book funny, but this is not a negative point. I don’t know if Green wanted the book to be funny (Hassan’s role is the funny Supporting Character, but it is likely his inability to make me laugh out loud is deliberate), but it had some quiet smile moments, along with those quiet sadness and contemplation moments.

My verdict? Interesting. I like the maths, the anagrams, the prose style, the characters – but, ultimately, it’s not a book that I would recommend to everyone. As shown by the Goodreads and Amazon reviews, it’s not something that will appeal to everyone.

3.5 stars

*Whether you think I’m being serious or not here, this is genuinely one of the reasons I picked up this book. As Colin is to Katherines, I am to Christophers (and Katherines).

**Colin exhibits both academic giftedness and emotional giftedness, though not enough that he would be diagnosed as having Asperger’s. Colin is clearly socially able, just socially inept, especially having grown up without the proper Working Memory Model template of how relationships work from parents who pushed him to be academic rather than social. However, this is a review about the book, not a review of Colin’s (and similar real-life gifted children’s) parents’ parenting style.

***Reviewers have commented on Colin’s ‘irritating’ propensity for Katherines, but surprisingly few have commented on the personality of the Katherines themselves. Colin makes them more, uh, vicious than they probably are (labelling them as straight-up Dumpers is not a good start, mate), but even so, the Katherines described in the novel are generally not nice people, who string along Colin, get his hopes up, and pull him down again a week later. Katherine-19 was even cruel when she was small Katherine The Great. Whilst his ill luck in love is relatable, the negative focus is rather on Colin reacting there, instead of on the Katherines acting towards the breakup. Reader problems.

Hmm, this index should be titled ‘In Defence of Colin(s)’.