- How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss — YA contemporary. I loved Clare’s debut, The Year of the Rat, so had high hopes for her follow-up. How Not to Disappear didn’t disappoint; Clare Furniss knows how to pack an emotional punch! HNtD is about a teenage girl taking a road trip with her long-lost great aunt Gloria, who’s suffering from dementia. Along the route, Gloria relives memories and reveals long-buried secrets before they can be lost to her illness. I kept reading to find out Gloria’s big secret, and fell in love with the characters along the way.
- Thin Air by Michelle Paver — Adult ghost story from the author of Dark Matter. Wow, I loved this. Michelle Paver writes just my kind of ghost story — very M.R. James-esque and psychological, with a slow build, and the chills coming from her narrators’ increasing isolation in inhospitable settings (Dark Matter was set in the Arctic, Thin Air on top of a mountain). No OTT blood-spattered horror here, but I wouldn’t want to read her books alone at night!
- The Deviants by C.J. Skuse — YA mystery thriller. I’ve read a few of C.J. Skuse’s novels, and have loved them all — they’re always dark, clever and unpredictable. The Deviants is one of those books you can’t really talk about without giving its secrets away, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, and that was a good thing. The story’s mysteries are skilfully uncovered — I didn’t guess any of them in advance — and it was all cleverly done.
- Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff — YA sci-fi. I loved Illuminae, and bought book two straight after I’d finished reading. I didn’t fall for Gemina quite so hard — I felt like I had to concentrate more throughout to keep up with what was going on — but the romance was swoony and the stakes high. Excited for book three!
- The Nest by Kenneth Oppel — MG fantasy. A dark, fairytale-like story about a troubled boy, a nest of strange wasps, and the deal he makes with them to cure his sick baby brother. I read The Nest in a matter of hours and was thoroughly engrossed. I loved its eerie darkness and exploration of diversity and family.
- The Road to Ever After by Moira Young — MG magical realism. I really liked Moira Young’s YA dystopian trilogy Dustlands, so was intrigued to read The Road to Ever After, even though it’s completely different. It’s a Christmassy tale about a boy, a dog, and a suicidal old woman, inspired by ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. I wasn’t enamoured with it, but can see lots of readers enjoying it.
What did you read in December?