Book Review: When Michael Met Mina – Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Title: When Michael Met Mina (2016)
Author: Randa Abdel-Fattah
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 360 pages
Release Date: July 28, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.

Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre. Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.

They want to stop the boats. Mina wants to stop the hate.

When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.

A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.

Review

When Michael Met Mina was a bit of a whim-pick for me. I initially had no plans on reading it until I read the summary and knew, without a doubt, I had to pick it up as soon as possible. As you can probably tell by my rating, I enjoyed it immensely! This book was funny, heartfelt, emotional, and full of really strong messages that I think are incredibly relevant today.

First off the bat, this book is extremely political. This might be a Boy Meets Girl story, but the boy, Michael, is the son of the founders of Aussie Values, an organisation determined to ‘stop the boats’, and the girl, Mina, literally came to Australia by boat. If you’re completely unfamiliar to the issue, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre has a very informative fact sheet you can read for a quick overview.

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Book Review: Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil

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Title: Life in Outer Space (2013)
Author: Melissa Keil
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 305 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.

Review

How do I begin to review Life in Outer Space? The first thing you need to know, I guess, is that this book is more about the simple things in life. If you take a teenage boy and ask him to genuinely write a diary about his day-to-day life, Life in Outer Space would probably be quite close to it. This is not to say that the book is boring, not at all — in fact, it’s actually funny, relatable, and geeky in the best possible way.

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ARC/Book Review: Breathing Under Water – Sophie Hardcastle

Breathing-Under-Water-Sophie-Hardcastle-Book-Review

Title: Breathing Under Water (2016)
Author: Sophie Hardcastle
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 320 pages
Release Date: July 12, 2016
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older… although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.

Review

Breathing Under Water was one of those books that I felt could have been really great but in reality failed in execution. This is a story written by an Australian author, so I was pretty immediately smitten when I received the ARC. With that cover and that blurb, I was expecting a character-driven story with great emotional impact and character growth — none of which I got from this book.

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