Don't you love it when you have a really good little run of great new books to read? Well, lucky me, 'cause that's what seems to have happened in the past couple of weeks.
In the interests of sharing the joy, here they are, in the order I read them:
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME by Sarra Manning
Neve is a girl who used to be fat, and now isn't, but still thinks she is. This is the theme that affects many of her relationships and romantic problems. I didn't love everything about this book, and found elements of it really annoying - but I want this to be a largely positive little song to the things I love, rather than contributing to the mass of unnecessary snarkiness out there in the world (and note I said 'unnecessary', so I don't mean things like the genius Fug Girls, just the stupid ones, OK?). But I would still largely recommend it, so here are the things I loved about it: a romantic heroine who isn't whingeing about being an unattractive heifer when she's a size-eight part-time model; the character of Neve's sister Celia, who was lovely and I would be friends with; the focus on careers and work as much as romance, which I am always a fan of in this sort of fluffy book. Also, I love Sarra Manning's teen books, and would more whole-heartedly recommend 'Nobody's Girl', which is lovely.
YOUR VOICE IN MY HEAD by Emma Forrest
There has been much written about this, good and bad. I really kind of loved it. It is beautifully written, to a swooning degree, and I could really relate to a lot of it. A lot of the criticism of this book seems to have been based on the fact that she is so 'self-absorbed' - to which I say yeah, maybe, but she never said she wasn't (what did you expect, when you pick up a book that's a first-person memoir?) and she is also brave and talented. You might expect a book about a woman's haul through bulimia and self-harm to be po-faced and depressing, but Emma Forrest is really funny (although never inappropriately so when it comes to the Serious Issues, I thought) and, most importantly, ultimately triumphant. Living well is the best revenge.
I was intrigued enough to invest in Emma Forrest's previous novels (three of 'em). Of these, I really, really liked 'Namedropper' and I adored 'Cherries In The Snow' so much I want to get it pregnant.
MY COUSIN RACHEL by Daphne du Maurier
OK, this is by no means 'new'. You all know Rebecca. I also loved 'Jamaica Inn'. You may well also know this one, but it was my first time reading it. Why did I leave it so long? This book is properly, properly amazing - a plot to die for and one of the few books I have ever read where I literally had no idea what was going to happen until the very last word.
DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
It's a simple concept but sometimes the good ones are: love is a disease andthey've found a cure. I also loved Lauren Oliver's first book 'Before I Fall' - this one is different but really quite great. Some interesting ideas in there, and by the end I was rooting for the main character so much I could hardly breathe. I really think Lauren Oliver is a bit of a star, and I am pleased that this is the first of a trilogy.
So, now I feel a bit bereft. There's nothing else new that I am dying to read, and nothing unread left on my shelf. Time to get inspired.