Book of the Week, graphic novels, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Pumpkinheads

A busy week in reading last week with lots on the list. You’ll be hearing more about some of them (yes I know, I keep saying that but look – you had a Recommendsday post last week and that was worth it right?) but as it’s Halloween this week this seemed like the obvious choice.

UK Edition of Pumpkinheads

Written by Rainbow Rowell and illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, Pumpkinheads tells the story of one night in the life of Deja and Josiah.  They are seasonal friends.- they’ve worked at the same stall at the same pumpkin patch together, every autumn, all through high school – but never see each other between Halloween and next September 1. But their last year. And more specifically their last night. Josiah wants to be melancholy, but Deja wants him to seize the moment and let go of his quest to be the employee of the month and enjoy their final shift together. To that end she’s traded their shifts at the succotash stall for something closer to where Josiah’s long-term crush works, in the hope that she can persuade him to finally ask her out. But what actually happens ends up being a mad chase around the patch to finally see all the sights and taste all the snacks.

I’m not a horror reader, so Halloween themed reading is always a challenge for me.  But if you’re like me and need some low stakes, low peril Halloween reading, this may be exactly what is required. This is funny and sweet and not at all scary, but it is very, very Halloween-y. We don’t really have pumpkin patches over here – or if we do it’s a very recent arrival – so it’s not something that I’m familiar with, but that didn’t matter because the art did all the work for you.  I loved the visual style of this – the colour palette is gorgeously autumnal and the characters are all really expressive.  There’s so much detail here too – I loved the runaway goat and the troublesome teens.  Read this curled up on your sofa with a seasonal beverage whilst hiding from trick or treaters.

My copy of Pumpkinheads came from my local comic store – your local should be able to get hold of it too. Otherwise it’s available from all the usual sources.  I’ve also written about some of Rainbow Rowell’s books before – here are my reviews of Carry On and Fangirl. I also finished Wayward Son – which is the sequel to Carry On – last week.  It’s really good, but you need to have read Carry On to get the most out of it.  And there’s a third book coming too.  Exciting times.

Happy Reading!

Book of the Week, new releases, Young Adult

Book of the Week: Fire Colour One

This week’s BotW is Jenny Valentine’s Fire Colour One.  I do try to mix my choices up a bit – although when I go on a massive reading jag of one author that doesn’t help – so here’s some new YA fiction.  I got my copy via NetGalley and raced through it in two train journeys.

Iris likes lighting fires.  She doesn’t like her mum – or her mum’s boyfriend.  She’s lost touch with her best (and only) friend Thurston. Then the dad that she hasn’t seen for years gets in contact to say he’s dying.  Her mum is delighted – she wants Ernest’s art collection to fund her lifestyle. Iris is angry.  But her dad has things he wants to tell her.

Now, it took me a while to warm to Iris.  She’s a bit difficult to like at first, but then you see what she’s dealing with.  And she’s dealing with a lot.  Her mum sees her as an inconvenience and really isn’t on her side.  Her mum’s partner is the most narcissistic guy I’ve come across in a book this year.  Iris can control the fires.  She can’t control her life, or stop her dad from dying (and she’s not sure she wants to either).

Death is such a theme in YA literature at the moment, that I was worried that this book was going to leave me miserable and upset*, but I got to the last page with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face.  Then I went back and read the last chapter all over again.  I can’t really say much more about why the end worked for me, without giving it away and that would really spoil the book, but it’s clever.  Really clever.  And I’m desperate to know what Iris does next.

So, I didn’t read a lot last week, but I’m still thinking about this one – and I’m wondering if there are any teenagers in my life that I can buy it for (I’m not sure there are).  I know that I’ll go back and read it again too, which is unusual for me and YA fiction that’s not boarding school stories.  I’ve added Jenny Valentine’s other books to my to-read list too

Fire Colour One came out last week – get your paperback from Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones or on Kindle or Kobo.


* A la the 3am Fault in Our Stars crying jag.