Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard. But can he really be interested in her? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, Amber's finding love is hard. Is it worth the fight?. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber's story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie's story in Am I Normal Yet?.
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Can't see the preview? Click here! How to print the digital edition of Books for Keeps: click on this PDF file link - click on the printer icon in the top right of the. But then she meets Prom King Kyle - and offers her heart up for breaking all over again. Even with BFFs Evie and Lottie's advice, Amber's finding love hard. Is it. All Amber wants is a bit of love from her estranged mum. And she's hoping that a summer together at Mum's Californian kids' camp will help.
I love how Holly Bourne infuses feminism and self-discovery into her work. Her characters are flawed and real and I can't help but empathise with them strongly! I can't recommend her books enough. Though bare in mind that her books are aimed for teen years, so the language does reflect that. But by no means does it take away from the story. She creates a sense of familiarity and a safe place for her readers. Her books are exactly the kind of books young girls should be reading. And everyone else for that matter.
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Jun 09, Jiana rated it really liked it. I've been in a slump since last week basically, and I decided to start my only owned contemporary book as an attempt to get out of this slump.
I think it worked??? However, the book was just what I needed at the time. Like book 1 Am I Normal Yet? It dealt with pretty deep subjects: Also, just like in Am I Normal Yet? Because that means you've not done anything you cared about. Amber was fairly good MC, yet she felt younger than she really is. She's 17 years old but at times I felt she acted like a 14 or 15 year old.
I was sometimes able to connect and relate to their thoughts and sometimes I couldn't. However, that's what I like about Holly's characters: They're real. They're not cardboard cutouts. You could see the effects Amber's mum's abandonment on Amber. It was very well done. Amber's relationship with Kyle is absolutely adorable! He's not a bad guy turned good, he's not a jerk. He's genuinely nice. He's a walking cliche though, but he's aware of that. Kyle has depth.
He does things he's expected to do and he doesn't know who he really is. I liked how he and Amber had discussed that over the course of the book. In addition to that, they discussed feminism. They discussed deep issues. It wasn't a shallow relationship.
It's strained throughout the entirety of the book and is kinda resolved by the end of the book. However, I like how things were left off. A relationship like that isn't solved in one heart-to-heart.
I liked how deep the talk on alcoholism and selfishness was and it made me think of things a little differently. I love how supportive they are of each other and how caring they are for each other. I loved the feminist issues they brought up and I quite found myself learning more and it opened my eyes to new things.
I originally gave this book a 3. I definitely enjoyed Am I Normal Yet? Can't wait to get to Lottie's book. View all 16 comments. Sep 16, Mara rated it really liked it. Holly Bourne writes incredibly realistic, cute, funny and educating YA, all at the same time. Highly recommend her books to anyone. Is there anything better than feminist YA? I don't think so! Sep 02, April Aprilius Maximus rated it it was amazing Shelves: My third Holly Bourne novel in two-ish weeks and I still love her.
Her writing style is brilliant. It's incredibly accessible and she writes the most fantastic female lead characters. But I'm beginning to see a formula to the writing style, too many patterns are emerging for my liking. That book focused on Evie as the leading character whereas in this one one of Evie's best friends Amber takes the spot My third Holly Bourne novel in two-ish weeks and I still love her. That book focused on Evie as the leading character whereas in this one one of Evie's best friends Amber takes the spotlight and we follow her antics over the course of the summer.
Amber's home life is far from perfect. She feels out of place in her father's house as she doesn't get on well with either her stepmother or stepbrother. She feels isolated and lacking in emotional support. The book opens with Amber boarding a plane to take her to America for the summer to see her mother who she has not seen in two years including not being invited to her mum's wedding.
But instead of this just being a family holiday Amber has to work for the summer as a guide in her stepdad's children's summer camp. So about Amber as a leading character in this book versus her supporting role in book one. I gotta say I liked her and I liked the transition she made to the spotlight.
I've seen a lot of reviews say that she starts off as quite a whiny lead character but I honestly never felt that. Instead I saw her as someone who was craving stability and affection. She seemed very unsure of herself and had a lot of self-hatred going on which sort of manifested itself as whiny insolence at times. But I thought this made her feel incredibly human and very relatable. And definitely the further I read on in this book all the reasons behind her insecurities very much came to light.
In Am I Normal Yet? That first book was filled with wonderfully positive messages about the true meaning of feminism equality for all and was incredibly inspiring to read. In this second book while we still have some fantastic messages about feminism the book feels a little more hollow on the friends angle. This is in part due to the geographic location of Amber as she is away from Evie and Lottie and therefore they only appear for the odd Skype conversation and email.
However, there was also a distinct lack of character building for Amber's new American friends most especially Whinnie. Like on the surface they were all great but I only finished this book last night and I'm struggling to remember their names. I only remembered Whinnie's because of the frequent mentions about Winnie the Pooh and how to Whinnie he was "the living embodiment of Taoism".
However, one thing I very much liked was how this book dealt with the concept of body issues, girl hate and slut shaming. As in book one the topic of sex is always dealt with in a very honest manner. Amber is the least experienced of the three best friends. She has never felt desirable. Evie is somewhere in the middle.
And then there is Lottie who is the best character at completely dispelling any thoughts of slut shaming as she fully owns her sexual identity and desires. This coming together of three characters frequently provides the perfect starting point for many frank and honest conversations between the girls about being proud to be themselves and to be happy to be themselves and no one else.
So in book two there was one girl at the camp named Melody and she appeared to be everything that Amber felt she was not. She was hot, sexy, confident, provocative, had the attention of guys in particular one that Amber liked and to top it all off was basically your stereotypical cheerleader. Easy to hate her right? Well let me quote this discussion the best friends have about the topic of 'raunch culture' and see what you think. Lottie opens things up and starts to talk about a book she has been reading: The pill got invented and women could boff anyone they wanted without getting pregnant.
We started doing it and it was a feminist triumph. Whoop de doo for girls finally being allowed to have sex. Anyway, now after this revolution this book argues that things have gone a bit too far.
Women, like, HAVE to be sexual now. I mean, look at How awful it is to be described as no one wanting to shag you? They were the baddies, they were the ones telling us what to do, they were the ones keeping us down, and they were the ones responsible.
Me me me me me. This is the problem. Remember, hating other girls is never the answer. A very annoying victim, granted, but still a victim of the patriarchy. So much to think about regarding our views of other women and how we all get on with each other.
And what's great is that this isn't a book that says that sex or being sexy is bad or anything. It's quite the opposite. It's about being confident to be whoever you are. Owning your own mind, owning your own body and owning your own sexual identity. So major props to Holly Bourne for again inspiring healthy debate and discussion.
And that brings me to the boy! My friend Gabby and I were discussing Holly Bourne and how it's fantastic that she writes such feminist YA but we have a slight problem with her in that she frequently seems to write her male characters as utter tossers.
Guys that treat girls badly and basically set the equality of the sexes movement back a bazillion years. And that's not right really.
Because we need balance. All men aren't horrible. All men won't treat you like crap. There are good guys as well as bad. And I thought her books needed a little more positive male representation. And thankfully when it came to the love interest here Kyle wasn't a complete knob. Like he's not perfect either. Which is great because who among us is!?!?
So yay for nice guy Kyle. And props to him for this passage: Well, imagine he rocked up in her bedroom and started watching her sleep, or staring at her insanely like a maniac during the science lessons. She would call the cops! Girls are totally double-standardy. You get all het up if we dare to judge you on appearances. But then you do exactly the same to us. I don't know. I mean I get the crappy dad aspect of the storyline but Amber's new stepdad was set up to be too much of a villain of the piece for my tastes.
I mean okay, her stepmum was also pretty horrendous so there's equality in that but it felt like there were almost too many parental issues??? Like it's great that in Holly Bourne's books we have a lot of reference to parent-child relationships because frequently those relationships are not explored at all but in this book I felt it was let's throw too many problems at Amber because the real hot topic of this book was Amber's relationship with her recovering alcoholic mother.
And that was where this book let me down so badly because it had been going so well. Amber clearly was struggling with having seen her mother as an alcoholic throughout her childhood.
She had deep rooted issues because of it. She had terribly frightening memories. She had long held resentment of how her father handled it. She had abandonment issues of how her mother just upped and left her seemingly for a new man and a new life away from Amber. She was clearly messed up and it was great.
You knew this book was building up to a massive blowout And there was a climax But then there was an almost resolution in like two pages and suddenly BOOM book ended and I felt so let down. This storyline deserved more. This is another thing that Gabby and I were discussing about Holly Bourne and how her endings on her books are sometimes too neat and tidy.
They have a hurried feeling to them Look don't get me wrong. I love Holly Bourne. Her writing is fantastic. Her stories are great and there is so much that is brilliant about her books. But because I love how she writes so much I am judging it that bit more harshly. I can't help it. I just know that she is capable of brilliance and I want it every time I read one of her novels.
I would recommend that you read the first book in the series before this one. Like yes, you could read these as standalones but the story just flows more evenly if you follow the typical reading order in my opinion. A great read, one I was highly entertained by and thoroughly enjoyed but only three stars due to the issues I had with it. So so well.
And then we had the tidiest resolution to a family drama in one teeny tiny chapter that has just made me sigh. A LOT. View all 7 comments. Sep 30, Kate GirlReading rated it really liked it. Ooh this was so lovely. What more could you want? I absolutely love the way Holly Bourne writes. Her writing style is so easy and comfortable to read.
I loved all of the characters I kinda hate myself for essentially going again Ooh this was so lovely. I loved all of the characters I kinda hate myself for essentially going against everything the spinster club stands for I adored Amber's character, she was feisty, vulnerable, insecure and confident all at the same time. She was a well rounded, imperfect human being and although she was a little irritating at times, I almost liked her even more for it. The topics discussed alcoholism, family break ups, first love etc were really great to read about and I thought Holly approached them in a very accessible way.
I loved the relationships portrayed, not just between Kyle and Amber but also Amber's friendships both old and new although I'm really hoping that Whinnie isn't totally forgotten by Amber, I loved her and her wonderful philosophies! My only issue with this book was the occasional comment from characters or descriptions I wasn't the biggest fan of. Am I Normal Yet?
In fact, I loved it for so many totally different reasons. It wasn't so difficult or heavy for me to read and it combined so many things I love in a book give me all the US road trip and summer camp narratives please!
If you're looking for a highly adorable, funny, contemporary with depth and discussion, How Hard Can Love Be?
Jan 05, Sophie rated it it was amazing Shelves: I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. After reading Am I Normal Yet? Unfortunately life and exams got in my way, and I couldn't read as much as I wanted to. It was a nice way to reward myself once I got some of my exam results back 2: Get in!! All she wants is to reconnect with her mam, and get some sort of an apology for being abandoned to live with her dad, and evil step-mother and -brother.
Instead, her mam has organised for her to spend her summer as a camp counselor in the camp she and her new partner own, and basically spends as much time as she can apart. As Amber struggles to come to terms with her mam avoiding her, she gets close to fellow counselor, Kyle, who embodies all the old American cliches, and he was Prom King to boot. Amber never thought a lad would ever fancy her, but she finds herself falling hard, even though she'll be flying back to England in a few short weeks, and will never see him again.
I really liked Amber, but not on the same scale as I had loved Evie. She was a bit more brash, but that made it all the more realistic. The book was dark at times, and dealt with the real issue of having an alcoholic parent who isn't there for you.
We got to see flashbacks to what Amber's life had been like when her mam was living with them, and how much the alcoholism effected the whole family. No matter how well Amber had coped over the years, she still felt the loss of her mam fiercely, and just wanted a relationship with her - is that so much to ask for? The answer is, simply, yes. I'm probably going to annoy someone here, but I hated Amber's mam.
I understand how hard alcoholism can be, for the person suffering, and their loved ones, but I felt like Amber's mam always had an excuse, or would blame someone else. The main reason she didn't want to see Amber for so long was because it could push her over the edge, and she treated Amber like crap when she was in California.
She knew how much Amber hated her step-family, but she was content to let her suffer as long as it didn't effect her. Not the best example of parenting. The only time I really liked her was at the very end, and even then it wasn't much.
I adore the whole feminist aspect in this series. It's completely retaking the word, and the word 'spinster' for that, and that's what this generation of teenagers need. Feminism is such a 'dirty' word, which is ridiculous when it means 'equality'. I can't recommend these books enough for today's teenagers, with the hope that, someday, being a feminist will not be something so controversial. I enjoyed the romance aspect, and did like Kyle. I felt like he and Amber clicked well, and suited each other.
She needed someone who wouldn't push her, and understood her insecurities, and her beliefs - like the feminism. Their whole relationship, from the very beginning, made me swoon, and I only wish the book hadn't ended so abruptly. Maybe we'll hear more about them in Lottie's book, out in August.
Speaking of Lottie's book, I'm dying to get my hands on that. I feel like she is my favourite of the Spinsters, even though I haven't read her PoV yet. Out of them all, Amber has been my least favourite so far, but I still adored her.
Bourne just can't help writing amazing characters! If you enjoyed that one, I think you'd like this, maybe even more than I did. Even so, this is a series I think should be read by everyone, and should even be on school curriculum's, in order to try and get rid of the prejudice against feminism and all it entails.
Holly Bourne is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine, and I think you'll feel the same. Nov 25, Tatiana rated it really liked it Shelves: Again, I wanted British humor and dating disasters. What I got is was a cute romance with a sensitive Prom King, a road trip across America, and a heartbreaking relationship between a teen girl and her recovering addict mom. I keep enjoying conversations about feminism among the girls in this Spinster Club as well.
View 1 comment. Dec 27, K. Trigger warnings: I mean, a lot of her anger is very justified. But it's not the easiest reading experience, being inside her head for almost pages. That said, the feminism and the female friendships that flow through the story are fantastic. I found Amber more difficult to relate to - she's so full of ang Trigger warnings: I found Amber more difficult to relate to - she's so full of anger and despite being great at using her words when she's with her friends, she's terrrrrrrrrrrrrible at using her words where her parents are concerned.
The friendships between the core trio are still wonderful, even from half a world away. And the relationship that crops up in the course of the story is cute. Despite it being nearly pages long, I sped through it. So on the whole, it was super cute and I really loved the way the story resolved itself. Nov 13, Abbie boneseasonofglass rated it it was amazing Shelves: I just finished this on the tram to uni and it was wonderful! It had such a great main character, and pretty damn accurate portrayal of anxiety and OCD, that I couldn't help but enjoy it.
Thankfully, though, its sequel didn't disappoint. Amber was just as likeable as Evie, old characters shine as brightly as they did before, and the setting was a month-long summer camp, which I always kind of love. On top of that, the Spinster Club comes back in all its 4. On top of that, the Spinster Club comes back in all its feminist glory, which made for some really fun chapters. Plus, there were so many Harry Potter references, I couldn't not love it: If this series keeps up its momentum, it could very well become one of my favourites, and I've already bought the next book.
Sep 11, Cora Tea Party Princess rated it it was amazing. Friendship, family, first-love, America, responsibility. Review to come. Nov 16, Melody theliteraryowl rated it it was amazing Shelves: More like a 4. Jul 24, Maddie rated it it was amazing Shelves: This was definitely more about love, expectations and coming to terms with your feelings.
It was extremely easy to love Amber and Kyle. Don't be sick on the children Their little heads bobbed beneath me in the queue to get on the aeroplane. My stomach lurched again and I grabbed it. If I clutched at my guts hard enough, hopefully they'd not empty themselves over the excitable heads of the kids in front. I couldn't be certain, but vomming over innocent kiddlywinks could possibly jeopardize my acceptance onto a long-haul flight.
Why had I done that last shot last night? Why please? The flight attendant in front checked another ticket and beckoned the passenger past. The line crawled forward under the brutal fluorescent lights of the departure lounge. The aeroplane waited outside the floor-to-ceiling window, looking way too small to carry all these people to America. It was white, like the horse a dashing knight would ride to rescue princesses in a fairytale.
But I was no princess, and I could rescue myself thank you very much. All I needed was this aeroplane to put an ocean between me and my evil stepmother. My stomach lurched again as I remembered how I'd said goodbye We were at that annoying bit of the airport process where everyone realizes they can't take any liquids with them so decants all their bottles into see-through plastic bags.
She ignored me. He held back a smile. Think of all the drunken stags they let onto planes to Vegas every day. Dad laughed and pulled me into a hug. I clung onto him, nestling into his shoulder, inhaling his smell. It helped with the nausea. Just hung over. You had quite the leaving do. Though you do smell drunk. Which I had. I'd also just happened to sweat out the previous night's sambuca shots on the drive to the airport.
Dad pulled me in for another hug. But she was obsessed with always being there — like she was terrified if I got one moment alone with Dad, like, ever, that I'd make him realize what a manipulative evil bitch she was. And, to be fair, I would certainly give it a go. Of course, Craig was there too — ruining the moment. As if on cue, Craig looked me up and down and said, "You smell like your mum.
The crimson mist he always evokes in me descended through my hangover. I saw spots, and my foot went out instinctively and kicked him hard in the shin. He yelped and fell down — totally, totally faking. Penny and Dad went into utter-defence mode and the usual chaos broke out. Dad held me away from Craig as I launched myself at him again. Penny stood protectively in front of her son — shooting me her demon glare. Like I was just attacking Craig for no reason. Like she hadn't just heard what he'd said.
People were looking. Security staff included. Dad made hush noises into my ear, stroking my hair, while I yelled, "You take that back, you take that back! Calm down. They really won't let you on the plane A uniformed dude was making his way over. Penny clocked him at the same time. I saw the conflict cloud her face — getting me told off versus making a scene She chose not making a scene. Craig and I glared at each other, but we both straightened up, and acted casual. The security guard stopped, examined us, then walked back to the little booth he'd come from.
I sighed. I felt so sick. And I'd wanted to say goodbye to Dad just us two. I threw my empty plastic bottle into the bin provided and didn't look up.
I pulled my rucksack straps tighter to readjust my bag — suddenly really angry. With my headache. With my stupid stepmother. With my stupider stepbrother. With Dad. For not telling Craig off, for never telling Craig off And Dad had to stop me lurching at him again.
I can't be arsed with this. I ignored him and kept walking. It was the last thing I'd say to him in six weeks.
Don't be sick on the children. The two girls in front were blissfully unaware of their vomit-related danger. They swapped pink puppy cards while their parents fussed with passports, checking and re-checking they were still in the same pocket. I was so mad at Dad. I was so mad at Dad ten million per cent of the time. What was so crappy was that that airport scene wasn't even extraordinary.