Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My Secrets

December 11, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 1 star, 2 stars, 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My SecretsOne by Sarah Crossan
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on August 27th, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Grace and Tippi are twins - conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world - a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined...
From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?

One was eye-opening when it came to conjoined twins, and the reality they face while living through life. The fact is, along with stares and being judged by others, they have very low life expectancy and may never experience romantic love. What is a very stark and difficult life came through the beautiful souls of Tippi and Grace, who start school for the first time and experience friendship, love, and loss.

Twins already share a close bond with one another, and Tippi and Grace are closer than most. While they have different heads, hands and hearts, they both share the bottom half. It was interesting how these sisters would have to go everywhere together, from showering together, to sleeping, and everything else. They sacrifice a lot of what they want to do – romance, resting, adventure for the other. While I haven’t particularly thought much about conjoined twins before, it was definitely interesting to learn about it in One. 

The whole book is written in poetic phrases, and while it was readable and fitting to the beauty of the story, it jumped around at times. I found it was difficult to connect to the characters because of this, you’ll see glimpses of the things they were experiencing, such as not being able to fall in love or the struggles their parents were facing. While One felt realistic and touched upon multiple issues, such as financial distress, parental conflict, alcoholism, mental health and segregation, it doesn’t really explore anything too deeply. Some of these things felt unresolved, and included for the sake of it.

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One is a beautiful, poetic book that raises awareness about a rare condition, about two twins who share a body. Their experience is raw, touching and eye-opening, although it doesn’t explore anything else other than being joined too deeply.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for providing a copy for review.

Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My SecretsSigns Point to Yes by Sandy Hall
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on October 20th 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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The author of A Little Something Different brings you the most adorkable romance ever.
Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo.
Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react.
In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.

Signs Point to Yes was centered around a young teenager, Jane, who bases all her life decisions around a magical 8 ball that answers yes or no to questions. It was an interesting concept, but for someone to so heavily rely on this to make her own decisions felt a bit…silly I guess?

Jane seems to be this passive throughout the whole book, with her avoidance of a discussion that matters with her mum regarding college, not knowing what she wants in life but knowing she doesn’t want to go to college, and her feelings for Teo. While it’s refreshing to have someone not want her decisions to be defined by her parent’s wishes, Jane didn’t seem to know what she wanted and she was stubborn about it, which was frustrating for me.

My problem with the book is that the writing was really flat, monotone, with no emotion, and it was hard to relate to or care about the characters. The plot didn’t seem to move in a direction that ever picked up pace, and I found myself quite bored while I was reading it. I mean, even the characters talk in a stiff and formal way, which really didn’t seem like teenagers at all. Definitely not very relatable.

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While Teo and Jane did offer a cute childhood friends to lovers romance, I just found the writing in Signs Point to Yes a bit too clinical and emotionless for me to relate to.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me a review copy.

Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My SecretsRisk by Fleur Ferris
Published by Random House Australia on July 1, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Taylor and Sierra have been best friends for their whole lives. But Taylor’s fed up. Why does Sierra always get what – and who – she wants? From kissing Taylor’s crush to stealing the guy they both met online for herself, Sierra doesn’t seem to notice when she hurts her friends.

So when Sierra says Jacob Jones is the one and asks her friends to cover for her while she goes to meet him for the first time, Taylor rolls her eyes.

But Sierra doesn’t come back when she said she would.

One day. Two days. Three . . .

What if Taylor’s worrying for nothing? What if Sierra’s just being Sierra, forgetting about everyone else to spend time with her new guy?

When Taylor finally tells Sierra’s mum that her daughter is missing, Taylor and her friends are thrown into a dark world they never even knew existed.

Can Taylor find Sierra’s abductor in time? Or should she be looking for a killer?

The scariest thing about Risk aren’t the thrills or the twists that are usually present in a thriller – it’s that everything written in the novel could happen in real life. As a blogger who pretty much lives online, we tend to get comfortable speaking to people we meet up online, but it’s important to remember that everyone can hide behind an online persona.

And that’s what happened to Sierra, the beautiful, wild and carefree girl who falls in love with a guy she meets online. Little does she know, she’s placing herself at risk, by sharing her personal details with him, her social media accounts and her photos. Soon Sierra goes missing, and that’s what Risk deals with, the aftermath in the wake of a missing person’s case. Her best friend Taylor, does everything in her power to bring justice for Sierra and to come to terms with the grief and loss of a silly decision.

Going into Risk expecting an edge of your seat thriller probably isn’t the best way to go, but going in and reading a contemporary story that would shed some light on online predators is what the novel aims to achieve. I did find it repetitive at times, going over things that had been said again, but it really drives home the precautions you have to take. There were quite a lot of issue touched upon here, friendship, jealousy, grief, depression, a quiet romance, but Risk stays on track with its messaging.

I also had a few problems with the characters, for example Riley is a jealous, mean bitch who has no empathy for her best friend, Sierra is selfish and doesn’t care who else gets in trouble for her own excitement and Taylor is plagued with self esteem issues. I liked how the characters were flawed, but when they are flawed to the point of being one-dimensional, that didn’t really want me want to root for them.

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Risk explores the consequences of meeting up with a stranger online in detail, that one time where it turns out to be a predator. It’s an important novel, especially for high school students who may be naive about guys that seem too good to be true online. Despite the few problems I had with it, it was a compelling and quick read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My SecretsAll My Secrets by Sophie McKenzie
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 2nd 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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A brand new title from bestselling, award-winning author, Sophie McKenzie.
The shocking reality behind a GBP10 million inheritance turns Evie Brown's world on its head. Unable to find out the truth from her parents, Evie ends up on the mysterious island of Lightsea, where her desire for answers leads her towards a series of revelations that threaten everything she holds dear ...including her life.

You know when you’re reading a book, it’s really intriguing you and it has a compelling mystery and then WHAM a random romance comes out of nowhere? That’s what happened with All My Secrets. At first, I didn’t think there would be a big focus on the romance, as Evie is pretty adamant on finding out how her real mother died and the mystery behind strange occurrences on this island that she’s on. But then she starts kissing guys left right and center, starts tossing up between who she likes better and then it starts becoming all about them.

The romance is as messy as it sounds, as she goes between the sombre, sporty Kit and the carefree, easy to talk to Josh. She kisses one and then goes behind their back and kisses the other. I honestly didn’t care about the romance at all. I just wanted to know the secrets behind the island, but even that was lackluster and tied up with a convenient twist at the end.

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After finishing All My Secrets, I’m not too sure what the aim of the book was. Perhaps it’s “Don’t Go Trusting Creepy Uncles” or “Your parents shouldn’t have kept secrets from you” or “If you don’t know who you like better, just kiss them both.” Who knows *shrugs*

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me a review copy.

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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27 responses to “Mini Reviews #4: One, Signs Point to Yes, Risk & All My Secrets

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed ONE, Jeann! I ended up loving it, even though I hadn't been entirely sure I was going to pick it up. I do agree with you about there being a bit of a lack of depth in terms of character because of the writing style, but I found myself really enjoying it anyway. That ending broke my heart!

    I'm interested in RISK, but I have heard similar things to what you mentioned in your review. That it's repetitive. And also a bit preachy? I still haven't fully decided if I'm going to give it a go, but I do love supporting Aussie authors so maybe one day!

    Lovely mini reviews, Jeannie <3
    My recent post Seven Weird and Unlikeable Things About Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

  2. All My Secrets sounds like such a mess! Please tell me she doesn't kiss her uncle in all her shenanigans because that would be BAD. I am sad about Signs Point to Yes, but I have heard that all over the place, so I guess I accept it now. I also finally understand why people don't get books from BEA personalized, because Signs Point to Yes is NOT the only book getting one and two stars that I now have with my name on it. Oops?

    I did enjoy One! I know what you mean about the randomness of the other issues- I guess I kind of took it as like, it is a huge struggle that affected so many people? I don't know, I just liked the book haha. Risk doesn't sound too bad either! Lovely reviews, sorry about the really crappy books though 🙁
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  3. Gosh dang Jeann, these reviews remind me of why I don't read contemporary so much lol.
    One seems sweet, but not something I'd be interested in. Risk sounds like a risk to read for me because it doesn't sound as exciting of a thriller as the blurb advertises. Plus, I've had too many stay-safe-on-the-interwebs classes at school to appreciate the message haha. AND ALL MY SECRETS SOUNDS LIKE A BOOK I'D GET ANGRY AT. N O TO THE ROMANCE. Just no. 😛

  4. The topic of One sounds very original, but nto sure if the writing style would work for me.

    I agree Signs Point ot Yes sound interetsign and silly at the same time. Too bad it stays so flat and unemotional.

    Risk do sound like a good one and those thigns that can happen in real life are usually the scraiest to read about.

    That's too bad the romance in All My Secrets takes over the plot, it's a shame when that happens. I do like romance and a story in the same book, but it does have to work well together. Great reviews!
    My recent post My To-Be Read List #16: chosen book

  5. Aw, all these books sounded so interesting, especially One and Risk. I don't think I'll end up reading one, especially if it leaves a lot of things unanswered, that would just drive me crazy. But I might still look into Risk. Despite that fact that the characters sound pretty meh, I like the mystery/online villain thing it has going for it!

    Thanks for all the honest reviews!
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  6. danielleisbusyreading

    Great minis, girl! I felt the same way about Signs Point to Yes, which is such a shame because I really enjoyed her debut. This just fell completely flat and emotionless.
    Risk sounds really interesting, but I think I'd struggle with those characters!

  7. Nick

    Once sounds like such a lovely and interesting story, Jeann. I love that it sheds so much light to conjoined twins. I don't think I know much about them so I'd love to read this one.

    I was excited about Signs Point to Yes, but the reviews came in and I just don't think I want to deal with a book with a monotone writing style and emotionless characters. Jane sounds really irritating too.

    I love that Risk is a realistic thriller. That definitely sounds infinitely more scary knowing that it's something that could potentially occur to you. I'll have to check that one out for certain.

    OMG that last book! The romance sounds absolutely terrible. I hadn't heard of the book before, but I don't think I want to even take a glance at the synopsis.

    Great reviews, Jeann!
    My recent post Review: Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson

    • It was definitely an interesting and heart warming/gut wrenching story with that one! I know, a shame about Signs Point to Yes, I think her other book got pretty mixed reviews but Jenna really wasn't a fan about it. Risk was an interesting one and scarily realistic! Glad to hear you're keen on the sound of it! Haha yeah I dunno by the time I got to that latest book I was like nooopee

  8. lekeishathebooknerd

    I actually had issues with One, but I was too busy crying to really get it all in my review. I've never seen the others before now, but it looks like I definitely need to steer clear of All My Secrets. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
    My recent post One By Sarah Crossan

    • It really was a gut wrenching book especially towards the end! No problems Lekeisha, I'm glad you enjoyed the reviews.

  9. Grace @ RebelMommyBB

    One seems really interesting. I am so sad to see Signs Point to Yes get such low reviews. I was excited for it when it came out but think I will have to skip it. Great reviews!!
    My recent post Review ~ What She Knew

    • I'm so glad you enjoyed Risk as well Kara! It was definitely an interesting plot for a book, quite scarily realistic as well. One was really lovely, it was set out as verse though but a lot of it wasn't really verse? I dunno.

  10. Risk was such a great book! I listened to it on audio, and it took the book to a whole new level. Made me a bit shifty on my train commutes though haha. I really want to read One, sounds like a very eye-opening book. The other two…skip lel 😛

  11. Bec

    Romance ruining book is THE WORST, especially when if it's done right it can add an extra element of the story.

    Risk is probably the only book here I'm likely to check out. It sounds the most interesting to me and I'm surprised it's not more suspenseful/creepy.
    My recent post Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

    • I know, I picked up this fantasy/dystopian etc. to find out about the world and the plot, not about the romance lol! I like it when it's subtle or when it's done well, not when we are mislead. Risk was actually really interesting Bec!