Monday, 16 June 2014

The Chocolate Book Challenge!

I gather from previous posts that I’m supposed to pick one book to represent each category of Dark, Milk and White chocolate, and give my reasons for doing so. But since I am both naturally rebellious and greedy, I’m going to pick three titles for each. 

Seriously, it is hard enough whittling it down to three books, never mind one.

For me Dark Chocolate represents the ‘grown up’ stuff – serious issues which pack a punch. Books for older teens/adults.

The three books I’ve chosen have all left me crying into my pillow, traumatised and quite probably scarred for life. If you want angst, if you want your heart torn out and dragged across barbed wire, if you want an excuse to hide in a darkened room for the next few days . . . any one of these will do it for you.

Forbidden by TabithaSuzuma
The story of an incestuous but loving relationship between a brother and a sister. And Oh. My. God. It’s brilliant – it’s awful. It’s not a justification of incest, but neither does it condemn it – just makes our hearts bleed for the poor siblings who fall victim to it. It’s had over 18,000 ratings and 4,000 reviews on Goodreads and it still scores a healthy average of 4.7 out of 5; it’s that good. 

Safe by Kate Hanney
Grim real life, gritty and desperately tragic. A story about the hardest elements of society. My heart ached for Danny and his little sister Lacey, and never stopped aching even when I’d reached the end. You won't go away from this book feeling ooh, ahhh, and all warm and fuzzy inside . . . you will be left in a state of complete limbo. Dangling. In shock. Wondering WTF?  

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell 
The story of two sisters left to fend for themselves when their parents die. This book is seriously dark. Think abusive parents. Think about killing them and burying them in the back yard. Think fifteen year olds having sex with ice cream men who sell drugs . . . Brutal, but not without humour, and most importantly, it’s not without humanity.  Just don’t read it before you sleep at night – especially if you have daughters.

My Milk Chocolate selections are still pretty dark to be honest, with more than their fair share of emotion and surprise but they don’t actually hit you over the head with a sledgehammer, and they are all rather clever; in the same way as a bar of dairy milk lures you in and keeps you going back for more.

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
This story is beyond clever – but you probably won’t realise how far until you get to the end. And then, WOW!!! All you can do is stand there and wonder how you didn’t see it coming. I can’t sum it up – here’s the Goodreads blurb . . .
A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies.True love. The truth.
Make of that what you will.

Now You See Me by Emma Haughton 
A boy goes missing, and years later he turns up again without any explanation about where he has been. A pacy psychological thriller with complex characters and bags of plot. I didn’t expect the end to be quite as satisfying as it was. Hard to say more about this book without spoilers so I’ll shut up.

But while I’m here, it’s worth noting that Now You See Me has been nominated for the Edinburgh First Book Award – if you want to vote for Emma, you can cast your vote here. 

Untethered by KatieHayoz
My only paranormal choice; paranormal because it involves astral projection. I don't normally 'do' weird and freaky stuff like this, but there's so much more to Untethered than paranormal. It’s also about jealousy and obsession and the real life problems teens have to deal with. I laughed out loud and cried more than once, but mostly I was just gripped. There’s depth and subtlety to this novel, with an underlying message about self-acceptance, and paranormal or not - it's worth a read.

And finally, my White Chocolate books. These are all books I have adored for years, but which are more suitable for younger readers.
The Illustrated Mum by JacquelineWilson
Dolphin and Star live with their heavily tattooed mum, but mum is a manic depressive and as fun as that can be on manic days, the rest of life is not so sweet. I love this book and Jacqueline Wilson changed my life the day she wrote this. 

Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine
Another book from years ago which I still remember fondly.  It’s the story of Rowan and what happens to her family after her brother dies. Apart from the heart ache and the tears, it’s also funny and well observed.  It’s not going to keep you awake at night, but it’s perfect comfort food.

The Dog Star by Jenny Nimmo
Marty longs for a dog and when she sees the dog star, she makes her wish. A real live dog appears beneath her bed and it seems that her wish has come true . . . This is a book I read to my children. I could barely get through some pages without sobbing. It’s a beautiful beautiful story for younger children and it will stay with you forever. Seriously you should get this one.

So there we have it. An impressive selection box if ever there was one.

It's my turn to tag another author in this challenge now, and I'm going to tag Katie Hayoz - because I reckon she should know a thing or two about chocolate, what with her living in Switzerland and everything...


  1. I loved Forbidden & after seeing your post I now want to read Safe.

    1. Hi Michelle, You definitely should. And do let me know what you think. :)

  2. Great choices Wendy, loved reading your post :-)

  3. As a chocolate addict I had to read this post...and was very glad I did as I've been able to add some of your dark and milk choices to my reading list!

    1. Thanks, Teagan. Hope you enjoy my book choices! x


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