The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee*
In 2118, Manhattan is dominated by a thousand-floor tower which contains everything that used to make up the city. The privileged live the luxury life at the top of the tower - and on the thousandth floor, Avery Fuller, a girl genetically designed to be perfect. The book opens in rather a shocking style with a girl falling to her death from the top of the tower, before taking us back to the beginning and showing us how she got there... I was expecting a much more dystopian tale than the one I got; this is Gossip Girl set in the future. Teenagers with typical beautiful-rich-people problems - drug addiction, money woes, forbidden love. This is scandalous escapism at its best, and definitely left me wanting more (which is good, because it's the beginning of a series).
How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
This book is the second in Holly Bourne's 'Spinster Club' series; I loved the first one which I read earlier in the year, and found the second just as enjoyable. Amber is hoping that spending the summer helping out at her mum's summer camp in California will change their relationship after two years apart, but it becomes clear pretty early on that Amber's mum isn't going to be able to give her what she needs. But the summer camp has other perks, including new-best-friend Whinnie (who is just a gorgeous character) and stereotypical all-American prom king, who just might be interested in Amber. A sweet story peppered with some pretty hard-hitting emotional stuff and a heavy dose of feminism (my favourite). I said it when I read the first one earlier this year, but I wish these books had been around when I was in school - I would have loved them even more if I was the intended target market, I'm sure.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
If you've been around the Internet long enough, you'll probably be aware of Jenny Lawson a.k.a The Bloggess. Her hilarious blog is one of the best on the web, and her first memoir was chock full of poignant moments mixed with snort-out-loud funny ones. In Furiously Happy she shares more anecdotes from her more-than-unusual life to similar effect. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as her first, which felt like it had more narrative thrust, but this is still a very enjoyable book to dip in and out of. Jenny has a particular skill to make you go from laughing at the antics of her taxidermied animals to tearing up at her portrayal of her mental health problems. It's not hard to see why she has an army of fans - if there is anyone who makes you feel less alone and odd, it is Jenny Lawson.
Nina is Not OK by Shappi Khorsandi*
This book took me by surprise; I've enjoyed Shappi Khorsandi's stand up in the past and expected some of the same themes in her debut novel but this is something so much more. Seventeen-year-old Nina has a drinking problem, and her life begins to unravel after a rather traumatic evening that she doesn't quite remember. This book is listed under humour, but although there are some darkly funny parts, it wasn't all that funny. It was, however, very powerful, emotional and brave. Nina is a fantastic protagonist; although she acts like a bit of an asshole to her family and friends, she goes on a real journey and you are rooting for her all the way. This book pulls no punches when it comes to the reality of alcoholism, and there are some pretty big roadblocks for Nina to overcome that feel very realistic for young people today. Shappi Khorsandi handles a sensitive topic in a very uplifting but raw way, and I'm already excited to read what she writes next.