On occasion you can find three books that appear to be different, but mesh together in a way you never imagined.

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My Mad Fat Teenage Diary by Rae Earl

Anyone who has gone through school feeling out of place, ugly, chubby, disliked, anxious, different and anything other than ‘normal’ will enjoy this My Mad Fat Teenage Diary. Ignore the gordy cover, you’ll love Rae, she is spectacular. She encompasses every fear I had as a teenager, every self-doubt; Rae has a personality only a bitch could hate, she is hilariously defensive, but you just need to give her a chance. Set in 1989, Rae’s diary traverses a year in life as she grapples with school, friends, boys and her weight.

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

When I was young Sunday’s were the worst day of the week; religion was a foreign concept and it was as if I starred in The Demon Headmaster, solely resistant to the hypnosis. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit resonated with me in a way the other two books here did not, religion was a baffling element of my youth that I find still affects me today. Jeanette is raised up in a strict religious community – verging on cult – bred to be a missionary. She is a believer and struggles as her community ostracised her for her sexuality, finally rejecting them as (quite rightly) she refuses to hide or change who she is. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a semi-autobiographical novel, based on events in Winterson’s own life.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

It all began with a seat on the bus. Eleanor and Park was more enjoyable that I ever expected, to the point where I devoured the rest of Rowell’s novels in quick succession. It’s an unconventional romance between two very different teens, so unconventional a novel pairing that it felt incredibly realistic. Eleanor has moved back in with her beaten mother, siblings and abusive stepfather; Park lives a stable existence with his complicated, but supporting parents. As events in Eleanor’s life escalate, Eleanor and Park become necessary features in each other’s lives. Oh and it’s set in the 80s, that alone makes it worth reading.

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Eve (PaperGrey) (@apaperbird)
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I’m really glad you liked Eleanor & Park! It’s a beautiful book, even though I have some choice words about Eleanor being so negative. Her life was not easy by any means, but she should have stopped doubting Park sooner.

Jenny @ Reading the End
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Have you read anything else by Jeannette Winterson? I have read a few things, but nothing I’ve liked nearly as much as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. (Also a very excellent title btw.)

RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book
Guest

These are fabulous mini-reviews! I’ve been on the wait list for Eleanor and Park at the library for waaaaay too long!

Brooke
Guest

Oranges are Not the Only Fruit sounds great. Glad you enjoyed Eleanor and Park – the eighties was a huge draw for me as well!

Charlie
Guest

Still to get to E&P… The Winterson sounds something I’d enjoy, even if it is about extremes (I’m assuming it may be similar to Amity & Sorrow which sounded very good).

Charlotte
Guest

Out of these 3 books, I’ve only heard of Eleanor and Park but since I wasn’t impressed with Fangirl, I don’t think I will be diving soon into any of her other books. My Mad Fat Teenage Diary by Rae Earl- In a way, I can relate with this one because I’ve been fat all my life. I also feel anxious all the time but well, unlike Rae, I actually found a lot of friends who didn’t care about my physical looks. Hehehe. Is this in Epistolary format? Because if it is, I will be hesitant to read it. Oranges… Read more »