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Friday, March 4, 2016

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

My sincerest apologies for posting this a few days late. I received a leg injury by falling down a flight of stairs last week and I have been under doctor's care and unable to use my computer. I am on the mend now, so thank you to those that were concerned or have wondered where I have been all week. 

About the Book

Title: Nora & Kettle
Series: N/A
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date: February 29, 2016
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: ARC from publisher via 
Rating: 4 stars


What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?
Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.
Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to na├»ve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.
For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.
In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.
Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing. Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.
I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a gripping story. There is so much emotion held inside. This is one of those kinds of stories that you have to read- you just have to! You know that it will tear at your insides, but you read it anyway and you are better for it. You gain so much more from reading this than an engrossing story. You get perspective, you get raw truth, and you get to feel your heart beating overtime. This story makes you feel something real.

What I liked
I loved these characters. You really get to know them through the way they think, the way they live, and through flashbacks from their pasts. There are so many layers to these characters. It makes me think of the movie Shrek when Shrek is talking to Donkey about onions, how they have layers, and how he has layers like an onion. These characters definitely have a lot going on- in their heads and otherwise. They are compelling, and as you read you just feel for them. Their situations in life are horrible, but they trudge on. You can't help but to admire them. 

I liked how everything was historically accurate. The setting for the story is the 1950s. In the story there are numerous people that knew about the way that Christopher, Nora's father, was treating her, and they did nothing to help her. They all looked the other way, which was normal for that era. While I was reading I kept thinking about how different it could have been for Nora and her sister if it would have taken place in the present. Another aspect of the historical accuracy is in terms of the Japanese Americans and how they were treated by the rest of American society. It was so saddening, the discrimination. I like how Taylor portrayed it in the book.

This story is a re-imagining, if you will, of Peter Pan. It is a very quasi portrayal, but you can pick up on the Peter Pan references while reading the story. I rather enjoyed the retelling. I've always loved the character Peter Pan and the story of Peter and Wendy. 

I liked the fact that we got to know each main character before they met in the book. We got a chance to see them as they were without each other's influence on the other. We got to glimpse into their worlds, so that when they finally meet the story dramatically blossoms. 

I think that the thing I liked the most about the book is the sensitive issues that are touched upon. Child abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, and discrimination are portrayed so brilliantly. And the portrayal was so in sync with the era that the book is set in. These are issues that are overlooked and ignored, but Taylor pushes them to the forefront and makes us take notice of them. And although these issues are some of the main focuses in the book, it isn't written in a boring manner. The story is compelling while still being about these delicate issues. It really is brilliantly written.

What I didn't like
Nora and Kettle don't meet until halfway through the book. I kept reading and hoping that the next page they would come together. I kept anticipating that seemed to never come. I would have liked to see Nora and Kettle together more in the book. The time that they spent together was magical, but there didn't seem to be enough of it for my liking.

The ending was kind of meh for me. It was glorious at the beginning of the end, but it petered out in my opinion. I needed more closure than what I got handed. I felt gypped. I honestly would have rated higher if the ending had turned out differently. Because the rest of the book is amazing.

Would I Recommend It
YES, oh good heavens, YES! This book will do something to your insides. You will hate it at first, but it numbs to something beyond words. The way that you feel after a good cry. This book is a must-read.

About the Author

Lauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.



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