Wednesday 11 March 2015

Review ~ Love Bomb by Jenny McLachlan.

Title: Love Bomb (The Ladybirds #2).
Author: Jenny McLachlan.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's.
Genre: Young Adult.
Publication Date: March 12, 2015.
Source: Netgalley.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK

Betty Plum has never been in love. She's never even kissed a boy. But when H.O.T. Toby starts school it's like Betty has been hit with a thousand of Cupid's arrows. It's like a bomb has exploded – a love bomb!

More than ever Betty wishes her mum hadn't died when Betty was a baby. She really needs her mum here to ask her advice. And that's when she finds hidden letters for just these moments. Letters about what your first kiss should feel like and what real love is all about …

Is Betty ready to fall in love? Will she finally have her first kiss?

Love Bomb is book two in the Ladybirds series, which got off to a fabulous start last year with Flirty Dancing. I was so excited for the next book and I really adored Love Bomb even more than the first book. I read it all in one go and I just loved everything about it – from the teenage fun and games to the more impacting and powerful message brought across with the involvement of some pretty special letters. Definitely cute, but also a very beautiful read too.

Love Bomb focuses on Betty, who running late to school on her fifteenth birthday, stumbles upon the new kid Toby, and she thinks she’s fallen in love. Betty really wants to impress him, if only her brain would allow her to say the right things, and she soon finds herself the singer in his band. Trying to spend as much time as she can with Toby means Betty has to sacrifice some time with her best friends Bea, Kat and Bill. But it will be worth it for the first kiss and the first proper boyfriend…

What I love about Betty, Bea and Kat in Love Bomb is that they’re written to represent their age group perfectly. They’re a little naïve, they call things silly names, they confuse crushes with love, they fall out over petty things, fall-outs which are quickly forgotten. All three of them have flaws but that doesn’t mean they’re difficult to like – just easy to relate to and understand. I bought into Betty’s character really easily. She was quirky and amusing but also could act a little immature and irresponsible. Isn’t that the case with so many girls her age? She was a real teenage girl, with that divide between growing up and experiencing love and relationships to staying young and embracing her playful, innocent side. I loved Betty’s character and I really rooted for her.

There was a much more emotional side to Love Bomb than is seen in Flirty Dancing. Betty’s mum died of terminal cancer when Betty was just two years old and so she doesn’t have any real connection or love for her mum, because she doesn’t know her. I found this really sad, how she was so used to being without a mum it was only on her birthday that it set in that her family was missing something. Betty discovers a batch of letters written by her mum, with her mum’s advice on certain things Betty would face growing up and I’ll be honest, they were my favourite part of the book, even if I did read every single letter through tears.

I lost my mum to terminal cancer last year and so even though my situation was different to Betty’s because I knew and loved my mum, I really felt like I could connect with Betty and the way she felt reading each letter. Living only with her dad, as lovely as he was, gave Betty a different experience growing up to most kids of her age because she missed out on the advice and guidance of her mum and each letter really gave her the opportunity to receive some of the advice that she’d been missing, and they came at the right time for Betty too. Whilst reading, I thought a lot about how I would react upon reading letters from my mum like Betty received, and I found the thought quite painful but in a way, more fulfilling and Betty made me feel less alone too, which is a strong way to feel about a piece of fiction but the writing was just that good for me.

The letters aspect of this book was so beautifully written by the author and she so naturally managed to interlink the more moving theme with the fun and exuberance of a teenager’s life. I’m sure I’ll have a more personal connection to this book than most other readers but I need to say that it isn’t a grim book at all and even though I found it quite poignant, it’s also cute and funny and heart-warming and the kind of book that has you smiling without even realising it.

Seeing Betty learn more about life through her mum’s experiences was very touching and one of many things I loved about Love Bomb. I really enjoyed reading the friendships in this book, between Betty and Kat and Betty and Bill especially. Both Kat and Bill were honest and genuine and sweet, with their teasing of Betty and also their obvious care for her being really endearing. I also really liked seeing the connection between Betty and her dad, and how that may or may not change with somebody else on the scene. Love Bomb got even better the further I got into it and the ending was everything I wanted and more.

Jenny McLachlan’s writing is fresh, it’s entertaining and really captures the essence of youth realistically. The series is set up perfectly for both Kat and Pearl’s stories and I’m sure they’re going to be as brilliant as Bea and Betty’s stories. I loved Love Bomb – and I may just have found myself a new favourite Young Adult author.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK


  1. This sounds like a very impressive read. Such a great and personal review, I love it! xx

  2. What a heartfelt review. Stunning cover and sounds like a must read. Xx


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