Review: Sad Girls by Lang Leav

sadThis review was first published in The Star on 9th July, 2017

Sad Girls: A Novel

Author: Lang Leav

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 362 pages

‘Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to – it’s the first one who breaks it.’

That line, on the cover flap of Lang Leav’s debut novel Sad Girls, is a quote from the book, but also a prose poem (from Leav’s collection Lullabies).Read More »

Some Aspects of Editing Translations

I am currently editing a Bahasa Melayu translation of an English YA novel.

This is the fifth time I’m editing a translated novel, and I am encountering the same problems as I did when I edited my first translated work.Read More »

Book Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

First published in The Star on 9th February, 2016

AUTHOR: Francis Hardinge
PUBLISHER: Macmillan, 410 pages
ISBN: 978-1447264101

MY newsfeed informs me that The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge has been named Costa Book of  the Year. That it is a children’s book is mentioned in the BBC article’s standfirst. Imagine, a
children’s book winning such a prestigious award!

When something like this happens, those of us who have always valued children’s literature are particularly delighted. As Hardinge says, in an interview with The Guardian, ‘“In the wider world, sometimes children’s fiction is seen as a bit lightweight in a way that is not deserved.’”

Indeed, this award may persuade book snobs of a particular kind to stoop to reading “kiddy lit”, but sensible readers who don’t need awards to tell them what’s worthy of their time, may already have discovered the dark delights of Hardinge’s seventh novel.Read More »

Book Review: The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean

the white darknessFirst published 4th December, 2005 in StarMag


By Geraldine McCaughrean

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 272 pages

I HAVE been in love with Titus Oates for quite a while now – which is ridiculous, since he’s been dead for 90 years.”

The reader gets a pretty clear idea what Symone, heroine of The White Darkness, is like from the first line of Geraldine McCaughrean’s latest (and, in my opinion, best thus far) novel.

Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates, one of the men on Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated 1911 expedition to the South Pole, is not usually the sort of bloke 14-year-olds obsess about. but Symone, shy, sensitive and romantic, has neither the vocabulary nor the stomach for the preoccupations of the average 21st century adolescent. While her classmates discuss snogging and boys, she dreams about glaciers and snow storms and Oates.

Read More »

Book Review: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Here is my review in all its original smutty glory.

Actually, I have a confession to make: I don’t consider the reviews I write reviews at all, not according to the Wikipedia definition anyway: ‘A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit.’

Once upon a time I wrote those kinds of reviews, now I guess I just talk about what the books mean to me.

How to Build a Girl reminded me of growing up ‘fat’ and doubtful in 1980s Batu Pahat, Johor. Left to my own devices I would not have doubted anything, least of all myself, but encouraged by some friends and some family members, I suffered from periodical bouts of self-hate and self-doubt. Sure, I should not have let what they say get to me, but hey, that was before I knew anything about life, or myself, way before I became the fabulous Me that’s typing this post.

Anyway, I should perhaps write a post about being a ‘fat’, sexually-frustrated teenager for my personal blog. It would be a book-length post though, so perhaps I should think of writing a memoir. That would be one way to get thrown out of the country.

Until then, my review of How to Build a GirlRead More »