REVIEW: ARE WE ALL LEMMINGS AND SNOWFLAKES? BY HOLLY BOURNE

are we all lemmings review

Welcome to Camp Rest, a summer camp with a difference.

A place offering a shot at “normality” for Olive, a girl on the edge, and for her new friends, who are all dealing with their own battles. 

But as Olive settles in, she starts to wonder – maybe it’s this messed up world that needs fixing, and not them. And so she comes up with a plan. Because together, snowflakes can form avalanches…

4/5 ⭐

PLOT

I adore camp-based YA, and the “met at group therapy” trope. So, when I pre-ordered Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne, I was certain that I was going to love it. And, given that I’ve already fallen for a lot of Holly’s novels, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be let down.

SIDE NOTE: If you’d like to read any of my other reviews of Holly’s work, I have one for It Only Happens in the Movies, and one for How Do Like Me Now?

I certainly wasn’t. It’s a mildly uncomfortable read, but one that is absolutely intoxicating. Bourne places you directly in her protagonist Olive’s manic sphere, compelling you to understand and empathise with her illness. She is spectacularly well-written – convinced, in a manic phase, that she can cure mental illness, to the extent that she convinces the reader of it too. It’s upsetting to read, but offers a level of insight into Bipolar Disorder that I have never experienced before, and am very thankful for.

Olive’s manic thoughts absorb large portions of the novel, but the acts inspired by this, and the kindness present throughout, is ludicrously heartwarming. And it has the most INCREDIBLE ending. It doesn’t sugar coat the ghastly nature of mental illness, but still floods you with hope.

PACING

I rarely read in one sitting, but I couldn’t stop myself when reading AWALAS?, despite it being a 400 page novel. And it might be because I read it very quickly that I think this, but everything moves incredibly fast. Olive flies from plan to plan, and thought to thought, with a pace that leaves you little time to breath. However, this is not necessarily a negative. It works well with her character; mimicking exactly what’s happening inside her head. I do wish that I could have spent a little more time with the other characters, but I can appreciate it would have distracted from Olive’s arc, and the plot itself.

CHARACTERS

If you’re in need of an author that writes teens as they are (period stained pants and all) then you NEED Holly Bourne and her characters in your life. Holly doesn’t write caricatures of teenage life, but instead writes teens with jarringly real problems, that are not blessed with quick fixes and happy endings.

Some of my favourites from this novel include:

Sophie, who has a beautiful character arc.

Lewis, who is a colossal nerd that excels at maths, and has a torrent of emotion bubbling under the surface. And when that surface cracks, you can’t help but fall for him.

Jamie, who is handsome, and a bit of an ass, but more than meets the eye. There are moments peppered throughout the novel that feature his brutal honesty that are incredibly gripping, and a scene that moves everyone to tears (including me).

Olive may be my favourite character of Holly’s. It’s often difficult to like her, even if you are able to relate to her, but that’s what makes her brilliant. She isn’t sugar coated, nor is she moulded to fit any traditional standard of YA female. Weirdly, I’d yet to read a YA protagonist that a lot of boys are attracted to until Olive. I certainly can’t relate, but it’s nice to have something that contrasts with the usual shy, reserved female lead. Though she may be very frustrating, you can’t deny that she has a ludicrously warm heart. Her desire to spread love and kindness is perhaps my favourite thing about the novel.

THAT’S A WRAP

It really is a wonderful read, and I cannot tell you how much I adore Holly! I don’t, however, recommend reading it in one sitting – it is a pretty intense read, so I’d stretch it out a little bit.

If you’d like to buy it, you can do so here! But just a heads up: as an Amazon affiliate, if you do purchase through that link, I’ll earn a small commission. This, by no means, effects my review.

As always, thank you for reading!

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18 Comments

  1. August 22, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Oh yay another book to add to my tbr 😂
    This seems really interesting!!
    Also since you like summer camp based books you might like ‘Whisper If You Need Me’ by Dina Silver?

    • Emily
      Author
      August 22, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Yay! It really is! OH MY GOSH THANK YOU! Adding it to my TBR now! 😊

  2. August 23, 2018 / 10:06 am

    I’ve been looking for a new read recently, and this sounds so good. Holly is such an incredible author, and I do love a book with an accurate portrayal of mental illness! Lovely, lovely review

    Cordelia || cordeliamoor.com

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 2:11 pm

      Thank you so much! 😊

  3. August 23, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    I really do enjoy YA novels and this one I have not read yet so I must add it to my tbr. Sounds like a really good read too.

    Rebecca Elaine x

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 8:12 pm

      It really is! Would definitely recommend all of Holly’s novels if you’re a YA fan – she is an incredible author. 💛

  4. August 23, 2018 / 8:12 pm

    I am after some interesting books that will keep me hooked, I will put this on my wishlist. Thanks for the review

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 8:16 pm

      You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy it if you get around to reading it! 😊

  5. August 23, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Great review! This sounds like it’s a really interesting read. I hadn’t heard of this author before but will definitely have to check out her other books. If they sound as interesting as this one – I’m going to be adding a few more books to my list of ones I’d like to read, haha. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Amy,
    https://creativenails.uk

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 8:18 pm

      Yay! That makes me so happy! Holly is such a wonderful author, and all of her books are incredibly beautiful, so would definitely recommend adding her books to your list! 💛

  6. August 23, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    As a more mature reader I havent yet ventured into the genre of YA – but hey! Maybe I should take a look and maybe eecognise my (much) younger self in them

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 8:19 pm

      YA might be aimed at teens, but I truly believe everyone can find something in the YA section that appeals to them, no matter what age you are! Holly also has an adult novel called How Do You Like Me Now? that is INCREDIBLE, if you’d rather stick to adult fiction. 💛

  7. August 23, 2018 / 9:48 pm

    This sounds really good, and even better than the classic summer camp theme books. I like the sound of this author a lot, I’ll have to check her out. Thanks for sharing! xx
    Alys
    https://alysjournals.com

    • Emily
      Author
      August 23, 2018 / 11:07 pm

      There’s much more substance, but it still has that great summer camp feel! She is incredible! Thanks for your comment. 💛

  8. August 25, 2018 / 12:25 am

    This was such a good, thorough review! I’ve heard of this author before but never read any of her work. This sounds like a great book to get me started. It sounds like it has a lot more going on than a typical summer camp plot too which I appreciate x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • Emily
      Author
      August 25, 2018 / 9:42 am

      Thank you! Holly is wonderful – this is definitely a great introduction (though would also recommend It Only Happens in the Movies as it’s a little more lighthearted). SO MUCH MORE. That’s what really sold it to me. 😊

  9. August 26, 2018 / 5:51 pm

    Well written! Love this post, i can tell you loved the book, sounds amazing. Need to add this to my tbr.

    • Emily
      Author
      August 26, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Thank you! ☺️

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