Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton | Review

Book Synopsis

An utterly wonderful début novel of love, crime, magic, fate and a boy’s coming of age, set in 1980’s Australia and infused with the originality, charm, pathos, and heart of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The mind can take you anywhere you want to go.

Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his step-dad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim – a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes – who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Exiled far from the rest of the world in Darra, a seedy suburb populated by Polish and Vietnamese refugees, this twelve-year-old boy with an old soul and an adult mind is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path – most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer.

But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom – all before starting high school.

A story of brotherhood, true love, family, and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Powerful and kinetic, Trent Dalton’s début is sure to be one of the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novels you will experience. 

My Thoughts

If I had to describe this novel in three words they would be emotional, effortful and impactful in more or less equal measures.

After having read “Boy Swallows Universe” I feel that I am completely indebted to Trent Dalton! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, desperation and failure. Trent Dalton has drawn a remarkable young narrator to adore in Eli, growing up in his vastly dysfunctional family. 

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me, being as it was a little like sitting on a roller-coaster, however, it was extremely worthwhile even though, by my standards, it was a fairly lengthy novel. 

 I enjoyed “Boy Swallows Universe” so much and I’m hoping to read more by Trent Dalton soon…

[Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins UK and the author, Trent Dalton, for my free ARC of #BoySwallowsUniverse in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

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Potency

Potency by Aubrey Hadley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The beautiful front cover and compelling premise lured me into choosing to read “Glow : Book I, Potency” by Aubrey Hadley, a book about apocalypse and alienation.

The Maasai Mara Sleeping Syndrome has appeared in New York, and it has wiped out an entire homeless shelter.

The same night of the outbreak, Harper, a seventeen-year-old girl, stumbles across a glowing figure in the desert outskirts of her neighbourhood. As her suburb goes on lock-down, Harper finds herself isolated from her friends and family, and soon begins to suspect that the events – though thousands of miles apart – may have something in common. Harper must find her bravery and embark on a plot-twisting adventure that will have her looking for answers in unexpected places and different worlds.

Although this book is not from one of my normally preferred genres and it is a longer read than I normally choose, it was still a really enjoyable novel. I can’t say that I’ve ever read anything exactly like it, or even similar. If you are into vampires or spectres then this isn’t for you. It’s just something totally innovative and fresh and that is why I liked it.

The main characters, whilst not necessarily particularly likeable, were a good fit for the story. As for the ending, I usually prefer one that is a little more definitive, unless it is meant to be a cliffhanger.

Overall, whilst it wasn’t one of my best-ever reads, I would recommend this book by Aubrey Hadley. I am guessing that there will be a sequel to “Glow : Book I, Potency,” so I will look out for it.

[Thanks to #NetGalley and the publisher, Ruby and Topaz, for a free ARC of #Glow in exchange for an honest review.]



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The DNA of You and Me

The DNA of You and Me by Andrea Rothman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is a brilliantly unique debut novel about scientific discovery versus love. “The DNA of You and Me” begins when Emily Apellis, the protagonist, is told that she is to receive a great award in the scientific community. The author, Andrea Rothman, then takes the reader back to when Emily first started studying the science of smell and the choices she made along the way.

Justin McKinnon has hired new graduate student Emily to study the science, however, Justin hasn’t told Emily that two other scientists in the lab, Aeden and Allegra, are working on a very similar topic, and their findings may compete with Emily’s own research.

Emily is extremely focused and driven. She’s always been more comfortable in the science lab than making small talk with strangers. Unfazed by competition, analysing DNA data is her favourite thing. To Emily’s great surprise, her rational mind is unsettled by Aeden. As they shift from competitors to colleagues and then to something more, Emily begins to see a future where she may not end up alone. But when Aeden decides to leave the lab, it becomes clear to Emily that she must make a choice – will she follow her research or follow her heart?

Andrea Rothman’s writing style is quite special in this novel as she manages very nicely to create characters that could have been rather boring, though, in fact, were anything but. The same can be said for the story-line. For some, science is not necessarily the most riveting of subjects, however, there is a brilliant and a very appealing mix of romance, love and scientific detail in “The DNA of You and Me”.

Completing each chapter with a thought, appreciation, something to dwell on or ruminate about before moving forward, was a neat and clever touch by Andrea Rothman. This quick and pleasant read really holds its own and I recommend that you get a copy!

{Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins UK/ William Morrow for the free copy of this book and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}



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