Tuesday 6 August 2019

Blog Tour: Guest Blog Post + Review for Princess BMX by Marie Basting and Flavia Sorrentino (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

Check out the other spots on the tour!

 1st August 2019, Chicken House, 240 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Chicken House
Trust me, the fairy tales have it so wrong.

Dingy towers and wicked step-mums are the least of my worries: it’s the boredom that will kill me. 

Honestly, apart from the endless supply of cupcakes, being a princess is pretty rubbish. I used to think about locking myself in a tower and throwing away the key. Thank the good goblin I discovered BMX. 

If it wasn’t for BMX, nothing would have changed …

Nayu's thoughts
Oh. My. Word. This book is so awesome! From the first chapter all I could think was that the youngest child in the Despicable Me films, Agnes, would absolutely love to be Princess BMX. THERE ARE MINI UNICORNS!!!!! 
Agnes with her unicorn, who looks like Doreen sounds!

Almost cried near the end when something happens to said unicorn, but I promise things work out mostly fine. 

I loved how Ava - I can't recall her ridiculously long name - is a rebel. She comes up with the best catch phrases. She lives in a realm that I imagine easily & want to be in thanks to the Land of Sweets in the ballet/story The Nutcracker. I have read a lot of books with alternate fairy tales (this isn't based on a fairytale as far as I could tell, just what is expected of a classic princess) which sound fun and eventually are but there is always something I don't like in them that makes them a bit on the weird side for me. No weirdness for Ava! The way magic as I imagine it should be and our world are different is explained well and it is easy to see why Ava is mystified by our world, and finds it weird. Some things really do seem like magic thanks to technology.

I truly wish I could live in her realm, even if her father the king is a stickler for rules and regs. I think he means well, maybe, but poor Ava suffers because of his stuffiness. I personally thought she was inventive with her staircase surfing. It sounds fun and I hate all rides and things that go fast. Reminds me of Julie Andrews mattress surfing in The Princess Diaries 2  with Anne Hathaway. I still can't get over how a mini unicorn is real for Ava. I happen to love motorbikes, which I don't think BMX's are (are they?) so I totally approved of her new found hobby. Yes it causes chaos and danger for her kingdom, but she makes a true friend, something she has never had, and despite her not looking 'normal' he likes her anyway (not like that). Ethan helps taken care of her, giving her suggestions, being perplexed when the truth of who Ava is comes out in a manner that can't be ignored. 

Speaking of being ignored - Ava's mum is way cooler than she initially appears, Ava's little brother is a spoilt brat (I was surprised he didn't go mental when something happens to him, as he seems so pompous), the surprise at the end from her dad is tissue worthy, things get worse for Ava before they get better, and there totally will be more books because the adventure clearly doesn't end after you read the last page. It isn't a cliffhanger, thank God, because I hate those with a passion, but it is so awesome I am looking forward to rereading it before book 2 arrives! No idea when that will be, sorry. But go read it anyway! 

Find out more on Marie's website and Flavia's website.

Suggested read
Something for older readers, while not quite a princess this girl does live in the world of the elite, Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall (Young Adult, 10E/10E)

Why Writers Need to be More BMX Part One by Marie: 

Part One: risking it all with your fingers crossed
Writing a book about a BMXing princess, I spent a lot of time watching and researching the sport. The more familiar I became with this tight-knit extreme sporting community, the more it struck me just how much writers could learn from them. Yep, you heard me right. Welcome to part one of my series on why we all need to be more BMX…where I reflect on my learning from the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester.
Risk and Resilience 
Failure hurts but for BMXers the pain can be physical as well as mental. Knowing this doesn’t stop them. They commit and they go for it, regardless of the consequences. This really hit home while watching the Supercross World Cup in Manchester. The first women’s semi-final did not go well for Saya Sakakibara. Lined up in the starting gates, the next round of competitors waited nervously as they were forced to watch the five times world champion being stretchered off unconscious after a serious crash. Just seconds later, the buzzer sounded, the barrier slammed to the floor and they rode out of the gates without hesitation. Risk was just part of the course.
Saya was soon back on her bike too. She’d failed to achieve her goal this time but she had the extreme sporting mindset – the only option was to refocus and try again. It’s just like sending that first manuscript out. You have to put yourself out there and accept that failure might hurt. And when it does, you have no choice but to pick yourself up and expose yourself to the pain time and time again until you get the win. Some of my writing friends were writing and submitting for over a decade before they achieved their goal of a publishing deal. Can you imagine, ten years of coming off your bike again and again? Resilience is what maketh both writer and BMXer. Why has nobody ever made that into a meme?
The Reward - Getting that Lucky Break 
But as much as success is about perseverance and endurance, there’s also an element of luck involved. Sometimes the odds are in your favour.  Sometimes not. This was evident when Kye Whyte (who I love because he says nice things about his mum) crashed out of the men’s semi-finals in the same competition.  Kye had been on fire throughout the afternoon, the crowd behind him all the way as he achieved his fastest time ever in the heats. But luck wasn’t on his side, another competitor got in the way, and most of the riders came down. There was no way Kye could recover the race.
Kye’s failure had nothing to do with talent, and for many writers, nor will their next rejection. Rather, success is about the market, publishing trends, a manuscript landing with the right agent at the right time; it’s about risk, resilience and riding the course; it’s about luck and a little bit of magic. It’s about being more BMX. 
PRINCESS BMX by Marie Basting is out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

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