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23 August 2018

You Only Live Once by Jess Vallance

This book was a bundle of joy, an absolute delight to read. That's not to say that You Only Live Once by Jess Vallance is not serious. It is, and it asks some tough questions about the pressure put on young people. And it also has its tear jerking moments. So proceed with tissues and an open mind!

You Only Live Once by Jess Vallance cover reviewAdd to Goodreads button
Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she's got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she's dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she's been wasting her best years being sensible. It's like people say: you only live once - so isn't it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.) 

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.

Source: Giveaway

5 Words: Friendship, family, life, experience, humour.

I'm a huge Jess Vallance fan so I already had Expectations when it came to this book. And they were definitely exceeded by the time I finished this book.

Getting my hands on this book was a bit of a YOLO moment. I was at YALC and it was getting late on the Sunday, I'd just pushed Birdy by Jess Vallance into Charoltte's hands saying "it's DARK" when I spotted the proofs at the back of the table. I had a bit of an eek fan girl moment and straight up asked the publicist what I had to do to win a proof because YOLO. Turns out absolute fan-girling works, and they handed it over so I had another eek fan girl moment and hugged the book for an hour.

When you first meet her, Gracie is a bit of a hypochondriac, very serious about her studies and her future, and a little bit dramatic. OK, she's very dramatic. I loved how she overthinks everything, she over exaggerates everything. It was so me as a teen! Every little thing has the potential to be Drama.

This book explored the pressures people face from practically every aspect of their lives. Gracie has the pressures of school, exams, her future, social media, friendship, the expectations of others... And that's just on the surface. I loved how Gracie realised so early on that maybe this isn't it.

Her journey of self realisation, and living in the moment, was hilarious. Gracie is the type of person who needs to plan every moment, and seeing how she reacted to being forced out of her comfort zone made for a lot of laughs and some cringe-worthy moments.

I loved how Gracie was pretty sure of her sexuality. She was like "yeah, not boys" and that was that. And everyone around her was fine with that. I loved her coming out too, it was so like my own experience. And I loved how it wasn't a big deal that Gracie likes girls. She just does. And I am here for non-judgmental sapphic representation.

My absolute favourite part of this book is actually near the beginning. Not giving too much away, it involves a trip to Paris and a book soggy with tears. As much as Gracie has her initial "What's the point?" moment right at the start of the book, I feel that this was where she truly understood what she was trying to do.

There were some moments when I felt a little bit scared for Gracie. When she decides to seize the day she really goes for it, and although I admire her confidence and her drive I was at times on the edge of my seat thinking about everything that could go wrong. And because I'm accustomed to the author's typically dark books, I was expecting everything to go wrong. It made You Only Live Once an unexpectedly tense read!

I can't wait for more Gracie, and I'm so glad this is going to be a series. I can't wait to see what Gracie does next, for more overthinking and laughter.


  1. This sounds like such a great book - something I’d definitely be up for reading! I seriously need to get back into my reading routine and this book may just help that! Great review!

    Jessica & James | /

  2. This seems a legit read.. Must be given a try

  3. This sounds like a fabulous read and something I would really enjoy. I haven’t heard of this author before but have added this book to my Goodreads list so thanks for sharing!

    Melanie |

  4. This sounds like my kinda book! I really love stories of personal development and it sounds like Gracie really steps out of her comfort zone to live life to the full! It sounds like a really enjoyable and inspirational book. Thanks for the great review Cora <3 xx

    Bexa |

  5. I haven't heard of this author as I don't often read YA but really really love the sound of this, great review Cora

  6. This sounds like such a good book! Definitely something I'd find nice to read. Also I love books that are series and it's not over after one book. I will definitely have to get this. Great review as always :)



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