Cover Image: Bronze (The Glister Journals, Book 1)

Bronze (The Glister Journals, Book 1)

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Member Reviews

DISCLAIMER: I received a review copy of Bronze from the publisher via NetGalley UK in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author B. B. Shepherd, the publisher China Blue Publishing and to NetGalley UK for the opportunity to review this title.

Bronze is the first instalment in B. B. Shepherd's Glister Journals series, following 14-year-old Allison Anderson as she makes the move from bustling Los Angeles to the rural town of Douglas in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Starting at her new school, Allison expects to be as unpopular and undesirable as she seemingly was at her previous one, however she quickly finds new friends in Melanie, an older girl in her Art and P.E. classes; Robin, a strong-willed but loyal girl in her Algebra and Health classes; and the charismatic Caldera brothers Dave and Cris, who are local celebrities due to their good looks and well-known family ranch. Allison finds herself enamoured by Dave, and it is through her friendship with him and the others that she is introduced to many new things including horse riding, snowboarding and extreme sports. Over the course of the book, we see Allison's freshman year of high school unfold, bear witness to her discovering more about her true self and her newfound love of horse riding, and also her discovery of Gold - a seemingly wild young horse living in the wilderness surrounding her new home. 

As described above, the plot of Bronze encompasses a lot of different aspects of Allison's life. The book not only focuses on her school life, but also her family life, social life, romantic interests and personal development. We watch her experience true friendship for the first time, learn the importance of unapologetically being herself and standing up for her beliefs, and ultimately begin the tough process of growing into a young woman. Despite this wide focus, the plot of Bronze never feels overwhelming or confusing - though at times it did feel somewhat slow-paced. It was genuinely thrilling to read such a relatable narrative, with a protagonist that is so down-to-earth and realistic. I shared many of Allison's emotions as they were expressed - in particular her frustration at the presumptuousness of her overbearing and overprotective father, and her longing for Dave to look at her as more than just a friend or sisterly figure. The subplot with Gold and his own journey to rehabilitation was beautifully done, as were the various moral / ethical teachings concerning Allison's avoidant and secretive actions.

The ending of Bronze was bittersweet, rounding off Allison's first year of high school in a satisfying way, though it was perhaps slightly predictable. Despite this, the ending leaves the reader wanting to know where Allison's journey will take her next. I find myself slightly disappointed that a romance between Allison and Dave did not quite make it to fruition in this instalment, but am fully expecting things to heat up in the future between them. I also hope that several "mysteries" - such as the truth about the Calderas' mother, and the whereabouts of Robin's parents - will be addressed in a future instalment. Though the book was quite long at 604 pages, it never felt dull, and I am eager to see where the story is taken next in the first sequel.

Each of the main characters in Bronze has their own unique personality; Cris stands out for his sullen, quiet disposition in complete contrast to his sociable, extroverted brother, as does Robin for her determined and self-assured attitude. There are some integral shared traits for the main members of the friendship group Allison finds herself part of - such as loyalty, generosity, and protectiveness - and it was genuinely heart-warming to see Allison accepted by so many of her peers despite being labelled as a dork and not always fitting in with social norms due to her autism. All of the characters are well-developed and engaging, though not all are made to be likeable (looking at you, Brenda), and I found myself particularly intrigued by the controversial aspects of each character, such as Dave's immediate desire to defend Allison against her bullies in a physical encounter. No character was portrayed as perfect, or without their flaws and faults, and this really resonated with me. I liked that I could relate to each one of them in some way, and could really see myself as wanting to fit into such a dynamic in my own life.

Shepherd's writing was easy to lose myself in throughout, and I never found myself tiring of the narrative. Although as mentioned previously the book is quite lengthy, I did not feel fatigued while reading, and found that the words flowed well on the page. There are perhaps parts of the story that could have been more concise, or else shorter chapters that perhaps did not add as much to the overall plot, but I valued these all the same for the additional context and detail that they offered in order to bring Allison's story to life. I can easily see myself re-reading Bronze in the future, most likely before the release of the second instalment "Copper", and hope that other readers would not be intimidated by the page count when considering whether to pick the book up.

Overall, Bronze is a refreshingly authentic coming-of-age story, with a neurodiverse protagonist and a strong focus on the difficulties any atypical young person faces when standing out from the crowd. If you are a fan of YA, love horses, and enjoy reading about relatable protagonists and slice-of-life stories, then you should definitely give Bronze a try. Look out for the upcoming sequel "Copper" as well, which promises to continue Allison's story in a meaningful way.
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Beautifully written with wonderful, likable characters, this a must of any young adult, horse lover's shelf.
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I loved this book! It almost could wind up on my favorite's list. Allison has parents who are looking out for her, keeping her away from boys too much until she's old enough to understand more. After all, her reactions are all over the place, much like many of us experienced when we were young. Meanwhile, the horse stole my heart. I feel like I went back to my youth, reading Black Stallion books over and over again. 

What I didn't like quite as much, is that it's a narrative. All told in a past tense, so we have far less understanding of what's going on in each person's head. Even so, it is lengthy, so you're in for a good long read. I'd read the next book in the series. 

My copy came from Net Galley. My thoughts and opinions are my own. This review is left of my own free volition.
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Bronze, the first book from B B Shepherd's series, The Glister Journals. It was quite long that left me confused at times. I would give it three stars.
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I received an ARC of this novel through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My heartfelt thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for this opportunity. It is very much appreciated. 

This is a charming young adult novel, which is sure to be a hit with horse-crazy girls of all ages. I found it very easy to relate to the main character, Alison and the turmoil and growing pains she experiences while growing up and discovering who she really is. All of the characters were likeable, realistic and were easy to relate to. 

This novel was a very accurate portrayal of struggles that many teenagers go through while growing up and trying to find themselves and form their identity while balancing parental expectations and peer pressure. The only criticisms I have of this novel is that based on the cover, I would have thought that there would be more equestrian activity than there actually was. Also, I found this book to be longer than expected. Perhaps the story could have been condensed in some ways. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel to young readers, or all readers alike who are looking for a heartfelt story, surrounding a teenager and the struggles and experiences of growing up.
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I really thought I would enjoy this book, and yet overall I found myself mildly interested but supremely bored. The story was somewhat longer than it should have been, and the main character Allison’s thoughts and problems seemed deeply repetitive. Lots of filler and very little plot. I also thought, based on the cover and description, that there would be more equestrian action than there actually were. When I was younger, I thoroughly enjoyed books about a teen girl’s problems and her bond with a horse. But that’s the thing, maybe I’m just too old for those stories now. 

It did have its moments, but overall Bronze simply isn’t a favourite of mine.
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Allison is a high-school freshman.  She has moved with her parents to a small town.  Life seems strange to her in this place.  When Allison goes to school, she is afraid of being different and friendless.  Allison does find friends, some that are approved by both her parents.  Her dad doesn’t like the boys she is hanging out with.  Will her dad change his mind.  Meanwhile unknown to everyone, Allison has found a horse that appears to belong to anyone.  She befriends it slowly.  Keeping the horse a secret from her parents, she does tell the boys she hangs out with about the horse.  When she brings them to the horse, he becomes upset.  The boys leave, however one returns with hay for the horse as he is skinny.  Finally, she tells her mom which upsets mom.  Her mom tells her that she has been in a sense lying to her and her dad by not telling them.  Allison admits to her mom that she knows dad doesn’t like horses and doesn’t want her around horses in any way.  Will she be able to keep taking care of the horse until the rightful owner is found?  Will she be able to get her dad to change his mind about horses?

The novel is a lovely slow and long read.  It is not an action story.  It is about a teen finding out who she is, what she wants, etc.  it is more an internal discovery of herself and learning the value of true friendship.  Its subplot is the horse story.  The characters in the book are very realistic — coming to life in the novel.  It’s a great novel for the first volume as there are unanswered questions that will perhaps be address in the next volume of this series.
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I liked this story, and probably would have loved it, but it was just too long. While I don't mind long stories, this one is pretty much a romance, and as such I expected something much shorter
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Bronze by B.B. Shepherd is the first book in The Glister Journals. Allison is a high school student that has endured avoidance among her peers.

When I read the blurb, I had a different story in my mind. It turns out that I was wrong. This story revolves around the feelings Allison has for a local boy, David. I was hoping for more interactions with horses and a bit of excitement. The story is written beautifully, and the characters are well fleshed out, but with over 600 pages, this story became rather hard for me to finish as Allison's feelings were overdone and repetitive. I think this story would be better suited for a younger audience than myself.
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I did enjoy this book, the writing is very good and the storyline enjoyable. Allie moves to Colorado from L.A. and there she meets new friends when she starts at her new school. Two are the Calderas brothers, Cris who is 17 and Dave who is 15. She also meets Robin who isn’t very friendly to start with but after they team up for an assignment together, they become firm friends.  Allie has a crush on Dave and whenever she sees him, her thoughts and reactions are all over the place.  She constantly shakes in his presence, rarely eats anything and is unfortunately very immature. She is always questioning herself and everyone’s motives and has absolutely no confidence.  Her father is always away on business and when he arrives home for the first time in their new home, he is confronted by the two boys and becomes very suspicious as to why they are at his home.

From this point on the story revolves around Allie finding a beautiful horse, the brothers help with it and her fathers determination to keep the boys away from Allie.

I found the attitude of the parents hard to understand as Allie had never given or been in trouble in the past and was certainly not doing so now, I also couldn’t follow why the parents grounded her for six weeks without her phone or contact with the boys, even though she saw them at school most days.

This was a very long book and even though I enjoyed reading it, Allie was very annoying with her constant self doubt.  Dave seemed like a very nice boy but even at the end of the book, I just couldn’t figure him out and what his real feelings were towards Allie. I still can’t figure what happened when Allie met Dave and he took her glasses off, called his brother Cris over and asked him “What do you think?” and when their eyes met, what she saw in them unnerved her, a strange sensation washed over her and she saw strange emotions in his eyes. Then he called Dave an idiot and turned his back on him.

Even at the end of the book, I am no closer to finding out what actually happened or why Cris has such a strange attitude towards Allie.  Both brothers are very protective of her and she is included in most things the Calderas family arrange especially to do with horses and the horse “Gold” that is now being housed on her family’s property, even though her father is against it. 

I find the parents attitudes very conflicting at times and if Allie were my daughter I would be doing everything I could to form a better relationship with her seeing that she has been uprooted from her home, school and friends and thrown in at the deep end of a completely new life.

Thanks to Netgalley and China Blue Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Okay, I like big books and I won't lie, but excessive word count isn't my cup of tea. This book is legit almost 1000 pages and I knew I might finish it in maximum three hours during my 24-hour-reading spree. However, those three hours became so tiring and unfortunately tedious, and not because I'd been reading for the past twelve hours but because the story was going somewhere but it actually wasn't. First of all, Bronze is about a coming of age fourteen year old girl, Allison, who doesn't seem to fit anywhere, finds herself awkward in situations and goes through many of her firsts. While the premise attracted me because I always crave a good teenage-centric story, I was a bit disappointed with the pacing, overindulgent writing, and how despite of reading this huge book, so many questions were left unanswered. Now, in some other cases, I wouldn't have mind being left with doubts, especially if a sequel is on its way (which in this case, it is) but this book made me more frustrated than curious. I wasn't expecting closure on each and every character's story but at least a few of those mysteries should've been solved. It's almost like I read it to only wait for the sequel if I want to know everything that's left open. Having said that, I do think the characters made up for the overall 'okay' experience of reading this book. There are quite a number of them through the vast pages of the book and all of them are distinctively interesting, something that keeps you going even if the plot isn't moving forward much. I might've DNF-ed this if I wouldn't have wanted to know how it will all end.
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