Finding Cherokee Brown – Siobhan Curham

“I’ve decided to write a novel. If I don’t write a novel I will kill somebody. And then I will go to jail and, knowing my lousy luck, end up sharing a cell with a shaven-headed she-he called Jeff who smokes roll-ups and thinks it’s cool to keep a fifteen-year-old girl as a slave. But if I write a novel I can kill as many people as I like with my words and never have to be anyone’s slave.”

Clare is fed up. She’s got to live up to her mum’s idea of the perfect family, a family that she doesn’t even fit in to, her best friend has moved away and she misses her, and school, well that’s a nightmare since Helen left, and there she has to face bullies every single day. So Clare decides to write a book, a book which will distract her from all the bad stuff but will still be about her life. She doesn’t want to make anything up but a couple of days into writing the weirdest thing happens. A whole new chapter of Clare’s life begins and everything goes slightly crazy, but it gives clare the strength to face her fears and fight back. 

***
Since I read Siobhan Curham’s first book, Dear Dylan, last year I have been on the look out for news regarding her next. I knew she would write something refreshing, something a little different and with oodles of personality, and thankfully she did not disappoint. I loved Finding Cherokee Brown even more than Siobhan’s first and I couldn’t bear to put it down! 
The story is fantastic. There are two main themes, the first being bullying and the second being about finding who you are and how your family shape you. I was on Clare’s side the minute I started reading, I thought her mum was too harsh even though she meant well, and that the kids at school were awful. I didn’t blame Clare for wanting to escape and skiving off to the Southbank centre all the time. Clare believed that she never fit in with her family, they all have blond hair and are fair skinned, whereas Clare is not, she refers to herself as the dark stain in the corner of family photos and ‘the freak in the attic’ a lot which is pretty awful really. The family is made up of Clare, her mum, her step dad and her twin stepbrothers. As part of the story Clare’s real dad turns up and messes things up in the family dynamic but really it’s exactly what Clare needs to make her realise that people cannot walk all over her which is why the story is so good. Clare is a feisty, brave, kickass heroine once she realises she can be and thats the best message to put out there for anyone who is being bullied. 
The characters are so fantastic. I loved Curham’s ability to instantly show what a character is like jsut by a few select words. I actually loathed some characters and adored others which is always a good thing as strong feelings towards characters come from brilliant writing. I wanted to slap Tricia and Clare’s Year Head but Miss Davies I felt sorry for. Clare’s mum and stepdad were infuriating and they just wouldn’t listen to Clare which really bugged me. Her brothers were not very present but pretty darn cute and Harrison, well I’ll let you make your own mind up about Harrison, but swoon. Clare herself was a little difficult for me, I really loved her and wanted the best for her, I wanted her to stand up for herself but I think she was a bit harsh on her mum and Alan, though I guess it’s because she felt like she couldn’t talk to them which was the main problem and really, she couldn’t! Steve is the best character ever and I absolutely loved him. I couldn’t help but smile every time he was on the page and I absolutely loved him, my own dad is pretty cool but no where near as cool as that (sorry dad! haha) 

I loved the way the writing flowed in this book and it was a fast read, but a great one that sticks with you. I loved having it all told from Clare’s point of view and the play on words with Clare’s name, or names. There were clever links in the writing which made me appreciate the book even more and as a lover of music I adored that music was ever present when it came to Steve especially. The addition of a playlist to the book made me happy as it was full of songs that many teens these days wouldn’t know or will associate with their parents or older people, but this gives those songs new meanings. 
As you can tell, I can’t praise this book highly enough, its way of describing the effects of bullying are down to a tee and I could tell that a lot of work had gone into them. Anyone who has been bullied will relate to Clare and I definitely could. Its an awful time for anyone and I really hope that anyone reading Finding Cherokee Brown who is going through that finds the strength to fight back, or at least tell someone about what’s going on. I know it may be hard but if you don’t tell anyone it will get harder! 
Finding Cherokee Brown was published on March 4th by Electric Monkey, an Egmont UK Imprint. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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  • I loved this! Can’t wait for Shipwrecked in a few months.

  • So. So. Jealous.
    I really want to read it and now, after reading your review, I want to read it even more! I’ve been meaning to read something by this author for a while now so I’ll likely make this my first. So glad you liked it! 😀

  • I really need to read both of Siobhan’s books – and this one even more now! Great review 🙂

  • Great review! Glad you liked this- I read it in a day and adored it just as much.

    -from a new blogger who has just discover your site and finds it AWESOME 😀