“When I was a kid and I couldn’t sleep, my father would tell me it was because someone was dreaming about me. I know now that this isn’t true – it’s just one of those things he used to tell me to make me feel better – but for a long time, I believed him. That’s not a particularly bad thing, I suppose; it just never occurred to me before not that it might not be a good thing.”
Adamma Okomma has had to pick up her life and move it to the other side of the world, and it feels like her life is over. The move from a glossy New York high school to a dusty middle of nowhere English boarding school is dire enough but when Adamma realises that its not just the uniform and the class schedule that’s different and she needs to make friends fast to survive, she knows that she’s in trouble. However on her first lunch break she meets wicked-witted Scarlett Chiltern. With a glint in her eye and a sting in her tongue Scarlett is not to be messed with and when Adamma and Scarlett fall for the same guy a few months into their friendship it seems not everything is calm at sea. Adamma gets the guy and loses her friend, and than Scarlett goes missing, and if Adamma thought moving country was bad, it was nothing compared to this.
Tanya Byrne’s first novel Heart-Shaped Bruise had me believe that she was an author to keep an eye on, so when I heard about Follow me Down I knew it needed to be in my hands and on my ‘already read’ pile as quickly as possible. Thankfully I received an early copy and whilst I waited as long as I could to read it due to other commitments, as soon as it was in my hands and the cover was opened, I devoured it.
Tanya has a gift, a gift of writing incredibly complex characters with incredible screwed up minds and a gift of making you declare ‘yes I’m coming, just let me read this one more page’ to your ever suffering partner who is dying to watch Game of Thrones (I made him wait 14 pages actually… and I LOVE Game of Thrones). The flow just makes you keep wanting more, to know more about Scarlett and her messed up ways and about Adamma and her fella, and about what the hell went one to make Adamma say the things she does in every other chapter. The need to carry on reading has never been as strong in me as it was in this book and I honestly couldn’t read fast enough… I kept making myself re-read bits because I knew that I was going too fast and I was going to miss something, but oh man I needed to read! Its infuriating, but in a good way, and its hard, so hard, not to just skip ahead… just because you need to know!
The way the book is written is one of the main reasons its like this. We start the book in May and the chapter has the title “The Day After” we then go back to September “245 Days Before.” We know that Scarlett has disappeared, but she’s done it before and we soon learn about her wayward ways so it doesn’t seem so sinister… until later. We learn things through the dipping back and forth between the times, about Scarlett and Adamma’s friendship, about why they fell out and about the guys surrounding their fallout. I loved the suspense that this style of writing gave the story and I loved the effect it had on my second guessing of everyone and everything in the story.
I expected a twist and because I am a massive loser who often watches shows like NCIS and CSI and spend the entire thing trying to work out what is going to happen, I was like that with Follow Me Down. I can’t say I didn’t guess what was going to happen but I kept having to sit back and think ‘but that can’t be right’ and ‘well maybe I’m wrong.’ I wasn’t 100% sure until the page of the reveal and I still enjoyed the way the writing handled everything.
I honestly can’t praise this book enough and I absolutely can’t get enough of it. I knew before reading it that Tanya was incredibly talented and Follow Me Down, as only her second novel, just proves it once again and I will be keeping my eye out for what she has to offer us next.
Follow Me Down will be published on May 9th by Headline. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
For more info please visit: