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Pretty Things – Sarra Manning

“When I look in the mirror I don’t recognise the girl I see staring back at me with her kiss-swollen lips and the slightly dreamy look in her eyes”
I love this book. It’s an amazing story about understanding just who the hell you are. The story follows four very different people who are at a summer theatre class together and end up hanging around together. Brie, Charlie, Daisy and Walker know each other through various means, Charlie and Brie being best friends for like ever, and find that their summer makes them explore things that they never dreamed of exploring before. Charlie is, as he points out on his t-shirt “gayer” than gay, he’s fun loving and dresses all emo-ey and really isn’t who you’d expect to be best friends with the prim and proper pop loving, body worrying, pretty girl Brie. Brie annoyed me, I’m not gunna lie. I don’t like girls who appear to be so thick they can’t count to 4 and it annoys me more when you realise they have a brain they’re just scared of using it. At least that was my initial thought; I grew to like her more as I got more into the story. She does have a brain and she does have feelings about more than carbohydrates, she’s a nice girl but I have to admit I’m probably more like Daisy and they just don’t fit together! Daisy is a lesbian, with all her thoughts about gay rights and society and generally probably a lot like I was at 17. Though I wasn’t quite on that scale, maybe because I’m not a full on lesbian, but is she really? Daisy is obviously struggling with what she knows and what she thinks she knows, it’s a difficult time being 17 and Daisy, like the others is really seeing what life can chuck at you. Walker is an interesting character. He’s almost like a typical teenage boy… but one of those typical teenagers who you don’t actually find that often. I found one in my first year of uni and my god they can be quite frustrating! He’s known as ‘shagger’ by most the teens in the area, his reputation is more known than his actual personality, though it’s not until the time in this book that he actually catches on to the fact that maybe he should change things. Walker has a lot more going for him than everyone thinks, he’s clever and sweet but because he started off his rep and is living to it he has a hard time convincing people of that, especially hot headed lesbian Daisy.
The story really is about love and the way it can come and smack you in the face. Leaving you hurting and wondering how the hell events happened to get you were you are. I thinks it’s about trying to work out who you are then realising that it’s just too screwed up and you may as well just carry on doing what you’re doing and hoping for the best. It’s one of the best interpretations of being 16/17 that I’ve come across and most importantly, there’s swearing, and sex, and gays!
I think when I read this at 17(…. I think it was around then) it was one of the first books I’d come across with gay characters in it. I was trying to work out what the hell was going on in my own life and it seemed reasonable to me that my life wasn’t screwed, it was just about as normal as most people my age! I loved that the characters were so real and Id come across them in my everyday life at college.
Another thing I love about this book is the song quotes at the beginning of every chapter. I think my love of music is one reason why I love this book and Sarra Manning’s other book, Guitar Girl, so much, the music explored isn’t just mainstream stuff either which is awesome.