“It had been the worst night in the history of the world ever ever ever. A giant mistake, a BFG meets Hagrid kind of big mistake. I shouldn’t have gone to the freshers’ party, full stop, let alone done what I did there. Ugh. The smell was making me feel sick.”
Camille wants friends, and to be loved. At the minute she feels like she has neither. Her friends just let her do something really stupid and her perfect boy doesn’t seem to exist. Enter Zoe, AKA Digging Girl, AKA Death Watch. Camille is drawn to her, determined to make her a friend, especially when she realises Zoe takes Biology homework to a whole new level. Together they dream up Camille’s ideal boy and Zoe starts to make him, Frankenstein-stylee.
Its no secret that I love CJ Skuse’s books, both Rockoholic and Pretty Bad Things were awesome and I follow CJ on twitter because she makes me laugh, a lot. When I heard about this retelling of Frankenstein I knew I needed to read it and when it turned up on my doorstep I squealed like a madman.
Dead Romantic was hilarious, you get the quirkiness of CJs other books teamed with the bizarre nature of this book as a retelling, the goth-y Zoe and the not-so-witty one liners from Camille. I loved every second of it, theres a free flowing style to the book which makes it really easy to read and whilst Camille is slightly crazy, she makes a brilliant narrator. Camille is naive, she puts too much faith into other people and she floats around the place like nothing can hurt her. She’s quirky – even though I hate using that word to describe people – and I can honestly understand if people don’t like her as the main character, but I loved her. I know people who she reminded me of and she even reminded me of myself a bit and I think that’s where the less shall we say straight and narrow readers may find her appeal. Camille is obsessed with finding love and friendship and the story takes its foundations from there. Zoe is strange and doing freaky experiments anyway but when Camille takes an interest in her she uses it, because she’s lonely and because she needs help in the lab. I loved the relationship the two of them built up because it wasn’t friendship at first but they kinda both understood each other, a bit.
The way the book tied in with Camille’s life really amused me and it was kinda like I was reading her own English essay in a way – you’ll understand when you read I’m sure – which was fun. I got the feeling that Camille was meant to be a modern day version of the naive protagonists you often find in the more romance-y books from the era of Frankenstein and I liked that a lot. Mix that with modern day humour, pop culture references and the making up of words and I had my kinda book.
Whilst the characters other than Camille and Zoe were mentioned and appeared a little bit the only major ones were Damien and Louis. I loved Louis with his no care attitude, the way he wore a kilt because he wanted to and his blatant crush on Camille. Damien however could have been run over with a bus for all I cared, he was a selfish man slut and I hated him, however I feel that he got his comeuppance at least a little bit and there were some hilariously funny scenes with him and Zoe later in the book which I want to cut out and keep.
Overall Dead Romantic is a hilarious teen romance told through a modern day retelling of Frankenstein which shouldn’t work but really does. I was hooked from the start, laughed out loud the whole way through and wanted to beg for more once it was over.
Dead Romantic will be out on February 7th, published by Chicken House Books. My copy was kindly sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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