“Where’s your best friend when you need her?
I mean, seriously.
It’s Saturday night and here I am in Luke’s front room with his sister, Zoe, and a bunch of his mates, listening to a rock band blaring about how we’re all going to die, and watching a couple of lads do something that I think is intended to be dancing but looks more like they’re being slowly electrocuted.
Oh, and did I mention? It’s my birthday.”
Ash’s 17th year is meant to be full of fun and laughter before she has to think about what the future holds and what to do with her life. But nothing is ever that simple, is it? Not when her parents aren’t talking and her best friends gone off in a huff, and she’s fallen in love of the intense, heart-racing, all consuming emotion kind. She needs someone to talk to about that, but its hard, because whilst first love is often like that, and you often find that your loved one feels the same, Ash doesn’t have that. No, because its not Dylan, Ash’s amazing, good looking, boyfriend who is making her feel that way. It’s Miss Murray – her English teacher!
I’ve heard great things about Liz Kessler in the past, and have met her at one or two events I’ve been to as a book blogger. I have never, until now, picked up one of her books though, and I’m not 100% sure why. However Read Me Like A Book isn’t like her other books, that I know for sure, and whilst I bet they are equally as good; the subject matter and the characters in this book will probably make me favour it for quite some time!
I loved this book, I think its one of only three books I’ve given five stars to this year so far, and it really does deserve it. The story is brilliant because yes, the whole realising you’re gay thing has been done before in YA, but I don’t think its ever been like this, not any that I can remember reading anyway. I mean at the start of the book the idea was crazy for Ash, and because the events take place over a year, I actually enjoyed seeing Ash realise it and grow to accept it, because its not always something that someone can accept of themselves. Being gay isn’t a phase or a choice, its there and its a massive part of who a person is, but its not always easy to accept for yourself and thats why I loved this book… Ash had issues with it herself and that, for some, is reality.
There was so much other stuff going on in Read Me Like a Book too that I really enjoyed and I think thats why I enjoyed the book overall as much as I did. Ash’s parents relationship and the idea that Ash was starting to see that other people had problems too – especially adults – was intersting and made for a brilliant part of the coming-of-age story the book told. As a kid you don’t often realise these things and its at that crucial 16/17 year old age when you start to see teachers as actual people, and your parents as beings who are there for reasons other than to make you do chores and love you unconditionally. I loved the way this book put that across and it really did hook me in.
Ash herself was a brilliant character. I can’t honestly say if I loved her or not because at times she did make me want to slap her. She was selfish, but she was also a good friend, and confused, yet had her head screwed on at other times. She was all over the place but jesus, I remember being 17 and I think I redefined that term back then! In all honesty it made me appreciate the character so much more because she felt real, and the progression she made throughout the book felt real too.
I really loved this book and I knew I would as soon as I saw that amazing cover! I know they say not to judge a book by its cover but in this case, honestly, do!Read Me Like A Book will be published on May 14th by Indigo, an Orion Books imprint. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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