Review | Someone is Watching, Joy Fielding

22694047Private investigator Bailey Carpenter is attacked while working on a case, and her entire world falls apart. From being a confident, independent woman, she finds herself afraid to ride an elevator with a man and unable to sleep without having nightmares. Worse, she sees her attacker in almost every man she encounters — an obnoxious flirt at the gym, a man walking past her in the street, a narcissistic man in the apartment building across from hers. They all fit the frustratingly generic description of Bailey’s attacker: white male between the ages of 20 to 40 years old, average height, average build, wearing black Nikes.

I often find books involving sexual assault difficult to read — for example, Elizabeth Haynes’ Into the Darkest Corner kept me feeling claustrophobic, almost physically trapped, throughout. Fielding’s writing is a bit more detached that Haynes’, and while she did a good job of portraying Bailey’s fear and sense of paralysis after the attack, Someone is Watching felt more like an action-packed thriller than a psychological one.

Part of the reason may be that despite the attack that began the whole story, there were so many other things going on in Bailey’s life. A major subplot is the Bailey’s dysfunctional family — her father had had many children by different women, and left his vast fortune only to Bailey and her brother Heath. Bailey and Heath’s half siblings, led by high powered district attorney Gene, are suing for their share of the inheritance. This adds a touch of intrigue to the motives of Bailey’s half sister Claire, who stays over at Bailey’s apartment for days after the attack. Is Claire sincere in wanting to help Bailey heal or is Heath right and Claire is only after Bailey’s money? This is further complicated by Heath having issues of his own — a struggling actor who is perennially stoned, Heath also happens to be best friends with Bailey’s ex-boyfriend, who still wants Bailey back and who also happens to fit the description of her attacker. Then there is Bailey’s current boyfriend, a married man with children whose identity is glaringly obvious from the beginning and yet whom Fielding for some reason coyly refuses to name until Claire’s daughter susses it out. Finally, there is the man Bailey, Claire and Jade call Narcissus, the vain neighbour who parades naked in front of his open window and appears to know that Bailey is watching him.

There’s a lot going on, and while it’s easy enough to keep the characters straight, it can also be somewhat frustrating to see so many potential red herrings in the mystery. That’s actually a credit to Fielding’s writing, as it mirrors the frustration Bailey and other attack victims must feel themselves, where fear can take many forms, even among those familiar to you. That being said, there appears to be enough drama without adding so many subplots to the mix.

There’s a great moment near the end where Bailey realizes she may never know who her attacker is, and that she would just have to make her peace with that. I love that, because it shows an unfortunate reality of some victims, and it also takes the story back to Bailey’s psychological state rather than the physical investigation of potential attackers.

The ending as a whole felt overly convoluted. The first big reveal in particular seemed complicated, and while I admit it could have happened, the soap operatic nature of this twist detracted from the very real drama of dealing with an attack. The second reveal then felt anticlimactic, almost unnecessary after the dramatic impact of the first. That being said, I may be biased because I wasn’t happy to learn who the villains were, mostly because I had grown to like these characters earlier on. And that too is a testament to Fielding’s writing.

Someone is Watching is Joy Fielding’s 25th thriller, which is pretty awesome. If you’re a fan of her books, or of thrillers in general, this is definitely one to pick up. An entertaining read overall.

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Thanks to Random House Canada for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Event Recap | Random House Canada Spring 2015 Blogger Preview

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I was thrilled to receive the invitation from Random House Canada for their Spring 2015 blogger preview. I haven’t attended a blogger event in a while, and I was looking forward to seeing some fellow book bloggers and learning all about the titles to look forward to this Spring.

photo 2-1It wouldn’t be a blogger event without some treats, and true to form, Random House Canada treated us to pizza, pop and bowls of jelly beans. We were also given some book catalogue pages in a folder, which were very handy when it came to noting down titles I wanted to read (most of them!) and I’m sure they’ll come in handy as well when it comes time to write the reviews for my blog. I especially love the Penguin Random House tote that declared “Changing the world, one book at a time.” Great for carrying books home after the event, but also an awesome saying overall, for book lovers.

The Random House team took us through some of the exciting titles in their Spring 2015 catalogue. Below are some of my personal highlights:

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

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I absolutely loved Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, and I was thrilled to discover there will be a sequel out this June. I was fortunate enough to grab an ARC from the blogger preview, which I devoured in less than a week. Watch for my glowing review this June, and definitely check this book out for yourself!

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

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Judy Blume always takes me back to childhood. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret is one of my favourite books of all time. So I squee’d in delight at the news of a new novel by her, coming this June. In the Unlikely Event is about three generations of families, friends and strangers whose lives are affected by a series of passenger plane crashes in Elizabeth, NJ in the 1950s. ARCs for this title are not available (understandably so!), but Random House Canada generously provided us with copies of Blume’s earlier novel Summer Sisters. Read my review here.

Someone is Watching by Joy Fielding

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A private investigator’s life is turned upside down when she is sexually assaulted on the job, in Joy Fielding’s 25th thriller Someone is Watching. It’s described as a fast-paced, intense psychological thriller reminiscent of Rear Window meets The Silent Wife, and indeed this one’s a page turner. Quite a few too many subplots, in my opinion, but it’s a great way to spend a weekend. Watch for my review later this month.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I’m a huge Kazuo Ishiguro fan, so I was thrilled to see he’d written a new novel. The Buried Giant follows the tale of elderly couple Axl and Beatrice whose set off to find their son, across lands where a mist has removed the memories of all who live there. It’s a story about the power of remembering, and the consequences of memories we may regret recovering. A tale with the air of an Arthurian legend, The Buried Giant enchanted me without quite transporting me as much as I’d hoped, but it’s still definitely a must read for Ishiguro fans. On sale now; watch for my review later this month.

Boo by Neil Smith

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According to one Random House staffer, if Lord of the Flies and The Lovely Bones had a baby, it would be Neil Smith’s Boo. When 13 year old Boo Dalrymple is killed, he finds himself in “Town,” an afterlife exclusively for thirteen year olds. As he adjusts to his afterlife, another boy from his hometown, Johnny, appears, also killed by the same school shooter. I’m fascinated by the character of Boo, and by Smith’s depiction of the afterlife. The mention of a school shooter adds a dark touch to what appears to be a pretty awesome version of heaven, and I can’t wait to see how it all ties together.

Free Days with George by Colin Campbell

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Free Days with George is touted as a heartwarming true story about a rescue dog who helps his new owner rediscover love and happiness, Marley and Me meets Tuesdays with Morrie and The Art of Racing in the Rain. A fellow blogger asked the question I immediately thought but was too afraid to ask, and fellow dog lovers can relax: the dog does not die. Instead, George the Newfoundland Landseer learns how to surf! I’m really excited about this one, and am keeping my fingers crossed for a book launch event where the dog will be here in Toronto. On-sale this May.

A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

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On Deborah Install’s charming A Robot in the Garden, a Random House staffer said, “Everything good in the world is in this book.” She said it had a Pixar vibe, and a blogger quipped, “It’s like if Up and Wall-E had a baby.” Indeed there’s a very whimsical feel to this novel, about a 34 year old man who finds a robot in his garden and embarks on a trip around the world to find out where it came from and return it home. On-sale this August.

Deceptions (Cainsville Series #3) by Kelley Armstrong

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I loved the first book in Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville Series, and while I have yet to check out the second, I am also eagerly awaiting the continuation of the series with Book 3 this August. Heads up to the many Kelley Armstrong fans out there, as well keep an eye out for new YA standalone novel The Masked Truth, coming this October.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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Finally, I loved Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, and am eagerly anticipating her first YA novel Finding Audrey, about a fourteen year old girl with anxiety disorder who finds connection with her brother’s gaming teammate.

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

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While Random House Canada didn’t specifically cover this title in the preview, they included some copies of it on the cart of books after the event, which they invited us bloggers to help ourselves to some of the titles. I saw this and immediately dove for a copy, because my sister had been fangirling about it for months, and I knew she really, really wanted to read it. So on behalf of my sister, thank you, Random House Canada! This will be on sale in May; watch for my review closer to publication date.

Even More to Come…

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As if that weren’t enough bookish goodness, Random House Canada also presented a sneak preview of their Fall 2015 titles. I’m personally super geekily excited about the new Margaret Atwood novel The Heart Goes Last!

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Thanks to Random House Canada for the invitation to this event!

Author Encounter and Review | The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins

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I was fortunate enough to have been invited to brunch with novelist Paula Todd at Le Select Bistro last February. Her debut novel The Girl on the Train has been a runaway hit since the holidays, and it’s easy to see why. It’s tight, taut and thrilling, with an unreliable narrator all too aware of her unreliability, and a plot so twisty that Miss Marple herself would have a field day trying to parse it all out.

The Brunch

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Author Paula Hawkins speaking at the brunch

It was my first time at Le Select Bistro and I found the brunch an absolute treat. The main course offered a selection of eggs, steak, salmon, or French toast stuffed with apples and cranberries (my pick, and it’s about as decadent as it sounds), which were served with a selection of freshly baked croissants, fresh fruits, mimosas and a really rich chocolate cake for dessert. Someone else at my table commented that the berries were fresh, not canned, which is a pleasant surprise in the dead of winter. All that to say: if you haven’t had a chance to eat at Le Select Bistro yet, definitely give it a shot.

The brunch highlight of course was author Paula Hawkins herself, who was in Toronto for only a day or two before having to fly out for the rest of her book tour. As I mentioned, her book is a major hit. It has been compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a comparison I think is a disservice to Girl on the Train, which I actually find a much more potent, captivating read. I spoke to the author only briefly, but found her to be sweet and unassuming, far from the woman I imagined could come up with such a dark and twisty tale. She spoke a bit about how readers have responded to her book, and credits the book’s success to the voyeur in all of us. Whether we admit it or not, there’s something about other people’s secrets that fascinate us, and the book’s protagonist finds herself deeply enmeshed in one.

The Book

22557272Have you ever read 4:50 to PaddingtonIt’s one of my all-time favourite Agatha Christie mysteries. An elderly woman witnesses a murder from a moving train, but when the police come, there is no evidence of a crime at all. Miss Marple happens to be a friend of the woman, so she steps in to investigate.

The Girl on the Train has a similar plot, except without a Miss Marple to come to the witness’ rescue. The protagonist, Rachel, commutes to the city every day. Her train takes her past a house with a seemingly happy couple she nicknames “Jess and Jason,” and she watches their lives through the window as the train whizzes by. Until one day, she sees Jess kissing another man, and when she finds out that Jess has gone MIA, she goes to the police with her fears about Jess’s safety. The problem is, Rachel’s also an alcoholic, who has a complete blank in her memory for the evening that Jess (real name: Megan) disappeared. Worse, Megan lives only a few doors away from Rachel’s old house, where her ex-husband and his new wife now live, and Rachel has had a history of showing up uninvited at their doorstep — again, incidents that because of her alcoholic blackouts, she can barely remember herself.

Hawkins’s writing reminds me of Elizabeth Haynes, one of my favourite contemporary thriller writers whose Into the Darkest Corner is still, bar none, one of the most powerful thrillers I’ve ever read. Like Haynes, Hawkins keeps us trapped within her protagonist’s mind, and when Rachel herself doesn’t fully understand what she knows, then neither do we. We not only empathize with Rachel’s confusion and terror over what had happened that weekend, we feel it ourselves, and like Rachel, we sometimes wonder if anything even happened at all, or if alcohol had caused Rachel to imagine everything.

I couldn’t put this book down. I was completely caught up in Rachel’s story, as well as in the stories of Megan and Anna (Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife), both of whom also interject bits of their own story into the narrative. I love how all the plot threads came together, and above all, I love how much I was sucked into their perspectives. This is a potent psychological thriller — you end up caring about the characters, and whether you figure it out before the end or not, you’ll keep turning the page anyway.

The effects of addiction and of a relationship gone sour are presented with stark frankness by Hawkins, and Rachel feels utterly real as a person, which again makes her struggles real. Kudos as well to Hawkins for not prettifying her character. I’ve read books where the female protagonist feels overweight or frumpy, but others really see her as beautiful, but Rachel really is overweight and frumpy, and I love that the author shows how this affects the way others treat her and her credibility. If this is made into a movie, I’d love for Hollywood to take a similar approach and not present the standard beauty with a few extra pounds.

This is an amazing book, and it was actually a surprise to learn that such masterful plotting was in a debut novel. I look forward to seeing more of Paula Hawkins’ books in the future, and in the meantime, highly recommend this one for a weekend treat.

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Thank you to Random House Canada for the invitation to the brunch, and for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review | Summer Sisters, Judy Blume

Judy Blume will always remind me of my childhood. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret was one of my favourite books growing up, and while a recent re-read didn’t quite affect me as I’d hoped, I still remember getting caught up in Margaret’s concerns about filling out a bra and getting her period and all sorts of rites of passage young girls go through. Fellow Blume fans, say it with me: “I must, I must, I must increase my bust!”

Great news for all of us who grew up with Judy Blume: she has a new adult novel coming in June! In the Unlikely Event hits shelves June 2.

820100I was fortunate enough to have attended the Random House Canada Spring Bloggers Event, where they told us about the upcoming novel. There were no ARCs available, but they generously provided us with copies of Judy Blume’s previous adult novel Summer SistersIf you’ve ever read Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s EyeSummer Sisters reminds me somewhat of that novel, being about the strong bonds formed in female friendship when young, and how these can last in some form or another all through adulthood. And like Cat’s Eye, Summer Sisters took me right back to my childhood.

The novel is about best friends Vix Leonard and Caitlin Somers, who go to Caitlin’s family house in Martha’s Vineyard every summer. Caitlin’s family becomes somewhat a surrogate family to Vix, and helps her out with scholarships to the best schools. Over the years, the girls grow apart — having grown up with money all her life, Caitlin can’t understand why Vix would choose to spend her summers working at a restaurant rather than travel with her to Europe; Vix on the other hand finds it difficult to explain why she feels uncomfortable accepting Caitlin’s parents’ offer to pay for her ticket to Europe. Vix sees a degree from Harvard as a necessity for a stable life; Caitlin thinks it’s settling for an ordinary one. And as the novel opens, Caitlin invites Vix to be maid of honour at her wedding to Vix’s ex-boyfriend, whom they both met during a summer at the Vineyard.

The novel dips into the girls’ stories once a year, at first during the summer season, and then later on, during Vix’s school year. Even though the novel begins with Caitlin’s wedding, the romantic angle is secondary to the story of their friendship, and the boyfriend is as secondary a character as the girls’ parents. I love this glimpse into the girls’ lives, and their adventures in the Vineyard remind me of the unbridled fun summers were as a teen, when they were breaks from the school year, and where even a menial job like cleaning houses could be fun because you were doing it with your best friend.

Blume tells the story mostly from Vix’s perspective, and while various characters are given a chapter or two to tell their side, Caitlin’s voice is notably absent. This adds to her mystique as a character — we see her only as others do, and while Vix may know her more than most, even Vix eventually realizes that there are many layers to Caitlin that she will never know. I actually wasn’t a big fan of hearing from the other characters — with the exception of Caitlin’s stepmom Abby, none of the other interludes really interested me, and I would have rather stayed with Vix the entire time.

I hesitate to call this novel simple, because there is a lot that happens, and so much more in terms of family dynamics that remains unsaid. But in a way, there’s a wonderful simplicity that marks this story, and a forthrightness in Blume’s narration that again takes me back to childhood, to a time where summer friendships meant something, and the potential of the future appears limitless. This is a lovely read, and I can’t wait for Blume’s new novel in June.

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Thank you to Random House Canada for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

TIFF Books on Film Returns March 2 to June 22

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Remains of the Day | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

TIFF’s Books on Film series returns for its fifth season on March 2nd with an exciting line up of great cinema that began as outstanding literature. This seems especially timely after a year that’s been fantastic for film adaptations of books — recent box office hits (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Fifty Shades of Grey, any number of superhero movies) also began as books, as did at least half a dozen of the top contenders this awards season. The TIFF series celebrates the translation of the page to screen, with film screenings followed by CBC host Eleanor Wachtel (Writers & Company) interviewing filmmakers, authors and experts about the art of adapting a book for the screen.

TIFF Books on Film 2015 Schedule:

Monday, March 2, 7 pm
James Shapiro (Professor of English at Columbia University) on Coriolanus

Coriolanus. Credit: Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library.

Coriolanus | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library.

Trailer:

Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler and Shakespeare — need I say more? Fiennes also directs this modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, about an exiled Roman general who allies with his sworn enemy to take revenge on the city that spurned him. 

Esteemed Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro will discuss the perennial challenges of bringing the Bard to the screen.

Monday, March 16, 7 pm
Kazuo Ishiguro on The Remains of the Day

This is the one I’m seriously geeking out over. Kazuo Ishiguro is an amazing writer, and The Remains of the Day is, bar none, my favourite among all of his works. He will be at TIFF Bell Lightbox (in person!) to talk to Eleanor Wachtel about the film adaptation. The film itself stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, so really, how can it be anything but spectacular?
Monday, April 13, 7 pm
Lynn Barber on An Education
An Education | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

An Education | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Trailer:

I’ve heard a lot of great things about this film starring Carey Mulligan and adapted from a memoir by English journalist Lynn Barber about her teenage love affair with a dashing con man. It will be great to see how it plays out on screen, and then to hear from Barber herself on the adaptation of her life.

Monday, May 11, 7 pm
Allan Scott on Don’t Look Now

Don't Look Now | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Don’t Look Now | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Trailer:

Daphne du Maurier had a gift for atmosphere in her writing, and this film, adapted from one of her short stories, sounds decidedly creepy. Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie play a married couple who is haunted by a series of mysterious occurrences after the death of their daughter. Best part? Screenwriter Allan Scott, who will be discussing his adaptation with Eleanor Wachtel, is also known for creating the stage musical adaptation of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which just makes him more awesome to my inner theatre geek.

Monday, June 1, 7 pm
Irvine Welsh on Trainspotting

Trainspotting | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Trainspotting | Courtesy of TIFF Film Reference Library

Trailer:

To be honest, I’ve never watched this classic based on a book (also a classic!) by Irvine Welsh. The film stars Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller though, so I’ll definitely have to give it a try. The author himself will be speaking with Eleanor Wachtel after the screening of this film.

Monday, June 22, 7 pm
Phillip Lopate on The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie | Courtesy of Photofest

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie | Courtesy of Photofest

Essayist, poet, novelist and film critic Phillip Lopate speaks with Eleanor Wachtel about this classic 1969 adaptation of Muriel Spark’s world-famous novel. The film adaptation stars Maggie Smith — Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter series, the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey, among many other legendary roles, with Jean Brodie being among her most famous. I also loved Muriel Spark’s book, and look forward to hearing it discussed at TIFF.

How to subscribe:

Series subscriptions to Books on Film include all six events and are on sale now. Subscription pricing as follows (regular price subscribers save $30 off the cost of single tickets): adult member $153, adult non-member $180, student/senior member $122.40, students/senior non-member $144.

Single tickets available starting on Wednesday, February 25: adult member $28, adult nonmember $35, student/senior member $24, student/senior non-member $29.75, groups of 20+ $31.50.

Purchase tickets online at tiff.net/books, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET daily at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, or visit the Steve and Rashmi Gupta Box Office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET daily at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West.

Review | When Everything Feels like the Movies, Raziel Reid

24043806When Everything Feels like the Movies is an unbelievably raw, powerful book. Reading this book is a visceral experience, and I almost didn’t write this review because there is no way I can express the power of Raziel Reid’s writing. He plunges us deep into the mind and heart of his narrator Jude, and creates such a rich, textured voice for his character that Jude will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Jude is a hilarious narrator whose humour belies the depth of his experiences and pain. A young teen bullied for being gay, Jude copes by imagining himself a movie star. Boys chase him and call him Judy because they are rabid fans. Graffiti about him on bathroom doors are notes from secret admirers. Classmates stare at his outfits and made-up face because the school hallways are actually red carpet premieres and he’s the star. It’s a comforting fiction that crumbles with the first punch, even as he desperately attempts to cling to it. In a particularly heart-wrenching moment, he scrambles to his feet and races away from a group of bullies, describing all the while how he is really acting out a lush, beautiful scene from a movie.

The reason this book is so powerful is the language. Take this passage about bathroom graffiti for example:

They made portraits of me, too. They were my graffiti tabloids. I was totally famous. I’d imagine that the drawing in the handicap stall of my alleged crotch with “Hermafrodite Jude/Judy” scribbled next to it was the cover of the National Enquirer. Misspelled headline included. I was addicted to them. I’d look all over the bathroom and on all the walls in the hallway, and if there wasn’t one waiting for me on my locker for Jim to paint over at the end of the day, I was crushed. I wanted them to hate me; hate was as close to love as I thought I’d ever be. [p. 18]

Passages like that just blow me away. I mean, wow. The studied casualness of stating a desire for this graffiti, contrasted with the subtle dig at the spelling error, and then wrapped up at the end with an almost off-hand remark. Reid manages to pack more sincerity in that final sentence than in the rest of the paragraph, yet the emotion in that last line can be felt throughout, even as Jude pretends otherwise. Bravo, Raziel Reid, is all I can say.

Then Jude falls in love, with a popular boy who happens to be straight. If you know the author’s inspiration for this story, then you already know how that turns out. If you don’t, then I urge you to avoid spoilers at all costs. The ending seemed sudden to me and I thought it came out of nowhere. But I can imagine that’s how it would have seemed in real life as well, especially as Reid keeps us firmly locked within Jude’s perspective.

The controversy around the content of this book has brought it to the attention of many more readers, but it has also almost eclipsed discussion about the book itself, which I think is a shame. Read it to take a stand against censorship, if you like, but also read it just because it’s a very, very good book. Jude is a star, and his story will pull you right in and never let you go.

Review | Something Wiki, Suzanne Sutherland

20860645Something Wiki is about a shy twelve year old named Jo, who has three brainy friends and edits Wikipedia for fun. When two of her friends suddenly decide they’re too cool for her, Jo has to deal with a situation unfortunately all too familiar with many young girls. Add to the mix a twenty-four year old brother moving back home with his pregnant girlfriend, and Jo’s dealing with quite a bit to handle.

Sutherland does a great job of capturing a young girl’s voice, and her writing took me right back to my days as a tween. I remember being like Jo — Wikipedia wasn’t around back then so I had to scribble my feelings in an actual paper journal, but I can certainly relate to her worries about bad hair cuts, monstrous zits, and not quite fitting in with friends who are finding new interests. Kudos to Sutherland for giving Jo a real acne problem, rather than the usual trope in movies of otherwise beautiful girls freaking out over a single pimple. The story feels real, and Jo is a sharp, witty narrator. Her sardonic asides give way to real pain though, and it’s almost painful to read about how cruel young girls can be.

I lent my copy to my sister after reading, and about halfway through, she asked me if Chloe (Jo’s best-friend-turned-kinda-mean-girl) ever gets her comeuppance. Unfortunately, Sutherland ends the story before the girls enter high school, which means we never get to see if Chloe gets major zits before the prom or ends up unable to land her dream job after university. There is some closure, but as in real life, things aren’t completely wrapped up in a tidy little package. The book does give a glimpse of hope, however — J, the girlfriend of Jo’s brother, is the cool older sister type who wears awesome outfits and is beyond caring what others think of her. Attitude-wise, she’s who Jo can grow up to become, and both provides emotional support and a reminder that things do get better.

Despite being in the title, the Wikipedia angle almost seems unnecessary. Perhaps it will resonate on a different level with contemporary tweens, but it  mostly just reminds me of those Baby-sitter Club notebook chapter introductions.

Something Wiki is fantastic realistic YA. It’s much tighter — plot-wise and style-wise — than Sutherland’s first novel, and is sure to resonate with many young girls and women who remember all too well the pains of growing up.

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Thank you to Dundurn for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.