I really enjoyed Barnard’s sophomore work A Quiet Kind of Thunder so I was eager to read her debut. It was a good book but I can definitely tell her writing has improved.
Content warnings for: abuse, attempted suicide, manipulative relationships and slut shaming (which is called out on the page).
A new girl has moved to town and threatens the friendship between Caddy and Rosie as Suzanne goes to Rosie’s school and spends more time with her. However Caddy starts to hang out with Suzanne due to jealousy but that morphs into a strong friendship, but even though Suzanne has a tough and carefree exterior there is so much more going on beneath the surface.
This book is pretty harsh; it shows the ugly fleeting side of friendships in teenagers that are harmful but just as important as lasting friendships in our development as humans. Some of the decisions made by these young girls made me want to jump into the page and shake then because they were behaving so rashly. But that is what youth is.
I felt like the voice of the MC came across a bit young when I was reading. At times she read more like a 13/14 year old than a 16/17 year old, apart from talking about sex.
One of my least favourite tropes exists in this: overprotective parents who do not listen to their children and are super over the top about it. Of course I understand where this comes from, but it drives me wild. I wish they would actually listen to their children. Yes parents “know what’s best” for their children, but just because they’re younger doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make their own decisions.
What I absolutely loved about this book is that this is very much about the friendship between 3 friends. There’s some mentions of relationships and flirting, but it is never the main focus. There’s a couple arguments because of boys but it’s always just something that is a catalyst for further arguments rather than the sole focus.
The difference between this book and Barnard’s second book is very obvious so I’m pretty excited to read her next book to see how she’s came along.