Book Review: Read Me Like a Book (Liz Kessler)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

Pages: 297

Release Date: May 14th 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her . . .

Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

Review:

I don’t normally like stories that centre around coming out – while I recognise they’re important, especially in YA, as they can really help young people struggling with these issues, it’s just not the kind of story I normally go for. Saying that, this was a beautifully written story and I did enjoy reading it.

Ash is having a difficult time and it makes her a really sympathetic character. She’s having to make big decisions about her future, is struggling at college, her parent’s relationship is falling apart and she’s having boyfriend and best friend problems. Throw in some confusing feelings about a female teacher and it’s a wonder the poor girl doesn’t completely fall apart.

If all that sounds a little much or too depressing it really isn’t: Ash finds support and new friends throughout the book, and while everything doesn’t end on too much of a high note, it’s definitely not a bitter ending either. I felt hopeful for Ash at the end of it, and I think that’s an important result after all she goes through in the book. I was a little disappointed by one of the reactions of a character to her coming out though – I won’t spoil it and say which one – but I’d thought better of them and really hope they come round.

One thing I didn’t like was the fact that everyone – and I mean everyone – seemed to guess Ash was gay before she’d even had the thought cross her mind. When it happened with one character I could understand it, but there were so many who apparently knew and were waiting for her to come out, it just felt quite unrealistic.

While I wasn’t sure going in to this, I’m glad I gave it a go as it was a really enjoyable read, and I’d definitely like to check out more of Kessler’s books in future.

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