Book Review: The Opposite of You (Lou Morgan)

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

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Pages: 224

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Bex and her identical twin sister Naomi used to be close. They used to be able to finish each other’s sentences, used to know exactly what the other was thinking. They were a matching pair.

And then something changed.

But Bex didn’t even realise until it was too late. When Naomi walks out of the house the night before their last GCSE exam and doesn’t come back, Bex has to think hard about how to find her.

What happens next will force Bex to unpick their shared history and the memories, following Naomi’s trail through their family, their past and all the way to the blinding lights of the Hemisphere music festival. Everything she thought she knew is called into question.

With her worries dismissed by their parents and ignored by her friends (and with Naomi’s friends nowhere to be found) the only person Bex can trust is a stranger – Josh – as she tries to piece together a picture of the person she thought she shared everything with. Naomi’s been leading another life, one Bex doesn’t recognize… and it’s led her straight into the path of Max: someone else who is not what they appear.

As Bex chases Naomi, she realizes it isn’t just whether she can find her twin: it’s whether she knows her at all.

And whether she still wants to.

Review:

Bex and Naomi are identical twins who’ve grown up to have very different personalities: Bex has friends, wants to be an artist and is the good twin, while Naomi is constantly getting in trouble and her life seems to be a bit of a mystery. When she disappears the day of their last GCSE exam, Bex delves into Naomi’s secrets to try and find her before she gets herself into too much trouble.

This was a really interesting little book. It felt very short and I did wish there was more of it, especially towards the end, when everything felt a bit crammed in there. It’s told from dual perspective of each twin, with memories from their past in there too.

Naomi was the ‘bad twin’ who fought with their parents and always seemed to get into trouble. I wasn’t particularly keen on her at first but as the book went on and her character developed I began really sympathise with her, although she made some really dumb decisions in the book and sometimes I just wanted to shake her! She struggles to find her identity, something we all go through in our teen years, but made doubly hard when you feel your twin slipping away from you.

I loved the exploration of the connection between the twins and how this was leaked out through their memories of their childhood. It was great how Bex rediscovered this with the reader – it worked well with the plot rather than feeling contrived. She realises that she may have pushed her twin away without realising it, even though in her mind at first it was Naomi who started rejecting her first. It was interesting to see their different points of view and the way they viewed the same memories.

This is a really fast paced book that you’ll definitely fly through. I found it more of a character piece than plot driven and I really loved getting to know the twins. I hope you will too!

4

Book Review: Girlhood (Cat Clarke)

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

Publisher: Quercus

Pages: 342

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

Review:

I received a copy of this via NetGalley, then a physical copy arrived in the post too. Result: I read it twice as fast and sped through it in just two days. It just kept me turning the pages, so if I wasn’t glued to the actual book I was racing through it on my Kindle app.

Harper’s haunted by guilt from her twin sister’s death, and despite her tight-knit group of friends at her new fancy boarding school, she knows they can’t understand. But when new girl Kirsty turns up and admits she’s lost a sister too, Harper feels she’s finally found someone who can relate to her. But something about Kirsty doesn’t quite add up.

This was a real page turner. I’m not sure what it was that got me so gripped – the excellent characters, who were diverse and relatable, or the mystery behind Kirsty, or the guilt and sorrow in Harper’s relationship with Jenna and her death – but whatever it was, I just really enjoyed this book.

I did have a few gripes with Harper, as she did seem a bit naive when it came to Kirsty: I feel my warning bells would have gone off a lot sooner. But Kirsty was a very good manipulator. I also felt Harper didn’t behave great towards her friends, even though I saw where she was coming from with the whole privilege and not coming from money thing. At least she did eventually recognise she was being a bit of an arse.

Despite that, the friendships in the book were really lovely: the opening scene where they’re having their start of term midnight feast was a really excellent display of their relationships. I loved the boarding school setting too: like Harper, I always wanted to go to St Clare’s, twin or no twin, and I’m jealous she got to go!

The thing I enjoyed most was the ending. The climax was really tense and I had to read it in one sitting as I just needed to know what was going to happen. It surprised me too, in the best of ways. Without saying too much, I’m glad that Kirsty wasn’t just treated as a villain who gets her comeuppance: it was a lot more complicated and heartwarming than that and a real highlight of the book.

This is the first book I’ve read by Cat Clarke but I’ll be sure to check out her other works now. Her characters are rich and complicated and she writes the kind of thing I’d loved to have read as a teen.

4