Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Back to being a Teenager!

Are you still a teenager?  I am not, but I really enjoy books which remind me of being one, hence my 2 recommendations on this post - each for very different reasons.

On holiday in August I read and was fascinated by The Amanda Project which is a very unusual concept - not only for the book/story itself, but for the website that fuels it and the way further installments (I believe it is an 8 book project) are written:

So much more than just a book!

The book is told from the viewpoint of a teen named Callie, who has befriended Amanda - new to her school.  Callie has her own troubles - her mother has gone missing and she and her father are trying to come to terms with the fact that she may have left them. Amanda is absent from school, but it seems she has played a prank on the Principle's car and made the evidence point to Callie;  But not just Callie, also to 2 other students who are not in the same 'sphere' as her at high school.  The uneasy threesome start to work together to find clues to Amanda's whereabouts and the mystery and strangeness increases - Amanda is a chameleon - different things to different people and sometimes she seems to have 'borrowed' her new friends' identities.  As concern over Amanda's whereabouts and safety increases, the clues keep coming (from where?), the 3 teens become more bonded, they launch a web-site to assist in their search, and this website is real!  You (the reader) can visit it and add your own contributions to the fiction and the scrapbook style - Amanda's love of thrift shop items and drawings add visual interest to the book and the website contributions follow suit... and the story continues.

This was such an unusual book - I am sure it appeals to girls who like to watch American shows like 90210 and Pretty Little Liars but it is quite mindful of the hierarchy and social 'layering' which exists - and it seems to have a desire to encourage teenagers to break the mould and be true to themselves. Yes! it took me back to my 'yoof' a bit ..... but not as much as this next book which I highly recommend:

Front CoverGrowing Up Again by Catriona McCloud.  Have you ever found yourself thinking that you would love to have your teenage years again, but knowing what  you know now?  This book might make you think differently!!  Janie is nearly 40 and has just told her husband "it's over" and gone to sleep in the spare room - next morning she is back in the single bed in her parents' house, with a bad perm and double maths at school!!  Janie's adult thinking/plain speaking gets her sent out of class, soon it gets her parents passing furtive, worried glances at one another, but Janie gets on with re-living her teenage life waiting to see when she will return to her grown-up self.  Then she begins to wonder if she has to 'do something over differently' before she can return to the present .... and before long she has decided to take advantage of knowing the future - surely she can remember a Grand National winner or avert a disaster somehow!

Janie's story made me laugh to myself and sometimes out loud (people on public transport, avert your gaze - not only is that person reading instead of texting, now she is chuckling and wiping her eyes!!).  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting chick lit which, in the main, takes you out of yourself, but has a thoughtful side to it also - people's attitude to addiction and downs syndrome get put under Janie's magnifying glass and her advice and opinions are fairly harsh!! I liked her - I wish she was a friend of mine!

I have some very good friends, actually - one lent me this book (thank you Anne - I brought it back home in my luggage from our lovely break in Sweden!)  and 2 more who I know would love this book (Michelle and Shelley - you gotta read it, trust me!)

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