Friday, 15 May 2015
Read me like a book by Liz Kessler
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?
I have been looking forward to this book for a long while because it sounded like it would tackle ideas around teenage sexuality in a thoughtful and considered way .
This story is the coming out story of Ashleigh. Ashleigh has been having a tough time at home as she's living with her parents as their marriage falls apart. As a result she's struggling and feeling a bit lost.
I like that the coming out part of this story comes as a surprise to even the main character and out of nowhere. Ashleigh assumes she is straight and as a consequence starts a new relationship with a boy. She only questions it when things with him don't go well when he starts treating her poorly, things go wrong and find herself turning to her new English teacher for help when it all gets too much. The attraction she suddenly finds she has to Miss Murrary comes out of nowhere and suddenly opens Ashleigh's eyes to what she actually wants in life and from a relationship. I liked what this book had to say about how Ashleigh came to realise she was gay and how those around her reacted in a range of ways and that Asheligh just had to decide to focus on those who supported her and ignore the views of those who did not.
The only thing that niggled me slightly with this book was the whole "oh we knew you were gay" reaction Ashleigh got from several people. It just niggled me that they clearly 'knew' when Ashleigh had no idea herself. It says something about stereotypes which I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with.
Apart from that niggle I thought it was an important and thoughtful book and a welcome addition to the YA market.