Genre: Coming of age Drama/ Contemporary Fiction
An avid reader, ten-year-old Naomi Rose already knows the power of a good story. When her mother dies, Naomi’s emotional struggle is exacerbated by her attempts to appease her father’s demands for self-restraint and composure.
With her father increasingly turning to the bottle for solace, Naomi seeks attention elsewhere, devising highly embellished tales to shock her classmates and delighting in their reaction. When she is befriended by Ozzy, a charismatic, confident Turkish boy, Naomi believes she has finally found someone she can trust. But when Ozzy embarks on a relationship with Naomi’s nemesis, Molly, it leads to divided loyalties and, once again, Naomi is left alone and desperate.
As her hopes unravel, she is drawn to Mr Adams, the popular young English teacher who applauds and nurtures her talent for writing. Interest quickly turns to obsession and Mr Adams’ naivety makes him an easy target. When a chance arises to command her father’s attention whilst simultaneously punishing Mr Adams for his rejection of her, it is too good an opportunity to miss.
My verdict: I enjoyed the premise of the novel and found myself identifying with the main protagonist on many issues including finding your identity and my love of books. The author says the protagonist is loosely based on someone she knows so this helped me as a reader imagine the characters as real people. Overall, this novel is a rollercoaster of emotions and sends the message that whatever poor decisions you made in your past doesn’t have to define your future and that if you find yourself with a skill or talent, to channel it into something good and productive. Ultimately this is a modern day version and retelling of the boy that cried wolf. The reason I gave it four stars is that I found Naomi’s self pity and presenting herself as a victim quite irritating at times and found that she is the embodiment of the ‘Drama Queen’ figure we often see in YA/ New adult novels. (That’s not to say I did not sympathise with her over the events that happened at when she was at a pivotal age and a times very emotionally vulnerable.)
The author explores issues such as Mental Health, Drug addiction, class divides, lack of a maternal figure, parental affection and grief, Fans of Louisa Renson, Bridgid Kemmerer and Kelly Ried will love this angsty drama and the fall out of a wild imagination. (In the #Metoo Era) As well finding solace in knowledge and making sure that someone’s intelligence are at the forefront of someone’s priorities instead of social interaction and emotional growth.