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Saturday, 24 September 2011
The Opposite Of Amber
By Gillian Philip
“It’s a good idea, if you don’t want to leave traces, to put a girl in water. It’s the opposite of amber.”
‘The Opposite Of Amber’ is a moving story of sisterly love. Ruby and Jinn are about as different as it’s possible for sisters to be; Jinn being confident and vivacious and Ruby quiet and unable to articulate her feelings.
I loved the way in which a sense of peril and menace builds up right from the start; not just about the dead girls who are turning up in bodies of water locally, but also about Jinn’s relationship with no-good Nathan Baird. Ruby knows straight away that isn’t going to end well.
The story is told through the voice of Ruby, which for very good reasons is a voice that hesitates to speak up. In the past Ruby has said things that have led to serious trouble, so now she’s a bit more careful. This works really well as a narrative technique as it tells us more about Ruby than mere chatter would.
There are many twists and turns in the plot which leads eventually to a resolution which is wholly unexpected. It also takes us on a journey for Ruby which has a very satisfying conclusion.
Although ‘The Opposite Of Amber’ is aimed at young adults, it is sophisticated enough to appeal to an adult audience and I found it a perfect crossover read. It is also beautifully written, full of elegant description and perfectly realised imagery.
Very highly recommended indeed.
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt
You can find an interview with Gillian Phillip on my writing blog Fiction Is Stranger Than Fact today.