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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.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Watching Willow Watts

By Talli Roland

This novel has everything you’d expect from a great romantic comedy. Strong characters, a romping plot and plenty of will they/won’t they suspense. But it’s also about something much deeper.

As we follow Willow Watts on her journey to turn her life and her family’s fortunes around with a stratospheric career as a Marilyn Monroe lookalike, we’re posed with some very real and deep questions about the nature of identity.

Who are we? Who do we want to be and how much of that depends on what we look like externally rather than what we actually are?

Willow is supported by strong characters from her best friend Paula, to her Dad who gets a chance at transformation himself, and even Krusty the family pet gets a look in. Look out also for Betts who delivers one of the most heart-warming storylines.

I really enjoyed this book with its great characters, interesting premise and satisfying plot, but more than that, it made me think.

This book is highly recommended as a fun romantic comedy read, but with a difference!

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

If you’d like to buy a copy of 'Watching Willow Watts' (Kindle Editions) , follow these links:

Amazon UK


Also see more of Talli's books here and read her blog here.