Girlhood/ One of Us is Lying (Joint review)

GIRLHOOD - Cat Clarke

5* (because it made me cry)

I have always loved Cat Clarke’s books – first discovering her when I was a young teen, it amazes me that now as an adult I can still enjoy and connect with her novels. 

Girlhood is set in Scotland, in a boarding school that is very Enid Blyton-esque. It even begins with mentioning Enid Blyton’s St Claire’s series and later the infamous Malory Towers saga (both of which I absolutely loved as a young girl). And in some ways, you can definitely say that Girlhood is a modern version of Enid Blyton’s much loved boarding school books. 

The story follows sixth former Harper, and her final year at school. Cat Clarke immediately sets the scene – Harper is a twin, but her ‘other half’ died 4 years ago. The day after her twin died, her dad won £3 million in the lottery, thus enabling her to afford such a fancy school. Harper’s friendship group is quickly (but not rushed) explained to us – her four best friends helped her cope with her sister’s death by being there for her, and supporting her. Girlhood then introduces new girl, Kirsty, a girl who latches on to Harper, and Harper takes her under her wing. But Kirsty is a rather disturbing, spooky character who Harper’s friends are immediately wary of. 

I loved how emotional this book turned out to be, how it really tugged at my heart strings and made me cry near the end. It goes into subjects like family relationships, death, grief and friendship really well, attaching the characters to these themes with natural ease.

Overall, I just loved the use of setting, and the nostalgic reminder of my days reading Enid Blyton as a young girl.

ONE OF US IS LYING – Karen M. McManus

5* (best teen murder mystery ever!)

I saw this book filling up my twitter feed so much, I really couldn’t put reading it off any longer. And boy, was I glad!

It is nothing like I have read before – a YA murder mystery surround a number of teenage protagonists who develop so much throughout the book – it doesn’t even matter about the revelation of the murderer because the whole package fitted perfectly.

One of Us is Lying follows the story of four US high school kids who are being investigated for the murder of their fellow student, a much disliked gossip blogger who the whole school probably wanted to kill. One of the suspects is a geek, one a jock, one a criminal and one is labelled as a princess. These stereotypes seem to exist in a lot of YA novels (especially those set in the US) – but what this book does, it gives these labels a huge turnover – each character develops and grows so beautifully, so realistically and the author did well to drag each character out of their ‘position’. 
There are a lot of twisty turns in the plot which made the novel so much more engrossing. The narrative switches between the four main characters, heightening the tension and giving the reader a deeper look into their personal selves. 

Altogether, everything just wraps up nicely, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book!


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