I read this just after reading WAAMOM and that was quite light. This one is not! In fact, it was so intense I read it quickly just to get it over with. If you are feeling in a dark mood try not to read this book, pick something a little more fluffy instead.
Caddy and Rosie are best friends. Best friends who have known each other for 10 years and speak every day. The kind of best friend that you can have when you’re a kid because nothing else gets in the way. They go to different schools, Caddy goes to a posh private school called Esthers while Rosie attends the local comp. They have friends at school but they see each other every weekend and know each other inside out. They are just entering their final year at school and both are working hard. Rosie mentions a new girl who has started at her school, Suzanne, and they quickly become friends. Caddy is a bit bothered by this but once she meets Suzanne they become friends too.
Caddy and Rosie live in Brighton and this is where the book is set. There is a lot of scenes on the beach and cold, pebbly conversations. Suzanne has grown up in Reading and moved to Brighton to live with her aunt, Sarah. Caddy is intensely curious about this and eventually pieces some stuff together to find out why she doesn’t live with her family. It’s quite serious stuff and Suzanne is one seriously damaged person. She seems to be on a bit of a destructive path and Caddy feels that she needs something to happen in her life. Her three goals for the year are: to lose her virginity, get a boyfriend (not necessarily connected) and have a big life event happen to her.
As their friendship develops things start to make more sense. Suzanne has been through a few terrible things and her aunt has saved her and brought her home with her. Suzanne, although grateful, doesn’t really want to tow the line though. She is constantly getting in to trouble at school and through Rosie, Caddy discovers that she is seeing a boy called Dylan, and sleeping with him. Caddy is a kind hearted, naïve girl and thinks that she can save Suzanne. Suzanne needs professional help and leads Caddy on a path of destruction. Rosie sees the truth of what’s going on and tries to warn Caddy but, Caddy is hell bent on fixing Suzanne.
The dynamic between the three girls was a bit off to me. Rosie and Caddy were best friends but both seemed content to let the other one spend loads of time with Suzanne. Rosie must have known that things were not good with Suzanne but doesn’t really discuss it with Caddy, who goes off on this path with Suzanne which ultimately leads to disaster.
I met the author of this book the other day and she said that Suzanne is her favourite fictional character. I can see why because she could write some crazy stuff about her but, I was a teenage girl once and know how intense friendships can be. I was in a friendship group where another girl was introduced and it wasn’t good. I just felt that Rosie and Caddy may not have been as close as they should have been and that coloured the other characters for me. I liked Rosie but Caddy was a total wet weekend to me….. In Brighton! Her friendships with her school mates wasn’t really explored either, which made me feel a bit sad for her because she poured all her efforts into her friendship with Rosie and then didn’t feel very comfortable about socializing with Rosie’s other friends. Even though she eventually was the reason that Suzanne got the help she needed, she didn’t get the support that she needed to have a better life. I wanted her to enjoy life a bit more, but she didn’t seem to.
A good book, really thought provoking and made me remember how intense those friendships and feelings were. I just felt it needed something more. I am looking forward to reading her next book though, A Quiet Kind of Thunder which has just been published.