Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Very Sweet Rites Of Passage Novel





I've read three male teenage 'rites of passage' novels in the last couple of months; four if you count Pigeon English. The Rotters Club and Skippy Dies were written by men whereas Just In Case was written by a woman and there's a very clear difference in the way in which the authors handle the turbulence of male adolescence. Having experienced it myself (admittedly many moons ago), I feel that Meg Rosoff has created in Justin a very real and far more sensitive character than the norm and this book is so much better for it.

A teenager with a telepathic understanding of his toddler brother Charlie, a conviction that fate is about to send him to an early grave and an imaginary greyhound as a pet would never find high school plain sailing and it is little surprise that Justin finds himself on the periphery of his circle of schoolmates. When an older girl - a photographer - spots his haunted looks and exploits them to advance her career our hero's teenage angst is cranked up to the maximum.

It's a highly original and unusual novel. Justin is a fascinating creation. His story is told with page turning pace and gentle humour and I am happy to give it five stars.