YA Fiction Week – Caroline’s Choice: ‘Almost Grace’ by Rosie Rowell

I first heard of this book via hotkeybooks
on Twitter.  Their enthusiasm was infectious and I felt that I had to
read this offering put forward by this bold South African writer.  We
got in touch and they very kindly sent me a copy to review.  Thanks hotkeybooks!

The
novel documents a week in the life of the main protagonist, Grace, and
her friends, as they enjoy a week away on the coast to celebrate the end
of their exams and the beginning of adulthood.  But it is so much more
than that.  Against this light backdrop of these teenagers enjoying the
freedom of a holiday on their own, this novel tackles some difficult
issues head on.  The white elephant that is ever present is Grace’s
eating disorder.  Rowell presents a rounded view of this condition from
the various perspectives and gives insight into how this affects
everyone around her as well as how it affects Grace herself.  

Things
change dramatically when Grace meets an older guy at a house party.  
For Grace, Spook epitomises what it means to be free.  He is a surfer
living out of his car who drifts into her life and out again through the
course of a week, but the impact of this connection affects everyone
Grace knows with lasting consequences.

Almost Grace
is an evocative and thought-provoking read that doesn’t shy away from
the challenges that teenagers and young adults face.  I feel it speaks
to its young adult audience in a way that is honest.  Rowell really
attempts to connect with the audience and present the rite of passage
into adulthood as a period of self-discovery where Grace and her friends
learn more of themselves and their place in society.  

Throughout
childhood and into adolescence, we learn about responsibility and
making choices.  As this book demonstrates, as we move into adulthood,
we learn about accepting responsibility for our choices.  We also
discover the moral ambiguity of the adult world rather than the moral
certainty of a child’s world.  

This is a good, quick read, which is fast-paced and does the job every book should – transports you away from the here and now.

Rosie Rowell has also kindly agreed to take part in a Q&A for Caroline’s Choice at the bookprojectblog and this will follow tomorrow.  Check it out – it’s well worth a read.

In the meantime, enjoy YA fiction week!  Feel free to post any comments or make any suggestions for book reviews too.

Caroline

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