Sunday, 12 May 2013
Review: You Don't Know Me - Sophia Bennett
Pages: 352 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): It was all so good. Sasha and Rose. Best friends in a band, singing together. Right up to the finals of Killer Act when the judges tell them one of them must go Suddenly their friendship is put to the ultimate test. On TV in front of millions. Two girls. One huge mistake. Can they ever forgive each other?
My review: I've been reading and loving Sophia Bennett's books since day one and every time she brings out a new release I'm never sure whether she can top her previous effort. Somehow, though, she manages to do it every single time and You Don't Know Me is no exception.
Everything about the setting of You Don't Know Me feels contemporary and immediate and I know teens will just eat this one up. The references to Facebook and Twitter keep things in the here and now but there's so much else on offer it doesn't feel as though the pop culture references will date the story at all, which is definitely a good thing. The inclusion of Killer Act was genius - the way the show was designed and brought to life using a combination of the good and bad elements we all know from X Factor and the like worked perfectly.
Our heroine, Sasha, is a good girl; a nice girl, a good friend and somebody you can't help but warm to. She's everything I want a YA protagonist to be and I love that she felt real, flaws and all. That's something that Bennett explores in all of her books - flaws and weaknesses and how they can be overcome and turned into strengths.
It's impossible to read any of Bennett's books without taking some food for thought away and I love that the message is always subtly delivered without anything ever feeling preachy. There are numerous issues that are tackled throughout You Don't Know Me that are so important, especially to teenage girls and I'm so impressed with the way the body image element was handled throughout the story. It was beautifully done and I came away from the book feeling empowered and happy and like I wanted to do and big ole fist pump of victory, mashed up with hollaring some Destiny's Child lyrics around the room. As you do.
Friendship, body image, self-confidence are all integral parts of You Don't Know Me and I absolutely loved that the romantic side of things wasn't the main focus. It's there, of course, but who doesn't love a well-written, sweet love story? It's the friendship and bond between Sasha, Rose and the girls that takes centre stage here, though, and I have to champion the book for highlighting that it's friendship that will carry you through the difficult times.
You Don't Know Me is funny, touching and a beautiful coming of age story that I already can't wait to reread. Read this one curled up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and a vanilla candle burning in the background - that's how I enjoyed it and it was pretty darn top notch. Enjoy, folks.