Publication Date: 6th June 2016
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Review Copy
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What happens when you give in to the voices in your head?
Annabel is dead. And she's not happy about it. Despite having strived to be 'lighter than air' back when she was alive, the consequences of that yearning haven't quite sunk in yet.
Julia Jacobs is fat. Which Annabel immediately notices when she's assigned as Julia's ghostly helper (don't even think about calling her a guardian angel). And as her helper, Julia's problem seems pretty obvious to Annabel. Fat = problem = unhappy. Sorted.
The only trouble is that whatever is causing Julia to overeat is hidden deep within her.
Except. . . all this time spent in someone's head has got Annabel thinking. Not just about food, but about her family too. And that maybe happiness can mean more than eradicating all the flesh from your bones.
Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
As soon as I heard about this novel, I knew I needed to read it ASAP! I had pretty high hopes going into this novel, and it's such a good feeling when those expectations are not only met but exceeded. This novel deals a lot with serious issues such as body image, eating disorders, death etc and I think the way Claire Hennessy handled them was fantastic.
One of my favourite aspects of the novel was how perfectly the author captured the essence, emotions and feelings of being a teenage girl. This novel was one of those novels you read and you find yourself drawn so far into it that you feel as if you know the characters, they're emotions, the setting- and it's because you can relate to them. From teenage relationships, friendships, sex, school, alcohol etc- all were written with such reality and honesty. When reading the novel you realise you've felt some of these emotions, experienced some of their experiences, and this brings you closer to the story. Claire Hennessy did not "sugar-coat" or brush over the realities of the issues discussed in the novel and I think that was an important and honorable action.
The characters in this novel were also amazing. Every character has their own flaws and imperfections, but this makes them feel even more real and shows the reader that it is okay, and human, to be imperfect but you still deserve to be loved.
Julia was a wonder. I loved her character so very much. One thing I enjoy reading about is when a character has ambitions or is passionate about something, and Julia was so passionate about journalism! I loved reading about her and her relationships with her friends and Gavin.
Gavin was another character I loved. Although Gavin had his own flaws and he could be naive and a little oblivious at times, I still loved seeing his friendship and tender side towards Julia. I was definitely rooting for Gavin & Julia through out the novel!
Maria was also a delight. Maria was so kind, sweet, fun and just an all round good friend and kind person. I really wanted to pull her from the page so she could be friends with me! (I'd love a Maria short story....just putting it out there in the hopes Claire has a free weekend to write one!) .
Annabel was the sort of antagonist of the novel. She has taken role of guardian angel of sorts and is put on the task of looking out for Julia....but she interprets this in a different way. For Annabel, a girl who died as a result of her eating disorder, she still equates being thin with being happy. She was constantly fueling Julia's negative thoughts and encouraging damaging behaviour. Yet, as the novel went on she began to root for Julia too. She became attached to Julia and then realised being thin has nothing to do with being happy, being happy does not mean being thin. I really enjoyed seeing Annabel grow over the course of the novel and seeing how she changed her way of thinking. I also really liked learning about her life and past too.
The plot of this novel was incredibly engaging, well developed and gripping (I sped through this novel in two days!). The way the plot was laid out, the way events developed and the writing style all made this novel a flawless piece of literature. There was a few twists and turns that left me speechless... The ending was also a really satisfying ending which is great to read!
Claire Hennessy's writing, characterisation and ability to write about such important and serious issues is fantastic. Such beautiful realistic and vivid writing. I need to read ALL the Claire Hennessy as soon as possible!!
I highly recommend this novel if you want a thought provoking, hard hitting and raw novel dealing with serious issues such as teenage life, mental health and relationships. One of the best books I've read this year.