Girl, Aloud by Emily Gale (review copy) Kass Kennedy is in the spotlight, thanks to her Dad. He plans on selling her soul to the Devil - or at any rate to Simon Cowell when she finds herself pushed into an X-Factor audition. Kass could just say no, but her dad's manic-depressive mood swings are a constant worry and he has her in an emotional half-Nelson. Just when things couldn't get worse, Kass falls for a gorgeous older boy, also named Cass. She's amazed when he appears to like her, but it turns out this boy, is her best friend's long-term crush. What's a girl to do? Everything Kass thought she understood starts to fall apart and the only person she can turn to ... grumpy Simon Cowell (literally in her dreams). She might not be able to sing her way out of a paper bag, but Kass discovers that she isn't a choker when it comes to sorting out real life. From Amazon UK
This book was nothing like what I expected. After reading the blurb on the back of the book (which is different to above) I was expecting perhaps a bit of a silly Dad playing a joke on his daughter, and seeing Kass embarrass herself hugely as she went through the stages of the X Factor auditions. What I got was much better. This is a hard-hitting emotional novel that deals with mental illness, adultery, friendship, crime, and the right to say no. So good, I read it in a day.
This is not to say that there aren’t light moments in this novel. Kass has such a great voice, and is sarcastic about most things unless it’s inappropriate. Some of the times with her friends are really quite amusing, her brother Raff has his moments, which normally involve him taking the mick out of Kass, and then The Other Cass can be a bit of a good distraction when things get a little too much. There are a great range of characters, and they all provide moments of amusements, but on the whole, this book is quite hard to read.
Kass lives a very different life to what I did at her age, but in some ways she reminded me so much of myself, that I couldn’t help but feel for her. The way she acted and behaved sometimes put me so much in mind of myself that I would smile, but it made it so much easier to imagine myself in the situation she finds herself in, and it was emotionally difficult to read. But amazing!
There isn’t a huge amount I can say about this book without spoiling it, but I can talk about how I reacted to it. I’m quite an empathetic person; if people around me are upset, I get upset for them. Even more so with fictional characters, as you get inside their head and completely understand them, as if they were you. It just so happened that at a particular point in this novel, while I was eating, I got so angry and so upset that I had to put the book down. I was fuming, and almost cried into my stew. I can’t tell you what happened at this point, it’s too much of a spoiler, but I could rant about this one thing for absolutely hours on end. I don’t know what it was exactly that had me reacting as I did, it could be the situation itself, it could be the characters, or perhaps it was because I could identify with Kass so much on some levels, but whatever it was, it came from Emily, and I think it’s a testament to her writing that it evoked such a reaction from me.
This is such an amazing novel, and I can’t recommend it enough! You really need to read this book, it’s just fantastic, and can really make you think. Emily Gale is an awesome author, and I can’t wait to read her future novels!
Thank you to Emily Gale/Chicken House for sending me a review copy!
Published: 7th December 2009
Publisher: Chicken House
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Emily Gale’s Website