Rich and Mad by William Nicholson (review copy) - This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything... From Amazon UK
I am 23. I am quite obviously not a teenager. However, I still have the mentality of a teenager, and continue to find the opposite sex baffling. After reading Rich and Mad, about two teenagers who are falling in love for the first time, I swear it was written for me! I cannot tell you just how amazing this book is!
As I read on William Nicholson’s website (some tiny spoilers on that page, so beware), this is a book written for girls and guys to show them what girls and guys think about love and sex. I have read several YA novels that deal with teen love and teen sex, but none of them really come at it from this angle, and it’s absolute genius! I can’t tell you how often I was surprised at how much I empathised with Rich! I empathised with Maddy a fair amount too, but it was Rich that surprised me.
I loved the characters! I thought it was brilliant that, although we mainly follow Rich and Maddy, everyone had some sort of view on love and sex that was shown. Maddy and Rich were very much teenagers; they were curious, they questioned, they worried, they made mistakes, but what I also loved was that they also had strong feelings about what they wanted from love – this is not about having sex as soon as possible, it’s about meeting the right person and all it entails for them personally. It was refreshing to read about characters, especially teen characters, who knew their own mind so well.
I was blown away by Maddy. She is not completely without flaws, and there were moments when I wanted to just grab her arm and stop her from doing things, because you just know it’s a mistake, but she was just so driven! She would make a decision about something, and then she would go ahead with it, seemingly very easily. She had this nervous confidence that I am just so envious of. Rich is just lovely! He has opinions and views that I have, and it was just so odd yet eye opening! He’s cute and funny, and doesn’t take himself too seriously, but also doesn’t have the best self-esteem. He is just adorable, and I would quite like to adopt him.
Rich and Mad is graphic in places, but most of the time it’s just so sweet! That might sound odd, but I don’t think there really is any other word to describe it. There is one scene where Mad and her friend watch porn, which is a little bit shocking – for me anyway – but also pretty hilarious in how the girls react to it. None of it is gratuitous, and it’s all dealt with maturely yet realistically.
Although Rich and Mad is mainly focussed on their relationships and the way they think, there are other issues covered in the story that teens may come across. I loved all these little sub-plots, it made the book seem more realistic – there were other things going on outside Rich and Maddy’s individual bubbles, but effect them indirectly.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book! I stayed up quite late last night to finish it, and closed book "aww"-ing at what a lovely, sweet read it was. I swear every girl and every guy should read this book; not only is it an amazing story, it’s opens your eyes and makes you think. I very much doubt there will be a sequel, but I so wish there would be! Another book joining my favourites!
Thank you to Egmont for sending me a review copy.
Published: 5th April 2010 in UK, 14th September 2010 in US
Buy on Amazon UK
Pre-order on Amazon US
William Nicholson’s Website
Thirst for Fiction