Sunday 1 November 2015

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Review: Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy IvisonLobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison (review copy) - Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find 'The One'. Their lobster.

But fate works against them, with awkward misunderstandings, the plotting of friends and their own fears of being virgins for ever.

In the end though, it all boils down to love...
From the blurb

I was recommended Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison for Sex in Teen Lit Month II by an ex-colleague who claimed it was not only perfect for this event, but also hilariously funny. Turns out she was right on both counts!

After their first meeting - a ten minute conversation at a party - Sam and Hannah realise they have never had a similar conversation, felt so comfortable and at ease, with a member of the opposite sex. There is an instant connection, sparks fly. The beginning of a beautiful romance? Wrong. The beginning of awkward encounters and crossed-wires stemmed from insecurity, inexperience and doubt.

Lobsters has got to be the funniest - and most honest - novel I read last year! The humour isn't just down to the authors' ability to write funny situations and come up with hilarious dialogue, but also from how real it is. The tagline on the book says, "A socially awkward love story," and it couldn't be more true! The situations Sam and Hannah find themselves in are unbelievably awkward, but it was being able to relate to that awkwardness, remembering what that was like when I was their age, that made it so funny to me. This is a book that lives up to that saying, "It's funny because it's true."

This isn't just the case for the romance side of the story, but also for the sexual aspects of the story. Both Sam and Hannah are virgins, and have only the slightest clue what they're supposed to do when presented with girl's/boy's naked body. They're not completely inexperienced, they have gone up to certain points - different for each - with other people, but further than that? It's a mystery to them both. The book opens with Hannah deciding that tonight, at her best mate Stella's party, she would finally have sex with Freddie, a boy she'd been seeing. But only because she wants to get it out of the way. She's not even sure what constitutes as losing your viriginty.
'Like, what is losing your virginity anyway? When your hymen breaks? But that can happen horse riding or doing gymnastics, or even swimming apparently. I could have lost my virginity to Acton Municipal Pool, for all I know. If it's just the hymen thing, then hat about gay people? It must be the act of someone else being inside you; after all, boys lose their virginity and nothing breaks. So maybe it's a mystical, intangible thing? Like the Holy Spirit.' (p5)
Sam is the only one out of his group of friends who is still a virgin, and is feeling the pressure to keep up. Plus his best mate Robin is telling him he can't go to uni a virgin. But he's never really had much luck with girls. Lobsters is awesome because we get to see a guy being a virgin - not something we see all that often in YA. Again, it's the awkwardness of it all that makes it so funny. Sam's sexual encounters in the book bring a lot of humour, because of his inexperience but wanting to seem more experienced than he is. Because a guy being a virgin is just not macho. As well as being funny, it's also kind of sad.

There are lots of other reasons why Lobsters is hilarious. Some might consider it to be a little crude, but I'd say it's more realistic. This is what girls and guys - separately - talk about, and this is also what they do. Lobsters is so funny, but it's also a really sweet and touching story, and a reminder that no-one has it all figured out. Something I think teens could do with reminding of more often. I'll definitely be reading anything Ellen & Ivison write next! Lobsters was one of my favourite novels of 2014!

Thank you to Chicken House for the review copy.

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Published: 5th June 2014
Publisher: Chicken House
Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison's Facebook Page


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