Description provided by NetGalley:
A brave and honest coming of age story about one girl’s exploration of love, identity and sexuality – the first YA novel from bestselling author Liz Kessler.
Ashleigh Walker is having a difficult year. She’s struggling at school, and coming home to parents who are on the verge of divorce. She knows she should be happy spending time with her boyfriend – but, for some reason, being around him just makes her worry more. It’s only in her English teacher, Miss Murray, that she feels she’s found a kindred spirit.
Miss Murray helps Ashleigh develop her writing skills and gives her newfound confidence – but what happens when boundaries begin to blur? What will the repercussions be for Ashleigh? And how will she navigate her own sexuality?
A thought-provoking coming of age story from a highly-skilled author, addressing coming out and LGBT themes. For fans of Sarah Waters and Jodie Piccoult.
- Publisher: Hatchette Children’s Group, Orion Children’s Books
- Publication Date: 07 April 2016
- Format: Paperback (eARC)
- Genre: LGBTQIA, Young Adult, Teen
Disclaimer: I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher Hatchette Children’s Group for providing me an eARC of Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler in exchange of an honest review.
Read Me Like a Book is an appropriate name for the book, and you will understand once you have read it.
This is the first book I have ever read which it’s plot revolves completely around the discovering of the protagonists sexuality and what they are comfortable with in terms of whom they are attracted to. Of course, I have read books where the protagonists are of the LGBTQIA community, but not to this extent – I believe.
I like how easily I can relate to Ash and could empathise with her woes, her problems both in school and at home are realistic, not something that are cliche in stories – yes, they have been used a lot, but this is a story about a teenager who is dealing with a lot of things all at the same time. First with family troubles, then boy troubles, friendship troubles and finally falling in love with a person you think you shouldn’t be in-love with at all because you are the same gender and you like the opposite gender. There is quite a variety of issues being handled in this book, which all can be realted to the contemporary world – divorce, friendship, relationships and sexuality – all relevant to what many people might be experiencing at the moment.
It was interesting how everything unfolds for Ash, and how accurate (of course, to a certain degree) the relationships are between the characters. For instance, the relationship between Ash and Cat – they show how best friends act around each other, and how no matter whether they fall out or not they will always have each others back. Their relationship with each other I think proves the importance of friendship as a way to drive the plot, and that is something that Kessler was able to succeed in showing – because I feel like in most YA stories, it feels like once the characters have started being in a realtionship (romantic) the storyline between friends is drowned in the background and you very rarely see it at all anymore for the rest of the story. Whereas, in this book there is consistency on the presence of Ash’s friends, and I liked that.
I like how it is written and how the story unfolds mainly through the dialogue between each character – that’s one thing that I really like about Kessler’s writing style, her ability to tell the story through the dialogue. The plot itself is easy to follow, as it is about Ash’s coming of age and exploration of her sexuality.
It was also interesting how there are flashbacks used as a way to explain the way how Ash is feeling in that moment – it kind of gives you further insight as to what kind of person Ash is and of course her relationship with other characters as well. For instance, during a scene between Taylor and Ash.
However, as much as it is a well written story and the characters being f substance, there are some instances in the book that I did not like. In terms of characters it would be Miss Murray, I don’t really know what to think about her – she played a massive role in Ash’s life in that one year, but it’s debatable I believe. Yes, she was there as a romantic interest, and Ash’s inspiration to do well in A-Level English, but she is quite a mysterious character and not much is revealed about her at all. I wish that there was more interaction between Ash and Miss Murray, or simply more elaborate thoughts of Miss Murray from Ash exploring what her feelings are towards Miss Murray and not just in passing.
The synopsis seems to suggests a romance between student-teacher, however there is none – it is more towards the fact that the relationship between Miss Murray and Ash is that they understood each other and Ash having someone who believes in her and pushes her towards her greater potential.
Overall, I think this has been a great book, and I quite enjoyed reading Ash’s self discovery – and being able to relate to her academically and in terms of friendships and the likes. I can only imagine what it’s like to be in her position, the realisation that all this time the reason why she hasn’t had a meanigful realtionship with a guy is because she isn’t as attracted to them as she thought, and that in actuality she is more attracted towards the same sex. But, I think it is wonderful being able to read an in depth coming of age story of a young woman who is discovering her sexual identity.
Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐