This is Fiona Neill’s fourth novel and I found it a compelling read. If you are the parent of a teenager, I would imagine this novel could leave you feeling more than a little unsettled, if not down right terrified.
Romy is a straight A student who hopes to go to medical school. Her mother Ailsa is the new Head of the school she attends in Norfolk. The family have all recently relocated from London, but the three children in the family, Luke, the eldest son, Romy, who is 17 and the youngest child Ben have not been given a clear answer as to why they had to move.
Romy soon discovers why, and this changes her relationship with her parents forever. I can say no more than that for fear of spoilers. This is one strand of the story. The main plot however centres around the fallout when Romy becomes caught up in a sex scandal at school. When new neighbours, the Lovedays move in next door, both families lives become irrevocably entwined. The teenagers from both families become embroiled in secrets, scandals and more, while trying to find their place in the world.
This is a novel predominantly about the choices we make in life and the repercussions of those choices. How one seemingly small decision can change the direction of your life forever. It is also about the dangers of social media and the manner in which our lives can become so connected to our social media image, and what is known about us online.
The novel is told from the perspectives of both Ailsa and Romy. This highlights their individual struggles and their beliefs of how others perceive them, which is usually inaccurate. The family dynamics are portrayed with razor sharp accuracy and small touches of irony and humour.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Fiona Neill deals with very complex issues such as sexting, pornography, parental responsibility (where does it begin and end??) and much more. I thought her characters were authentically portrayed and empathetic, and the dynamic between both parents with each of their three children made for fascinating reading.
I would recommend this book and I am now interested in reading more of Fiona Neill’s work.
I would love to hear your views on this book, particularly if you have ever experienced any online trials by social media, or perhaps you have teenagers of your own and have a view point.