Meet Molly Sue. Once she’s under your skin there’s no getting rid of her…
Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.
But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.
What did I think?:
Under My Skin is yet another fantastic YA read from the huge British talent that is James Dawson. After the brilliance of Say Her Name, I wasn’t sure if the author would be able to write another blinder and while this story isn’t as inherently terrifying as its predecessor, it’s an entertaining and compelling read and cements James Dawson as true YA royalty.
As I was reading Under My Skin, I kept thinking of a Point Horror book I read when I was younger called The Perfume where a teenage girl is taken over by a malign force that makes her do terrible things. In a similar way, this is what happens to seventeen year old Sally Feather although the wrestle of control is with a tattoo that Sally is talked into getting on her back, an American pin up girl called Molly Sue. At first, when Molly Sue starts to talk to Sally, she is excellent for boosting her fragile self-esteem and confidence but before long, Molly Sue starts to want more control of Sally’s body and mind, to do with as she pleases (and NOT good things by the way).
I loved Sally as a character, in fact she very much reminded me of myself when I was at school. I could have certainly done with a milder version of Molly Sue for myself perhaps! My favourite character had to be Molly Sue herself though. Bold, brassy, super-confident and just a little bit crazy she was the perfect villain in this exciting novel which was so easy to read that I pretty much finished it in one sitting. I also enjoyed the characters of Sally’s friends, who seem to be her only joy amongst the terrors and deadly social politics of high school. I think I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of the author’s work that he has a real talent in writing believable teenagers and believable adolescent situations and this book took me right back to this confusing and to be honest, slightly traumatic time! This is a fabulous book for the target YA market but is also one that more than a few adults (like myself) would enjoy for sure.
Winner of the 1990 Man Booker prize, Possession is an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, at once an intellectual mystery and triumphant love story. It is the tale of a pair of young scholars researching the lives of two Victorian poets. As they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.
What did I think?:
When I first started reading this novel, I really wasn’t sure but I was told to stick with it and I’m so glad I did, it really sucked me in. It is the tale of Roland and Maud, who study the poets Randolph Ash and Christabel LaMotte respectively(both poets are fictionalised by the author). On finding a forgotten and intriguing letter penned by Ash in a library book, Roland cannot contain his excitement that it could shed new light on the poet and change literary history. Roland meets Maud Bailey, who is actually a descendant of LaMotte, and the two uncover a multitude of love letters between the two poets. It turns out that Ash and LaMotte had a passionate love affair (Ash already having a wife, Ellen), and by re-tracing their steps and reading their letters they discover a beautiful story and hidden secrets.
Warning – if you don’t like poetry you’re probably not going to get on well with this book, there are a lot of verses. I think that was probably what impressed me most about this novel, not only that Byatt imagined these two poets, but that she constructed their poems herself, verses which can only be described as accomplished and magnificent. The way that we learn about the love between Ash and LaMotte is through the same way that Roland and Maud discover it – through reading the letters, biographies, journal entries, fairy tales and deciphering the poems, and is in my opinion, a unique way to tell a story. Not only that, but Byatt writes in a multitude of voices and styles, for the numerous characters present in this book and their differing personalitites. This book was definitely a worthy winner of the Man Booker prize, and I’m still stumped at how the hell she did it.
It’s WWW Wednesday time again! Thanks to MizB at Should Be Reading for hosting.
To join in you need to answer 3 questions..
•What are you currently reading?
•What did you recently finish reading?
•What do you think you’ll read next?
Click on the book covers to take you to a link to find out more!
What are you currently reading?
The first in the Inspector McLean series, this crime novel based in Edinburgh is on the Richard and Judy Summer Book Club 2013 list – see my previous post HERE. I’m about 25% through, and liking what I read so far.
What did you recently finish reading?:
I read this book as part of my “Kid-Lit” challenge I am participating in with my sister. Absolutely beautiful story – if you haven’t read it, it gets a big thumbs up from me. Review to be posted very soon!
What do you think you’ll read next?:
This is another one of those novels I have been meaning to read for ages. It won the Man Booker Prize in 1990, and I’m really looking forward to it. Hoping it doesn’t disappoint as I wasn’t a huge fan of her novel The Children’s Book.
What are you reading this Wednesday? Please feel free to leave your link and I’ll visit you and have a nosey at your books. Happy Reading Everyone!