I pick up a lot of books, and put most of them down. Sometimes the blurb entices me into buying one, but I often abandon it after the first chapter. I bought AGE OF DREAMS because I'd already read a book by this author, and I wasn't disappointed. This compelling story of a sensitive teenager's search for a fulfilling life kept me turning the pages far into the night.
Told in the first person, AGE OF DREAMS is the story of a young girl, Nicola, who dreams of becoming a pop star and longs to find a soulmate to truly love her for who she is. From the very first page it feels as if Nicola is a time bomb. You just know she is heading for trouble, and this tension is maintained all through the book as Nicola achieves her dream of fame but struggles with alcohol,and with unsuitable men who use her ruthlessly. The love of her life, Joe, turns his back on Nicola and marries someone else. There is hope for Nicola as she goes into rehab, and the author's description of the centre and its therapies is vivid and honest. When she is discharged, she is quickly swept into another loveless, draining relationship, as well as coping with her father's long term addiction to alcohol, and trying to stay friendly with Joe without allowing her jealousy of his apparently perfect wife to surface. I won't give away the end of the story, but I found it gripping, right to the last page.
A compelling, well written and thought provoking book which should be essential reading for all young adults. I would say that this author writes with the same breath-taking honesty as the New Zealand writer, Janet Frame in AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE.