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Follow Me Down Hardcover – 9 May 2013
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Intriguing and compelling - a very accomplished debut (Sophie Hannah, bestselling crime fiction author)
'Byrne is a talented writer with attitude and a fresh, original voice' ( Daily Mail )
'It's compelling and clever. We loved' ( Company )
'Reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, this psychological jigsaw of a novel will appeal to your dark side' ( Glamour )
The sensationally good Tanya Byrne returns with her new novel - a dark, compulsive tale of obsession and betrayalSee all Product description
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The lack of bullying in a school setting is refreshing, as is a lot in this unputdownable book. Adamma is immediately befriended by the beautiful and it-girl Scarlett Chiltern, who has a twin in Olivia. One always wonders what the ‘popular’ or ‘cool’ crowd sees in our heroine (or hero), and usually unflattering images of their personality come to mind – e.g. do they try too hard to fit in, or are they as superficial as the ‘in crowd’? However, Adamma is fiery, true to herself and intelligent. She also happens to befriend and like women.
When there is a rumoured rape, the bandying back and forth about whether it really occurred or not feels so realistic. The reticence of girls to come forward and the protectiveness that falls on all girls is well portrayed. The parents and teachers are shown convincingly too, rather than as stereotypes.
Then a girl disappears. This turns the book to high drama, which is totally engaging.
Notwithstanding that I guessed who the culprit was early on (due to the dearth of likely characters), my reading pleasure was kept buoyed up. What was Tanya Byrne going to do with the love story, with the disappearance? These, and other questions, kept me turning the pages.
I really liked that there wasn’t the predictable climax that I was half-dreading. The author has done a masterful job of plotting and character depiction.
The structure of this story is a little bit complicated and sometimes confusing, as it jumps back and forth in time between Adamma’s year at school with Scarlett and the time since she disappeared. But each section is headed so you can check back if you get confused, with “the day after” and “245 days before” – many novels using flashbacks aren’t so helpful.
Adamma is a sympathetic and engaging character, and the story is absorbing and compelling – it is a terrific read. It isn’t as much of a school story as it first seems, as most scenes are outside lessons – Adamma and Scarlett are in the sixth form so they have a bit more freedom than younger kids would.
Given the content, this is genuinely young adult fiction, suitable for the nearly grown up rather than slightly older children, say about 15 up.
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