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3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 17 August 2013
It took a couple of pages for me to fall into the rhythm of the narrative but once I did , I loved it. It was honest and brutal and funny and modern. I am definitely going to buy "grow up" by the same author.
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on 13 June 2016
Honestly, wasn't a strong start but stuck with it and I'm so pleased I did. Very much enjoyed the book, it made me laugh so much and even though it broached controversial subjects, it was as neither shocking nor obscene.
Most of all, it made me realise how much myself (a 30 year old woman) thinks and describes the same as our main character... a 15 year old boy.
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on 30 August 2013
I'm the same age as Ben Brooks (21) and I think this really helps me GET this book. It is written in a style similar to how I talk with my friends and young Etgar (15) feels like someone I could have known when I was at school (admittedly he's a little more mental). The book was good, really good and I ploughed through it in less than 24hrs, but most of all I am impressed with Brooks. This is the young author's fifth only 21 years of age! I'm insanely jealous that he could achieve something so great so early on in his life.
If you're over 30 don't be surprised if you take a while to grasp the style of the writing; don't be put off by that, it's a brilliant insight into the YOOF of today.
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on 26 May 2016
The writing style is very reminiscent of and derivative from Bret Easton Ellis's first books, Less than Zero, The rules of attraction. It's hard for me to say why those books worked for me and this doesn't but the style here seems contrived and derived. There's a desire to shock and offend and the vacuous and dissolute character of the main protagonist simply irritates, at least Bret Easton Ellis made his morally bereft characters vaguely intriguing and attractive and it was original when he wrote in this disassociated narrative-avoidant style., here the attempts to be witty are too few and too lame. The subject matter is slightly disturbing and there is very little in it to engage the interest. The title more or less gives the whole premise away - A woman and an underage male have a cyber romance leading to a relationship, this makes the story slightly predictable, a sex reverse of Nabokov's Lolita.

I found the book very unsatisfactory and gave up a third of the way through. I can't imagine there's anything to redeem it in the second two thirds, he meets her, some graphic sex detail and then some vaguely enigmatic, head scratching and unsatisfying ending though, I dare say I didn't have the stomach to get that far.
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on 2 November 2015
This is absolutely my favourite book, and I'm fairly well read. It really captures what it's like growing up in an online era, for those saying this is too unrealistic I think we're coming from different decades. He drinks in the park occasionally and browses the internet for dark things and porn, he's your normal modern teen. As for it being misogynist or not very PC, I think that's quite common when you're a teen until you start to really get a hold on yourself. Also a huge well done to Ben Brooks for writing this, it's simply done and well written, I liked the writing so much the plot felt like a bonus. Completely recommend this.
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on 29 August 2013
After seeing a review of the book and author on BBC News, I downloaded the book and read it on holiday. It was like reading a very imaganative diary of a teenage boy who's not mentally stable and I felt it was trying to be shocking to show off like a trouble maker kid at a party of adults. I also felt it was badly researched with regards to what the police and social services would do with the events presented in the book.
Although I'm 33, I do remember being 15 and I think if my life had been anywhere close to this, I'd be being evaluated by a psychiatry department.
I'd only recommend this book if you had nothing better to do, and then go and read something more realistic like Harry Potter.
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on 29 October 2013
I think this book was amazing, definitely worth it's rating. It's funny, fast, and clever story line had me hooked. Having read Grow Up by Ben Brooks previously I knew how Mich of a great author he is, to be that young of an age and have so many books already published! I would however only read this is you are a fan of young adult novels. If not then this is not for you. To me it was a superb read and I cannot wait for Ben's next novel.
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on 13 November 2013
I got this book on a whim from the libury, but this book was not for me. Not sure who its for, but not for me.
I haven't read any previous books from Mr Brooks but I think he's kind of the new Bret Easton Ellis in his Rules of Attraction phase. If you've read that book and Less than zero, it kind of gives you an idea of what to expect (Unsympathetic characters, casual use of drugs and sex), but it feels off putting to myself who likes those books.
The dialog is very swearing filed and becomes very unpleasant. The characters are annoying and the book makes little coherent sense which random scenes appearing missing. The cultural references are also frequent are fairly dated (the bt oil spill is mentioned as if it was last week).
There is a fair amount of misogyny too with frequent quotes of abusive texts and messages.
As others have mentioned, a person with such a troubled, incident filled background would be very unlikely to be left unsupervised and have no counselling. I also find it hard to believe either set of parents would be cool about there 11 year old's dating.
As for using a title evoking one of the greatest novels ever written, its just wrong.
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on 2 August 2014
How does someone so young write a masterpiece of modern culture . It's clever hilarious shocking sad and brilliant . Best book I have read in years, I couldn't put it down. Its totally modern in every way . I love Ben Brooks brain
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on 2 August 2014
Adrian Mole on crack

Firstly, not one to purchase for granny's birthday, I am unoffendable, but do not buy this if bad language or sexual references upset you!

If you are under 17 you will probably think this book is the best thing since sliced bread, but I was disappointed with it after the BBC had raved about it so much (are they on commission or something?) I guess the age of the author excuses the fact that this book is poorly written or maybe this was meant to be some kind of ironic statement?
Granted, there were amusing moments but there more vague smirks than laugh out louds (actually, come to think of it I don't think there were any laugh out louds).
It was just too much of a stretch of imagination that kids of 15 were continually served alcohol and cigarettes without being challenged and their seemingly otherwise caring, responsible parents didn't bat an eyelid at having them rampant sex from the age of 13 onwards.

On the plus side the subject of the murky waters of internet relationships is thought provoking and the twist at the end was a nice touch.
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