Pages - 322
Published in 2006 by Bloomsbury
Challenges - Fall Into Reading and Reliquiae.
Apologies first, if you came looking for Friday Finds, I have abandoned it this week as I am a little behind in my reviews. I promise it will be back next week.
Isn't it wonderful, when you come across a book by chance and end up absolutely loving it. I feel that I have found a new author to love in Helen Oyeyemi. Especially, when I read that this book was written by Helen when she was still at school studying her A levels. As you read through the book, you just can't quite believe someone so young can be such a talented writer.
This book follows the story of Jessamy Harrison, an eight year old girl, who is seen as being rather odd by the other children at school. Jess has a very powerful imagination and is prone to screaming fits. Jess has mixed parentage, her father is English and her mother is Nigerian. Her parents work really hard to help her embrace both cultures. During a rather bad bout of illness, Jess's parents take her to Nigeria to spend some time with her maternal family. Whilst there, Jess meets a little girl called Titiola, who wants to become her friend. Up until this point, no one has ever wanted to be Jess's friend, so Jess throws herself into the new found friendship. As time passes, Jess begins to realise that her friendship with Titiola is rather dangerous and it begins to cause harm to the people she loves. Jess starts to worry and becomes desperate to rid herself of her supposed friend.
I just loved this book. It was so well written. The book is written completely from the viewpoint of Jess and I felt that she was a very convincing eight year old ( bearing in mind I have two who are now nine to compare them with). Jess is full of the woes expected in a child of that age and yet she also has more which make her stand out and appear different to the other children. You cannot help but feel sorry for her. Her mother really doesn't understand her and can appear very strict with her. Their relationship is very fractured, as neither one really understands the other. Jess really does seem alone and you can see why she was eager to rush into a friendship with Titiola.
Titiola appears so innocent to begin with, yet as the story progresses you realise she has ulterior motives and her evil streak becomes very apparent. All her characters appear so real in the book. I loved Jess's grandfather, a rather stern man, who appears to be the only person who can see what is happening to Jess.
The book is a real page turner. I could not put it down. I was desperate to find out what would happen and I had no indication of how the story would end.
You can tell that Helen really took to the idea of writing what you know. She was born in Nigeria and you can tell from the descriptions that she knows what she is talking about.
This book is very dark and probably one of the best ghost books I have read this year. By the end, you are never really quite sure what Titiola actually is, all you know is that she is very sinister.
If you love good ghost stories, then I would highly recommend this one.
Helen has two other books out, one of which I had on my Friday Finds a few months back (White is For Witching), which I am now desperate to read.