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The original UK book blog that brings you all the latest book news straight from the publishers, along with book reviews and author interviews. We read and review all genres, although we love paranormal, fantasy and contemporary books.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

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.

22 comments:

  1. Hi Viv, it is wonderful when the characters are convincing and better still, you know they are because you have people like that in your life. Thanks for the review!

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  2. You make it sound so good so perhaps I should try a ghost book for once :)

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  3. This really sounds like an interesting one. Great review.

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  4. Wow, this looks absolutely wonderful. It's been awhile since I was really enthusiastic about a book I've never seen before on a blog, but this is going immediately to my wishlist on bookmooch and my TBR.

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  5. Enjoyed your review, this sounds like a promising read - what an eye-catching cover.

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  6. If I had seen this I would have picked it up for the cover alone. How gorgeous. I've never heard of the writer or the book but do love a good ghost story, thanks for another great review Viv.

    Hope everyone is doing ok your end.

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  7. this book sounds quite different from anything i've read! i haven't heard of the author, either. book blogging is such a great way to find new stuff. i picked up 8 new books at the library this week--all were bloggers suggestions! :)

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  8. Thanks for a great review and recommendation of a book which really sounds like it is worth putting on the wishlist :-)

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  9. This sounds like a really interesting book - you always seem to be writing about books I'd love to read!

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  10. Wonderful review Vivienne! This sounds so good. I actually have it but you know how it goes sometimes... I need to move it up on my list!

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  11. After your glowing review, I'd love to read this! I hadn't heard of this author before but will keep an eye out for her work.

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  12. I read this book earlier this year and really enjoyed it; mine doesn't have such a pretty cover though :(. I look forward to reading more of Oyeyemi's books; her writing is impressive for writing it so young.
    I love Nigerian literature and enjoyed this for the inclusion of Nigerian folklore in the supernatural/ghost element.
    As you enjoyed this I would suggest 26a by Diana Evans which is similar in a way.

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  13. I don't think I've ever read a good ghost story. This sounds like the one to start with for sure!

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  14. This sounds like an excellent book and that's a brilliant review, Vivienne. Sounds like one that would definitely be right up my street. Definitely adding this to my wishlist.

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  15. Hi, Vivienne! I'm a sucker for ghost stories, so I guess I'll be on the lookout for this one!

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  16. Titiola sounds really creepy! I veer away from ghost stories, but this sounds like a unique story - especially with such a young main character.

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  17. Oohh... I want to read this one! Thanks, Viv, for pointing me to this one.

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  18. This sounds like something I'd love too, and I hadn't even heard of it before. See, this is why I love blogs :P

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  19. This sounds fantastic. You just added to my Wish List :)

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  20. I just came across your blog and love it! I'll definitely be back. This book sounds really beautiful. Thanks for the post :-)

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  21. Another great review Vivienne. I really want to read this. I have to do a thorough search before I run out and buy it. It seems like something I might have already.

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  22. Aww. I think you had me, up until the part where you said 'ghost' but I think I probably will still check it out :)

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