The fat kid in old clothes is always going to be bullied. Jess doesn’t know how to stand up for herself, and Kez takes advantage of that fact every time. Kez has her own problems, but she refuses to admit anything, or back down.
The world-building in this novel was vivid. I realised that it was based on a real place, but I’d never been to the place in person. But the end of the novel though, I had a really good grasp in my head where everything was, and I could ‘see’ the action happening. The characterisation was ok, but that was sort of secondary to Ainsworth’s bullying agenda.
I have to say that Ainsworth really got her teeth into the subject matter and tried to provide some really decent insight into how a victim and the bully feel. I can’t see this a school reading material – but maybe it should be. With concerns about bullying going rampant across Australia and other places, another expose can’t hurt – particularly if it’s one that teenagers can actually relate to.
Look, the hype about this book simply didn’t live up to my expectations. There are many rave reviews on GoodReads, but honestly I wasn’t left with too much of an ’emotion-hangover’ at the end of reading this, despite feeling somewhat invested in the characters throughout the novel.
I didn’t even really feel tension at the end of the novel. I felt that they were both shallow and weak, and I couldn’t care whether they died or not. I had some sympathy for Jess, but I couldn’t believe that Kez could get away with so many things, even in her household.
If it was read squarely by its target teen audience, I think you’d be looking at 4 stars. But for me, I simply didn’t feel enough compulsion when reading about the characters to give it that. 3 stars from me. Don’t let it be said that I don’t enjoy other teenage novels – I am capable of giving them 5 stars, but it has to be a particularly great novel for me to do so.