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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Thrilling Thursday Review: Della Says: OMG! by Keris Stainton

This fab #UKYA novel made me laugh while saying OMG right along with poor Della.

Author: Keris Stainton
Title: Della Says: OMG!
Genre: contemporary realism (YA)
Publisher: Orchard
Published: May 2010
Source: purchased on my Kindle

Find it at Goodreads or Amazon UK

The blurb says:
Della's over the moon when she kisses her long-standing crush at a party - but then she discovers her diary has disappeared... 

When scans of embarrassing pages are sent to her mobile and appear on Facebook, Della's distraught - how can she enjoy her first proper romance when someone, somewhere, knows all her deepest, darkest secrets?

My verdict: hilarious and horrifying by turns, with one of the strongest teen voices I've read.
The premise, the title and the cover for this book promise a great fun read and it is certainly that, while at the same time exploring some crucial issues for teens about self-image and dealing with what others think of you.  Della's diary pages had me cringing along with her (and pondering the cruelty of the sender - what a thing to do to someone!).

Della is a realistic teen heroine: her lack of confidence in her appearance open the book with a scene about getting ready for a party and it is easy to empathise with her right from the start. This is no glossy US-style high school story with perfect teen specimens bitching despite their perfect lives. I'm sure most teens will find much to identify with in Keris Stainton's brilliantly-executed characters. I've already commented on the authentic nature of the voice and dialogue in this novel, as this is a key part of its realism. Della and the other teen characters sound like genuine contemporary UK teenagers (trust me, I teach 16-19 yr olds), and yet their behaviour, relationships and emotions were able to take me back to being a teenager with ease. Keris has definitely captured something timeless in that period of uncertainty and intensity expertly. I also feel that the treatment of teen sexuality in Della is superbly realistic and it's great to see teens thinking and talking about sex without it being a thinly-veiled morality message. The sweet awkwardness of early romance is also particularly well done here.

Overall, I would strongly recommend this to any fan of teen/YA fiction. This was Keris's debut novel; Jessie Hearts NYC is also available and Emma Hearts LA is coming out next month. If Della is anything to go by, these will be fab reads too.

1 comment:

  1. Keris is AMAZING! She does make me laugh so much. And yes, she does have a strong teen voice when she writes.

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