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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, 7 June 2012

Thrilling Thursday Review: Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton

Glitz and glamour abound in this fabulous book with so much to offer.

Author: Keris Stainton
Title: Emma Hearts LA
Genre: Contemporary romance (YA)
Publisher: Orchard
Published: June 7 2012 (today!!)

Source: kindly sent for review by the publisher

Find it at Amazon UK or Goodreads

The blurb says:
Emma's just arrived in Los Angeles, a million miles away from all her friends, and any chance of a boyfriend. Unless you count geeky Oscar - which she doesn't. Not at first, anyway. Teen heartthrob Alex might have potential too. If she can get him away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi, that is.

Two boys, unlimited sunshine, and a new life amongst the stars. Maybe LA's not that bad, after all.

My verdict: a lovely light read full of hope and enthusiasm. Highly recommended for 12+
There are so many great things about this book, I'm not sure I can capture them all in one review. Most importantly, it's a hugely enjoyable read, as evidenced by it being the first book my jaded 13 yr old has finished in weeks.

Emma's witty narration is a joy, making it so easy to engage with and root for her. Other characters are also brilliantly realised. I especially like the astrophysicist Mum, loving but also deeply caught up in her work, and even the acting sister Bex has depth as a person (it would be so easy - but ultimately unsatisfying - to slip into stereotypes of scattiness for such a character). Oscar, her old and geeky friend from home is a gem with his tomato-red hair and general nerdiness.

The romance plot is ultimately important, but it is not 'all there is' to this book by a long stretch. Emma struggles with her parents' divorce, with the move to another country, and with some identity issues, all while noticing boys around her and figuring out what she wants. Her responses to all these things are believable and genuine, and tackled with a gentle humour.

What I really appreciate is that this book is a fun and light read without being 'lightweight' in the negative sense at all. It offers glamorous romantic escapism for teen girls whilst avoiding the reinforcement of rather dubious behaviour that you sometimes see offered to this age group (romanticised controlling boys and passive girls for example). I hope that doesn't make it sound dull and 'worthy' - it's anything but, and my point is that Keris proves that you don't have to promote unhealthy relationships to produce a book that feels light and enjoyable.

I'd strongly recommend this to fans of contemporary YA. Keris is touring blogs at the moment (see the banner to the right) and will be here at the Hearthfire next Wednesday, so be sure to pop back then!

1 comment:

  1. Such a fabulous book! I love the way Keris writes.


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