Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Life is hard for Jess. School should be a safe place but at the moment it's everything Jess dreads, and it's made even more difficult by the threatening presence of Kez. Kez lives in a nicer part of town but her life isn't any sweeter. The only place she finds comfort is knowing she is better off than Jess - or so she thinks.
My mum read this one for me, here is her review:
Not your usual easy read in terms of entertainment value; this is a thought provoking novel taking an inside view of a bully and a victim. Written in dual narrative the novel is set over 7 days and gives the reader a glimpse of life during this period of two teenagers the bully (Kez) and the victim (Jess). I was asked to review this book by the author and saved this for half term (I work in a Secondary school) as I wanted to read it in one go. I had no trouble motoring through this and finished in a day; once I had started I found it difficult to put down.
Essentially the book follows the lives of the two main characters through a seven day period of being bullied (Jess) and being the bully (Kez). I found that I could easily relate to both characters through personal experience and as an observer in the job I do at a Secondary school. I found I was thinking about students in the school and matching them to the characters in the book, a sure sign that Eve Ainsworth has managed to get the characterisation just right.
Right from the start you know that something will happen to one of the main characters - the first page is a letter indicating that the writer is going to end it all. From that point on I needed to know whether it was the bully or the victim which kept me hooked and it was not apparent which way this would go until almost the end of the book.
Although the characters are not that well developed you do get a sense of what their lives are like and why they react in the way that they do, what is important to them at their age and how they discover what is really important in the great scheme of things. Parts of novel will resonate with many people, circumstances and situations that happen in families affect those family members in a variety of different ways which shapes the people they become. In this case you could understand both points of view and how both victim and bully justified their actions and became they people they were. Kez has issues and deals with them by bullying those she believes are weaker than her to make herself feel better. Jess lacks the support she needs at home and falls into the victim bracket easily so is a prime target for Kes. The link between them both is Kez boyfriend Lyn who also happens to be an old friend of Jess who sticks up for her.
I liked the way Eve Ainsworth used the popular texting style in her book which again will appeal to youngsters as they are continually on their mobiles texting each other at any given opportunity. Eve shows how social media has added to bullying in such a public way and the damage it can do. The importance of being part of a group and a sense of belonging are very strong in this book which is so true of teenagers and how those who are a bit different or individual are looked on as being geeks or strange and ostracized. Her writing shows her understanding of teenagers and the often painful journey they make growing up, their need to belong and be accepted by their peers, and in this book how they learn that things are not always what they appear to be.
I hope teenagers are tempted to read this book as I know they will relate to it but equally it is an enjoyable if not often hard to read novel for adults as well.
Well done Eve a good debut novel.
I would like to thank Eve for sending this in exchange for an honest review.