Monday, 12 December 2011

Book Review: Brave New Girl by Catherine Johnson

2012 is the year of the London Olympics so, in anticipation, I'm reviewing three books all with an Olympic theme but all of them very different.


"I can make things happen - good things - I know it!" 
Seren is so full of brilliant ideas - it's just that she always seems to put her foot in it! 
First there was the dance routine where she fell off the stage. 
And now her plan to get her sister Sasha noticed by gorgeous Luke Beckford looks like it could backfire! Seren reckons she's just hopelessly accident-prone! 
But there's one person who believes in Seren. Her mate Keith is making a film for a national competition and he wants Seren to be in it. Could Seren turn out to be a star after all?


Brave New Girl ~ a tall tales & short stories review

I loved this little book! It's full of warmth and humour and endearing characters.  Although I've decided to feature it primarily as a book with an Olympic theme, I think it would also fit brilliantly into my Diversity Matters series, because this book features characters from all backgrounds and ethnic groups, and it portrays the truly multi-cultural London I know.  I also love the fact that Seren's mum is a bus driver, and she's a single mum working hard to do the best she can for her big, chaotic family.

I think this is a book with genuine heart. It feels so normal and everyday, so grounded, yet also with a magical touch. The Olympics becomes the backdrop for individual dreams to be realised; Seren's brother singing in the opening ceremony; Seren's friend Keith making a film for a competition where the winning entry is played in the Olympic stadium. It might be because I worked in the film industry so it's close to my heart but I really enjoyed the film-making aspect of the book and the ideas behind Keith's re-telling of Shakespeare's The Tempest. I thought Keith was a fab character!  I couldn't help but think how great it would be if all kids had the chance to do something like Keith's project and I really wanted to go out and start filming something myself.

For all the humour and warmth this is a book of light and shade, and some of the darker touches include how fickle and difficult some childhood friendships can be; broken families and single parents; bullies and the awkwardness of first love and simply just growing up.  But Catherine Johnson handles these issues with a subtle touch and they merely add another realistic dimension to what is a great, heart-warming story.



Catherine Johnson said...

Am thrilled you like it Tracy, many many thanks xc

Tracy said...

My pleasure, Catherine. :)

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