C Hellisen's Reviews > Dark Poppy's Demise

Dark Poppy's Demise by Sally Partridge
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Jul 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult

Dark Poppy's Demise is a fast-paced read about naive and self-absorbed teenager Jenna. While her home life is far from fantastic, she is still surrounded by people who love her - her brother and his fried, and her best friend Anisa. But boy-mad Jenna seems to barely notice them, instead her world revolves around that most banal - and yet in her 16-year-old head, most important - of goals: The Perfect Boyfriend.

Jenna turned to photography as a creative outlet after her mother left their family, and she has an eye for composition and subject - a natural artist. It's these photos, on her Dark Poppy flickr account, that apparently draw the interest of one Robert Rose. And at first, Robert is everything Poppy has been yearning for. He's gorgeous, talks like something out of a romance novel, and seems to be infatuated with the hapless Jenna.

What seems to be the perfect romance rapidly slides into something far more twisted as Jenna is slowly cut-off from her friend and family, and seduced by the enigmatic Robert.

The book is a quick read, and SA Partridge has a wonderful knack for spot-on dialogue. However, she needs to trust that excellent dialogue a little more and leave it to do its work. I found the transition from Robert's change from perfect boyfriend into something far more sinister to be a little rushed, and therein lies my biggest beef with the book: there were a lot of scenes that I felt could have been expanded on to really show us the psychological damage Robert was doing to Jenna, but these were glossed over with quick tells, and more emphasis was placed on Jenna's "Omg is this for real? How could someone so beautiful love me?" moments.

I'm looking forward to reading more of SA Partridge's work, especially to see her growth as a writer and hopefully to see South African publishers allow their YA writers to get really gritty and intense.



EDIT: One thing I should mention: I noticed a few typos and homophones, and the editing felt a little wonky, tbh. I did wonder if maybe less editorial effort is put into Young Adult books in South Africa because there the genre is still a new one? It's not a good thought, and hopefully I'm wrong about it.

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