Anne's Reviews > Paradise Girl

Paradise Girl by Phill  Featherstone
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it was amazing
bookshelves: kindle

The first thing I’d say is don’t be put off by the “young adult” tag – although the clear voice is of a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, there’s absolutely no simplification or dumbing down here, this is a book full of fine writing that would appeal to any adult, even those of advanced years like me. The format is clever – two diaries, one telling the background to the spread of the infection, the other chronicling Kerry’s day-to-day existence when she finds herself alone. The fluidity of her prose is credible – “before”, she was an avid reader, an outstanding student awaiting the results of her Cambridge entrance exams – and her voice is authentically that of a teenage girl, with all the usual quirks, fears and obsessions.

If I say there’s humour here, you might find that strange as the world disintegrates around her – but Kerryl is superbly likeable as you share her thoughts, feelings and reflections, her efforts to apply logic to the unknown and horrific, her effort to survive. There’s a wealth of believable detail about both the before and the during/after. In the former I liked the use of newspaper reports, interviews with government ministers, the hidden websites – and in the latter the domestic detail, the way the electricity had to be kept running on the isolated farm, the care of the animals, the food (or not, as Kerryl continues to try to lose her spare tyre…). The visits to town are vividly described: the collection of loved ones’ ashes, the charging for the urns as civilisation disintegrates, the edge of danger and violence, and – permeating everything – the horrendous smell.

The shift to the slightly surreal – the invention of Adam as reader of the diaries, and what comes thereafter – is exceptionally well done, and the working through of the story to its finely wrought ending is gripping and emotional. I enjoyed the strong sense of place in this book too, the Yorkshire countryside around the hill farm and the Bride Stones vividly described.

Do give this one a try. This is a book that deserves to be read, and which leaves an indelible impression, with images I’ll take with me for some time to come. An excellent read, with a depth and emotional engagement I really never expected.
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Reading Progress

September 2, 2017 – Started Reading
September 4, 2017 – Shelved
September 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
September 4, 2017 – Shelved as: kindle
September 4, 2017 – Finished Reading

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