Amanda's Reviews > just_a_girl

just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth
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just_a_girl by Kirsten Krauth is set in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Fourteen year old Layla enjoys spending time online, chatting to men, spending time with her older boyfriend, and avoiding her mum and the church she attends. Her mum has depression and finds herself attracted to the pastor. And a stranger, Tadashi, struggles with finding his one true love.

I’ll start off by saying that just_a_girl is being listed as adult fiction, but I do think this would be fine for older YA readers. It deals with gritty, confronting subjects, but it’s never graphic.

From the moment I started this I had a strong sense of dread, especially as earlier in the year I read Cry Blue Murder, a story also involving young girls and the internet. But this story is very different in both the format and outcome.

Layla is such a complex character, she’s so young yet she’s out there exploring the world, both in real life and online – searching for some sort of connection or relationship. She’s curious about sex, enjoys teases businessmen on the train, and chatting online, yet she has chosen not to have sex with her boyfriend. It’s clear Layla resents her mother and misses her father whom she only sees once a year. Her sections were told in a sort of stream of consciousness, with lots of short, sharp sentences. While I found this hard to get into at first, slowly it left me feeling as if I were hearing Layla’s thoughts and the way she thinks.

Her mother has her own home-based business and has turned to religion as a decade on she is still struggling with the fact that her husband left her for a man. She finds it hard to deal with and often seeks the guidance of her local pastor, Pastor Bevan. He’s charismatic and Margot feels as though he singles her out and pays her special attention. Pastor Beven also takes an interest in Layla, assuring Margot not to worry about her. I really felt for Margot, she cannot work out how to connect with Layla and worries about her all the time.

Tadashi’s sections were a surprise to me and at first I couldn't work out why he was included, but soon it’s revealed that his life intersects with Layla’s. He lives a quiet life and is still thinking of his mother who passed away. He wants to find his true love but he is sure he won’t find her in real life, so he seeks out an alternative, driven by his childhood love of dolls.

These multiple stories drew me in and I found this book hard to put down, even though my worry increased the more I read. I was surprised by the outcome, it wasn't as dark as I was expecting, though it did leave me wondering about what happened once it was over.

just_a_girl examines the life of a young girl, exploring her sexuality, as well as the relationship she has with her parents. It’s a story that’s very relevant right now as more and more children spend time online.

Thank you to the lovely people at QWAP for my review copy.
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Reading Progress

June 24, 2013 – Shelved
July 16, 2013 – Started Reading
July 17, 2013 –
page 50
July 17, 2013 –
page 100
July 20, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Millman They should have used your review as the blurb on the book because their description was misleading.

message 2: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Millman They should have used your review as the blurb on the book because their description was misleading.

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