Monday, 22 May 2017

Review! Margot & Me by Juno Dawson

Hellooo there! I'm going to tell you a little story about the journey my thoughts and feelings went through when reading Juno Dawson's Margot and Me. Don't worry, this story has a happy ending!

So I got a copy of Margot and Me by Juno Dawson from its publisher Hot Key Books at the beginning of the year. I had heard absolutely loads and loads of praise for the book so I was pretty keen to get my paws on it. I'll be honest: I didn't like it as first. I found Fliss's narrative voice SO annoying. I thought she sounded a bit sort of stupid or vapid and not anything like how teenagers really talk. She kept talking about wearing her Mary Janes and for some reason I found that particularly annoying! 

Then I read a tweet (oh god searching for a specific tweet is so hard but I'll try) basically saying to adult reviewers, don't give bad reviews to YA books because you don't like the teenage voice, maybe just accept that YA isn't for you (UPDATE: ohemgee I found the tweet: it's this:)

So I had that idea in the back of my mind and then when I went back to Margot and Me after a break of a couple of weeks I found I was much more patient with Fliss's narration. Fliss grows so much as a character if you actually get over yourself enough to read the whole book, which thankfully I did! I found Fliss to be engaging and compassionate and I really enjoyed seeing her figure out her new friendships with the new gang, in a totally new environment, far away from her London home, in rural Wales living on her grandmother's farm, to help her mum in her cancer recovery.

The dual narration, with Fliss in the 90s and Margot's diary from wartime, worked really well to tell the story of a complex grandmother/granddaughter relationship. I particularly enjoyed the 90s setting for references to things like Tammy Girl and snap on phone cases. 

So in the end I realised I was being a bit like Margot and unfairly judging Fliss before I had really gotten to know her and her story. This book is moving and compelling and touching and heartbreaking. And I'm glad I went back to finish it. 

Margot and Me is out now from Hot Key Books.

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