I’ve had this on by TBR list ever since reading Am I Normal Yet? Holly Bourne has one of the freshest, funniest and most important YA voices at the moment and I am absolutely loving this series. Am I Normal Yet? was one of my favourite books of last year, it was just so poignant and still really stands out in my memory as being so different and new, with a topic that felt long-awaited. Holly writes the kinds of books that you point at the pages and go, ‘YES, THAT.’ She gets it.
When I was younger, I always read Louise Rennison and the Mates, Dates series and I get the same kind of vibe when I’m reading Holly’s books. They feel light, they’re hilariously funny, excellently written and her characters some of the most relatable I’ve read. More importantly and unlike the other series I mentioned, they highlight some really important issues – all in a day’s work.
I was worried I wasn’t going to enjoy this as much as Am I Normal Yet? but I needn’t have worried. Embarking on Amber’s journey was so fun, both heart-wrenching and heart-warming and also gave me an incredibly envious travel-bug. I went to California in September, stopping at LA, San Francisco, Yosemite and visited Las Vegas a few years before that so I could really picture every scene described, envious of the falls in Yosemite which were dry when I was there (4 year drought?!). But even if I hadn’t been, the book takes you on such an exciting journey, and as a British young girl too.
I loved how genuine Amber is – in fact, how genuine all of Holly’s characters are. I love that they’re silly and unique, because they feel so real and when they’re joking about being lame and weird – they’re just normal. That’s how most people feel growing up, like we’re weird. It’s so much easier to relate to them instead of the girls in books who seem to say all the right things and aren’t ‘weird’. It’s a friendship group that feels incredibly similar to my own, mostly the importance of Harry Potter in all things, and they are are dynamic and so funny, with so much personality.
It was just a joy to read and I think, for me, this revolves so much around the characters but also Holly. I don’t know her, but I can almost imagine what she’s like from reading her books. Her voice really drives the whole novel and you can feel her personality coming through in the humour and the emotions she packs into her novels. It’s great to read a book which you can tell has just been written with so much love and passion. I can’t wait for the next one.