Tuesday 1 May 2012

122. Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson

Love-Shy by Lili Wilkinson
Published May 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:
Penny is a schoolgirl investigative journalist in search of a story. And she finds one: a boy at her school who is painfully love-shy. Surely he's the perfect subject for a feature article. What could possibly go wrong?

I will begin by saying that I loved, loved, loved Lili's book Pocketful of Eyes published last year, so I was so excited at the prospect of what I hoped it be another funny and clever read.  I was not disappointed.

Penny is a great character; intelligent, dedicated, focused, forthright and real. As a watcher of many tragic TV series, she reminded of the character Paris Geller from the show Gilmore Girls.  The sort of character that spends so much time being busy, they have forgotten to take a breath and live life. 

Penny studies hard, she's a swimmer, is on the debate team, plays the oboe, is on the SRC and writes on the school paper.  Penny is always on the look out for the next big story, and when she stumbles on a forum called Loveshyforum.com, she realises she has it.  In her quest to find out about love-shyness she comes across a blog by PEZZimist, who is a real life boy from her school who suffers from love-shyness. After interviewing nearly every boy in her year, Penny finds the love-shy boy, Nick Rammage,  and she beings her efforts to cure him.

There are a lot of funny moments in the book, but there is a serious side too. I did start to become concerned when Penny visits Nick at home, and we see what his life is really like.  The way Nick has been treated by his parents is not abuse in the physical sense, but emotionally, they have been abusing him for years.  This has damaged him to the point where he is now, but his friendship with Penny makes him see that his life has not been  OK, and that he needs to get help. Working with Nick on his love-shyness, Penny becomes aware that she may not be the well rounded person she thinks she is.

This all sounds very deep and meaningful for a book that's supposed to be funny. Somehow Lili has managed to write a story that is funny, and has substance, not always an easy combination to achieve.  There are a number of reference to corny 80's movies in the book (of which I admit to being a fan), there's a touch of Some Kind of Wonderful and a little Pretty In Pink, and I did wonder if that is how the book would end.  Smart girl helps boy, boy gets beautiful dream girl, smart girl falls in love with boy, boy realises that it's smart girl he really wants, boy dumps gorgeous girl and smart girl and boy live happily ever after.  Now, does the book end like that?  I can't tell you that...you have to read the book to find that out!

I visited Lili's blog after reading this book, as I am interested in how some stories end up on the page.  Here's a link to her blog, where she talks about this book and details the research that went into it. Lili Wilkinson.

Who will like this book: Girls age 14+
Read it if you like: Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson

No comments:

Post a Comment