A powerful teen read that’s not to be missed.
Mia thinks she’s being ironic when she has the phrase ‘All About Mia’ emblazoned on her T-shirt. Ironic because it’s NEVER about her. How can it be? She’s just the mess in the middle – sandwiched between her oh-so-perfect straight A grade sister, Grace, and her super-talented soon-to-be Olympic swimmer sister, Audrey. As far as Mia’s concerned she may as well get permanently wasted. She’s convinced there’s no point trying until a series of events coincide to show her just how wrong she is.
This is Lisa Williamson’s, much awaited, second book. I’ve not read her debut title – The Art of Being Normal – but it’s impossible not to be aware of a book that’s had such a buzz around it and which has won, or been nominated for, quite so many awards. I, therefore, knew I had to grab the opportunity to review ‘All About Mia’ and I wasn’t disappointed.
If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know I normally love plot based fiction that keeps you turning those pages waiting for the next dramatic incident. This is most definitely not that type of book – or at least not until quite close to the end when the plot ramps up a gear. It is, however, practically un-put-down-able and I found myself carrying the book with me everywhere I went for two days just in case I had time to sneak in another chapter.
Told from Mia’s perspective, this book is aptly titled. It is all about Mia and I spent the first two thirds unsure whether I actually liked our main character. She’s self-centred, self-destructive and a total pain to everyone other than her three closest friends (and she’s not always that nice to them). In other words, she’s a typical teenager. Indeed, it is this totally authentic teen voice that has the reader hooked. We’re able to understand and sympathise with Mia’s actions even as she betrays her best friend and embarrasses her parents on their wedding day. In this it strongly reminds me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon where we are totally on Christopher’s side despite his socially unacceptable behaviour.
While I enjoyed this book, I suspect it will have an even stronger appeal to its target audience. I imagine more than one teenage girl will find solace in Mia’s jealousies, insecurities and will be comforted by her admission of ignorance about successful relationships and sex. Mia’s almost seventeen – the sort of girl everyone at school looks up to and wants to be – but she’s not as worldly as everyone assumes. For example, it’s powerful reading when she debates whether her encounter in Aaron’s bedroom actually counts as sex or not: So far Google hasn’t given me a firm answer either way.
Overall, this is a powerful teen read that’s not to be missed. If you’re looking for something similar, you could join me in checking out The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. Alternatively The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell and I’d strongly recommend The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss.
Date: February 2017
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Author: Lisa Williamson
Review first published on The Bookbag