An unmissable young adult book with thought-provoking themes, a gripping teen voice, and an uplifting ending. It’s dyslexia friendly too!
Agnes thought she and Ellie would be together forever. That’s why she had no qualms about promising to help Ellie scatter her mum’s ashes. It is, however, a promise that she has come to regret. One year on, Ellie and Agnes are no longer an item. Ellie has moved on and has a new boyfriend, Steve, but she still wants Agnes’s support. It’s, therefore, a very uncomfortable trio of teens that set off up the desolate mountain that Ellie’s mum loved so much. It takes all Agnes’s strength to reach the peak but, once there, things take a turn for the worse. Much much worse.
This short book by Cat Clarke from Barrington Stoke is totally unmissable for three reasons.
Firstly, I challenge any fan of teen or young adult fiction not to love the voice in this book. Agnes’s personality positively jumps off the page from the opening lines: ‘Never make a promise at a funeral. It’s my new motto. It’s pretty specific as mottos go, I know. But I think it will serve me well.’ Her dry observations and wry humour continues throughout the book, making it almost impossible to put down. (I read it in one sitting). Don’t believe me? Here’s just another example from the first page: ‘As experiences go, it falls somewhere on the unpleasantness scale between having all my teeth pulled out without anaesthetic and walking across a room full of Lego in bare feet.’
The second reason you won’t want to miss this book is the number of thought-provoking themes it manages to pack into just 73 pages. While reading, I was simply entertained by Agnes’s observations and intrigued by how events would play out. Once I’d finished reading, however, I found myself reflecting on bigger topics including the nature of relationships, what it must be like dealing and living with depression, and how personal identity is constructed. It’s hard to say more without giving away too much of the story, particularly the ending, so all I can tell you is that it left me feeling both inspired and uplifted.
My third and final reason why this book shouldn’t be missed relates to its accessibility to all. Letting Go is part of the Barrington Stoke super-readable dyslexia-friendly series with a clear well-spaced font and thick off-white paper. It is, however, also a book that will be enjoyed by all teens and, if I am anything to go by, adults as well.
If you enjoyed this, you might want to try one of Cat Clarke’s many other books. I haven’t read any but I’ve now added We Are Young and Girlhood to the list of books I want to read. Alternatively, if you’d like to read another teen story from Barrington Stoke, I’d highly recommend The Liar’s Handbook by Keren David.
Date: August 2019
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Author’s website: Cat Clarke