Growing up can be such a pain. The uncertainties that surround
you, the pressure from family, the tensions of living up to
certain expectations and most frustratingly, the need to find
companionship – this list should be familiar if you
are a self-proclaimed grown-up who can proudly state that
you have survived that stage.
Cross’ 2001 debut novel captures that sentiment well,
and to make the story drip of more teen angst, it takes place
during summer in Yorkshire, England, where everyone is hot,
bothered and flustered.
easily-comprehensible tale tells the story of two 15-year-olds,
Mona and Tasmin, who meet in a small market town. The boring
location is perfect for some sizzling action between the two
girls. Couple that with other characters like an overweight
stepbrother, an abusive man and a deceased anorexic sister,
and the result is a good read with intertwining relationships
anchored by the love between these two girls.
from Mona’s point of view, the English accent and feel
is very strong in this novel. Readers who are not too familiar
with phrases like “I lub you”, “Where’s
me hair thingy?” and “Yer oaf” may take
some time to accommodate to this style of writing.
starts off as an innocent friendship between the two girls
gradually evolves into a tale of sexual tension and betrayal.
The blur line between what is right and wrong, whether to
follow the teenage heart or to do things the expected way,
are all nicely depicted in the novel.
finale even involves a dead body, to spice things up a bit.
Cross sensationally describes the physical appearances of
the characters, as well as the complementary monotonous surroundings
so well, you can easily feel the alluring realm of the story.
book may not appeal to those who enjoy very intelligent storylines
and very sophisticated writing, because of Cross’ consistent
laidback style throughout the 248-page novel. But if you think
about it, that’s what growing up should be all about.
adapted by filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski into a film starring
Natalie Press and Emily Blunt, this novel is a satisfyingly
comfortable read on a humid and lazy afternoon.
“I want you to prick my fingers and sleep for a thousand
years, until you wake ME with a kiss, loving love Mona Lisa.
was very pleased with it. I even wrote it with my left hand,
in the hope it would give me a characterful trembling weirdness.”
the book if you are growing up to understand that the struggles
you are facing is universal. Read the book if you have already
grown up to relish those moments tucked away somewhere in
your memory. Of course, you must have open mind about the
lesbian-implicated plot of the story, if the review isn’t
clear about that already.
by John Li