Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Because of You Book Review

Blended families, they are more common than you might think these days. I have quite a few friends who have embraced this way of family life however when it comes to books it still seems more common to feature your 'average family' rather than those that are what I'd described as merged.

Eve Ainsworth is a best-selling teen author as well as being an experienced school speaker, with a background of working with secondary schools in pastoral and child protection roles and she has just published her debut Barrington Stoke novel Because of You which showcases both blended families as well as the topical idea of online bullying.

because-of-you-eve-ainsworth

Poppy's life has turned into a nightmare. Mum's new boyfriend is moving in, along with his daughter, Kayla - the most popular girl in school. Poppy's dad is never around and appears to be drifting further and further away. And when it seems like things can't get any worse, Poppy becomes the target of the spiteful school bullies. As the vicious online comments and humiliating pranks escalate, with even her friends joining in, it looks like Poppy has no one left to turn to.


The premise

This story begins with Poppy watching her mum's new boyfriend moving into their family home with his daughter, Kayla. Poppy's narrative shows just how annoyed and frustrated with this new situation that she is about to face.

Like most teenagers, she feels more than a little alone and of course misunderstood. All she wants is an easy life, one in which her mum and dad are still together. And whilst dealing with the emotions which are building, Poppy also has another problem in the form of a popular girl at school, Lia.

Because of You tackles the tough themes of both bullying and broken families.

Initial thoughts

I myself can sort of sympathise with some of Poppy's situation. My mum and dad split up when I was eleven years old and it wasn't long before my mum had a new boyfriend who ended up moving in with us. I blamed my mum for my dad not being around (much like Poppy does) and I felt like it was me against the world at times.

As the story progresses you really begin to empathise with Poppy and the issues which she is dealing with and with every page turned you get a sense of renewed hope and determination.

What I liked

I like that there are more books aimed at tween/teen readers focusing on real life issues that they may well face. 

What I really loved about Because of You is the way in which it is written. The writing is touching, emotive and gives off some great messages to the reader through a rather brave female protagonist: 

* standing up for yourself without stooping down to other peoples levels
* opening your eyes to the bigger situation

When I look back at how I was as a teenager, I wish I'd have realised just what my parents were going through rather than selfishly just thinking about how I was feeling at the time. Teenagers (well most of them) tend to act first, think later, something clearly demonstrated in this novella.

In conclusion

Because of You is a fantastic example of a contemporary teen story which is able to explore those real life problems in a sensitive manner and as is typical with Barrington Stoke books, it is super readable and ideal for children aged twelve and above.

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