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At Strandbrook College, we are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors, oh, and wealthy people who aspire to all of that. I'm the kid of a rock star. Means nothing to me. When Mum died, six months ago, I didn't just lose her, I lost my dad - to work. The only thing he does now is annoy me. He hires people like 'The Stylist' who wears bullets in her belt and makes him look like a hobo. Seriously. But 'The Rockstar' isn't the only person who drives me mad. There's David McFadden, a guy in my class who could have helped but didn't. Now, it's too late. I don't want his help. Because I'm not going to trust anyone, love anyone, rely on anyone. That way I'll never be hurt again. If only I could solve the problem of Rachel, my best friend, who won't let me pull back just like that. Even David McFadden won't stay out of my face. But I'm not going to fall for his blue eyes, his windswept hair or the plaited leather on his wrist. And when he says he wants to help, I'm sure as hell not going to listen...
The author of this book, Denise Deegan approached me to read her three novels when I got a chance and I agreed because 1) She was extremely polite in asking me 2) Worked really hard at getting me the novels because for some reason since she's in Ireland and I'm here, she can't gift them to me from Ireland. Some Amazon Law. 3) And it's set in Ireland. I haven't read a YA novel set in Ireland.
So, I started it on the holiday weekend, and I couldn't put it down! Alex, the main character is broken and jaded and angry and expects nothing but to be let down for the rest of her life. When she lost her mother, she lost everything. "The Rockstar" as she calls her dad behind his back, hired a chef, a security guard (not like the ones that walk around the mall), and sent her to a shrink. She closed herself off from everyone but her Gran and Homer, her dog. Her philosophy is, if you don't care about someone, then losing them won't hurt so bad. But she's got two best friends, one a bit smarter than the other and she's wise to what's happening. Shaking her isn't too easy. And then there's David McFadden, the American that she's paired up with for sailing class and who makes her actually laugh. But she can't laugh, because that would mean forgetting her mother.
Alex is caught between honoring her mother's memory and needing desperately to move on. She's so afraid to move forward because if she let's herself be happy, she's afraid the world will rip that happiness away from her again. This is one of the most emotional and well written YA novels I've read this year, and you know I've read a lot. I was reading with my throat constricted trying not to cry in the car. I didn't want to have to explain it was over a book. But this is just not any book. This is a cathartic book about losing someone, letting go, moving forward, remembering, healing, loving, just about any emotion you could have, you'll feel. Alex does indeed have a romance, but she has a lot of mending fences too. I think the relationship between her and her father is what got to me the most. God did I let loose when I was home in my bed with my tissues and my pillow. Denise Deegan can wring the emotion right out of you until you're just a mess.
Alex is so well written and so complex. You know why she reacts to things the way she does and you understand but you're hoping for her to change a little earlier than she does. But she does put her big girl panties on in the end. Her father, he grows up from someone we don't know at all and kind of hate to someone we understand and feel for and empathize with. Some of Alex's friends we like, some we may not. David, God love him that boy was amazing. And we got to see all the different sides of him that made him who he is. So yes, the characters were very well developed as was the story line.
You know that little percentage at the bottom of your e-reader that tells you how much of the book is left. Let's just say I was sweating this one out until the very last few percentages!
I really don't know where this book has been hiding except it came out in 2011. I'm sad it's over as I feel like I could read about Alex forever. But I have two other books about her best friends called And For Your Information and And Actually.
Another note, there is some Irish teen slang in it that was fun to read. It didn't take long to figure out what it meant, but it was fun to learn some new words and how the teens over there speak to each other. Not much different from here, they just use different words. That just upped the enjoyment factor on this fabulous novel. I'll be diving into And For Your Information very soon!
Thanks to Denise Deegan for the free copy of And by The Way for review. She'd like anyone interested to know that you can get a review copy from her if you'll do a review. Just contact her at :
You won't be sorry if you read this novel. Denise Deegan is a well seasoned author in Ireland, she's just trying to cross the Atlantic!