Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: Paradise Girl

A highly infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. Seventeen-year-old Kerryl Shaw and her family live on a remote farm and think they will be safe, but the plague advances. Despite deaths around them, the Shaws survive. However, this changes when a stranger arrives, and it soon becomes apparent he has brought the infection to their door. One by one the family succumbs, leaving Kerryl alone.

Kerryl is sure it’s only a matter of time before she, too, dies. She decides to record what she thinks will be her final days in a diary. She realises that it will never be read, so she imagines a reader and calls him Adam. As loneliness and isolation affect the balance of her mind, Adam ceases to be an imaginary character and becomes real to her...

Let's start by saying, for a debut novel, I loved this book. Whilst at first glance the idea of an incurable virus spreading worldwide isn't a new concept, the author manages to take it in a whole new and exciting direction that keeps the reader gripped. Paradise Girl is actually a young adult book but as is often the case I think it's extremely enjoyable for adults too. It works extremely well at building tension and setting the scene of a post-apocalyptic rural town. I honestly can't sing it's praises enough for how well this novel kept me wanting to read more.

However I do have a couple of little bug bears with it. The first being some of the language used between the teenagers in the book. I found it a little unrealistic and flowery and times, and working with teenagers everyday, I can confirm that this certainly isn't how they speak. With the target market being people around the main character's age, it would have been nice to see a more realistic portrayal of the everyday language used by young people. My second little niggle was actually the main character, Kerryl. Whilst for the most part I did enjoy reading about her, I found her to be grating at times but I could quite easily look past this thanks to the good plot. 

In all I recommend giving Paradise Girl a read if you're after a novel that will keep you turning the pages.

Rating: ★★

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