Sunday, 22 January 2012

Review: Saving Daisy - Phil Earle

Title: Saving Daisy
Author: Phil Earle
Format: Paperback
Pages: 338
Genre: Young Adult
Published (UK): 5th January 2012 (Puffin)
Previous Books in Series: Being Billy

Losing love, fighting guilt, seeking hope.

Daisy’s mum is gone. Her dad refuses to talk about it and as far as Daisy’s concerned, it’s all her fault…

Saving Daisy is a powerful and moving story that follows the life of Daisy Houghton who first featured in Phil Earle’s critically acclaimed debut, Being Billy.

As Daisy struggles with misplaced guilt over her mother’s death, she turns to extreme and violent measures and soon her life starts spiralling out of control. This leads to tragedy and suddenly Daisy finds herself left all alone. But sometimes the kindness of a stranger can turn things around. A stranger who desperately wants to save Daisy – if she’ll only let herself be saved

Fourteen-year-old Daisy tries to blend in as much as possible so she doesn't draw attention to herself. She blames herself for her mum's death and sometimes she thinks her dad blames her too. Daisy has her own way of dealing with this. She has to release the panic by cutting herself. If that wasn't enough to cope with, another tragedy leaves Daisy orphaned and full of guilt. She needs help and there's one person struggled to do so. But Daisy can't be saved until she's ready.

The main thing I loved about this book and Earle's previous book, Being Billy, is the realism. Not shy of jumping right into very real problems that teens struggle to cope with, the author deals with them brilliantly. The characters are real and gritty, doing things that teens do but probably shouldn't; neither glamourising nor condemning them. Smoking and drinking are easy ways for the teens to deal, or at least block out, their issues. There's no preachiness but a clear 'this is what could happen' message that goes with the characters' actions.

While by no means a fun read, owing to the nature of the story, it's most certainly an interesting and emotional one which is hard to put down once you've started. You really start to care for Daisy at an early point in the book and the pages keep turning as you feel a need to find out what happens to her. A highly recommended read.

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