Carlota and Bethany are best friends. Bethany is the sensible one with a long-term boyfriend, Carlota is the crazy one with a wild past and rebellious nature. All is fine in their world - apart from Carlota hating her step-dad and longing for a old flame. And apart from Bethany thinking her boyfriend is about to dump her and that her period is late...Carlota comes up with a plan to put all their troubles behind them and go on a girls-only wild day out, with only their favourite magazine to guide them through the day. If they open it on a fashion page they have to get hold of a fabulous new outfit and pretend to be models. If they open it to a page on snogging, they have to find a boy to snog. The magazine will take them everywhere they need to go - but will it help them to reveal the secrets they are keeping from each other?
Too be honest I didn't enjoy this one as much as Split by a Kiss and I just couldn't work out why. It took me ages to figure out it was because I actually really hated (yes, hated) one of the female protagonists. Then I thought OMG Luisa's writing is so powerful that she made me hate one of the protagonists.
Written in first person narrative with alternating views of the 2 female protagonists, Bethany & Carlota. Bethany, 16, steady boyfriend, good student and all round nice girl except for her friendship with Carlota. Carlota, slightly younger (surprisingly) than Bethany yet appears more worldly; would just about do anything for fun. Have you guessed which one I hated yet?
The story follows the girls on an adventure manufactured by a teen magazine called Extreme Travel, whereby they pick a random bus/train and go where-ever it takes them. Add in random challenges taken from the pages of the magazine and you have an awesome day out. However, is it all random or are both the challenges and destination being controlled? I adored this aspect, the challenges were fun and not at all risky. The destinations were easy to picture and relate to. It really made me want to jump on the next bus/train with a magazine and see where it took me ;) Anyone want to join me?
Bethany and Carlota's personalities are revealed in depth through their adventure. Carlota's actions were sometimes amazingly naive, inconsiderate and frustrating that I wanted to throttle her. For me she was the epitome of the 'toxic' friend (Now you know which one I hated). Admittedly some of the challenges helped Bethany achieve part of her dreams, give her confidence and discover her inner strength. Bethany was wonderfully down to earth, easy to relate to, somebody you would be glad to call friend. Throughout the adventure there is an undercurrent on both sides giving an extra dimension to the story, the insights into both of their thoughts really reinforce the narrative.
The contrasts between Bethany & Carlota's parents brought to mind the nature versus nurture debate. A very interesting and subtle comparison.
Sensitive subjects such as sexuality and teen pregnancy are dealt with frankly but with sensitivity and a bit of humour.
The pages themselves are visually appealing with pretty girlie squiggles giving the impression of a personal diary/journal.
So now you know that I did in fact really enjoy this book although it brought out some really powerful emotions in me (poor Carlota). A wonderful humorous book perfect for Summer : D I really need to read Swapped NOW : D
Update: You can meet the lovely Luisa tonight at Dulwich Library at 5:45 along with otehr wonderful authors such as Keris Stainton, Sarra Manning & Sommone Howell.
To all of you that go, I am jealous, please give them all a hug from me especially the lovely Luisa and the awesome Keris who put up with my ramblings on twitter : D