Thanks to Hot Key Books and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
In the introduction to this book the author Yasmin Rahman talks about how she wanted to write a book for young people, a book that would resonate with teens who feel the same way she did as a teen. I’d definitely say she has nailed that aim, this 100% feels like a YA book with its audience firmly in mind.
We have three points of view in this novel: Mehreen, a young British Muslim, Cara, a paraplegic wheelchair user and Olivia, a privileged, yet abused, private school girl. All three girls suffer from depression and contemplate taking their own lives. In order to facilitate this, they sign up for an online suicide pact matching service and from this, are put in contact with one another.
Mehreen was probably the best written and most well-developed character of the three. I think the author possibly wrote a lot of her own experiences into Mehreen and her character gave a good insight into the life of a modern British Muslim teenage girl. Speaking personally, I enjoyed Olivia’s point of view the most. I thought the way it was written really demonstrated the tension and fear she felt about her situation and her sense of hopelessness. I thought Cara was a pain in the arse if I’m being completely frank. I know she was supposed to be abrasive and annoying, but I thought she was a spoilt brat and my opinion didn’t really change over the course of the novel.
Some deep themes are explored in this story including, but not limited to, sexual abuse and rape, depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and cyber bullying as well as happier themes such as female friendship and family bonds. I struggled to take the whole website thing seriously, and considering the plot as a whole, I guess I just felt like I knew what was going to happen pretty much from the beginning.
Overall, this is a decent read that raises some important issues that affect young people today. Definitely one for the school library.