Monday, 7 July 2014

Review of Looking for Alex by Marian Dillon

The bit on the back...

They were supposed to be best friends…

It’s the summer of 1977, Beth and Alex did everything together. Until the day seventeen year old Alex ran away from home. A missing persons report has been filed, but Beth knows that there must be more to Alex’s disappearance. So she follows Alex, to punk-era London, determined to bring her best friend back home.

But the Alex she finds living in a Camden squat isn’t the same Alex. And memories of those weeks in London haunt her to this day; falling for Fitz, her first love; tasting a new kind of freedom, and the fateful day that her parents finally tracked them down and took her away.

Alex knew then that Beth had betrayed her trust, and disappeared once more, severing their friendship for good. And now, years later, it’s time for forgotten secrets to be shared once and for all. Because after all this time, Beth’s never given up on finding Alex…

Firstly thank you to Marian for getting in touch with me about possibly reviewing her book. The blurb caught my interest and I'm really glad I agreed after finally getting through some of my teetering TBR pile to read it.

The story is all about main character Beth and her search for her best friend Alex, who has ran away from home in the 70s. After finding her once, Alex goes missing again, this time seemingly for good.

Beth narrates this time flip novel throughout. The story is told between 2013 and the summer in the 70s where it all took place. Present day Beth is in her fifties, 70s Beth is in her mid teens, only beginning to discover everything that life holds for her but the disappearance of her best friend flips her life completely on its head. So don't worry if you think you won't be able to relate to her, having two versions of herself make it really easy to get to know and enjoy her character. The story starts in the present day and gives us a look at Beth's life as it is now.

I didn't like Alex at all from the beginning of the story. I thought she was awful and inconsiderate running away and then putting Beth in the precarious situation she did. By starting the story off in the present day then the whole story unfolding after that, it was more and more obvious how Alex's second disappearance had such a negative impact on Beth's life. It almost felt like Alex didn't care what the consequences were for the people round about her.

In the 70s scenes we go through the motions with Beth, finding Alex after the first time she ran away and then everything that happened in the short time after - her first love, her first taste of independence. I really like Fitz's teenage character and his relationship with Beth. He seemed the polar opposite of Alex in terms of maturity and really seemed to have his head screwed on right.

As the present day story unfolds, chance meetings mean that Beth starts to think about everything that happened once again and we go with her on her journey to confront all of those secrets and face up to the past. I thought the book really picked up pace the further in I read and it was a real page turner waiting to see what was going to happen. Overall a good read from Marian with a cleverly structured story and a developed cast of characters. If you liked this, or the sound of it, you should also check out Yesterday by Sheila Norton.

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