I got a proof of The Truth About Celia a while ago, and it sounded great. And then loads of blogger friends were raving about it so I knew that I had to pick it up soon.
As soon as the story opened, I couldn't stop reading. It pulled me in, hook, line and sinker and I had to read on because I really wanted to know what was going on with Celia's 'condition'. I was practically having a race with myself, trying to finish it as fast as possible!
You'd think that Celia Frost was an ordinary 14 year-old girl. But she's not. Celia has a rare blood condition which means that even the smallest of cuts could mean death. Her mother, Janice, has told her time and time again that she is different from all the other teenagers, and that she has to be extra careful at all times. As you can probably imagine, Celia is getting pretty sick of it all, and is beginning to question why her mother just took her out of the hospital after an unfortunate 'incident' (with a bully at school and a knife) and why exactly they are packing up their stuff and moving on to yet another place when she DIDN'T JUST DIE and it actually appears that the doctor can't find anything wrong with her blood...
I felt sorry for Celia because of the fact that she doesn't have a place to call 'home' and that made me really sad. Her life was so unstable and seriously, would you like to be moved to a completely different place at the sight of a potential risk? I was practically shouting 'YOU GO GIRL!" at the book when Celia started to rebel and do what she wanted to do, despite her mother's panicking. But then as the story progressed and I realised that her mother had a very valid reason for lying about Celia's condition, it was Janice that I was rooting for. For most of the book, it's Janice that we think is the bad guy, but honestly? She's got NOTHING on the real one.
The relationship between Sol and Celia was a particularly lovely aspect of the novel, and I'm really glad that she did have the opportunityto call somebody a 'friend'. And Sol's family were just the coolest. His mum and two brothers made me laugh at various occasions.
I'm not really sure what else to say, because there's a rather huge twist in the book that I don't want to accidentally reveal. Just let me say this: it's like, The Truth About Celia has a bomb slowing ticking away somewhere in the background, and when it finally goes off, you'll get the shock of your life. This is a thought-provoking, fast-paced, thriller bursting with lies. I know I'll be watching out for a certain author!
Celia Frost has spent her life believing she's a freak. Ruled by a rare blood disorder which could cause her to bleed to death from the tiniest injury she's been wrapped in cotton wool by her protective mother and isolated from everyone just to keep safe. Friendless and desperately lonely, she's miserably unhappy.
Her disorder also brings her to the attention of the school bullies, but when an unprovoked attack has a surprising outcome and her Mum takes them on the run, Celia is left wondering if the one thing that protected her all these years was in fact the one harming her. With her life thrown upside down, her Mum falling apart in fear and an unknown person seeking them out, Celia is about to discover the truth...only she may just wish she hadn't.
Ah...this is indeed a refreshingly new tale, certainly one I hadn't come across before. It had me gripped from beginning to end, I really had no idea where it was going. It was a book of surprises and a journey I had to travel to find out what really was The Truth About Celia Frost.
Paula Rawsthorne's writing is incredibly easy to sink into. The book starts with a shocking incident which immediately hooks the reader and from there, it's difficult to let go. Celia has a rare blood disorder and has been brought up in near isolation by her single parent mother. Having moved from school to school all through her life she's lonely and friendless; often the victim of name calling and bullying at school. When an incident gets out of hand at her new school though and her mother's reaction is to run, Celia starts wondering what really is going on. Could it be the person she's trusted to care for her all her life is the one she's at danger from?
Celia is immediately intriguing. Despite being an outcast, she's strong and questions everything constantly which adds to the mystery surrounding her illness and her mother's motives. The relationship between the two is fantastically created with Celia's doubt and anger and her mother's desperation making for very intense reading. Between Celia's story we switch narrative to Frankie, an ex cop now working as a private investigator with some questionable morals and employed by a mysterious client to find Celia. I really liked this character and could very easily imagine him.
I also thought that Paula Rawsthorne described the setting perfectly too, with the inner London sink estate becoming just as menacing as the mystery surrounding Celia. You could feel the despair and poverty here. So it was a refreshing contrast for Celia to discover a new friend and place to escape to, an oasis in the city. I adored how we got to see Celia bloom away from all her troubles in this section.
I actually had no idea where this book was going to go for most of the book. What I was surprised to find was at its heart a story about the ethics of science and just how far we are prepared to go in its name. It's shocking and abhorrent, yet at the same time a little part of me wondered if anything like this could happen? Very thought provoking stuff.
Overall The Truth About Celia Frost is a fantastic read. It's so different from anything I've read before, realistically portrayed and believable, thought proving and gripping. I read it in one day, I just had to know what was going on and Rawsthorne's writing was just so compelling. This is a fresh and exciting new addition to Young Adult fiction and I'm excited to see what the author comes up with next.
Published July 2011 by Usborne
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.