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Lily - Adele Geras
I have never read any books in the quick reads section as when I get into a book I can read quite fast and with only 100 pages, I knew that the books wouldn't last very long. I had just finished another book and noticed this at my local Surestart Centre and couldn't believe they had started loaning books for free. Unfortunately there was only quick reads and not a lot of choice though I thought I would give this a go as it sounded half decent. I think it was the word 'A ghost Story' on the front cover which caught my attention.
A GHOST STORY
"My name is Marie Cotter and I want you to believe me. Every word of this story is true..."
Seventeen year old Marie lost her mother when she walked out on her as a child and went to live with her grandmother. Both her grandmother and her mother fell pregnant at a young age and it seemed that Marie was to follow suit, except her pregnancy stopped before its time.
As Marie struggles to come to terms with her miscarriage, she lands a job from her doctor looking after his four year old daughter, Amy, who had unfortunately lost her own mother two years previous. At first the job seems perfect. Marie and Amy love each other from the beginning yet soon things start to change. It seems that not everyone is happy with Marie being at the house. There appears to be someone within the house who is determined to get rid of Marie.
From the start of the book I felt as though I was reading a book for young early readers. The writing was overly simple with a lot of unnecessary punctuation which was extremely off-putting. The only reason that I did not put this book down at the beginning was the fact that the story itself grabbed me even when the style did not. As it is a quick read with only 100 pages, it was as expected in terms of how fast the story moved. Straight away it dove into the story without any real background information as you would find in longer novels though this was not necessary a bad thing as long as you remember that it is only a short story. Too much information would have taken the story away from the pages. There was some small amount of background from the first person point of view of Marie (which the book is written from throughout), though just enough to allow the reader to follow the story easily.
There is some small amount of sexual talk though this is very mild and only used to explain the story of her pregnancy - nothing more, nothing less.
The story flowed fast and steady throughout and we were able to get to know the couple of main characters involved though there was no real emotion felt when reading. I could not empathise or sympathise with any character or situation as the story simply is not long enough to do so. I felt that it was a shame that this was only a quick read as the story had real potential to be much better if wrote in novel style.
The setting mainly took place at the doctors house and gardens which I could visualise from the brief descriptions though more could have been made of this also.
As I reached the end in unbelievably short a time, I felt that really the plot line was not as well rounded as it first seemed to be. There were many events left unexplained and the ending did not wrap the story up at all. It felt as though the author simply added the ending to hurriedly finish the book with no real thought to it. There was so much more which could have been made to this story though it was absent of any proper direction and so full of holes which left me wondering how on earth it managed to get published. There were some really good parts though because of all the bad parts it just came across as a badly written attempt by a young person. As I haven't read either any of the authors other work or any other quick reads I do not know whether this is the usual style though from experience of reading this I know that I will not be picking up another quick read book in a hurry, nor will I look at any other book by this author. It is a shame as it really did have great potential with more effort.
This book, as with most quick reads I believe, can be bought for the little amount of only £1.99 which considering this price I would say that maybe you get what you pay for. Personally I will not be going out and spending even that little amount on actually buying the book and glad that it was only borrowed as the whole story left me reeling in disappointment.
Do I recommend this book?
I would recommend any book but this to be honest, unless you want to read a book that shows potential though does not deliver at all.
Usually, a book with a cover like this wouldn't give me cause to look twice, but for some reason, it was the words 'A Ghost Story' that got me interested, I have never heard of Adele Geras, so had nothing to go on, nor was I sure after reading the blurb, which explains the basics of the plot.
Marie is seventeen, and has suffered the loss of an unborn baby. When she is offered a job as a temporary nanny to a 4 year old girl who has lost her mother, she willingly takes it and develops a relationship with the girl, Amy. However, it seems that Lily, Amy's mother, isn't willing to let things go, despite being dead....
I must admit, the writing style of Geras is very appealing, and I was very glad to be reading it. Once I had finished, though, I wasn't entirely convinced of the plot. I felt there were unexplained events, and it left far too much to the reader's imagination. The characters are strong and believable, and the story hurtles along at a fair pace, but once if finished, I was left wondering if indeed there were more pages to come. I really felt they had missed a trick.
There's a bit of psychology involved in the plot, firstly with Marie's loss, and then her experiences of ghosts in the new house where she is nannying Amy. You do wonder whether she's making it all up, or it's in her head, and wish for clarification from Geras to throw a clue. By the end of the book, there is so much that is left up in the air that it wasn't a conclusion I was entirely happy with.
This disappointment bugged me more than the writing impressed me, so it makes it hard to know whether to recommend it or not. Geras manages to make it quite an appealing tale, and although I had the feeling that it was intended more for girls than for me, I appreciated the quality of the writing. Had the plot given me some sort of closure, then I would probably rate it quite highly and would definitely recommend it. As it is, though, frustration and disappointment are the emotions I gained from the book.
As part of the Quick Reads collection of books, they are designed to appeal to reluctant readers. There are better books in the series, for sure, although Geras' writing style is good. This book is available for between £1.99 and £2.99 as standard, but you may be able to pick it up for less if you look around.