Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication Date: October 1st 2015 by Orion Children’s Books
Format: eARC Hachette Children’s Group from via Netgalley
My name is Tess Turner – at least, that’s what I’ve always been told.
I have a voice but it isn’t mine. It used to say things so I’d fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn’t. It lied.
It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren’t the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down.
Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them.
I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.
Tessie-T has never really felt she fitted in and after what she read that night on her father’s blog she knows for certain that she never will. How she deals with her discovery makes an entirely riveting, heart-breaking story told through Tess’s eyes as she tries to find her place in the world.
Annabel Pitcher is one of those authors that I cannot make my mind up about. I adored her first novel, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece (it was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog!) but disliked her second book Ketchup Clouds. I hoped that this would swing me in one direction or the other, but it fell squarely in the middle.
Tess is a teenager, and acts in the normal way that you would expect a teenager to act. She’s just discovered something devastating and obviously she reacts badly to it – anyone would. However it was the writing of this book I struggled with. Tess is a teenager, as I’ve said, but it read as though she were younger, and as a result I struggled with this. Her conversations with ‘Mr. Goldfish’ were juvenile – I know her conversing with a torch is supposed to highlight her isolation, but it was the actual ‘discussions’ that they had which were problematic for me.
The character of Tess was one that I didn’t find myself particularly attached to, either. In fact, I found the side characters (particularly Isabel) to be more interesting. I felt as though Pitcher had tried to include more facts about Tess, but they weren’t really clear and it was difficult to picture her (I recall some mention of her weight, but it wasn’t really developed so I’m not too sure). She was shallow and rash, making impulsive and stupid decisions, again understandable following terrible news, but some of her actions were just unnecessary and I found myself being irritated rather than intrigued.
Then there is the whole sub-plot regarding Mr. Richardson which I felt was just included to make a bit more happen in the book and to up the word count. Whilst it does work in the story, I felt that nothing would truly have been lost if it wasn’t there. Maybe that’s just me though.
However, it was still a cute read and I will be picking up more books by Annabel Pitcher in the hope something will wow me as much as her first book did. It was quick, different and fun, though a little too juvenile for a teenage narrator and I think Pitcher’s style definitely suits a younger character. I would recommend this book, as it portrays the feeling of isolation extremely well and the effect that not knowing who you truly are can have on a person. I did enjoy this book at the end of the day, despite the fact that I’ve focused on the problems that I had with it. The plot was interesting and I did like the majority of the characters – which can make or break a book for me – and it honestly was a pleasant read. Not my favourite of hers, but if you were thinking of reading it, I’d encourage you to pick it up.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars.