Footloose by Kate Cann

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Footloose by Kate Cann

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Boy meets girl, boy ditches girl to go off with his mates, girl has a whale of a time alone n Greece in this lovely, lazy novel about first loves and first adventures.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: June 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0439955720

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Kelly and Mike are in a somewhat overly intense relationship as the school year ends. They can't bear to be apart for the summer, but Mike is committed to a trip he planned long before she came into his life. Sure, he could stay home, but then he'd let the guys down. And yes, Kelly could tag along on his trip, but does she really want to spend months trekking round Europe in a van with only 5 smelly boys and the inevitable rounds of fart and/or tits jokes for company? Um, no. A much better idea would surely be for Mike to go off and do his own thing, and for Kelly to do the same. After all, maybe if Romeo and Juliet had spent the odd bit of time apart, they wouldn't have ended up all dead like that. When Kelly's mate Jade offers her the chance to spend the summer in Greece with the girls, she decides to go for it, and the story properly begins.

The descriptions paint such an idyllic portrait of Greece that you'll want to pop straight on a plane over there. The Mediterranean life is captured perfectly – the food, the people, the beaches, the laid back lifestyle – and bizarrely by the end it even had me thinking dreamily of vegetables which takes some doing. As for the girls themselves, I thought Sarah was a brilliant and intriguing character, and I was pleased with the way things worked out for her. I thought Jade was a bit of a twit, but I think that's what you were supposed to think. And I really, really liked Moo.

The story is smooth, flowing, appealing, with just the right amount of drama. It's the sort of book you can pick up and want to keep reading until the end, and then consider reading again in the not too distant future. The back and forth at the end was a bit irritating (Kelly seems finally to have changed her mind, only to change it back again a few pages later) but other than those last few pages I thought it was spot on. I first read this book almost 10 years ago when it was first published, but re-reading it now it seems just as fresh and current as it did then. There's something quite refreshing about a story sans-mobile and sans-internet, and the lovely relaxed setting of semi-rural Greece allows you to imagine a world, even now, where such things might not rule lives they way they do in the UK. Sure, Kelly could have sent Mike texts rather than letters, but she might still have chosen the old-fashioned, more romantic method of communication, given the sort of relationship they had.

This book was published under the title Grecian Holiday in the USA, and of course that's an appropriate title, what with it being a story about a trip to Greece, but for me, the British title is more fitting because even more than it is about the country, the book is about Kelly's new life away from Mike being footloose and fancy free, at least temporarily.

Thanks go to the publishers, Scholastic, for sending this title to The Bookbag.

If you're bitten by the travel bug and fancy a change from Greece, Escape and Sea Change, both also by Kate Cann, come highly recommended too.

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