Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi and Denise Muir (translator)
|Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi and Denise Muir (translator)|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: A difficult, tense, heartbreaking book, which feels urgent and necessary.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 216||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
Manuela Salvi's books, including this one, have been banned in her native Italy. It is easy to see why when you consider the material in Girl Detached and the unflinching way she deals with pertinent issues facing vulnerable young girls.
The story focuses on 16 year old Aleksandra, who has recently lost the grandmother who raised her and moved in with her estranged mother, stepfather and young half brother. She is lost and adrift; a misfit who stutters and struggles with self-confidence. She is also involved with a strange bunch of misfits who run an amateur theatre group, in which she finds solace by acting out other parts, which appears to cure her shyness and stutter.
It is when she meets new friend Megan, her new neighbour's daughter, and through her a handsome older boy Ruben, that she encounters trouble. Initially feeling drawn to the gang of new friends, who buy her fancy clothes and take her to wild parties, she realises she is being drawn ever further into a circle of drink, drugs, and ultimately, abuse.
Salvi's story is convincing, making it even more menacing, and reading it as an adult there is a sense of foreboding from the start as you see the grooming of Aleksandra. The book, I think, is aimed at a teen/young adult market, and certainly it could possibly help young girls who may be feeling drawn into similar situations recognise the dangers. It would probably also be useful to parents to better understand and recognise the signs of grooming that can often go hidden. Her descriptions of the parties the girls attend, the character development of her new group of friends, is very subtle and measured, and frighteningly realistic. Salvi does manage to end the story with at least a hopeful conclusion, though the reality and unfairness of the situation of the girls in this story is all too believable.
The book has a good storyline, and as I say it is convincing and unflinching from its theme. I found it incredibly difficult to read because of that, though appreciate that Salvi has done an excellent job of bringing this subject to life. It is undoubtedly a timely novel, though it isn't something I would recommend reading as a light or easy read. I think Salvi is a powerful new voice in YA fiction.
If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi and Denise Muir (translator) at Amazon.com.
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