Ember Fury by Cathy Brett
|Ember Fury by Cathy Brett|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Ember Fury suffers from pyromania. With a dead mother, an absentee rock-star father and a film star step-mother how is she going to cope? Recommended - and the semi-graphic novel format will particularly appeal to reluctant readers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: August 2009|
|External links: Author's website|
Ember Morton-Fury is the daughter of rock super-star Lyndon Fury and artist Amica Morton, who died when Em was a small child. It's the beginning of the school holidays and she's on her way to Los Angeles to see her father (well, his entourage, actually as he doesn't do the dad thing) and his new wife the actress Charity Lane. I say that it's the beginning of the school holidays, but that's a moot point as Em has been expelled from yet another school because of the small matter of a major fire which she started. You just know that things are not going to be any better in LA.
I loved this book. It's a major debunking of the celebrity lifestyle and no one, but no one is going to envy Em's life. She meets the stars and lives in luxury with her own driver (think 'minder') but her best friend is Ned. He's a great guy – really sensible and a support to Em when life is bad, but he's, er, only there in her imagination. There is a story behind him though and the best part about him is that he represents Em's conscience, her better side.
If you read about Em's antics (and in the same way that she knows you will have seen the pictures of her Dad's wedding, you will have read about her delinquent life) you'd dismiss her but by the end of the book you'll understand her and want her to win through. There's a non-preachy message that no matter what you haven't made a mess of life because you're not the perfect teenager.
Cathy Brett has a wonderful turn of phrase. Em describes her father's previous relationships as puddle girlfriends (gorgeous but shallow) and her first meeting with Charity Lane had me in tears of laughter – a pair of enormous sunglasses on a stick.
What really makes the book is that it's written as the screenplay of Em's life and it's almost a graphic novel. The illustrations are great – I found myself completely pulled into them and they captured the moments perfectly. There's the wedding picture of Lyndon Fury (think a slightly more presentable Mick Jagger) looking a little scruffy and Charity Lane (think a more attractive version of Victoria Beckham) complete with veil and big cheesy grin. Perfect.
You also get diary entries from Em, screen prints and a sense of being right there in the middle of her life. The book's highly recommended and even reluctant readers are going to want to know what happens. It'll stand the test of time for a while too as it's very much of the moment, but not tied to any celebrities or events which are likely to pass from the public consciousness too quickly.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Younger children coming to trms with the loss of a parent will love Her Mother's Face by Roddy Doyle and Freya Blackwood. For more debunking of the celebrity culture we loved Sara's Face by Melvin Burgess and Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ember Fury by Cathy Brett at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ember Fury by Cathy Brett at Amazon.com.
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