Rebecca Is Always Right by Anna Carey
|Rebecca Is Always Right by Anna Carey|
|Reviewer: Rebecca Foster|
|Summary: The fourth book in Carey's YA series sees Dublin teenager Rebecca Rafferty falling for a comic strip artist, nursing her older sister's broken heart, and helping her dad not make a fool of himself in amateur dramatics. Good fun for younger teens.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: The O'Brien Press|
|External links: Author's website|
First things first: I must admit that I chose to review this book entirely based on its title. After all, what better book to keep on the coffee table and brandish at my husband when I'm making a point? What I did not realise when I volunteered is that it is the fourth book in a series that began in 2011 with The Real Rebecca, for which Anna Carey won the Senior Children's Book prize at the Irish Book Awards. This has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you can tell that the characters are established and well-rounded. On the other hand, there are such frequent references to past events – presumably, adventures from the previous three books – that it is clear this is an instalment in an ongoing story and not a stand-alone book.
Rebecca Rafferty, 15, lives in a Dublin suburb with her parents and her older sister, Rachel. She goes to school, of course, but she'd rather be drumming in her band, Hey Dollface, which she formed with her best friends Alice and Cass, who has recently come out as a lesbian. They've landed weekend practice slots at the Knitting Factory, where they'll perform in a showcase gig later in the term. Meanwhile, Rachel has just been dumped by her boyfriend, Tom, and does little besides eat toast and watch films. But Rachel has Leaving Certs at the end of the year, and Rebecca and her classmates have important exams, too, as her parents won't let them forget: 'Nagging both of us is their favourite thing to do after taking part in amateur musicals.'
So here we have the seed of two central dilemmas. Rebecca sets herself the challenge of cheering Rachel up (with homemade fudge and whatever else is necessary), but her task becomes more difficult when she discovers a secret about Tom and Rachel's best friend, Jenny. Secondly, Rebecca must keep her father from taking over the local play. He's mad for dancing, but his part as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady doesn't allow much scope for his talent. Maybe he'll just 'jazz up' the role a bit, he thinks, but Rebecca will come up with a clever plan to sidetrack him.
There are a few more plot strands in there, such as a classmate's highly annoying TV advert for Bluebird Bakery cookies (co-starring Handsome Dan the pug – which explains the cute cover image) and Rebecca's attempt to forget Paperboy, who left for Canada, and catch the eye of Sam, a budding comics artist, instead. It's all rather sweet, if inconsequential. Carey certainly captures an authentic teenage voice: 'I wonder if feeling loads of things at the same time is normal?' Especially with the brooding over various boys, I was definitely reminded of my own teenage diaries.
Rebecca is funny, too; I like her quip about the absurdities of studying German: 'what can you expect from a language where the word for glove is 'Handschuh', which just means 'hand shoe'?' She's warmly self-deprecating, as when she compares herself to a more aloof friend: 'I wish I could be as enigmatic as her. I tried it during the summer, but it just confused people.' It's best when Rebecca is just herself. Why not, when she's always right? Good fun for younger teens.
Further reading suggestion: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend is still the last word in how to write a teenager's diary. Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison is another recent take on the genre.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rebecca Is Always Right by Anna Carey at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Rebecca Is Always Right by Anna Carey at Amazon.com.
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