|The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Indie tells her story over the phone to a sympathetic Samaritan. And it's a tale of manipulation, obligation and teenaged impulsiveness that leads to disaster. Chris Higgins has written an absorbing, claustrophobic and oppressive story that you just can't put down.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: March 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Everyone takes an instant dislike to Suzie Grey, the new girl at college. There's just something about her that makes people's skin crawl. Everyone, that is, save Indie. Indie is a soft touch. She just can't help herself. She's a sucker for a sob story and most of her hard-earned wages from her part-time job at the salon go on bailing out her boyfriend's many disasters. Indie feels sorry for Suzie, this mousy, hard-done-by girl, and she takes her under her wing.
It isn't easy. Suzie is clingy and needy and Indie spends a great deal of time defending her to boyfriend Rick, her family and her friends. But Suzie isn't as green as she's cabbage-looking, and soon she has adopted Indie's hairstyle, fashion sense, even her make-up look. She persuades Indie to get her a part-time job at the salon and, within a few weeks, is even staying at Indie's house. And at the same time, cracks are appearing in Indie's life - her relationship with Rick, her college course, even her job.
The Day I Met Suzie opens with Indie making a call to the Samaritans. And the story of Suzie is sandwiched in episodes as the lady that answers the phone tries to draw out Indie's problems. So we know this isn't a happy story right from page one. Why else would Indie be so desperate as to call a helpline? But we don't know what exactly happens, or how.
It's a twisty-turny story and some of the twists you'll see coming. Others you won't. But you will feel terribly sorry for Indie, who is basically a good soul, taken in and manipulated ruthlessly. Indie can be a little bit self-righteous, up herself even, but she doesn't deserve what happens to her. What exactly does happen, I'll leave you to read for yourself. What I will say is that this is an absorbing, claustrophobic and oppressive story. It flows well and inhabits an emotional landscape familiar to all teenagers. It's so easy to get stuff wrong and so damnably difficult to get everything right.
I'm liking this grittier Chris Higgins. A lot.
You might also enjoy Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher in which Zoe confesses her secrets via a Death Row penpal, not the Samaritans. Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks has a similarly oppressive feel about it.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins at Amazon.com.
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