The Flask by Nicky Singer

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The Flask by Nicky Singer

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Beautiful story which absolutely captures the passionate emotions of the young and deals with grief, jealousy, fear, friendship, blended families, but above all, love. It's gorgeous and comes highly recommended by Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0007438761

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Longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013

Twelve-year-old Jess is dealing with a lot. Her beloved Aunt Edie has just died. Her mother is expecting twins - but these new babies will be Jess's half-brothers and will complete Jess's mother's marriage to her stepfather. But will they complete Jess's family? Will they even survive? Because the twins are conjoined. And in 70% of separations, only one twin lives. And if this weren't enough in the way of trials and tribulations, Jess's best friend Zoe is moving towards a relationship with a boy. Does this mean she will leave Jess behind?

Just as Jess's mother goes into hospital, Jess finds a glass flask in a secret drawer in Aunt Edie's desk. The flask is beautful, special. It seems to reflect both outside events and Jess's emotions, changing colours, emitting sounds. And Jess comes to see it as a talisman, crystallising the connections she's making between aspects of her life.

I thought The Flask was absolutely beautiful, full of the wild, passionate, rollercoaster of emotions experienced in a coming of age. Jess is highly sensitive and wildly imaginative. Adults tell her that she makes things up, but she doesn't really. For her, life is an attempt to join the dots, to figure out the meanings and connections between events, and she does this by creating images and narratives. We don't know whether or not Jess's flask truly contains a soul, but for Jess it contains the meaning of one, and that is enough.

Jess is, as her best friend Zoe tells her, a good person. But she finds it very difficult to deal with negative emotions, however normal and expected they are to the adults around her. Nobody but Jess thinks she is wicked for being jealous of the twins or of the possibility of Zoe getting a boyfriend. But for Jess, it's a crisis of epic proportions and to watch her feel her way through it and to read her struggle expressed in such a lyrical, poetic way, is deeply affecting.

I loved this story in which the past and the present collide to make sense of the future. It's a story of spirituality, of grief, jealousy, fear, friendship, blended families, but above all, love. It's gorgeous and it comes highly recommended by Bookbag.

If The Flask appeals, we can also recommend A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, a beautiful story of coming to terms with the loss of a parent from an idea by the late - and much missed - Siobhan Dowd and given wonderful life by Patrick Ness in words and Jim Kay in pictures. Lovers of language would also enjoy Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech, a gorgeous novel in free verse and a perfect introduction to poetry for anyone, young or old alike.

Buy The Flask by Nicky Singer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Flask by Nicky Singer at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Flask by Nicky Singer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Flask by Nicky Singer at Amazon.com.


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