Minty by Christina Banach

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Minty by Christina Banach

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Moving, and surprisingly humorous considering the subject of a young girl's death and her family's grief, this is a very strong debut.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 398 Date: April 2014
Publisher: Three Hares Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1910153024

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Fourteen-year-old twins Minty and Jess are barely ever parted, until a fateful trip to the coast ends in tragedy. Minty tries to rescue her dog but is soon fighting for her life.

Okay, I'm going to start off by complaining about the blurb. The question asked on the back of the book is Will Minty survive? If she doesn't, how will Jess cope without her? Well, we find out really early on that Minty doesn't survive, and the focus is on her as a ghost, watching her family grieve and try to come to terms with her death. This definitely isn't what I was expecting - I was thinking it would be more like If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

That said, even though it's not one I'd normally have picked up if I'd known more about it, I found it surprisingly enjoyable and moving. This is partly, perhaps mainly, because of the book's sense of humour. We're not talking Boys Don't Knit by T S Easton or Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison level hilarity, admittedly, but given that it could easily have been a really tragic and depressing novel, it's actually a fun read in many ways. This is mainly thanks to Minty's narration, which has a brilliant voice. I also really liked her relationship with Jack, the 'tour guide' who explains to her about being dead, and thought the portrayal of the rest of her family coming to terms with her death was very well handled. It's very moving in lots of places and Banach captures the Scottish setting beautifully.

That said, while it's a strong debut I'd happily recommend, it's not without flaws. For a start, nearly 400 pages seems significantly longer than it needed to be! I didn't find it to be completely successful at drawing me in because of this. (However, please bear in mind my earlier comment about the blurb giving me different expectations, so I read this when I wasn't necessarily in the right mood for it - to hold my attention at all is something of an achievement in that situation as I'm such a mood reader!)

Overall, though, this is well worth a look and I'll be intrigued to see more from Christina Banach. Highly recommended.

For another moving story about a girl trying to come to terms with her twin sister's death, I think fans of this would like Coping With Chloe by Rosalie Warren.

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Buy Minty by Christina Banach at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Minty by Christina Banach at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
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