Monday 17 June 2019

Lily's Just Fine. Young Adult Fiction Review (Sent by Sweet Cherry Publishing)

Lily's Just Fine has been sent to us by Sweet Cherry Publishing for review and it released on July 11th. Rather than being a fantasy tale where an exceptional event occurs, Lily's Just Fine goes much deeper and looks at more realistic and chaotic everyday struggles that people can face. It tackles depression. mental breakdown and chronic illness, but it's actually a really positive story and I really enjoyed it.

Lily's Just Fine. Young Adult Fiction Review book bracelet and bookmark

The first in a series of 4 books by author Gill Stewart, Lily's Just Fine is a really enjoyable tale which is modern and very easy-to-read. The storyline revolves around the lives of Lily and Tom, two 17 year olds living in a Scottish coastal village. Their lives become intertwined because of a mutual friend, Gemma, who is good friends with Tom's sister Sarah.

Lily's mother has depression, her older siblings have moved away and her father spends little time at home. She's left to try and cope, but is busy being a teenager and really unaware of how badly her mother is suffering at first. Tom's sister Sarah has chronic illness and his family life revolves around her health. They both escape by sailing at a local club, and discover they have more in common than they'd have realised.

The format of the book is excellent, and ideal for young adult or teenage readers who don't want to face an epic tome. The book is split into sections of around 2-4 pages each, alternating narration between Lily and Tom. Being able to see their relationship and the outcomes of their actions from both sides adds an understanding that we could definitely benefit from in real life.

Lily's Just Fine Young Adult Fiction book review example text

Lily throws herself into everything and is a cavalier volunteer and organiser, whereas Tom is quieter. Somewhere in the middle is Gemma, who is happy to join in with plans for the local Gala Week, but doesn't want a part of Lily's plans to shake everything up and wake up the locals.

I really enjoyed reading Lily's Just Fine. It has a lot of familiarity, and as someone who remembers being young and is now the parent of young people myself, I understand entirely why Lily and the others feel frustration at times, and why they misunderstand or choose to ignore some aspects of the illnesses in their family. It's straightforward and honest without being brutal.

Lily's Just Fine really captures the sense of community of a UK village, where everyone has an idea of who everyone else is and support can come from unexpected sources and connections. It looks at the difficulties faced by those who want to move forward and embrace modern attitudes, when they live in a world entrenched by tradition.

The book includes the school prom, plus the local regatta and carnival weekend, and obviously it doesn't all go smoothly. The relationship between Lily and Tom is tested, as are both of their friendships with others.

There's a bit of lust and romance in Lily's Just Fine, but it isn't gushy or pornographic and all of the relationships are really pretty healthy. Everyone is allowed to be themselves, with their own projects or choices, and it's a great example to set to young adult readers. Just because you love someone, you don't have to agree with them all of the time.

Back page Lily's Just Fine Young Adult Fiction with blurb and seaside beach huts

This is a book which is likely to appeal more to female teen and young adult readers, and with the choppy format it's a great one for someone who might not usually be a fiction reader.

Lily's Just Fine is written by Gill Stewart and is the first of 4 planned books in the Galloway Girls series published by Sweet Cherry Publishing. Released on July 11th 2019 in paperback with 228 pages and available to pre-order now priced £7.99rrp from all good bookshops, including online at Amazon - here's a handy affiliate link with the current price...

We were sent our copy of Lily's Just Fine by Gill Stewart for review. *Amazon links are affiliate, which means I earn a few pence as a thank you for my time if you order through my link, but you don't pay any extra.

1 comment:

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