Saturday, 26 May 2012

Contempo-May Review: What's Up With Jody Barton by Hayley Long

In One Line:  A roller-coaster of teenage lurve in North West London
Genre: Teenage freakquake (yes that is a genre. I just said so, therefore it is true.)
The Gist:
Jody and Jolene Barton are twins, but they are nothing alike, until they both fall for the same River Phoenix look-alike boy. And there is NOTHING worse than a twinny love-triangle, especially when our narrator, Jody, has a big secret. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it is, because I don’t want to spoil it for you and I REALLY want you to read this book. 
The Cover:
It’s a bit in your face, isn’t it?! It’s not to my taste. I think if I saw it on the shelves it wouldn’t be what I’d pick up, but I love the idea that people who are Jacqueline Wilson fans looking for something slightly older will see it and probably go ‘that’s for me!’. I also really like that it matches the latest Judy Blume editions - again, I hope her regular readers find this book!  It’s PERFECT for them. There is more that I could say about this cover, but that would risk revealing the big twist, so I think I’ll just leave it there. 
Why You’ll Love This Book
  • It’s set in my manor!!! I don’t quite live in Willesden Green, but I used to. So I know this place. I know the bus routes. I know the stations that the Metropolitan Line trains skip that the Jubilee line trains stop at (in order). I KNOW THE JOY AND WONDER OF BRENT CROSS SHOPPING CENTRE. Ok, so maybe this point should be under the category ‘Why I love this book’ rather than ‘Why you’ll love this book’ but I can assure you that it’s a hilarious and accurate portrayal of a particularly unique part of North West London. 
  • This book has great music/film taste. References to Dolly Parton, The Doors and River Phoenix make this book kind of adorable. And also makes me want to watch Stand By Me again. Although I never understood the appeal of Johnny Cash. I always found him a bit creepy-sounding.
  • Urban Street Language. In parts it all sounds a little comedy sketch show and corny, but I really really LIKE that. The book is written with so much warmth and humour that you have to absolutely forgive some of the mock-modern street talk. Unless kids today do really talk like that and I am TOTALLY out of touch. Which is a distinct possibility. 
  • Our narrator. Can’t say too much about this without giving away an important spoiler, but you will absolutely fall in love with Jody Barton. Jody Barton is amazing. Jody Barton deserves to be loved by each and every one of you. 
  • Illustrations! There are these amazing cartoons all the way through the book, and not only that, but the size of the text changes depending on how loud/soft the characters are talking. That’s pretty novel, and pretty cool. 

Why You May Not Love This Book:
  • The first half is pretty standard stuff. I was actually getting worried about how I would write this review because I seriously thought it was very mediocre. I mean, the language is fun and it’s an enjoyable read, but it wasn’t blowing me away. Until... until the BAZINGA moment that changed my life and opinion of this book completely. So stick with it, even if you feel like it’s boring and unoriginal, because I can PROMISE you that this book gets really really awesome. 
  • I liked the illustrations, but I don’t think I really needed the text-font-size changes that keep going through the book. It makes the book seem a little younger than it actually is. I mean, it’s a nice idea, and it didn’t bother me too much, but to be honest I’m having trouble coming up with negatives for this section of my review, so I thought I’d mention that sometimes the text size changes were a little unnecessary and made scanning the text a bit awkward. 
  • It’s on the younger end of the teen scale. By no means a bad thing, just be aware that it reads as ‘younger’ as in 10-11+ rather than the slightly older YA that’s personally more my thing. 
  • I’m an Arsenal supporter. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
Passed, but by default because I am trying new medication that is meant to help me sleep better at night, therefore meaning I don’t need to nap during the day! But I like to think that it would have passed even if I was feeling sleepy. The second half of the novel especially. The second half BLEW MY MIND. 
Final Verdict:
A book that has really taken me by surprise, and I’m pretty sure it will do the same for you too. What I particularly like is that the issues it ends up dealing with are quite rare to come across in younger teen fiction. It’s refreshing, it’s excellently handled, and it has opened up my eyes to the talent of Hayley Long! 
Further Reading:
Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
To Buy What’s Up With Jody Barton click HERE!!!

1 comment:

  1. is Jody Barton a boy or a girl??