Friday, April 22, 2011

Review - Della Says: OMG!

Keris Stainton
Hachette Book Group UK

After kissing Dan (the boy of her dreams) at a party, Della's most prized possession -- her diary -- disappears. She's almost convinced it's somewhere in the house when snippets of it end up showing up in strange places. On Facebook, for instance. As she enters a relationship with Dan and offers advice on her best friend's complex love life, Della also has to wonder who stole her diary and who hates her enough to taunt her with her deepest secrets.

I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to review this book because as much as I liked it, there were definitely a few things that threw me for a loop and I'm not sure if it's because of the book or the culture differences between the United States and Britain. But more on that later.

The characters here, both teens and adults are well-crafted and multi-dimensional with the possible exception of Della's older sister, Jamie. Della's transformation from a shy and self-conscious character into a more mature and confident girl was realistic and well-written. Her best friend, though decidedly more outgoing, is not your typical YA best friend; she's honestly supportive of Della's choices and interested in her well-being, which is a theme running throughout many of the characters, from Dan to Della's parents to the guy she works with. Though I found this refreshing, it also got a bit too much for me at times. There's a huge attitude of do whatever you feel like, everything is just dandy in this book and it was extended so far that I sometimes found myself scratching my head. One scene in particular had a couple of Della's friends honestly confused as to why she might be so devastated to have her journal circulated in such targeted, hurtful ways; they seemed to think that she shouldn't be ashamed or embarrassed and while this is a great attitude in theory, the idea that she would be fine with having her very personal thoughts out in the open just blew my mind.

Another thing that surprised me, and I'm not sure if this is a cultural thing or not, was the attitudes regarding sex. Most of the characters had a very laissez-faire view towards sex. Her parents took for granted that Della would be having sex with her boyfriend of just a couple weeks and though I loved the family's openness to discuss such touchy subjects, their conversations seemed more buddy-buddy than between parents and their daughter. The teenagers in this book (especially Della and Dan) have very mature romantic relationships, both in the physicality and the emotional steadiness; it was difficult to buy that there would be that level of commitment in such a new and young romance.

The ending here was a bit abrupt and there wasn't a ton of build-up to the reveal of who stole Della's diary; the story is much more focused on Della's growing relationship with Dan and her friendship with Maddy. Though there were, as I mentioned, a few things that startled me about this novel, I loved the characters and it was an absolutely adorable story. Being, you know, not-British, I found all the Brittisms (that's a word, right?) so charming and fancy.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, J! Just stopping by to say hello. Haven't talked to you in a while :)