TITLE: LIKE OTHER GIRLS
AUTHOR: Claire Hennessy
GENRE: YA , Fiction , Personal & Social Issues
PUBLISHED BY: Hot Key Books
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2017
What’s the story?
Lauren is a young girl who feels she doesn’t fit in. She feels she doesn’t have any ‘real’ friends at the all-girls school she attends (where her mother has recently taken up the post as head teacher). We know she split from her best friend, and details leading up to this are unfurled as the story progresses. She is confused by her sexuality, she has a boyfriend (who she thinks sometimes just uses her for sex) but also feels attracted to girls.
Stresses at school, in her friendships, home relationships, and her lovelife all gradually get too much for her.
She begins drinking heavily and makes risky choices.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
After splitting up with her boyfriend, she discovers she is pregnant, but feels unable to confide in anyone.
Living in Ireland, she finds it impossible to receive any meaningful help, and so she makes the decision to travel to England to attend an abortion clinic.
Afterwards, and still trying to come to terms with her experiences, she again finds her life spiralling out of control. She is still drinking, arguing with parents and teachers, and generally feeling alone.
Eventually things come to a head and she is convinced to attend counseling. At first she is reticent and merely goes through the motions of attending but after a while she sees that it can help her.
In time she confides in her mother and her friends (the friendship with her best friend is salvageable) and attempts to take back some control of her life by campaigning for better help for Irish women who find themselves pregnant and in need of intervention.
In the beginning, I didn’t really like the character Lauren, but by halfway I found myself really rooting for her, and found myself worrying & laughing and raging alongside her. I had grown to love and admire her by the end.
What I Thought:
I must admit that, to begin with, I wasn’t convinced by this book. It seemed a bit too full of teenage angst and modern tropes to be something I would enjoy reading. This isn’t a negative reflection on the book, it’s just that I do not fit the demographic of the target audience (mid to late teens/possibly early twenties).
HOWEVER, I am so glad I persevered, as as the story unfolds Claire Hennessy deals with difficult subject matter in a sensitive manner.
Rating & Recommendation
Somewhat surprisingly, I find myself rating this book 4 out of 5 stars.
The subjects of teenage pregnancy, abortion (in particular the Irish Eighth Amendment), gender identity, sexuality and alcohol abuse are dealt with in a far more sensitive and thought-provoking manner than my initial assessment of the opening chapters’ would have expected.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA with a social issue twist.
Have you read anything lately that you normally wouldn’t or found yourself changing your opinion of a book halfway through? Please share!
Thanks for stopping by,