An Author Who Understands Teenagers
Title: Because of Her
Author: KE Payne
Publisher: Bold Strokes Publishing
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
For seventeen-year-old Tabitha “Tabby” Morton, life sucks. Big time. Forced to move to London thanks to her father’s new job, she has to leave her friends, school, and, most importantly, her girlfriend Amy, far behind. To make matters worse, Tabby’s parents enroll her in the exclusive Queen Victoria Independent School for Girls, hoping that it will finally make a lady of her.
But Tabby has other ideas.
Loathing her new school, Tabby fights against everything and everyone, causing relations with her parents to hit rock bottom. But when the beautiful and beguiling Eden Palmer walks into her classroom one day and catches her eye, Tabby begins to wonder if life there might not be so bad after all.
When Amy drops a bombshell about their relationship following a disastrous visit, Tabby starts to see the need for new direction in her life. Fighting her own personal battles, Eden brings the possibility of change for them both. Gradually, Tabby starts to turn her life around—and it’s all because of her.
When teenager Tabby Morton’s father accepts a job in London, her family has to move three hundred miles away from everything Tabby’s known, including her girlfriend Amy. No one in Tabby’s family knows she’s lesbian, so she begins her life in London angry and lonely. That is, until she meets a beautiful girl at her new school named Eden Palmer. Through Eden, Tabby gets involved in a fencing club and her interest in Amy wanes. True, Eden is heterosexual, but Tabby can’t help her attraction to her. Emboldened by the more tolerant attitudes in London, Tabby comes out to her new friends, and the connection with Eden intensifies beyond regular friendship between two girls. Eden’s two closest friends disapprove, and Tabby has a girlfriend up North, but the more the two spend time together, the more Tabby wonders if they could have a chance together.
KE Payne understands teenagers. Tabby and Eden seem particularly real, their dialogue and behavior convincing. What the girls care about — fencing, what their friends think of them, how they look – feels true. Their attraction to each other evolves in a realistic way, beginning with the first time they touch each other in a fencing match. When they spend time together, they behave the way teenagers do, hanging out at restaurants, seeing the sights, eating pizza together. Their interactions with their parents reflect that push-and-pull of the teenage years. One of the most beautiful scenes in the book is the one in which Tabby finally comes out to her father, whom she has resented for so long.
It is difficult to love Tabby, though. She is so quick to abandon her girlfriend up North (a realistic occurrence in a teenage love story, but it makes us question Tabby as a person of depth). She is shallow in her attraction to Eden, whom she clearly finds physically attractive at the risk of ignoring Eden’s many faults (love is blind, but we need to love the protagonist). Eden’s two mean friends are two-dimensional; it’s difficult to believe Eden – if she is what Tabby believes – would continue to hang out with them. Finally, the ending of the book is too rushed and too neatly packaged. Eden’s final change is unbelievably fast and unrealistically public.
While some YA books appeal to an audience beyond teenagers, this one will not. More than anyone, teenagers will appreciate this book’s realistic dialogue and depiction of school, as well as the tension between two girls trying to understand the attraction they feel to each other. However, though Because of Her is often good fun. . .it lacks the depth and focus a reader needs in an enduring story.
I would like to thank Bold Strokes Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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