Have to admit I hesitated a bit about the rating for Embracing You, Embracing Me as on the one hand, there was lots I did like about this book and it did hold my attention. But on the other hand, there was something missing that stopped from engaging fully with the characters and all they were going through. I had high hopes for the book, its my favourite genre (YA), the cover is one of the nicest I have seen in a long time, it’s set in the 90s and it all sounded like a bookish match made in heaven for me.
Embracing You, Embracing Me by Michelle Bellon
Published by Fingerpress on 7 May 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, YA
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Young Adult novel begins in a 90s Trailer Park, and hits hard. In a decade when image matters, when the so-called Generation X is swelling with 'future perfect' hopes and pride, 16-year-old Roshell McRady dances her way through High School, never quite admitting that she's ashamed of her trailer park family home.
Meanwhile she listens to Madonna while conjuring creative Top Ramen recipes to feed her younger cousins; she empties enough hairspray until her bangs are feathered and vertical like a lethal weapon; and she agonises over how to convince Gabriel Harrison, the new Mystery Guy in town, to invite her to the prom - a night which threatens to turn into a disaster.
But then life takes a dramatic turn for Roshell, and her life changes forever. A love story emerges from the anguish of Roshell's life, and when she leaves school and finds work at a casino, things don't get any less complicated for her - until one night a powerful dream marks out the exact path that she must take. Embracing You, Embracing Me has young adult humour and nineties-style cultural aspirations, but surprises with some hard-hitting moments that give the book a keen edge
Roshell is a 16 year old student who lives in a Trailer Park. She is also a dancer and is determined to rise above the life she is born in to. The story is about her connection to Gabriel the new student in town, a coming of age story that follows her and her friends over the next 5 or so years. But at the same time, its so much more than just that.
There are some real big issues tackled in this book and I applaud the author for taking them on. However they also lead to my lower rating as I would have expected to feel more while reading about them. There were sad parts but I didn’t shed a tear (I will admit to a little lump in my throat though!). I want a book that makes me feel all the feels and this just didn’t.
On a more positive note, I did love the descriptions in the book, there are some beautiful quotes about the calming and restorative qualities of nature that I really appreciated. I also enjoyed the way we got narratives from Roshell’s friends, this added a quirky, other eye perspective that really worked for me. And the music references were great fun, they helped to set the book firmly in 90’s and at times I was bopping along with Roshell.
If you like YA and books that deal with big issues or just want to relive the 90’s, I would recommend you check this one out.
Thanks to NetGalley & Fingerpress for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.