Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham plus Guest Blog Post (Young Adult)

 (A simple yet highly appropriate cover) 

April 2012, Electric Monkey
288 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Themes: step-family, life with an alcoholic, dealing with domestic violence, justifying acts instead of condemning them, acting group, preparing for a play, first love, mean girls, understanding friends, living extreme highs & lows of life, moderate amount of swearing

Summary from Egmont

Dear Dylan
Thanks SO much for your email and I’m sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don’t think I’m a weirdo mentalist?!!! It’s just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There’s no way I’d tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you’re talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you – could we be e-mates?
Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx

Nayuleska's thoughts
Siobhan had warned me it was a story that would make me cry, and it did. My heart was tense during the rough times in Georgie's life. I'm glad some of the revelations happened at the end, otherwise there would have been even more terror in her life. She does a good job of hiding the truth because she doesn't want to cause trouble. I wept as she tried to help her mother but was refused that help, as well as crying with joy over the part that made my heart feel super soft and squishy. The only thing that brings this fab read to 9/10 was the swearing: I'm not surprised Georgie swore but I really thought that Nan wouldn't have gone along with it - it felt out of character to me.

You can find out more on Georgie's new website.

Suggested read
For another insightful read into domestic issues try Jacqueline Wilson's Cookie

I'm delighted to present a guest blog post by Siobhan! Thank you for writing such an evocative read, and for the blog post. 
Dear Writer

When I told a writer friend I was going to write a novel about an online friendship, made up entirely of emails, she had a choking fit and, once she’d recovered, spluttered, ‘Are you bleep-ing crazy?!’ She then went on to list all of the reasons why it wouldn’t work. How could I tell a proper story? How could I create well-rounded characters? How could I realistically show the action, all through the medium of email?

But I didn’t agree. Don’t get me wrong – I knew that writing Dear Dylan was going to be a challenge (and trust me, at times it was) – but, rather than seeing emails as a hindrance to developing character and plot, I saw them as being kind of freeing. I don’t know about you, but my emails to friends are often quite a stream of consciousness. They’re less formal than writing an actual letter – if anyone does actually write actual letters anymore – and yet they give you a far greater scope than texts or tweets or status updates to express yourself.

And sure enough, once I’d got inside the heads of my two main characters, their emails to each other flowed. In fact, I’ve never written a first draft so quickly. It was really enjoyable creating a friendship through this medium. And since the book has been published, something magical has happened. Readers have started emailing me and, as if inspired by the confidential nature and themes of the book, telling me all about their own dreams and fears. It’s as if something that began life in the book is now spilling over into real life – and I feel honoured and extremely privileged to be in this position. So I’ve decided to do something about it.

As many of the girls who write to me dream of one day becoming writers, I’m setting up an online off-shoot of Dear Dylan, called Dear Writer.

Dear Writer will basically be a weekly blog written from me to young readers and writers, giving them tips, competition opportunities and advice. And, although the blog will be writing-based, I’ll also be using my experience as a life coach to show how writing can help with the issues that are all too common during school years – issues such as friendship, confidence, bullying, exam stress and, of course, first love.

Dear Writer is officially being launched on 25th June 2012. But you can subscribe (for free) right now at:

I really look forward to writing to you!

Siobhan x

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