Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Suzy P and the Trouble With Three by Karen Saunders (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

 January 2014, Templar, 332 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: friendship, families, divorce, arguing, pregnancy, best friends, camping, holiday spirit, mischievous children and pets, embarrassing moments, morals
Content: mild teen romance, tissues needed

Summary from Templar
Suzy's off camping with her family and best mate Millie - yes, you heard right - camping! As if being stuck in a caravan in rainy Wales for two whole weeks weren't bad enough, to make matters worse, Mum's best friend's daughter, super-glam (and super-snooty) Isabella is coming too. When Millie starts spending all her time with Isabella, Suzy is devastated. Can her friendship with Millie survive when three is most definitely a crowd?

Nayuleska's thought
 Having totally enjoyed book one (see suggested read at the bottom of this review) I didn't hesitate in reading this sequel. It is absolutely hilarious - like Suzy readers should expect the unexpected, especially when her dad is involved! I was speechless just as Suzy, Millie and Isabelle were when he revealed what his costume was for the talent contest. I found Harry, Suzy's little sister, extremely clever and funny with her pranks and her ability to feign innocence which is just like Tinkerbell, the youngest sister in Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day. 

Suzy''s older and very much pregnant sister Amber equally hilarious with her fanciful ideas for naming her twins, her total obsession with her husband and her ability to thrive on melodrama. Suzy's mother is definitely the most sensible one in the family. She does have her moments like trying to pack the entire kitchen for the camping trip and giving in to a sales assistant's pressure.

Then there is Suzy. Suzy is a magnet for mishap and misunderstandings. I relate well to the mishaps since they happen regularly enough with me that I've long since given up stressing over them. Suzy's humour sparkles off the page. I was impressed by how strong her loyalty is, it's stronger than diamonds when it comes to being true to her boyfriend, unlike Millie whose actions were odd even taking into account what was going on with her, something that Suzy didn't learn the truth about until the end which is chock full of surprises. 

Friendship is the key to this book. Suzy finds out what it feels like to be pushed to the side of Millie's friendship. Her hurt mirrored hurt that I encountered when I was little and someone butted in on someone who had been my best friend. I wanted to hug Suzy and tell her that she will be as close as sisters with a friend one day, not that that would have eased the emotional turmoil in her heart. Even with many years separating me from that time reading Suzy's declining friendship with Millie brought back all the emotions as if it happened yesterday. I don't think I ever properly examined my feelings about what happened, which is why reading Suzy's experience led me to re-examine how I felt and to understand that it was more than okay to be devastated at losing a friend. I promise Suzy does have a happy ending! I relied on the humour to relax me after a busy day at work, especially when Suzy did something by the caravan which made her mortally embarrassed! There is no other grade for this book than top marks.

Find out more on Karen's website.

Guest Blog Post by Karen 
Credit goes to Neil Griffths
It is with great pleasure that I present Karen's blog post which she wrote especially for NRC! 

Hiya, Nayu, and thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog!

I’m Karen Saunders, author of Suzy P and the Trouble With Three. If you read Me, Suzy P, you’ll know Suzy P is Suzy Puttock, a fourteen year old girl with an embarrassing name, embarrassing family and all-round embarrassing life. Suzy’s always doing unintentionally hilarious things and making a total donkey of herself! But luckily she’s got a great boyfriend and her bezzie, Millie, to help her out.

Suzy P and the Trouble With Three is about lots of things – disastrous camping holidays, bonkers family members, boys, but is mainly about friendships. Suzy’s off camping with her family and Millie. But as if being stuck in a caravan in rainy Wales for two weeks wasn’t bad enough, to make things worse, Mum’s best friend’s daughter, the super-glam (and super-snooty) Isabella is coming too. When Millie starts spending all her time with Isabella, Suzy is devastated and starts having doubts as to whether their friendship can survive.

In these books, Millie and Suzy are always there for each other, but when Suzy feels like Isabella’s trying to take Millie away from her, she gets really upset. Friendships can be so tricky sometimes and I remember having loads of problems with my best mates while I was growing up. Falling out, making up, it’s all so complicated sometimes, isn’t it? And sometimes if you’ve got a best mate, and then another friend joins you, it can add a whole heap of new issues, especially if one person starts feeling jealous or left out of things.

Here are some things that helped me:

* If there are three of you, find something you all like doing together. If there’s something only two of you like to do, make sure nobody feels left out.
* Try out new things – like movies, hobbies or places to visit – so you can share the experience as first timers together.
* Don’t talk about one friend behind their back. It’s unkind and will probably get back to them. Do you really want to hurt your mate’s feelings? Imagine if the situation was reversed. Would you like it if they were doing it to YOU? The answer’s probably no way!
* If there are problems with you and your mates, try and talk them through calmly and get them sorted. 
Easier said than done, I know, because sometimes it’s hard not to get upset or cross, but it really is the best way forward.

The main thing to remember is that friends are so important – I’d be lost without my mates!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Nayu!

Just before you go, Suzy P and the Trouble With Three and Me, Suzy P are both available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about it, do visit me online at www.karensaunders.co.uk, ‘like’ me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karensaunderswriter or follow me on Twitter @writingkaren. There are tweets from Suzy Puttock @suzyputtock, so do follow her too.

Look forward to seeing you around!
Thanks ever so much for this insight Karen - Looking forward to book 3 (if there is one...) 

Suggested read
Naturally it's a good idea to read Me, Suzy P (Children's, 8 years +, 8/10E)

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