Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Blog Tour: Review of Viva Alice! by Judi Curtin + Q&A (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

The cover has a holiday feel to it, don't you think?
August 2014, O'Brien Press, 240 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Themes: friendship, school holidays, going abroad, adventure, mild crush,
Content: mild teen romance, oodles of hilarity
Summary from The O'Brien Press
Alice and Megan go to Lanzarote with Grace, for some fun in the sun. But life's never simple when Alice is around, and now she wants to fix Grace’s brother’s love life! Alice's schemes seem crazy, but sometimes she really can sort things out. Maybe Megan just needs to trust her best friend – even if it means helping mean girl, Melissa ...
Nayu here: there is a blurb with more description on the website which gives away some of the story, which is why I opted for the shorter one
Nayu's thoughts
Alice is a certified lunatic, but I love her to bits. My younger self was definitely more like quiet Meghan, and Grace is well, Grace! I was impressed with Alice's gung-ho attitude, and a little wary of what the consequences of her idea of fun will be. This is the first time I've met her and her friends, and it's not going to be the last. I always dreamed of going on holiday abroad with friends when I was younger - it never happened, which is perhaps why I was so captivated with Alice's eventful trip. 
Initially the trip wasn't involving all three of them, but with some careful manipulation by characters who shall remain nameless the friends ended up having quite an adventure both in and out of the pool. They might want to forget the memorable night where they camped together outside, as it first made me laugh then sober up & feel really sorry for the predicament they find themselves in. It felt like they couldn't avoid being in major trouble, but Judi made sure they had a way out. Phew!
 I loved how their holiday plans didn't necessarily go as hoped, but there was still fun to be had, and they all learnt something valuable to take home with them. What surprised me most of all was what I like to call the second main plot involving the resident mean girl, Melissa. I was more shocked than the camp out scenario, and could see the conflicting thoughts all three friends had regarding the Melissa situation. The end was more than satisfactory for me!
Find out more on Judi's website.
Suggested read
For more holiday fun which I honestly had forgotten was written by Judi is Eva's Holiday (Children's, 10 years +, 10E/10E) 
Question and Answer session with Judi!
The lovely Judi!
It is with great pleasure that I was able to ask Judi a few questions about Viva Alice - including that memorable night which I won't spoil for you. Thank you Judi for answering them, and for writing such an exciting read! It goes to show you don't have to read a series from book 1 to enjoy it ^o^
Nayu Q1: This 8th book is the first in the series which I've read and I'm totally hooked. Alice is decidedly bonkers. Can you say who she is based on? 
Judi: Oh, dear, poor Alice! She might be a bit bonkers, but she’s also very kind and well-intentioned. She’s not based on anyone real, but as I was a timid child (like Megan), I always dreamed of a brave, fun friend like Alice. She’s the imaginary friend I never had.

Nayu Q2: Friends going on holiday together seems the ultimate trip: was there something you wanted the girls to experience that couldn't happen if they'd been at home? 
Judi: The story could easily have taken place in Ireland, but I love sending my characters abroad. Conveniently, in an earlier book, I’d given Grace a summer house in Lanzarote, so it was easy to send the girls there.

Nayu Q3: Is any part of that fateful night on a balcony true? If yes, which part? (oops - tiny spoiler here!)
Judi: It was inspired by a story someone told me a long time ago, but the person who told me definitely does not want a writing credit, so I can’t go into any more detail!

Nayu Q4: My word is pretty much all I can say about the Melissa situation. Poor Megan. I can see this happening in reality-is that why you included it in the story, to show readers forgiving your enemy is hard but sometimes necessary? 
Judi: Forgiveness is generally a good idea, I think. When my children were small, if they were being picked on by someone, I always told them that bullying says a lot about the bully, but absolutely nothing about you.

Nayu Q5: Where is your favourite place to write? Do you have a favourite food and drink to get those words out? 
Judi: I write in a corner of my kitchen/living room. Not very exciting, I’m afraid. I snack on green tea and almonds, so not really a rock and roll lifestyle.

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