Thursday, 12 July 2018

Access All Awkward by Beth Garrod (Young Adult, 10/10E)

5th July 2018, Scholastic, 400 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Scholastic
 Bella Fisher is stuck in EXAM HELL – with only the promise of a weekend at the RebelRocks festival with her mates as a reward afterwards. OK, so she can’t actually afford a ticket and will have to work as a litter picker and toilet scrubber, but it’s still going to be epic: the best bands, her best friends and best-boy-in-the-world Adam, with not a parent or teacher in sight.

But when she arrives to find annoying older sister Jo has been sent by Mum to keep an eye on her, things go from bad to worse. BFF Rachel is hanging out with some mean girls, awful ex-boyfriend Luke pitches up with his model girlfriend and her pristine Hunter wellies, and the drummer in her favourite band is exposed as a sexist pig. All the face glitter and flower crowns in the world can’t save the day… can they?

Nayu's thoughts 
I'm always in the mood for light hearted reads, and while AAA deals with some important topics there were lots of laughs on almost every page. I don't think I've read any other books in this series, but that didn't deter me, or stop me from enjoying Bella's immensely crazy life. I think I blushed and cringed way more than she did when her mother does very inappropriate things for any child to bear, but loved her mother for that trait. Bella mostly has her sister Jo for back up - although Jo and her mother sometimes gang up on Bella which makes life even more interesting. Some of that ganging up is for a good reason which made me a bit teary eyed at one point. 

I loved how strongly Bella felt against The Session's ridiculous merchandise - it's an issue I agree with, and sadly still see in the shops (mostly online) not exclusively for a music band, but I am fairly conservative (& proud of it!) and hate when inappropriate clothes are used especially for younger children. Bella had to put up with a lot of what I think is bullying throughout her protest, but she doesn't give up which is an admirable trait. I liked how realistic one dilemma she has to face involving both her friends and her boyfriend - sometimes in life we get put between a rock and a hard place, forced to make choices that will upset someone no matter which you pick, and Bella's emotions came out very clearly in that tricky plot part. 

I felt sorry for but did enjoy how clumsy Bella is, how things simply happen to her no matter her good intentions: I can have days like that which are dispiriting, but she has awesome friends who usually rally round and help cheer her up when everything is going wrong - which is quite a bit during the festival itself. I've never been to a festival, don't ever intend to go, but I did like finding out what happens in one and how some people can get tickets through being the clean-up crew - I'm guessing this may be similar to real life events. I think my favourite character (apart from a certain period of time when she wasn't the nicest to Bella) was Rachel,  whose spirit shone through in the way she found a way to be close to Bella and her other friend's tent despite not being allowed in the staff camping area. 

Poor Bella has many embarrassing moments that had me glad my mishaps weren't as epic as hers. They are very memorable and have me smiling long after I finished the story. I sincerely hope there are more books in the series because overall it's a feel good read, and has many life lessons (including what to do in a portaloo). 

Find out more on Beth's website

Suggested read 
If you like friendship and laughs alongside serious issues then do read Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais (Young Adult, 10/10E) 

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