Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Almost Grace by Rosie Rowell

review by Maryom

In the gap between school and university, Cape Town teenagers head off for a taste of freedom - a week's holiday on their own. Grace and her friends, Brett and Louisa, are no exception but instead of heading for the wild parties of Plettenberg Bay they've picked a quiet seaside village on the west coast with miles of beach and great surfing.
Brett and Louisa are confident about what the future holds for them, have their plans all laid out for travelling or university. Grace, though, is less sure of herself - adulthood seems a daunting proposition and she feels out of control of her life. 
When she meets Spook, a drifter, seemingly living life just to surf, Grace is instantly attracted to him, despite him being much older than her. In comparison to the lives of others, his seems relaxed and carefree, but is he really as charming as he appears to be on the surface?
The area of Baboon Point isn't as sleepy and quiet as they'd expected either, but a centre for the illegal trade in abalone shells. Could Spook really be associated with the poachers who make a living this way? It seems so out of keeping with his laid-back hippy vibe ....but how well does Grace really know him?

Almost Grace is a mix of coming of age story and thriller set on the rocky west coast of South Africa. It's unusual because of its setting and occasional use of Afrikaans words, but the everyday problems faced by Grace and her friends are the same as those faced by teenagers anywhere. They soon realise though they've got mixed up in something really dangerous as their carefree holiday rapidly turns into a nightmare filled with guns and poachers.
Grace is a heroine that you quickly come to care about. She's made some bad decisions in the past; with things changing around her so quickly, she's desperately latched on to the one thing she alone can control - what she eats. I found myself desperately willing her to take just another few bites of cake or fruit or to stop caring about the potential calories in everything.

 Maryom's Review - 3.5 stars
Publisher - Hot Key Books
Genre - teen, coming of age, thriller,

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