I was privileged to go to a reading of this at the beautiful Portico Library in Manchester. This was hosted by Carol Ann Duffy and was part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival.
For Liz Kessler this is a very interesting novel. She actually wrote it some time ago, and now its time has come. It is very different from a lot of her other material. Previously she wrote more fantasy and for younger children. This is a real life story and features an issue that is very important to her.
Jodi Picoult describes this work as “a coming-of-age story with a twist.” English teacher, Miss Murray, becomes the object of Ashleigh Walker’s love. Ashleigh gradually becomes aware of her own sexuality. Many people around her are supportive. A few are not.
Kessler uses a first person present tense narrative. This is not unusual in young adult books and gives an immediacy to the text. We can really hear Ashleigh’s voice.
The author also manages to achieve a good balance between pace and emotional closeness. The story progresses at a pleasing speed yet we are allowed enough time to get into Ashleigh’s mind and feelings and to get to know her really well.