Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Remix - Non Pratt
From the author of Trouble comes a new novel about boys, bands and best mates.
Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life... Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.
Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.
I haven't read Non Pratt's Trouble (yet!) so Remix is my first experience of her writing. And I have to say I was really impressed.
Best friends Ruby and Kaz are dual narrators (with short alternating viewpoints throughout the book) and this was the perfect way to tell the story of their weekend at Remix music festival where they're desperate to see favourite band Gold'ntone play live. This book wouldn't have worked as well in any other format, because the strongest aspect of the story is how relatable the main characters are. That's not to say I always liked Kaz and Ruby, and there were moments I wanted to scream at them for the choices they were making, but seeing how and why they behaved as they did really made me empathise with both of them.
However Lauren, the new girlfriend of Kaz's ex Tom - she creeped me out! I'm not sure if that was the author's aim, but I found it very cringey and uncomfortable how both Tom and Lauren seemed to think it was perfectly normal to force her into Kaz's friendship group. Not cool.
I admit to finding the first forty or fifty pages of this one fairly slow going, but once the action started this book was like a runaway train and I was waiting for explosive crash. Non Pratt touches on so many topics that are relevant to young adults (and adults) - friendship, relationships, being part of a family, sex, drugs, hero worship...and in many ways this is a coming of age story set over a weekend.
The festival setting gave a lively and vibrant backdrop to the action and made a plausible and surprisingly rarely-used setting for a YA book (I think I read a Melvin Burgess set at a festival a few years back, but no others spring to mind). It certainly allows the characters to break free from the constraints of everyday life, which is exactly what happens to both Kaz and Ruby.
Overall, I enjoyed Remix and have already bought Trouble - I can see why Non Pratt is being so widely praised for both her writing and her content. Above all it's a story of friendship and trust, and those themes will never go out of fashion.
Remix is out now, published by Walker.