Book Review, Julia Green, Young Adult

Book Review: Drawing With Light by Julia Green

Kat and Emily have grown up without their mother for almost as long as they can remember. And now Dad is with Cassy and they all muddle along together well enough – even though they are living in a cramped caravan while their new house is being renovated. Then Cassy and Dad tell them that Cassy is pregnant, and everything seems to shift. Emily feels a new urge to find her own mother. How could she have left them the way she did? Never writing to them? Not communicating with them? And as Emily begins her search, not knowing what she will find, she is at the same time embarking on a new relationship of her own, that of her romance with Seb. This is an evocative and finely drawn novel about family relationships, in particular that of mother and daughter, and the shifting emotions of a teenager trying to make sense of her family and her world.(From Amazon.co.uk)

I picked up Drawing With Light after reading a very positive review and being intrigued by the blurb on Amazon. I’m very glad I did as from the gorgeous cover to the beautiful story inside, this book is an absolute joy.

Emily has been brought up by her father and stepmother Cassy, after her Mother, Francesca, left when she was a baby. She has no memories of her mother, but as her family changes from the one she is used to and a teacher compares her photography work to the mysterious Francesca, she starts to feel a desperate need to find her mother. With a first person narrative, Julia Green gets the voice of a confused 16 year old just right. For the most part Emily is shy and quiet and mature, but occasionally the feelings of jealousy and abandonment erupt, making her a very real but likable character.

The developing relationship with Seb is beautifully written, filled with all the anxieties and worries of first love. It has that heart pounding intensity that will surely have anyone sighing dreamily, but at the same time doesn’t shy away from the painful and awkwardness of a brand new relationship. Both Seb and Emily are written with flaws, but it’s these flaws that make them all the more appealing and believable.

The way Julia Green writes is almost poetic at times. The way she describes things, such as the trees Emily loves photographing for example, is wonderful. Drawing With Light is a reference to Emily’s photography and I think it’s a beautiful and clever way to think about it.

This is truly a lovely book. It isn’t really the kind of book that will have you gripped. The blurb on the back of the book suggests there is more of a mystery surrounding Emily’s mother than there really is. But it’s not the mystery or secret that the book is about. It’s about a young girl coming of age and needing to find herself. It’s about family and first love and working out who you really are. I didn’t find it to be a book I couldn’t put down and raced towards the end, more a comfy and cosy read I looked forward to savouring.

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