Celia Frost is a freak. At least that’s what everyone thinks. Her life is ruled by a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut, confining her to a gloomy bubble of safety. No friends. No fun. No life. But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely. Suddenly they’re on the run. Why is her mum so scared? Someone out there knows – and when they find Celia, she’s going to wish the truth was a lie – A buried secret; a gripping manhunt; a dangerous deceit: what is the truth about Celia Frost? A page-turning thriller that’s impossible to put down. (From Goodreads.com)
Ah…this is indeed a refreshingly new tale, certainly one I hadn’t come across before. It had me gripped from beginning to end, I really had no idea where it was going. It was a book of surprises and a journey I had to travel to find out what really was The Truth About Celia Frost.
Paula Rawsthorne’s writing is incredibly easy to sink into. The book starts with a shocking incident which immediately hooks the reader and from there, it’s difficult to let go. Celia has a rare blood disorder and has been brought up in near isolation by her single parent mother. Having moved from school to school all through her life she’s lonely and friendless; often the victim of name calling and bullying at school. When an incident gets out of hand at her new school though and her mother’s reaction is to run, Celia starts wondering what really is going on. Could it be the person she’s trusted to care for her all her life is the one she’s at danger from?
Celia is immediately intriguing. Despite being an outcast, she’s strong and questions everything constantly which adds to the mystery surrounding her illness and her mother’s motives. The relationship between the two is fantastically created with Celia’s doubt and anger and her mother’s desperation making for very intense reading. Between Celia’s story we switch narrative to Frankie, an ex cop now working as a private investigator with some questionable morals and employed by a mysterious client to find Celia. I really liked this character and could very easily imagine him.
I also thought that Paula Rawsthorne described the setting perfectly too, with the inner London sink estate becoming just as menacing as the mystery surrounding Celia. You could feel the despair and poverty here. So it was a refreshing contrast for Celia to discover a new friend and place to escape to, an oasis in the city. I adored how we got to see Celia bloom away from her all her troubles in this section.
I actually had no idea where this book was going to go for most of the book. What I was surprised to find was at it’s heart a story about the ethics of science and just how far we are prepared to go in it’s name. It’s shocking and abhorrent, yet at the same time a little part of me wondered if anything like this could happen? Very thought provoking stuff.
Overall The Truth About Celia Frost is a fantastic read. It’s so different from anything I’ve read before, realistically portrayed and believable, thought proving and gripping. I read it in one day, I just had to know what was going on and Rawsthorne’s writing was just so compelling. This is a fresh and exciting new addition to Young Adult fiction and I’m excited to see what the author comes up with next.
Published by Usborne August 2011
Many thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.