Thursday, 14 March 2013

Indie Book Review: Twelve Girls - Jon Beattiey

Jon Beattiey demonstrates his abilities again in this unusual piece of fiction which captivates the reader as soon as they open the cover.

'Twelve Girls, Twelve Lives Told' – a catchy and memorable subtitle encourages the reader to discover more about this book. Who are the twelve girls and how do their lives differ? Will they be linked in some way or will the twelve lives remain isolated from one another?

As one would expect, the twelve stories are separated by traditional chapter headings, each girl given her own few thousand words. The stories are all set in London, so the book is instantly given a modern and metropolitan feel – the contemporary vibe of the novel also encourages a younger readership.

Each tale is different in its subject matter, but the captivating writing style of Beattiey ensures they all flow with a subtle fluidity. Although tragedy is a subject fully explored in this novel, Beattiey ensures it is dealt with sympathetically and with the utmost respect for the characters involved.
The dialogue between protagonists is stimulating and believable and here Beattiey truly shines as an author. 

His characters are well-defined and realistic, allowing any reader to fully engage with the book. Beattiey is articulate in his language use and descriptions are well-formed, allowing readers to effectively imagine the locations described;  although each story is short (under 10,000 words per section), this does not stop Beattiey from creating twelve wonderfully complex and memorable tales – each beautifully unique and important in their own right.

The clever layout of this books means that a reader can delve in and out at will, each account only taking around an hour to read (although this does depend on reading speed). The conclusion is believable and fits in well with the rest of the book – although it does see the reader begging for more…!

All in all, a wonderful novel with a unique layout and contemporary feel. Twelve Girls would make an ideal holiday read, being gritty enough to make it interesting, but tame enough for older children to enjoy. The book is expertly written by an experienced novelist and demands the reader’s attention throughout. If you are looking for a unique novel that will have you crying in one section and laughing in the next – Twelve Girls is for you!

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