3.6.13

Book Review: Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne

First love. Last lie.
When Adamma Okomma has to leave her glossy high school in New York for a dusty English boarding school, she thinks it's the end of the world- or the end of her social life at least.
Then she meets the wicked-witted Scarlett Chiltern, who shows her all of Crofton College's darkest corners, and Adamma realises that there's much more to her new school than tartan skirts and hockey sticks.
She and Scarlett become inseparable, but when they fall for the same guy, the battle lines are fairly drawn.
Adamma gets the guy but loses her best friend. Then, when Scarlett runs away, Adamma finds herself caught up in something far more sinister than a messy love triangle. Adamma always knew that Scarlett had her secrets, but some secrets are too big to keep and this one will change all of their lives forever. 
I was blown away by Tanya Byrne's debut novel, Heart Shaped Bruise so I had mixed emotions when this one arrived. On the one hand I was extremely excited as I know what this author is capable of and on the other hand I was a little nervous in case it didn't live up to my expectations. But it turns out that I was more than right to be excited, Follow Me Down is brilliant and I enjoyed it just as much as Heart Shaped Bruise.
Adamma Okomma is the central character; the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, she leaves her private high school in New York to begin at Crofton College, an English boarding school in the middle of nowhere. Initially Adamma thinks she is going to be bored senseless but then she meets Scarlett Chiltern who introduces her to Crofton's secrets; the parties, the secret ways out and the boys. It all goes wrong when Scarlett and Adamma fall for the same guy; is Adamma really prepared to lose her best friend for a guy that Scarlett has a huge hold over? Scarlett then goes missing, something she has done many times before. Whilst other people around her aren't concerned, Adamma sets out to find her best friend, she knows something is wrong. They may not be best friends anymore ut Adamma is one of only two people who truly understand Scarlett Chiltern.
The book is completely narrated by Adamma but flits between events before and after Scarlett's disappearance and the aftermath. This is such a clever narrative device; you are just beginning to discover something in one time frame when it jumps to a different one. It keeps you turning the pages as you are desperate to find out what happens.
I loved the contrast between Adamma and Scarlett; they are both from this exclusive and elite world yet they are entirely different. Scarlett in some ways is a bad influence but she also helps Adamma to grow. She can be very cruel to Adamma at times but I just thinks this serves to make Adamma stronger; she is far more mature and confident by the end of the book compared to when we first meet her.
Throughout Follow Me Down we are continually guessing as to what happened to Scarlett and the identity of the guy that both girls fall for. Both of these points are only revealed at the very end and I found myself thinking back through the book looking for the clues that had been so cleverly hidden. It is definitely a book that would deserve a second read as I am certain that you would discover even more when re-reading.
Tanya Byrne is such a good YA author, she is not afraid to tackle serious issues. I soFollow Me Down. 
metimes find with YA that an author will simply tackle an issue but not supply much of a plot. However, Tanya Byrne delivers both; her writing has real substance and I think her fans will be delighted with

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5
Pages: 368
Publisher: Headline

Many thanks to the lovely Sam from Headline for sending me a review copy, Follow Me Down is out now!

4 comments:

jessicabookworm said...

This sounds very intriguing!

Jess Hearts Books! said...

Glad you enjoyed this just as much as Heart-Shaped Bruise! I loved that book and hope to get to this one soon.

Tink said...

This sounds awesome, with a good plot line to it as well, shall be getting a copy of this. Great review!

Nikki-ann said...

Sounds great! Having read your review, it certainly sounds like it should be in my TBR pile :)

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