Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a great fan of Isabel Ashdown's work and that her novel Hurry Up and Wait inspired one of my A-Z posts last year - about the use of dreams in fiction. Well that very same book has made it on to my list for this year's challenge as well and today's post is dedicated to Kate - best friend of the novel's main character, Sarah (who I also wanted to include but there were so many contenders for the S slot that I decided just Kate would have to do).
What stood out for me about Kate was how real she was. I knew many girls like her growing up in small town England and I know that women from any era in any town will recognise her. Sometimes bitchy, occasionally completely poisonous and always very self-absorbed, Kate wears the latest clothes, listens to the coolest music, is rude and aggressive to the teachers, sleeps with all the boys. But she can also be really nice, when she feels like it, and lots of fun. Her obvious flaws are overlooked by Sarah because of the laughs, and rare emotional support, she provides and the more we find out about Kate's home life, the more we understand where the nasty side of her character has come from, and why. Although, despite what is eventually revealed, I never find myself condoning it.
This novel is an excellent portrayal of the time it is set in - the late 1980s - and an even better one of the dynamics of the intense friendships between teenage girls - madly in love one minute, despising each other the next - and the lasting effects these fickle years can have. I can't recommend it enough and also can't wait for July to come around when Isabel's next novel, Summer of '76, will be published.