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Dear Diary (The Exchange Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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This story takes the form of a series of diary entries covering a six-week period, with some subsequent updates spread across a span of years. It begins in April 2012, when we see seventeen year old British student Holly at the airport, about to embark on a school-sponsored visit to stay with a U.S. family. We follow her as she meets the King family and adjusts to life as a teen in a foreign school system, making both friends and mistakes along the way.
The King family consists of a mother, father, and two teen boys. Tyler is older and a student at a nearby university who has elected to live at home. His brother, Aiden, is Holly’s age and attends school with her. The two boys are almost total opposites. Tyler is the life of the party, while Aiden is withdrawn and quiet. We see Holly navigate her feelings about the brothers, learning a lot about herself in the process. By the time she returns to England, she has grown and matured, which brings its own problems.
Once she is back in the UK, her diary only provides entries at particularly significant moments in Holly’s subsequent years. When we come to the final entry, we have a clear idea of what her life has become and in which direction she’s headed before she disappears into the sunset. She has evolved from a girl on the cusp of adulthood, and we have seen the gradual transition along the way, despite the brief period of time the diary covers.
The format of a novella can be a challenge for an author. The shorter length makes it difficult to tell a well-rounded story that establishes the realism of the characters’ feelings, personalities, and experiences. Ms. Feeney has a knack for this shorter storytelling. However, with this book, I felt myself wishing that she had expanded the story into a full-length novel so that I could spend more time with her believable characters. They are compelling and sympathetic, and the relationships and events Ms. Feeney describes are also fully fleshed out and three-dimensional. There were many moments that I would like to have explored in more detail than the novella allowed time to do. It may be that Ms. Feeney has created characters and a plot that cannot be contained in the confines of a novella. Even so, it is an endearing story that I found satisfying and easy to read. Maybe one day Ms. Feeney will revisit this story and give us more time with Holly and the Kings.
The story is presented in an informal voice. These are the words of a girl writing down her private thoughts, and they have a stream of consciousness feeling to them, without being vague or incoherent. Despite the author never having visited the US, there are no inaccuracies or obvious tells. The details are just right, and Ms. Feeney does an excellent job of contrasting reality against the stereotypical ideas of what life in the States is like for teens. The cover art by J.C. Clarke of The Graphics Shed is lovely and echoes the feeling of the book well.
All in all, this book is a perfect choice for the reader who doesn’t have a lot of spare time and is looking for a light, sweet story line. It is well worth the read.
An easy read, made even better by Feeney's laid back style of writing, you are easily hooked in and, if you're anything like me, you'll be reading this book in one sitting. I found myself drawn to Holly's story, following her diary with the same enthusiasm as I would my own if I picked it up in a few years time. Well paced, with a good variety of plot twists and turns to keep you on your toes, my only disappointment was that I reached the end so soon.
The characters were super, Holly was a very typical teenage girl, with Tyler and Aiden having their own charms. Personally, I'm Team Aiden, but that's cause I like a guy in specs! That said, they both have their own charms and it's clear to see what Holly sees in them.
I'm now eagerly awaiting the next in the series, and I am sure it will be as splendid as this was. A fabulous little read for that mid morning coffee break, you definitely won't regret reading this little gem.
The entire story is told through Holly's diary entries as she writes about adjusting to life in a foreign country, and getting to know her host family, the Kings. The parents, Joseph and Marie are warm and welcoming, and at first glance, the handsome older sibling of the family, Tyler King, is one charming young man, who decides to set his sights on Holly. Tyler's brooding younger brother, Aiden, is a young man who is smart but withdrawn, and someone Holly finds difficult to get to know at first, until his layers are finally peeled back.
Through each entry we get to see the King brothers' true colors, and I can't wait to see what's up next for these characters. Great read.
Dear Diary is a story of British girl Holly who gets a chance to go and live in the USA for 6 weeks with the King family. A chance of a lifetime which has the potential to change her life forever......
When she discovers the Kings have two teenage boys she realises this experience will be more different to what she thought.
Finding herself with some difficult decisions Holly has to make the choice...
This book is a short one but it has a lovely story, I found myself just sitting there devouring it in a short space of time.
Sweet read with a lovely ending which I won't spoil.
Once again, M.B. Feeney writes a great story line that flows smoothly. In fact, I almost cried because I NEEDED more so badly. I LOVED every minute of it. The characters are very easy to love. Even though it is about teenagers, I recommend to all ages.