- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Headline; UK ed. edition (Nov. 19 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0755393090
- ISBN-13: 978-0755393091
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #719,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Follow me Down Paperback – Nov 19 2013
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Byrne is a talented writer with attitude and a fresh, original voice― Daily Mail
Reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye, this psychological jigsaw of a novel will appeal to your dark side― Glamour
It's compelling and clever. We loved― Company
Intriguing and compelling - a very accomplished debut―Sophie Hannah, bestselling crime fiction author
About the Author
Tanya Byrne was born in London and studied in Surrey, where she still lives with her cat who goes by several names, none of which he actually answers to. After eight years working for BBC Radio, she left to write her debut novel, Heart-Shaped Bruise, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, and longlisted for the Branford Boase Award. Tanya was also shortlisted for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards. She has travelled all round the country; to speak to crowds at the Edinburgh festival and to classrooms of young people.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Adamma Okama is the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat who suddenly finds herself shipped off to this English boarding school, where she immediately meets and befriends popular, screw-the-rules kinda girl Scarlett, and token hot guy Dominic — how the hell can this guy, at 17, be driving a 1965 Aston Martin DB5?! So not my world, LOL. The trio in this actually reminded me a lot of the trio in Rebecca James’ Beautiful Malice. Very similar character traits, particularly in the case of Scarlett. Anyway, Scarlett and Adamma quickly become besties as well as fighting for the attention of Dominic (or at least that’s what the reader is let to believe in the beginning). Scarlett has a dark, bitchy streak though. She doesn’t get super violent, but she can go from syrup sweet to cut-a-bitch-face in no time at all. I’m not sure what the appeal of the friendship is for Adamma, and even Adamma starts to wonder herself after awhile.
The story starts with revealing that Scarlett has disappeared and the bulk of the remaining story looks into what happened months before that might have led to this disappearance. Then there’s this side story about two girls who might or might not have been raped in the woods surrounding the school.
I like Byrne’s writing and this still held my interest to the end but not quite as much as Heart Shaped Bruise. The flipping back and forth in the timeline seemed unnecessarily confusing, with the way the chapters alternate between present time and months earlier. I had to keep flipping back to the beginning of some chapters to remind myself what time I was in. Seems like it wouldn’t affect the story much just to introduce the disappearance in present time, then work backwards chronologically back up to that starting moment. And the blending of the stories, trying to be mysterious about whether Adamma was thinking of Dominic or Mr. Lucas.. it just ended up making the ending feel like a outta nowhere cluster&$^# to me.
They weren’t even a couple, but my favorite pairing in the story was the friendship between Adamma and Detective Sergeant Bone or “Bones” as she calls him. These two had such good dialogue between them, I would totally read a spin off series where Adamma finishes school, becomes a detective and then does undercover 21 Jump Street type investigations with Bones as her supervisor.
Oh, and just a side thing here, but the description of the town of Ostley, where the school is, yeah … I couldn’t help but be reminded of the village from the Simon Pegg movie, Hot Fuzz. X-D
The author plays with chronology, alternating chapters between future and past, leaving the reader on a cliff-hanger in one timeline while exploring another. This works very well, and kept me turning the pages.
One literary device that just proved irritating was how the author avoids revealing the identity of the villain in this mystery. The narrator resorts to only using pronouns when referring to a character in the same scene - this goes on for chapters.
The lack of bullying in a school setting is refreshing, as is a lot in this unputdownable book. Adamma is immediately befriended by the beautiful and it-girl Scarlett Chiltern, who has a twin in Olivia. One always wonders what the ‘popular’ or ‘cool’ crowd sees in our heroine (or hero), and usually unflattering images of their personality come to mind – e.g. do they try too hard to fit in, or are they as superficial as the ‘in crowd’? However, Adamma is fiery, true to herself and intelligent. She also happens to befriend and like women.
When there is a rumoured rape, the bandying back and forth about whether it really occurred or not feels so realistic. The reticence of girls to come forward and the protectiveness that falls on all girls is well portrayed. The parents and teachers are shown convincingly too, rather than as stereotypes.
Then a girl disappears. This turns the book to high drama, which is totally engaging.
Notwithstanding that I guessed who the culprit was early on (due to the dearth of likely characters), my reading pleasure was kept buoyed up. What was Tanya Byrne going to do with the love story, with the disappearance? These, and other questions, kept me turning the pages.
I really liked that there wasn’t the predictable climax that I was half-dreading. The author has done a masterful job of plotting and character depiction.