Thursday 4 December 2014

Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead

Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead by Rebecca James (Allen &Unwin)
YA PB RRP$19.99
ISBN 9781743319239
Reviewed by Yvonne Mes

Cooper Bartholomew is dead. His girlfriend is devastated and not convinced it was suicide. Cooper was much loved, popular and an all-round nice guy. His friends adored him. So why is he dead? From the developing romance between Libby and Cooper and the relationships with their respective friends and parents the story builds to an unexpected ending.
The story is told from multiple perspectives and takes you backwards and forwards in time. Rebecca James pulls this off to great effect and flips between first and third person point of views for her main and minor characters respectively. This complex way of story telling works amazingly well and adds to the suspense and enjoyment of the story.
Her characters are wonderful, multi-faceted and feel like real people. Between all the mystery of how and why Cooper died, the characters struggle with finding their way as young adults after finishing high school. They discover how the groups that define them in high school change as they grow and they struggle with the choices to make for their futures.
There were quite a few references to sex without it being overwhelming and there was a lot of casual drugs use which made for an edgy read.
Referred to as the new J.K. Rowling in the Wall Street Journal after a bidding frenzy for her novel Beautiful Malice in 2009, Rebecca followed this up with Sweet Damage, another successful, edgy young adult novel. Both novels are now on top of my to-read list.
Yvonne Mes is a children's writer and illustrator. Her first picture book, Meet Sidney Nolan (Random House) is scheduled for release in October 2015.





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