Editing Emma

editing emma

I haven’t done a book review here for a while but writers, like readers, are enthusiastic bookworms and bibliophiles, and when we find a book we really love we kind of want everyone else to read it too. So I thought I’d do a little post for Editing Emma by Chloe Seager because I just ADORED this book.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.

Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.

From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

First of all, this book is laugh out loud funny. I laughed soooo many times whilst reading it. The main character, sixteen-year-old Emma, is so likeable and engaging as she tries to navigate the tricky business of being a teenager: boys, college, friendships, parents, the art of discovering who you really are, and what you actually want from life.

The story is raw, and honest, with a warm heart and a generous spirit. Let’s face it, being a teenager is hard. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling inadequate and ridiculous much of the time. But the thing I most love about Editing Emma is the way it says that even if you’re feeling a bit inadequate and ridiculous, everyone else probably is too, in their own different ways. There’s a James Baldwin quote that goes like this:

You think that your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”

It’s such a beautiful sentiment, and it came to my mind several times whilst reading Editing Emma. I think if I’d read this book as a teenager it would have made me feel a little bit less alone, and a bit less foolish and hopeless and out of place. And, really, what an amazing thing for a book to be able to do at all. You sometimes hear people suggest that YA novels are not as worthy or important somehow as adult ones, and it’s books like this that smash that argument up into bits.

Finally, the other thing I loved about the novel was that, although it’s got dating and romance, the message at the end is really strong – and that’s that liking yourself is the most important thing of all. Falling in love, as Emma discovers, is a powerful, all-consuming, unreasoning thing that can make it hard to be sensible or make sensible decisions. You may not always manage to be your best self – and some days you might just want to bundle yourself up into a big sausage roll inside your duvet like Emma does (we’ve all been there, I think) – but, ultimately, it’s perfectly okay to simply be stumbling along doing your best to figure it all out as you go, because that’s exactly what everyone else is trying to do too.

I am so glad I read this book. It’s like an old friend who will cheer you up and make you feel a bit better about all those times you’ve made a twit of yourself. I can’t wait to read whatever Chloe Seager does next.

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