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.

Tags:

Crawlers

As part of our ongoing plan to Take Over the World, I have recently read fellow Chainsaw Sam Enthoven’s book Crawlers:

The cover, I believe, tells you what you most of what you need to know about the book – there’s a dreadful, spidery thing attached to his neck! Arghh! Nightmare-inducement commenced! Crawlers is the story of four boys and four girls who find themselves trapped in the Barbican Theatre when a horde of these horrible, squidgy, slimy Crawlers (and Mr Enthoven is immensely skilled at describing, in exquisite detail, just how nasty these things are) descend upon the building. Once attached to the back of the neck of the people there, they are able to control them and make them do their bidding zombie-style. Thus a kindly teacher trying to help the protaganists one minute might be trying to bash their heads in the next. And the real killer of it is that the Crawlers don’t have to attach themselves to a person’s neck. Meaning that anyone in the theatre, no matter how normal they might appear, might have a Crawler on them somewhere – which makes for a lot of mounting paranioa within the group.

The action is all confined to a theatre, which is very well-utilised as a creepy Doom-esque setting – disconcertingly quiet and deserted when it shouldn’t be. This also contributes to the increasingly claustophobic atmosphere, especially as the paranoia and terror mounts. In parts it’s almost a little bit reminiscent of a classic Twilight Zone episode: ‘ Four boys and four girls are on a trip to the theatre. Little do they know that they will never see the play. They’re about to be plunged into a nightmare. Beneath the theatre lies a secret. And now she has been released…’ There’s also a good dash of classic horror films, video games and old-school Goosebumps in the mix as well. This is a very visual book that feels more like a film – in an enjoyably, toe-curling horrible, way. If you like your horror creepy, freaky, fast-paced and a little bit gross, then Crawlers is definitely the book for you.

This is Sam, looking rather sinister:

 

And here’s his take on the Chainsaw questions:

1. What’s your favourite book?

No: impossible. The effort of narrowing it down to one would make blood
hose out of my eyeballs. But I’ve listed my favourite five hundred at
www.librarything.com/profile/othersam if that’s any help.

2. What’s your favourite monster?

The Thing, from John Carpenter’s The Thing. Everything after the husky’s
muzzle peels like a banana: now. /that/’s a monster.

3. Who’s your favourite bad-ass monster slayer?

Monkey’s been kicking &rse in China since the sixteenth century and he
shows no signs of stopping now. Have you played Enslaved: Odyssey to the
West? That transplants him and his story to a post-apocalyptic future
USA. Monkey fits right in, smacking robots instead of demons, just as if
he’s lived there all his life.

4. If you could make a pact with the Devil, what would you want in exchange for your immortal soul?

The original Sam Enthoven, the fool, swapped his paltry soul for mine
long ago. We wrote a story about it, you can read if you like, here:
www.theblacktattoo.com/thenewdeal.html

5. The Chainsaw Gang are all trapped on a desert island with no food. Who would you eat first and why?

I would eat myself: a leg first I think – mine are reasonably well
toned. I don’t like strange meat, and it doesn’t come much stranger than
The Chainsaw Gang.

Finally, if you haven’t heard about it already, we’re offering one lucky winner the chance to win a complete set of latest signed books from every single one of the Chainsaw Gang in our Blog Tour Competition. 

Here’s how it works:

To win the Chainsaw Library you need to score votes. Each vote goes into a vast hat at the end of the competition and one winning name will come out. The great thing is you can enter per blog: that’s nine chances to win! So make sure you visit each and every blog on the tour. Votes are scored as follows:

+1 if you link the blog/website to yours

+2 if you stick our Chainsaw banner up somewhere

+1 if you’re a Facebook fan/friend – here’s the link to my fan page.

+1 if you comment on this blog post

+1 if you reTweet this competition.

+1 if you follow us on Twitter – here’s a link to my twitter page 

The closing date of the competition is Friday 5th November and the competition is open to UK residents only.

Finally, the Chainsaw Gang will be out in force at the Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival tomorrow. Myself, Sam Enthoven, Jon Mayhew, Alexander Gordon Smith, Steve Feasey, Alex Milway and Sarwat Chadda will all be there so come along and say hello to us if you can. We don’t bite. Much.

Tags: , ,