Publisher: Walker Books UK
Publication Date: June 4th 2015
Source: Review Copy from Publisher/ Author
Purchase: Book Depository / Waterstones
From the author of Trouble comes a new novel about boys, bands and best mates.
Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life... Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.
Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.
So I said earlier in the year that Remix by Non Pratt was in my Top 5 most anticipated releases of the year, and when Non herself offered me the chance of obtaining a proof copy after a pretty epic GIF competition, I had to jump at the chance and I'm so glad that I did because frankly there aren't words to describe how amazing Remix was! It definitely lived up to my expectations - blew them away in fact! I have definitely been in the mood for summer books lately and this one was just a fantastic addition to the ones I've enjoyed recently. So without further ado, what did I think of Remix in detail?
I think I have to mention first of Non's beautiful and lyrical writing because there's something very special about it. It's the type of writing that really draws you into the story and allows you to capture and fully understand the characters and the situations they get themselves into. I have to admit that it's probably one of the most down to earth and yet mesmerising writing styles I've come across in a very long time! The beauty about Non's writing is as well as it being bewitching it's also very accurate for the characters she portrays. Although I haven't yet read Trouble, I've heard that this is a feature it shares with that book and is something that Non is always being commended for, and I totally agree that she should be commended for it! It's absolutely fantastic.
As for the plot, this book takes place over a weekend at a musical festival in the summer holidays, and after having the traumatic experiences of GCSE's and results, our two main protagonists Kaz and Ruby escape to 'Remix' to enjoy their last summer before everything they know changes around them. I loved this element of the story - it's such a unique concept, especially as it's one that is usually experienced by teenagers in the UK! Having attended musical festivals in the past, the descriptions of the weekend and some of the reminders of events you wished you could forget brought so many memories back to me and I'm actually grateful to Non for that - even if I wish that her descriptions of the foul state of the portable toilets weren't as accurate. I enjoyed as well that although the novel took place over the course of three days, it didn't feel overly short. Looking back in hindsight, my memories of some of the festival days are all blurred, and no not because I was flat out drunk (usually) but because of the fact that at a music festival there is so much crammed into just a few days and quite often it all goes over your head due to the excitement. Non did a superb job of bringing back memories I had long forgotten through her realistic depictions of the event.
As for the characters, as mentioned before Non has a very unique way of making her characters sound extremely realistic. I watched in an interview recently that when writing her books she always tries to write to 14 year old Non and I have to say that this technique works in her favour. Kaz and Ruby's characters were both an accurate depiction of how I believe teenagers can be viewed in modern society. Their voices were realistic and never once blended together. Both of these character's POV's were distinguishable and each had their own flare to them with made them stand out in their own ways. Ruby's POV was brutally honest, raw and extremely emotional whilst Kaz's was slightly more reclined, cautious and slightly fragmented. What I mean by this is while Ruby's chapters tended to capture my interest immediately, Kaz's chapters seemed to be broken up in terms of how interesting I found the chapter to be. Kaz's cautious nature seemed to reflect well in her chapters and sometimes I would literally want to shake her and tell her it would be okay, and to have fun. Stop worrying about hurting your ex - he's your ex for a reason, move on!
I want to briefly discuss the romance in this book, or rather the complications that the characters had with it. In this book Non gives us as readers a first-hand experience of characters who have experienced intense break-ups. What I loved about this experience is that Non didn't bother to write it delicately - it was brutal, raw and honest - just as it should be because in reality, break up's that occur in the same manner as they did in the book are never enhanced by sunshine and rainbows. They're torture to some and emotions sky rocket leading people to do things they later regret. This was something that I found to be especially highlighted through Ruby's character and the journey she goes on over the course of the three days.
Something I feel that I need to mention in this review is that Non is not afraid to discuss topics that often in Young Adult novels, authors tend to shy away from or try to bluntly navigate their way around. Drugs and sex are a prime example of this. I mean after all, Trouble had sperm on the cover for goodness sake. I don't know how much more applause we can give her! In this way, Non for me is a very brutally honest and pragmatic author of YA literature and I believe that this is something she should be extremely proud of. Teenagers/Young Adults quite often find themselves in scenarios where they have questions they want answered and topics they want to explore. What better way to explore them/ become intrigued by them than in books? Books and reading in turn can be a very private experience, and to allow Teenagers/Young Adults to explore these themes in their own way can be quite relaxing and rewarding. So why shouldn't we promote this?
Overall Remix was a complete blast to read, it was witty, to the point and quite frankly was an extremely fun book to be absorbed in. Non Pratt is a genius UKYA author who targets her audience well and gives them something that both she and they can be proud to be a part of. I award Remix by Non Pratt a 4 out of 5 on my classification scale. An intense read for those readers who just want to explore and experience a little bit of freedom.