Monday, 4 August 2014

Review: No Going Back by Alex Gutteridge

Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Publication Date: July 1 2014
Source: Review copy

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Blurb- A moving contemporary tale of family, love and loss from the author of Last Chance Angel.

Teenager Laura gets the shock of her life when she moves to rural Derbyshire and finds the ghost of her dead father in her grandmother's home. At first Laura is overjoyed to see him, but as time passes she begins to wonder why her dad is finding it so difficult to move on, and why her mother still refuses to talk about his death. 

What is the secret that has been kept from her for all these years?


A big thank you to HKB for sending me a copy of No Going Back in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed this book, I felt it was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for. An emotional and gripping contemporary read. 

I really did not know what to expect when I went into this book. I had not heard any hype about this novel, although I had seen a few good reviews for the authors other works floating around blogger. I was so pleasantly surprised by this novel as I went into it without expectations and it blew me away. 

The plot of this novel is very moving and emotional. It centres around a fourteen year old girl called Laura, who moves to a rural area with her mother to look after her grandmother. Laura's father died when she was very young, but with the stressful move, Laura's father has returned in an unexpected way. I though the author handled the topic of grieving, death and moving on from loss in such a realistic and well written way. 

I really enjoyed the plot of the novel. I felt that at times it could be a little slow, but you were so caught up in Laura's mind and thoughts that you just drifted through the slow parts without really dwelling on them. I also enjoyed the ghostly element in the novel and the interactions the father had with Laura and others. I thought there were a few good twists in the plot that kept me guessing, but alas, my curse struck again....I was able to predict the main plot twist from the very beginning of the book. As you know this happens a lot with me, I think I'm just good at thinking through a story...or maybe I'm just really cynical and suspect everybody (shifty eyes). 

The characters of this novel were so great. I felt that when the novel finished that I came away with them still in my mind. I really enjoyed Laura's character, she was young, bright, loving, kind but sometimes could be a little oblivious and selfish . I thought she was a really good portrayal of a child dealing with loss. I loved Sam, Laura's friend, he was a wonderful addition to the story. A character I disliked, surprisingly was the father of Laura. I thought he was very strict and mean and unkind- a polar opposite of Laura's mother. I enjoyed reading about Laura's family and their different dynamics and arguments. 

My favourite character of the entire novel would have to be Laura's Gran. Although at first she seemed to be a mean, wizened old woman, she was actually very loving and caring and deeply thoughtful . I loved her kindness in this novel and her relationship with Laura very much. 

The writing style of this novel was good. I enjoyed the dialogue, and felt it had a really nice flow to it. I thought the chapters ran nicely into one another and that the novel had good pacing, as not too much information was revealed at once, and rather spread out nicely. I felt that the beginning of the novel tipped me off a little too much as to what was going to happen at the end of the book but maybe I'm just a good guesser! The characterisation of family was brilliant and the many relationships in the novel were all very well written.

Overall an emotional, thought provoking and interesting contemporary read, perfect for summer or any other time of year. I read this in just two days, completely gripping. A novel that will make you think about loss and new beginnings....and also kittens! I definitely recommend this to ages 13+ . 



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