2015 Reviewing Challenge: Book by an author under 30
This Challenge was harder than I thought—most Christian fiction seems to be written by older authors (it’s a big clue that they are over 30 when their bio says they are a grandmother). No one actually comes out and says their age. Anyway, I was pleased to find Australian author Will Kostakis come up on my blog feed, because as well as making some interesting points about male authors, he also was under 30. Off to Amazon, where I picked up his debut novel, Loathing Lola, published when he was just 19.
It’s not Christian fiction, which means there is a little swearing and a cast of characters who don’t have any Christian beliefs (even though they all attend a ‘Christian’ high school). The one obviously Christian character, the school priest, was portrayed well—if only all general market fiction could write such positive Christian characters without getting cliché or preachy.
Fifteen-year-old Australian schoolgirl Courtney Marlow has auditioned for Real Teens, a new reality TV show looking to highlight the life of a real teenager. Applying wasn’t her idea, but she’s been chosen and a chance discovery means she has to go through with it. But no sooner is the show announced than everyone wants to get in on it, from her second-best friend to her father’s new wife and the President of the school Mothers’ Auxiliary (their equivalent of the PTA).
Loathing Lola is written entirely in the first person, from Courtney’s point of view, and she has a clear and convincing voice—it’s easy to believe she is an average Australian teenager (the accuracy of the voice is a little disturbing when I remembered this was written by an Australian teenage male). She’s smart, funny, sad, depressing, angry—in other words, real. Well, she feels real. Unlike the TV show, which we find out is nothing real at all.
I enjoyed Loathing Lola. There was a strong author voice, a cast of quirky and interesting characters (I can’t say they were all likeable, but that was the point), a well-constructed plot and a theme that will appeal to a generation fixated on reality TV. And a great end.