Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave
Ginger and Me by Elissa Soave
UK Publication: July 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
This ARC was provided by HQ (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
One word review – Disquieting
Synopsis from Goodreads: Wendy is nineteen and living alone.
All she wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and to just be ok. After her mum passed away, there’s no one to remind Wendy to eat, what to do each day and most importantly to love herself. Every week Wendy proudly shows her social worker Saanvi the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she does forget to offer her a cup of tea.
But Wendy is ready to put herself out there and really live.
She joins a writer’s group to share stories she writes including the one about a bullied schoolboy who goes to Mars. The other writers are total amateurs, unlike Diane Weston – a famous local author who likes and sometimes even comments on Wendy’s tweets.
Everything changes on a rainy day when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if her life would be simpler if she hadn’t met Ginger. And that’s before she realises just how much of a mess Ginger is about to get them in…
My Thoughts: Wow it is almost impossible for me to believe that this is a debut novel the author has major talent and I will be looking out for anything else she writes.
The reader spends the whole of the book inside Wendy’s head as she slowly reveals the events that have lead to her being jailed for something that is not her fault. As we spend more time in Wendy’s head we come to realise that she is not quite like other 19 year olds she appears to be on the autism spectrum although as her mother never agreed with labels Wendy has never been diagnosed it is just accepted that she is different. Wendy is completely unfiltered and the reader is treated solely to her interpretation of events, the reader can clearly see that Wendy’s view is not the view of the other characters around her despite her complete belief that things can only be as she sees them. This complete immersion is what makes the book so unsettling we know something bad has happened but right up until the last minute we don’t know what is it.
I loved the relationship between Wendy and Ginger and really felt for both of them, they have both been dealt tough cards and it was beautiful to watch how they chose to overcome those cards and how the friendship impacted both of them.
This is not a happy book nor is it overly sad there are light hearted moments, there are some truly lovely moments of friendship and there are gorgeous descriptions of life as a Scottish bus driver and the interactions with the “regulars” on the route, there is a real sense of community on the 255 bus. The subtle feminism displayed throughout is also great and is a natural part of the story not just tacked on for effect.
I loved the ending of the story.
Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading something different, with a different point of view and a sole narrator that it is hard (not impossible) to relate.
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