Saturday, 17 April 2010
Review: Desperate Measures by Laura Summers
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Released: January 1st, 2010
Grade rating: B
Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn’t be more different. For their fourteenth birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a Furby. Instead they get a nasty shock – their foster parents can’t cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their younger brother Jamie will have to be split up. How can they stay together? Desperate times call for desperate measures…
Laura Summers brings the subject of disability to the forefront, in her critically acclaimed debut novel Desperate Measures. Told from the perspectives of twins Vicky and Rihanna, the story takes us on a journey across the UK, and to a place where both girls, along with their brother Jamie, finally feel at home.
Vicky and Rihanna are very well written, with both girls dealing with Rihanna's disability in different ways. Vicky is her primary carer, and has more responsibility than she should. She's loyal to her sister, and is willing to put her own life on hold to help her. Rihanna is innocent and young for her age, and often doesn't understand simple concepts such as death. It's hard work for the children, and the lack of a stable home life makes things even more difficult.
Although the characterisation and topics explored are hard to find fault with, I did have some trouble with the plot. I found it fairly hard to believe that three children would be able to run away, and get as far as they did with hardly any money or supplies. I thought the people they encountered would have used common sense and alerted the police of their whereabouts, rather than send them on their merry way with some advice and well wishes.
I can see why Desperate Measures has been so highly regarded, as it really will make teenagers think about disability, and what it's like for the families involved. I'm looking forward to seeing what Summers writes next, and I'm sure she has a long and successful career ahead of her.