Monday, 5 April 2010

Review: Rich and Mad by William Nicholson


Publisher: Egmont
Format: Paperback
Released: April 5th, 2010
Grade rating: A-


Amazon summary:

This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything...

Review:

Rich and Mad is a brilliant novel about love, sex and growing up. It's honest and emotive, and explores the inner workings of the teenage mind.

Rich and Maddy are both characters I easily related to, because of their innocence and insecurities. They're both trying to navigate their way through adolescence, and are somewhat overwhelmed by all the relationship problems that accompany those later teen years. First love, first sex... when you think about it, it's an emotional minefield. There's so much to worry about, and so much to learn -- where do you start?

Nicholson manages to write about a first sexual experience with such honesty and insight; every awkward step is noted, every fear is addressed, and it's far from those perfect movie moments we're all so used to. His realism reminded me of early Melvin Burgess books, most notably Junk and Doing It, which are two other stories dealing with similar themes. I never thought male authors could capture a teenage girl's emotional state so well, but Nicholson's writing has proved me wrong.

Love also plays a huge part in Rich and Mad. What is it? How do you get it? Who do you give it to? These are all questions asked and answered over the course of the novel, with insightful extracts from The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm interspersed throughout. As a 17-year-old, love is a mysterious thing; it's new and confusing, and there's no rule book to guide you through it. Rich and Maddy do their best to figure it all out and, as a result, a really beautiful friendship forms. I loved their whole relationship from start to finish, and I'm holding out hope that Nicholson might continue their story in the future.

At times it was a bit too sweet and sugary for me, but that's not so much a criticism, more like a personal observation. I think teen readers will really respond to this one, as Nicholson has done a fantastic job of presenting a relatable plot with characters you'll love. Rich and Mad will give every reader something to think about, and a new perspective on love in all its many forms.


* Note: This book is highly explicit in parts, so I would advise caution if purchasing on behalf of a younger teenager.

13 comments:

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Wow, what a wonderful review! I love it when an author can really capture a voice. I haven't heard of this before, but I'm going to put it on my wish list. Thanks Jenny!

Kate Evangelista said...

Sex seems like a touchy subject when it comes to YA novels, but I'm glad that there is one that explores it well. Great review!

asamum said...

Ohhh another one to add to the wishlist. Thanks for the review :)

Becky said...

What an interesting book! I think I might get this one. I'm intrigued. This couldn't be any more different to The Wind Singer. Great review Jenny!

Dwayne said...

Wonderful review - reminds me of Forever by Judy Blume. I didn't like that one much, but I'll try and read this one and see :)

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This sounds fantastic. Any similarities to Melvin Burgess make this one a winner for me! I'm definitely adding this to my wishlist!

Lauren said...

I saw this a couple of weeks ago on Amazon and thought it looked really good, but I couldn't find a single review for it on the internet, which I thought was strange, so thanks for your (great) review. Since now I know for sure I'll be reading it. :)

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I love the sound of this! Thank you for the great review - I definitely want to read it.

Book Monster said...

Interesting , never heard of this book before but the cover certainly catches my eyes.

Lauren said...

Like Dwayne, I've been reminded of Judy Blume's Forever from reading your review. I hadn't heard of this one before but I really like the sound of it.

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