Wednesday, 8 September 2010
Review: Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett
Released: September 2nd, 2010
Grade rating: B
You're dead Scarlett... Previously a poor taste jibe from school frenemies, now a statement of fact. Scarlett is absolutely mortified (in more ways than one) to discover that she's accidentally killed herself while trying to get out of a school trip. Even worse, she's taken her entire family with her. Life as a ghost is pretty dull - if only some of her friends were dead too...
I loved Cathy Brett's debut novel, Ember Fury, and was really looking forward to reading Scarlett Dedd. Brett's writing is always funny and contemporary, and her fantastic illustrations add an extra element of coolness to her stories.
The humour in Scarlett Dedd is what really stood out to me. Even the way Scarlett and her family end up dead is wacky, and Scarlett's dialogue is as witty as you'd expect from a somewhat emo teenager. As cool as Scarlett is, her group of still-breathing friends were the stars of the story for me. JP, Ripley, Taz and Psycho are the kind of misfit students you'd expect to find skiving off round the back of the school, and their close-knit friendship is something to aspire to. They don't even mind being haunted by their dead friend... well, they're a bit freaked out at first, but who wouldn't be?!
As with Ember Fury, Brett shows that she's not just a writer, she's also a brilliantly talented illustrator. Her artwork has a certain style to it -- it's easily recognisable, and is probably my favourite part of her books. I can only imagine how long it all takes, though it's obviously well worth every painstaking minute.
Scarlett Dedd didn't quite live up to my expectations, but I think that's because I enjoyed Ember Fury so much. Scarlett didn't appeal to me as strongly as I thought she would but, as always, that's down to differing opinions. Scarlett Dedd will suit every kind of reader, including those reluctant to pick up a book. There really is something for everyone, whether you're looking for a more fun approach to reading, or just a clever story with a protagonist capable of making light of a tragic situation. And remember, kids, don't go picking wild mushrooms!