Wednesday, 1 February 2012
Review: Signs of Love - Love Match by Melody James
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Released: February 2nd, 2012
The path of true love never runs smoothly, and when Gemma is involved it can get exceedingly bumpy! For as long as thirteen-year-old Gemma Stone can remember she has dreamed of becoming an award-winning journalist. Unfortunately, as the youngest member of the Green Park High student e-zine editorial team, she's given the job of writing the horoscopes, under the pen name 'Jessica Jupiter'. Not knowing the first thing about astrology, Gemma decides to make the most of her unexpected situation by using her new position to play Cupid with her friends, writing fictional forecasts to help their romantic dreams come true. But is Gemma too busy with her friends' love lives to notice signs of love closer to home?
Signs of Love: Love Match is the first book in a new series for teenage girls. It's about Gemma Stone, a 14-year-old aspiring journalist who ends up writing horoscopes for her school's webzine. While taking on the role of Jessica Jupiter, astrologer and matchmaker, she also helps her friends and saves an important piece of school architecture in the process.
Love Match appealed to me because it looked fun from the cover. It appears lighthearted and flighty, but it's actually more serious that that, which surprised me. Another focus of Gemma's life is her younger brother Ben, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. His illness affects the whole family, and Gemma often has to help out with his physio and medication. Before reading this book I didn't really know much about CF, but I do now. I can't imagine how hard it is to live with that illness, and for all involved, and seeing it represented in a teen book seems like a positive step towards educating people about it.
I liked the setting for this book, which mostly took place in the webzine room. I've always been interested in journalism and writing, so in a way I suppose I relate to Gemma more than I usually would to a character her age. I think I wanted to be a journalist when I was around fourteen and this book would have been a great read for me back then. It's an inspirational story for anyone in secondary school who's wondering what to do in the future. It shows that you have to keep trying, and that taking a rubbish horoscope job could be a stepping stone to something better!
I enjoyed Love Match. It reminded me very much of of books by writers like Cathy Hopkins and Cathy Cassidy, with its authentic teen voice and memorable, likeable characters (like treacle, Gemma's best friend with a cool nickname!). The romantic matchmaking elements add humour and boys to the story, making it even more reminiscent of being fourteen and not knowing what's in store. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that age!
Love Match is a promising start to what I think will be a popular series with teen girls. It's a feelgood, accurate portrayal of secondary school life, but it also has an air of maturity to it. Every high school library should have a copy of this one - I bet it'll fly off the shelves!