Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Review: Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback / eBook
Released: June 5th, 2014
Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find 'The One'. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.
Lobsters, along with The Year of the Rat, is the contemporary YA book of the year. It's exactly what I needed, full of angst and humour and characters you'll fall in love with. I read it months in advance because I was just too excited to wait until June, and I'm so glad I did. I loved every single page of it.
Lobsters is a fairly straightforward story of young adults and growing up. Hannah is awaiting her A-level results before heading off to university, and she's still a virgin. She's feeling the pressure to lose it before she leaves, but she's always wanted to wait for her lobster - the love of her life. Sam is in a similar situation, looking for that special someone and gearing up to decide the rest of his life from a few exam grades. When he meets Hannah by chance at a party, they bond over hot Ribena and nothing is quite the same again.
I love Hannah and Sam. They're both socially awkward like me, they have no idea what's next and they really just want to find someone who understands them. Both are extremely funny and easy to like, with strong personalities that shine through in each alternate chapter. I couldn't choose between them if I had to, which is unusual for me as I do usually have a preference, a favourite. I can't make that choice when it comes to Sam and Hannah, or Ham as I will now call them. They come as a package deal.
Usually books written in this format are problematic. Dual narration can be difficult if the authors don't find their voices, which absolutely isn't the case here. Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison are spot on when it comes to writing and knowing Hannah and Sam inside out, making them stand out and have their own distinct personalities. The chapters fit together so well; it's a seamless transition that never jars or confuses the reader, but flows as if only one person wrote it. In fact, I think Lobsters is the best book I've read that employs dual narration. There's no break in the story or voice and that's something that, for me, is rare to find in co-written YA novels.
If you remember what it's like to be eighteen and on the cusp of adulthood, you will love this book. That feeling of uncertainty and excitement is one we never forget, and it's captured perfectly here through Sam and Hannah. All their dreams are within reach, they're about to start a new chapter in their lives and they've each found someone to share it with. Of course there's lots of drama throughout the book, whether it be of the friendship or romantic variety, but that's what being a teenager is like. It's not all fun and games, instead it's actually quite hard, confusing and scary. Lobsters is realistic, truthful and, quite simply, brilliant. It's well-deserving of a place on my list of best ever contemporary YA fiction, which is where it will now stay.