Thursday, 18 October 2012

And By The Way by Denise Deegan

Series: Butterfly, Book One
Publisher: Hachette
Format: Paperback
Published: 17th February 2011
Number of Pages: 336
Book: For Review*
Genre: Contemporary, Real-To-Life, Romance, Coming-Of-Ag, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Swearing, Drinking, Smoking and Sex References
No Drug References
Author's Blog: Denise Deegan

At Standbrook College, Dublin, we are Kids Of.  Kids of media stars, musicians, artists, actors…  I’m the kid of a rock star.  Means nothing to me.
When my mum died six months ago, I didn’t just lose her, I lost my dad, ‘The Rockstar’.  To work.
Now I don’t trust anyone or rely on anyone.  That way, I won’t get hurt.
My best friend Rachel won’t let me pull back though.  And that’s a problem.
Another one is David McFadden, a guy in my class (who calls me Ice Queen).   He says he wants to help.  Six months ago, he could have – but he didn’t.  Now, it’s too late.  The very last person in the world I’m going to listen to is David McFadden.  I’ll show him who’s Ice Queen.  }|{

“I used to do close.  Then Mum died.  And I died too.  I can't go through that pain again.  I just can't…”
Since her mum died, Alex has felt empty, hollow.  Though she's surrounded by people all the time, she always feels completely and utterly alone.  But she doesn't want to let people in.  Not again.  The last time she did, her heart was broken and she just can't live through that again. 
Her dad's no longer there, no longer 'dad' - he's just "The Rockstar", the man who's never there and pays other people to look after her. 
Alex's friend Rachel wants to help, but Alex won't let her.  So what if this means she's called "the Ice Queen" by David McFadden, the one who could have helped her six months ago and didn't.
So why is he bothering now?  It’s too late to help, too late to do any good. 
And why can't Alex stop thinking about him?
My friend Sammee reviewed And By The Way a while back and my intrigue was awakened.  So when Hachette offered me the chance to read the series, I jumped!  And, my God, how I wish I'd picked it up much, much sooner!  It was such a powerful, emotional, beautiful book, one I loved to pieces and gobbled up as fast as I possibly could.  I just can't wait to read more by Deegan - it was just so freaking amazing!
The characters were all so amazing and real.  None of them were as they first seemed, all of them grew and changed throughout the book.  And Alex: she was so, so broken.  I could feel her pain in every single word and it just broke my heart.  I loved watching her as she changed and grew and came back to life.  And I adored her dry sense of humour.  She wasn't perfect and she made mistakes, but I just loved her and my heart ached for her all the way through.  As for David, well he is my new McDreamy: he is “seriously caliente” and cute and perfect and sweet.  I’m kinda totally in love with him.  He was just the sweetest thing – Alex may have some competition!  Rachel was brilliant: so sweet and thoughtful, she wanted so badly to help and was the best friend ever, putting up with everything.  Sarah was chirpy and cheeky and was totally mad – she was also a bit of a total idiot: sure, she had issues but man was she stupid at times!
But what really shone about this book was the relationships.  I loved the relationship between Alex and her Gran - her Gran was just a legend!  Alex and David - I loved the way their relationship developed.  It was so real and so touching and so unlike your usual YA romances.  It was perfect.  And the relationship between Alex, Rachel and Sarah was so strong nd powerful - I mean, they stuck with the Ice Queen.  That's friendship, people!  I also loved seeing the changing relationship between Alex and her dad, as well. 
Man, Deegan's voice was amazing.  It was a teen going through the loss of a parent: the anger, the pain, the feeling of being totally lost - it was heart-breaking.  But funny too, thanks to Deegan's amazing writing talent.  My heart was aching and my eyes tearing up one minute, my heart then filling with love as I giggled the next.  I just loved Deegan's wry, dry, witty sense of humour - it killed me.  But all the emotions in this book, well, they just broke my heart!  I could feel all of Alex's pain, all her despair.  I felt almost constantly on the verge of tears.  And I also loved seeing all the different kinds of grief in the book, seeing how all the different characters dealt with loss.  It was amazing.  And grief wasn't the only pain tackled.  Every single character had some kinda problem - they were all so real and padded out and complex.  I loved that.  
A story about love, loss, grief and surviving, And By The Way was a book that left me totally overwhelmed, full of love and sadness and beauty.  The phrase don't judge a book by its cover definitely applies here.  This book is not fluffy or pink.  It's complex and emotional and heart-breaking - both in its beauty and sadness.  And By The Way is the sort of book that will totally break your heart - and you will love every second of it.  You will feel every single thing Alex does and you will love her so much to hurts, faults and all.  You will fall totally in love with David and you will feel so emotionally overwhelmed you will be too wrapped up in everything to cry, even when you are on the verge of a breakdown.  And you will hope and laugh and love.  I honestly cannot recommend it enough - to everyone!  And I certainly can't wait to read And For Your Information.  Nor will I ever underestimate or dismiss my time with my family – who knows what could happen next?
And By The Way, you really will love every single second and will not be able to stop reading.  So enjoy - this book will not let you down. 

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Hachette Ireland in exchange for an honest review


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