Friday, 1 August 2014

'The Name on Your Wrist' by Helen Hiorns (*****)

Finally, it is summer! The 1st of August has eventually touched down in my world and can I say how grateful I am that it is finally here :D It has been a crazy couple of months with work experience, my birthday, a French exchange, LitCon and lots of fabulous days out with my family and friends. Recently, since I have arrived in the ever so sunny (*note the sarcasm*) land of Corn and Walls (Cornwall to those who are not familiar with my lingo), I have been reading and writing like craazzzaaayyy. I have managed to read three books in three days, which I am pretty chuffed about to be honest. With the nightmare that is A-Levels and applications to uni I find it very hard to balance my school work, reading and everything else I want to do, but this summer I aim to manage it! 

There will be a lot of exciting blog posts coming your way- but in the mean time, here is the review for the amazing 'The Name on Your Wrist' by the one and only Helen Hiorns! I met Helen last year at the Sony Young Movellist award ceremony (because she won!), and we were lucky enough to bump into each other while she was having some very swishy meetings and I was at work experience at Movellas HQ. I couldn't wait to get my teeth into her book but somehow I never got around to reading it until this week, and I was so glad that I finally got around to it.... I think this is going to be my top read through 2014! 

The blurb immediately fascinated me. Ever since I was younger and was surrounded my Disney movies where the princess had one true love and was destined to marry him- I have been interested in the idea of soul mates and fate. One thing that Helen's book did was separate the romance from the idea of a 'soul mate'. I had always failed to see the negative side to the whole fiasco; one that involved suicide, heartbreak and government intervention to the highest degree. There was an inescapable sense of helplessness throughout the story as I realised that Corin knew how her future was going to turn out, and had long ago accepted that there was nothing she could do to change it. Whenever I read dystopian fiction, there is always a sense of dread lingering in the pit of my stomach as I come to experience a world in which society seems to be going backwards. The oppressive government has returned. Individual freedom has been snatched away. There are dangers lurking in almost every decision you make in life... decisions that can make or break you; in Corin's case, the decision she has to make in 'The Name on Your Wrist' is most likely to break her. 

Helen makes it abundantly clear in the book that the idea of soul mates isn't what is usually presented in romantic literature, but something much darker. Corin is a complex character, someone who I had mixed feelings about in the beginning, but grew to love her because of her witty mind, courageous nature and her hope for something better. The unique thing about Corin is that she sees an alternative, at least that was what I had gathered from the book. By setting out on a mission to deceive the world around her (telling everyone that the name of her carpinomen is Thomas) Corin is breaking away from the encouraged image of a teenage girl, and therefore fighting the inevitability of her future that hangs over her like an omen. Corin's rebellion suggests to the reader a small beacon of hope, which carries on for the entirety of the book.

Helen carefully crafts characters so that the way they react with the protagonist makes for an entirely riveting read. Right from the beginning, when we are introduced to the third Tom, I knew that the characters I would be introduced to throughout the story would reveal to me the reason why Helen is such a successful writer. By avoiding the classic mistake of YA fiction, uselessly inventing characters to make the story more interesting, Helen used the strength of her protagonist to bounce off her other characters, and reinforce the excellence of her story. Hidden within a dystopian, Helen also infuses many other issues and important questions into the book. Suicide, depression, self-harm and questioning of identity come into play continuously, not only elevating the novel itself but making it current for teenage readers and adults alike.

The ending, although unbearably cruel for an addictive reader for myself (as it ended on too big a cliffhanger!) was perfect in it's own way and really drew together the main point of the story that Helen was trying to bring out. Sometimes, it's not about who you think you love, or rebelling against the system just because. Family loyalty, and your own identity is often the way to start to put things right.

I have been given confirmation from Helen that she is working on a sequel, so hopefully we won't be kept in suspense for long! 

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Helen some questions- so an interview will be coming up shortly with everything writing, reading and what we can expect from the next book she is working on :)

Until next time :)