Title: Straight Outta Crongton
Author: Alex Wheatle
Publisher: Atom, Little Brown Book Group
I haven’t delved into many YA novels since my teenage years. My degree pushed me into reading so many philosophical and overly-descriptive books about the industrial revolution or ladies in bonnets longing after men who have more money than sense, that I didn’t find the time to discover the gems of the YA fiction world. I’ve blogged about a small handful that I’ve taken with me through to adult-hood, but Straight Outta Crongton is the first new YA novel that I’ve picked up in a while.
I was hooked. There is something so delightfully easy about this novel, that I finished it in about two days. That’s not to say that the storyline is in anyway simple. Straight Outta Crongton is most certainty a coming-of-age novel about 15 year old Mo, who finds her life caught amidst her mum’s violent new boyfriend, the new relationship with her best friend Sam and her ‘sistrens’ who often offer conflicting advice about these former situations. I absolutely loved the language; the way Wheatle uses slang for both humour and to convey the emotions of these young people. What I loved the most, was that I did not feel alienated in anyway from the characters. Though I have been lucky to not experience a lot of what Mo experiences throughout the novel, I still understood the dispute of emotions that perhaps all teenagers feel whilst they are growing up. I don’t think anyone ever forgets the struggles of puberty and I suppose there is a nostalgia one feels when reading a YA novel at an older age. (Although, I’m only 22, maybe I should review this statement in 10 years time).
Anyway, I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, I want people to read it for themselves. I haven’t read any of Wheatles other books so I came to this novel with fresh eyes and I will most definitely be reading more.