Friday, 30 May 2014

REV Girl - Leigh Hutton

Plot: 

Clover Kassidy has been moved from a comfortable life to a new, hostile place. She is constantly picked on at school and seems to fail to live up to her parents expectations. Her dream of becoming a professional dirt bike racer goes full steam ahead until her social life surprisingly picks up. Clover finds herself a new best friend and even boyfriend, but the pressure to balance the two becomes too much.

Clover must stand up against those who doubt her and determine which path she really wants to travel on.

(Read here for more of a synopsis)

Review:

When I first heard about the plot of REV Girl, I was very intrigued as to how Hutton would play out the story. By having a female character competing in a predominately male sport, already Hutton has set her novel apart from others. After finishing it, I realised I had never read anything like it before.

The one thing I loved the most from the book was the meaning behind the story. REV Girl was very much a coming of age story, conveying the pressures of being a teenager. Yet, it also covered the issues of being a girl and, more so, being comfortable with who you are and what you do. I immediately liked that Clover was highly involved in dirt bike racing and she continued to do so despite what people said. It didn't matter that she was a female or that she wasn't the best at it, what mattered was the effort she put into it. Even when she had to make a choice between her aspiring career and the seemingly most important parts of her social life, she knew what she wanted more. A strong emphasis to this is right at the end and what Clover delivers spoke volumes. You don't have to bend to other people's will, especially if the reason is because "but you're a girl".

I'm not sure I connected that well with the actual characters or story line though. Hutton writes well, especially considering this is her debut novel. There weren't any awkward phrases or incorrect grammar. In fact I flew right through the novel and finished it in a day. I was caught up with the pace of the story - Clover's decisions and how far she would go. Yet, at the end I still had a number of questions and concerns that were not addressed. REV Girl is the first in a series (The Go Girls Chronicles) though, so I could hope to see some of it being resolved in the next addition.

The relationship developments were positive with some, and a little confusing with others. I loved that Clover bonded with her father, Ernie, the most just because it does reflect the relationship between my dad and I. Other than that, nothing really stuck out.

I would probably say only Clover shone as a character. She definitely grew up and learnt to deal with most of her demons, which made me glad I rode that journey with her. I liked some of the supporting characters, especially the other riders she meets in her races. Yet, not many of them were present for the entire novel - some even disappeared, although in Hutton's defence they weren't really necessary for plot development.

REV Girl is a short read and with such a fast pace, it does feel a little rushed and abrupt sometimes. Except in the end, it doesn't draw away from the lasting impression. I enjoyed the read, especially with the character being such a strong willed and passionate female. I actually have major respects for Hutton for producing such an unconventional character despite the target audience being Young Adults. She may have concerns about dirt bike racing, which readers might not relate to, but Clover is still a teenager and growing up is such a big thing in life that I could definitely see parts of myself in her.

Check out Leigh's website (here), where you'll be able to purchase copies of REV Girl as well.

Rating: 4/5

3 comments :

  1. Sounds like a great message for a book to leave. Maybe that's enough if it is all you take with you at the end? I'm looking forward to reading this one, great review!

    Brit :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I think it was heartwarming at the end so it was enjoyable! Thanks girl :)

    ReplyDelete

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