People who live in the UK might have heard about the YA Book Prize: it's an award for the best UK young adult book and the winner will be announced in March. However, there is already a shortlist with 10 of the best UK YA books of 2014. Up until March, I will read each of these books (one a week) and post a review - I'm reading the books in the same order as the YA Book Prize twitter account is.
Some books, like Say Her Name, are amazing because they tackle a subject you never thought could be written about in a book. Other books are amazing because they use a subject that is as cliché as possible and then use AMAZING writing to bring originality to the topic. Lobsters is part of the second group of books and is officially one of my favourite reads ever.
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.
I think everyone can say that they've read a book that could have been described in exactly the same way. Probably more than one. So when I picked up Lobsters, I really wasn't excited for it - another love story with teenagers that take a whole book to figure out they belong together - great. Been there, done that.
Most realistic YA novel I've read.
But what made this book one of my favourite reads of the year is the fact that the main characters, Sam and Hannah, were so extremely realistic. They are everyday British teenagers who try and figure life out and usually fail pretty badly at it. They have great friends and bad friends, they get good grades and bad grades, they have great vacations and ones that turn out awful. Basically, they go through what every single teenager goes through without any romanticising in the process.
The book switches between the narration of Sam and Hannah, which means there's something for everyone. I loved reading Sam's point of view, because teenage boys were, and probably forever will remain, a mystery to me. I don't understand what makes them do the things they do, but reading Sam's story made it a bit more clear for me. He made some dumb decisions along the way, but he was very easy to relate to.
I think Hannah is a great narrator for teenage girls reading this. She's insecure about basically everything, but tries to hide it and keep up with her friends. I just wanted to sit her down and tell her that she was fine and that she should dump certain friends (I mean, she has some shit friends), but I think younger readers will appreciate the similarities they'll find with Hannah.
As I said, the writing makes this book amazing. It is realistic, to the point and made me laugh so many times. You can tell that a female and a male author worked on this book, because both main characters are very distinct from each other (not saying that one author can't do that, but it's just harder!). You immediately know when Sam is talking and when Hannah is talking, which made the book so much more realistic. No 16 year old boy and girl will think the same things, so it was really nice to see their differences.
If you're looking for a book with amazing metaphors and stylistic devices, then this book isn't for you. It was really the simplest writing I've read in a while, but it is supposed to be the thoughts of a teenager, so I think it worked perfectly. And, an extra bonus, neither Sam or Hannah are hipsters! So if you're looking to distance yourself from the "oh I'm such a cool teenager because I'm artsy" trend (which I am), then pick up Lobsters.
Lobsters was a real surprise for me. I thought James Dawson's Say Her Name had the YA book prize in the bag, but now I'm not so sure. Dawson's subject matter is still more original, but I think there's a real talent in finding a new way to tell a story that's been told before. So five stars - I wish I could even give this book six. Lobsters is my lobster.