Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne

After enjoying Tanya Byrne’s first novel Heart-Shaped Bruise, I was elated to receive an advance copy of Follow Me Down. In this thrilling UKYA story, sixteen year old Adamma Okomma has just moved to an old English boarding school from New York.

On her very first day she meets the infamous Scarlett Chiltern, the unofficial queen of Crofton, and the pair soon become firm friends. However, Scarlett is full of secrets and as a guy wheedles his way into Adamma’s affections, she finds herself keeping secrets of her own and putting her friendship with Scarlett in danger. 

Narrated by Adamma, the story is told in alternating chapters from when the girls first meet, counting down to Scarlett’s disappearance. I really enjoy Tanya Byrne’s style of writing; drip-feeding you information and twisting the story round and round until everything suddenly ties together at the end in a dark eureka moment. 

In this story, I particularly liked the inclusion of Adamma’s Nigerian heritage. The press release for the novel makes a good point about how you are more likely to find a teen book about a zombie than a black girl. As a female of colour myself, it was actually very refreshing to read a book where the main character is coloured, and I found myself Googling some of the African terms to satisfy me curiosity. The two leads, Adamma and Scarlett, both had strong voices and I really like that in female characters. 

Dark and complex, Follow Me Down is a wickedly addictive read about friendship, obsession and betrayal and is definitely not to be missed.  

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