Money Is So Awkward

Skylarks - Karen Gregory
Published by Bloomsbury on 3rd May 2018.
My rating: 4/5
Book Depository purchase link.

Money is so awkward and it's a topic often left out from the fictional world where people don't have to sleep, pay for things, or even use the bathroom. That's why Skylarks stood out to me so much. Don't worry, there weren't people going for toilet breaks every few pages, but there were characters with actual money problems.

It was so refreshing to read about a teenager with a job. When I was that age and working at Homebase, it felt like none of my friends really understood why I was working. None of them had any interest or need to get a job. Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to compare me to Joni, our main character. While she is under pressure to work so she can contribute towards her family, I was earning to pay for my own driving lessons. That huge detail aside, I think this book will offer something special to the working teen-readers who need to know that they’re not any less worthy because they need to work. In fact, they're doing school AND working and probably a million other things to. They're great!

Whether you’re 16 or 61, I don’t think money ever stops being awkward. Everyone has their own perspective of it, their own expectations and their own issues surrounding it. You reach a point where you phase into paying your own way and it’s awkward. You move in with other people and have to balance finances with other people and it’s awkward. You find you have different monetary priorities to your friends or earn a different amount and it’s awkward.

It’s even more awkward in Skylarks. Joni has grown up in a household that has always struggled, dealing with everything from unemployment and the stigma surrounding benefits to the prospect of homelessness. With an older brother that will fight the system all day every day and a younger brother who is still fairly innocent, she’s stuck. No matter what her parents say, she can’t see a way out via university or otherwise.

It becomes even more complicated when Joni meets Annabel - the girl who has everything. From the posh school to the mansion she lives in, Annabel’s life could not be more different from Joni. They make unlikely friends, let alone girlfriends, so the real enjoyment of the story is watching their progression together. It’s all about understanding someone that you think you can’t relate to.

Joni’s feisty personality is something to be admired and I loved how it spread across all sorts of scenes, from the first initial encounter with Annabel, to campaigning against the company looking to take over her estate. She’s a memorable character with plenty of badass traits.

This book is something that YA readers have been asking for - now it’s time to read it!

Love, Jess

Thank you Bloomsbury for sending a copy for review.

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