Pick of the Day

Something Tragic by Jessica Yeh

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆★ There are some books that hold you in a thrall of emotions that they create long after you’ve finished them. You have emotions...

Bitter Sweet Revenge by Donna Jay


What was it to not conform to the norm in the 1980s? Little surprise – it was way worse than it is now. Donna Jay sets her book in the ‘80s and does a commendable job with capturing that time and being young in that era. The beauty of the writing is that while it vividly captures the 1980s, the emotions are not limited to just that point in time.

Katie, a normal middle-class teenager on her way to give her typing exam. It is her last exam and the popular girls, Cherie, Tracey and Anita, have invited her to hang out with them after. Despite misgivings and a sense of foreboding, the typical teenage need to belong make Katie go with them – and Katie, a closeted lesbian, has the most traumatic experience of, really, any life. With the help of her brother and supportive (though clueless about what transpired in her life) parents, Katie fights of depression, drops out of school and finds a job, slowly clawing her way back to life. We follow Katie’s life as she finds revenge, love and acceptance.

There is a realness to the characters and the incidents that keep you hooked to the book. A lot of things belong firmly to that time period (like we don’t think any woman today would simper at her ass being pinched in public) but the bigger emotions in the book flow across time. 

The book is dark (the first chapter may be difficult to read) and light (Gillian is all sunrays and rainbows). Katie’s brother and his girlfriend, Gillian’s cousin (and her whole family) and Katie’s colleagues are supportive and positive influences but Jay has also realistically written homophobic characters to maintain the balance.

The one character who is a loose end for us is Tracey, leaving us with a bleeding heart. We want her to get forgiveness, redemption, acceptance and love.

Kudos to the author for having written about girls bullying girls in really harmful ways but managing to make it a positive book instead of a depressing one. 


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