By Cathy Brett
- ISBN: 9780755347872
- Publication date: 02 September 2010
Scarlett Dedd is one of the first books that I have read in my rediscovery of YA literature, and it was certainly a treat. It is a funny, intelligent, teenage story that is well written, well presented and has an authentic teenage voice in the person of Scarlett.
I have written a little synopsis for you:
Scarlett is your typical teenager in so many ways, yet she is also quite different, unique. Like any typical teenager she is unhappy with her family life, though she is sure she has more reasons to be than most, not least due to her surname which has been cause of much ridicule for all her life. You see, Scarlett is a Dedd, and if the name wasn’t doomed enough, that also meant frightfully pale skin that never tanned, lifeless hair and gloomy eyes. That, along with the family’s poverty, which meant second hand clothes and a horrid diet, was enough to test the patience of any teenage girl.
So when Scarlett finds out that she has to go on a seven day school-trip to Northern France as part of her History classes she decides to draw the line and take matters into her own hands. One way or another, she was getting out of her trip. However, Scarlett’s super-plan goes mortifyingly wrong, not just for her, but for her family too, and soon she discovers a whole new meaning to being part of the Dedd family.
As if being a teenager was not hard enough, Scarlett has to learn a whole new existence, and in the process learns the true meaning and value of family and friendship.
I really enjoyed reading Scarlett Dedd. It really captures the spirit of young, creative, a-little-bit-different-from-the-crowd teenagers, their voice, their angst, and their sometimes strange obsessions. The language is fun, descriptive, and easy to read. Cathy Brett certainly knows how to make you want to keep reading more and more, dying to know what could possibly happen next and what will become of poor Scarlett, whose future, after the tragedy that was her grand plan, seems very gloomy indeed.
Scarlett’s blogspot was an incredible idea and so perfect for the current times. It also meant we heard Scarlett in her own words, really bringing her predicament to life and helping to connect with her. The fact that Scarlett’s blog really exists in the real world is just one of those amazing details that makes the difference between one book and the next, the whole idea of Scarlett Dedd is so real.
I also love the design of the book; the illustrations are brilliant and added to the story, even at times being referred to by Scarlett in her blog. Also, the way that the text is also used to illustrate the story is brilliant too. For example, when Scarlett vomits shed-loads and the writing takes on an arc to illustrate the direction of her stomach contents, or when Taz is getting pulled around the ice-skating rink, and the text takes on a figure of eight shape to demonstrate her movements. All these added visual details just added to the brilliance of this novel.
This is an exciting story with a good pace, some laughs, a few “eeewwww” moments and a wonderful presentation. Big thank you to Sam Eades at Headline Publishers for sending me this book, and congratulations to Cathy Brett, it is no wonder that this book has been so successful. I hear Ember Fury is also an excellent read and after reading Scarlett Dedd I have no doubts. I definitely want to read Ember Fury, albeit in the wrong publication order!