Posted in Book reviews, Han, HQ YA

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager #bookreview

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From Amazon: When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.
Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.
But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.
From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

Commentary
Gah! Just, Gah! As someone who has been using a mental health app called Lyf to anonymously vent about my own break-up sudo-ghosting situation, I loved every character of this book. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. Not telling my friends about the relationship, or the subsequent break up meant I didn’t have an outlet; I totally understand Emma’s approach and not since Gabrielle Zevlin’s Elsewhere have I had a book arrive in my life with such perfect timing to help sooth my broken heart and soul. I felt this book. From cover to cover; I laughed, I empathised and I cried.

Characters
Emma
She’s a likable character. It was like looking at a mirror. Yes, there was an element of self-centredness, but it’s Emma’s blog; that’s allowed. She is also quite insightful about her own behaviour and rather candid about her ‘selfishness’ which makes the flaws rather humbling.
If you want a strong female role model for teens; I present to you Emma Nash. Yes, she has questionable taste in men, but she is a good friend (when not boy-focused) and so very open about her sexual needs; even if at times it’s simply that she’s not sure what she wants. Her exploration of masturbation is refreshing and liberating. While, I won’t lie, I was squirming when it was first approached, however that’s because it’s not considered the ‘norm’ to discuss such things. I have my hang-ups about sex, masturbation and the discussion of such topic. Perhaps had such a book been around, I might not have the same mindset.

Others
There isn’t a stand out character for me. That’s not to say they lack individuality or they haven’t been developed. It’s simply that they are all so crucial to the flow of the book; not as devices, but as realistic pieces on a chess board.
Leon, Greg and Steph are up close and personal within the blog posts. Their personalities don’t pop and shine as they would had the novel been written in another way, but that is the point; we’re seeing them how Emma sees them. Instead, we get Emma’s feelings towards them. I love that. It feels much more intimate.

Plot
The plot is a catalogue of raw thoughts, feeling and actions from the protagonist. There is very little in the way of looking back on the relationship with Leon that Emma was craving to get back. It is always looking forward, through Emma’s attempts to date to her trying to gain some form of closer with Leon.
The plot makes clear use of time; from weekend parties to midweek lessons with friends and stalker victims nicknamed Apple.
It’s Emma’s commentary upon her mother’s dating life that I love the most. While there is more of a story there; obviously she is not going to divulge all the details to her daughter, I really like only having the pieces. The mother narrative draws on parallels in my own life and makes it feel very real.

Writing
I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried I wasn’t going to like the style of Editing Emma. I have never been fond of books imitating letters, emails and texts that sometimes break up the narrative.
I’m so glad I put that aside to allow myself to fall in love with Editing Emma. Yes, it’s a blog, but Chloe Seager has done an incredible job at balancing the structure and style to provided what comes across as a realistic blog without compromising the narrative flow.

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I have already purchased an additional copy and it’s currently finding its way to a dear friend of mine and I intend to have many copies ready for my students when September comes around.

Thank you Chloe for pushing boundaries to bring women closer together.

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