Monday, June 01, 2015

Book Review: Remix, by Non Pratt

I can't overstate how much I was looking forward to reading Remix. I really enjoyed Non Pratt's debut, Trouble, but it was about teenage pregnancy, so it was never going to make it to my best books of all time, just because it's not one of my favourite subjects. However, if I was to pick a favourite theme for fictional stories, the one theme to rule them all, it would be friendship. So I was thinking - if Non could make me enjoy a book about (ew) teenage pregnancy, she would be able to work wonders when writing about friendship.

I was not disappointed.

Ruby and Kaz love being best friends. They want to tell each other everything, to rely on each other and support each other. And they want to be exclusive. They're possessive, and jealous, and they worry that they'll do something wrong and the friendship will dissolve. Their relationship is wonderfully realistic - at the beginning of the novel their relationship is going strong, but they both have secrets that they are afraid to share with the other. Kaz doesn't want to confess that her ex-boyfriend is coming to Remix, the titular music festival, because she knows that Ruby will judge her for still being into him. Ruby, on the other hand, isn't expecting to see her ex all weekend. He cheated on her, so she hates him, or so everyone, including Kaz, believes. Ruby is too proud to admit to anyone that things aren't that simple.

Another issue simmering under the surface, as they pack (Kaz) or neglect to pack (Ruby) is that of their impending separation. Ruby has not done well in her exams and won't be joining Kaz in the next year of school. Both of them worry about how they and their friendship will survive this.

The music festival provides the perfect setting for all the anticipated drama to play out. Old friends cause trouble, new friends get in the way, secrets are shared and mistakes are made as they weave and out of stalls, sing around campfires, and see bands they love.

Music plays a really important role in Remix - Kaz and Ruby have differing tastes but are united by their love of one particular band, like many friends are. Kaz is a musician herself, while Ruby loves to listen or throw herself around a mosh pit. Reading Remix made me feel completely desperate to go to a festival again, or a gig - unfortunately I had to settle for finding some new bands to listen to on Spotify!

If you love contemporary YA, I think you will really enjoy Remix. I thought it was fantastic and I can't wait to see what Non Pratt writes about next!

Many thanks to Walker Books for sending me a proof copy of Remix.

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