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New Boy - review

There is a lot of fuss over reviews and exposure for books, mostly that adult books get a fair bit, children's don't and it puzzles me...

For one thing, Ian McEwan who is very good, but can afford to live his life, spend 2-3 years writing and then get sales and reviews for something worth reading, but not as original as he and they think... because there are others who have already done it and yet, no one knows... because we aren't using media to socialise enough, we are on social media, but we don't use it properly.

We are meant to live in this 24/7 thrilling environment of connectivity, apps and clicks to take us virtually anywhere... that itself is the biggest problem, it's not real!
Actually moving, eating, talking, seeing, breathing, smelling and tasting are real... you can synthesise speech, movement and seeing, but you cannot synthesise breathing, taste or smell because they are not compatible with unreality, they are deeply and totally only in reality.

They are functions and no matter how clever technology is, it's function is not organic as life is, so it just cannot ever replicate that.

The point is this, we need to stop babbling and appearing on social media and use it for a connectivity, it does happen, but less than most of you think. The power of the influencer, something many of us laugh at because we perceive it is false and for cynical gains for companies we don't like or use, is just that, a control of many for the gain of those who set it up and manipulate the situation.

Back to books, within every book is a unique power, it's far better than any big budget film, because we can be as big as any Hollywood budget for the cost of a little time, imagination and about £7, why waste all that other money on pretending.

Sometimes the beauty of the involvement of a book is far more up close and personal too, when it's directly about emotions and connections and life and love and meaning. Paula really understands a lot, she's already won several awards, including Sefton Super Reads with our area for her stunning, The truth about Celia Frost, she's up for the Lancashire Schools Book of the Year in July with New Boy and is touring soon... hint, order now, she will sign and we'll post for free! 

Paula has a real eye for detail about things and people, she is very tuned in, she does know a lot about the power of technology and the internet, but it's subtle and not geeky, she knows a lot about feelings and communication and people and who they are, why they do things and what happens with their lives in her writing, she really does create a real world we the reader see and believe in.

She also cleverly adds suspense and drama which again is real, not over the top, making superheroes out off normal folks, she allows them to evolve and become what they can within the written world and does it with honesty and finesse which is not easy to do.

We meet 4 friends about to start 6th form, it's firstly as real as anything we all know, it certainly is real in what I see when I see 15-18 year olds.
They are involved with each other in fashions, phones, music and things like that, we all were, it's just more gimmicky nowadays, more high end tech, not simple. Although the pieces about them just wanting air hockey and table football in the common room were really superb nods to simple real life connectivity. The teens are finding themselves, they are into college and into togetherness and it's fab. The dynamic of 3 girls and 1 boy works well, we soon detect that there maybe a hint of romance below the surface and that is handled beautifully and with real insight, as an adult, writing as and for a 16 year old is hard, anyone who has never really thought about that, do...

We then meet the New Boy, Jack... his whole persona is something special, he's a good looker, he wears designer clothes, he's generous,
caring and seems to be intelligent and kind. He offers help and gifts and creates a community around him, it draws everyone in 
and they' re soon influenced by him, including the principal of the college eventually! He seemingly can do no wrong, they ask for and get things, sometimes quite expensive things and it all seems like he's just the right person for the right reasons. But, is he?

We have lovely little touches about learning Polish, getting fit and finding a look and understanding. The understanding bit is on many levels, if you wnat to delve into it, you can, but simply put it's about empathy and making the right decisions. We soon have events, real crimes and situations that are real and we'd want to know how we'd act and deal with them, just like watching Zoe and Ethan and the others here.
Sonja and Jodie are the other two girls and they are a lovely little sideline that links the plot.

We get the usual, glimpses of life for the parents and the social things like parties and hanging out, we actually get a bit more about the unifying of study and achievement that is often not used in some books. The use of aspirations and the way we can be brought under a spell is really effective. 

Paula writes effortlessly with style and power to capture the reader, the aspects of friendship, technology, social comment, love and thinking are all used admirably well. The blend is the thing, we get action and intrigue, we are made aware there is a clever and untold subplot, you may guess, that's always part of the fun... I prefer to try and just go with the eyes and ears of the characters, eventually you get to see and understand as they do, the emotions are the thing, that is what great writing does, it brings emotions to the fore.  I loved the trip to Haworth, I think the Brontes said a lot and it's still relevant in dealing with the environment and love and understanding, the simple transposition of Cathy
and Heathcliff into the modern day juxtaposed with Baz Luhrmann reworking Romeo and Juliet was really a nice touch.

There is such a lot in this book, but discussing much would be a spoiler, that's actually a good thing, just saying it's superb and encouraging others to read it... 

Going back to the initial statement, what we need is to make Social Media more focused on achieving real connections, when we all do things it is nice to just show them off, Paula uses this in the book a lot... I personally think we don't share online enough, the lucky influencers seem to get their likes/shares, whether it gains them anything, I'm not always sure. For me, what I'd like is when we see a tweet or similar for an event, we try and RT and share and endorse it. For instance, when I do events, I try and create a platform for the media to see and share, it rarely gets there, but i try, I then puzzle why the folks who are actually involved in the same area mostly books, see but rarely ever share the events. It just puzzles me, as I do and try and endorse what I c an. You can easily check your own likes/RTs etc and see.

The main thing here is, to spend a little time thinking about actions and consequences, understanding how and why we do things, see what happens to these lovely young people and their families, feel their feelings and see and think about what really happens, whether it's real or created for us...