- Title: Your Friend Forever
- Author: Zena Barrie
- Publisher: Unbound on April 29, 2021
- Genre: YA Fiction
- Pages: 343
- Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
- Rating: 4/5
Trigger Warnings: Pedophilia, Attempted Suicide
Many thanks to Zena Barrie and Damppebbles Blog Tours for providing me with a digital copy of Your Friend Forever with a request for an honest review.
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Your Friend Forever Blurb
Preston, 1981. Maud, who is twelve and lives with her dysfunctional parents and her elder brother, spends a lot of her time in her bedroom writing letters to her favourite popstar, Tom Harding, the lead singer of a punk band called Horsefly.
No one really understands her or tries to – and she thinks Tom just might have some answers to her many, many questions…
Your Friend Forever was nothing like what I expected. I thought it would be a young girl obsessing over a famous musician. A comedy of sorts that includes a typical teenage girl. However, Zena Barrie tells a poignant tale about a girl in crisis finding solace in the unattainable.
This novel has an unusual format using only letters, interviews, and phone conversations. I found it fast and easy to read, even though it is a bit chonky at 343 pages. The ease of stopping and starting in short bursts helped the feeling of quickness.
Maud is like no teenage girl I have ever read. She is clever and curious about the world around her. Her life is total crap, but she powers through with a grace that most other kids would never be able to do. Her parents fight all the time until they split. After that, her mother wouldn’t have anything to do with her. But, Maud finds solace in her one-way relationship with Tom, a troubled punk rock star.
Later, we get to see Maud as an adult. Her life is still crap, but she gets on with that same grace she had as a kid. She is in a dead-end job she hates, her husband is a total waste of space, and she still doesn’t have a tumble dryer. But, she has her best friend and two wonderful kids that she adores.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I must say that the ending is spectacular. I almost wish there was a sequel because I want to follow the after story. With that said, I award Your Friend Forever 4 out of 5 stars. The story is uplifting. I recommend it to anyone who likes something a little different.
About the Author – Zena Barrie
Zena Barrie lives in Manchester and runs the Greater Manchester Fringe and the Camden Fringe. She ran the Kings Arms pub and Theatre in Salford for a while and also the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, as well as working in a wide variety of roles at the Edinburgh Fringe (from street performer to venue manager). In the 90s she did a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts specialising in playwriting. Up until recently she has been co-hosting the award winning spoken word night Verbose. She is also one half of performance art duo The Sweet Clowns. Your Friend Forever is her first novel.