Please see pic for Exhibit ‘A’ – Della Says: OMG! – a book that I would not normally pick up to read the blurb on the back cover, let alone buy and read cover-to-cover in one sitting. Why? We-ell, there’s shocking pink and fluorescent green on the front cover, for starters, the book title contains text speak (even though, yes, I use it myself. Guilty as charged) but mostly because it’s a book aimed at the teen market.
So, what changed my mind and encouraged me to buy it and read it? Well, following the author, Keris, on Twitter for one thing, enjoying her tweets and getting to know her a little bit through them, together with hearing good things from others, who had read the book and sometimes blogged about it. I think this is what is commonly known as “word of mouth” and they made me want to find out more about the story. Almost as soon as I’d done some of this, which included reading the blurb, I one-clicked it and, in next to no time, amazon.co.uk had delivered it to my door.
I read Della Says: OMG! in one sitting. I very quickly warmed to Della, the central character, and identified with her preoccupations. You see, it may be *cough* years since I was a teenager but I’ve been there and I remember what it was like and how important some things seemed back then. I also remember how closely I guarded the fact that I even kept a diary, let alone the extreme lengths I went to in order to safeguard it from prying eyes. All of which meant that, when Della’s diary disappears from her bedroom during a party, I immediately felt the panic and terror she feels and was whisked into the book right alongside her. So, while it may be marketed to teens, don’t let this put you off reading it, as it nearly did me. Anyone who either is or has ever been a teenager and/or kept a diary could read this and enjoy a great story, told at a cracking pace and with understanding, warmth and real humour.
Yes, there is some mild bad language in it, together with some discussion and description of sex, which Keris handles with great skill. But there is nothing in this book that I don’t think teenagers couldn’t or shouldn’t be exposed to. I think they’re probably confronted with far worse in their real lives and, if they’re going to read a book, then shouldn’t it be one that is inclusive, instead of one that ignores swearing and sex as if they don’t exist and aren’t concerns of the target readership?
I am very much looking forward to reading Keris’ next novel but, in the meantime, I’ve given Della Says: OMG! to my 14-year old niece, who is enjoying it just as much as I did, and I’ll be buying or recommending it as the present of choice for some upcoming birthdays.