I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Eliza Henry Jones’s adult novels In The Quiet and Ache particularly as she adds such a wonderful depth to her stories and characters. I am also a big fan of young adult novels and hence I was looking forward to how Jones would approach this genre of novels. I’m glad to say that she has proven that she is a very versatile writer who can adapt her writing style, while keeping the story interesting and the audience engaged.
Seventeen year old Gwen carries a lot of baggage. Most of the time it sits in the recesses of her mind and to help keep it there she runs – a lot. But following an incident at the cafe, where she works with her best friend Loretta, things slowly start to unravel. Along the way she learns that other people carry baggage too and that doesn’t mean that you are broken, just a bit more fragile and sensitive. We discover the complex secrets Gwen has been holding and how she needs to come to terms with them to enable her to move on.
There are lots of things to like about this book. I enjoyed the interesting relationships and unusual family dynamics. Gwen lives with her Dad and step mother, Biddy, and also her step brother, Tyrone and eight year old half step sister, Evie. I really loved the friendship portrayed between Gwen and her best friend Loretta. Loretta is always there for Gwen and has her back. Often young adult novels have elements of fractured, close friendships so this was a breath of fresh air. Also Gwen’s relationship with the local police sergeant was delightful. So wonderful to see such a positive relationship portrayed between a teenager and law enforcement. I’ll Iook forward to seeing what new genres Jones will tackle next.