The Things We Promise reviewed by Vivian

Gemma is counting down the weeks until her year 11 formal – only 33 weeks to go! Gemma and her friends are determined to wear the perfect outfit, have the perfect hairstyle and perfect makeup. And why wouldn’t they with her brother Billy in their corner? Right now the girls are debating whether dresses should be knee length or full length.

Gemma’s brother Billy is an up and coming hair and makeup artist in New York but he has promised Gemma that he will return to do Gemma’s and her friends’ hair and makeup for the formal. But Billy has returned home sick. Rumours are rife and Gemma learns who her true friends are.

This book is set in the 1990’s, an era which I grew up in. I could relate to all the nuances of that time, from no mobile phones to wearing scrunchies. It accurately depicts events and music of that time including the fear of HIV/AIDS. Not much was known about HIV and AIDS so people were fearful of it and also of gay people.

I believe this book will provide young adults with an insight to what it was like living in the 1990’s without all the current technology. The themes in this book can be applied to the current day and the author has not let the era of AIDS be forgotten.

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