Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Did I Mention I Love You? - Estelle Maskame

‘And so last night I fell asleep with my mind split in two. One half was drowning in guilt, but the other was floating, recklessly in love with the idea of Tyler and the secrets that are hidden within the depth of his being. Because, somehow, I’ve managed to become one of them.’

I originally picked up Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame because a friend of mine was gushing online how much she loves these books. And since the whole trilogy happened to be around four pounds for the Kindle, well…

The coolest thing about these books is that the author is from Peterhead, Scotland, where I paid a visit last spring. It’s one of those sleepy fisher villages in Aberdeenshire. Has good fish and chips. The second coolest thing about the author – and the order of these two things is very negotiable, really – is that she wrote these books at like, sixteen. I mean, she’s 19 now and the books have sold millions and that’s just pretty amazing.

The story is about Eden, a 16-year old who goes to spend her summer vacation in Santa Monica, California (and let me tell you how much more I would have loved this if it were, say, Edinburgh, Scotland) with her father, who has been out of touch with her for years. She makes friends (none of whom I like, more on that later), meets her new family members (most of whom are filler) and her new stepbrother, Tyler. Tyler is a problematic, rude teenager with more issues than anything else. And naturally, Eden falls in love.

I have to admit that the book starts rather slow. It’s a lot of build-up and introduction and up until the halfway point, I was still waiting for the book to begin, having to make time to actually read it instead of being sucked into the world in any way. That’s why I’d like to give this a 3.5 rather than an actual 4, but I’m being nice and rounding up. Around the last third the story really did pick up and capture my interest, but is it really fair that I have to wait two thirds to be interested?

Eden as a main character is quite relatable. She’s a teenager with teenager problems and interests and all that. She’s annoying at times with those problems, but in the heart of the book, she’s a teenager. Her friends, Rachael, Tiffany and Meghan, plus some girl back at home, Amelia maybe? – are backstory-less, personalityless filler. They’re there so that we know that Eden has friends, that she’s popular and not all that pathetic. They don’t even match her personality, and yet I’m led to believe that Eden and Rachel are actually best friends now. What.

Adventures in Peterhead last spring!
The problem with Maskame’s age is clear – she’s very good at portraying the life of a sixteen-year old, but not necessarily capable of dealing with these things with all that much maturity. The book has a strong sense of high-school romance that’s supposedly going to last your entire life. I’m not saying that none of them do, but… I’m not sure if Eden and Tyler could be the kind of couple to overcome everything.

I’ll be reading the rest of the books, certainly. Not only because I went and bought them all or because it's Scottish, but also because I do want to know how the story continues from here. Hopefully the second book, Did I Mention I Need You? will waste far less time on introduction and something will actually happen in it. This book was a bit of a guilty pleasure read and certainly not an amazing peace of cult literature, but I kind of enjoyed it for what it was.

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