Sunday 16 August 2015

Reviewed: Sunkissed by Jenny McLachlan

Sunkissed is book three in The Ladybirds series. It was published by Bloomsbury Childrens on August 13, 2015.

Thanks to the publisher for approving me for a copy of Sunkissed on Netgalley.

Sunkissed is book three in Jenny McLachlan’s The Ladybirds series which I have loved right from the beginning. They make perfect reading for all young teenagers but you know, I think they’re perfect reading for anyone looking for some warm and witty escapism. Flirty Dancing was Bea’s story, Love Bomb (my personal favourite) was Betty’s and now Sunkissed tells the story of Kat. Throughout the previous two books, I’ve probably had the most hit-and-miss feelings about Kat. In Flirty Dancing, I wasn’t sure about her character as I really wanted her to stick up for her friends more instead of letting them get picked on. But in Love Bomb, I found her to be a really sweet, funny character and so I was interested to see which Kat would turn up in Sunkissed.

What I loved about Sunkissed was how wonderfully Jenny McLachlan shows Kat’s growth as a character. She goes from whining and complaining about almost everything to being more active in embracing life and the quirks that come with it. The beginning of this book sees Kat, found by her family, hiding in her wardrobe with her sister’s ex-boyfriend (far more innocently than it sounds…). After skiving PE a few times and a bit of accidental shoplifting, Kat’s parents are not impressed with her and send her to go spend the summer holidays in Sweden with her aunt Frida. As much as Kat doesn’t want to go, she soon comes round to the idea that maybe a holiday in Stockholm isn’t too bad. Think of all the shopping… But then Frida tells her they’ll actually be staying in a cabin on the isolated island of Strala which means one shop, one cafĂ©, little electricity, few people and most importantly, NO reception. I don’t know who was more bothered about the lack of phone signal, me or Kat. I didn’t want to go the rest of this book without hearing from The Ladybirds, Bea, Betty and Pearl and I wondered how this story would play out, if I’d enjoy it as much without having Bea and Betty light up every page. But there was this little thing called Reception Rock which saved the day!

I loved Sunkissed. Truly, Jenny has written one of my favourite series ever. I really grew to like Kat here as she really changes as a character, but naturally, and realistically. On the island of Strala, she meets people unlike anyone she’s ever met before. She’s a bit unsure of the people who are trying to befriend her and she judges them at first, but then she gives it time and puts a bit of effort in and makes some pretty solid friendships. I loved the character of Nanna, who is quite different to your typical teenage girl but a fun character with a really positive personality which is uplifting and refreshing to read. At thirteen years old, she’s a couple of years younger than Kat but that makes her even better at showing Kat that life on Strala is to be enjoyed, not scoffed at. Another character I liked was Leo, who Kat spent a fair bit of time with. There was a really sweet friendship developed between Kat and Leo as they shared stories about their lives and I really enjoyed reading the moments they shared with each other.

What I’ve liked the most about this series is that although romance does feature in every story, each book is more about the girls growing in character, finding their place and having fun with life. I think it’s accurate to real life in that aspect because although your average teenage girl is taking an interest in boys, they also just want to find something that they enjoy and have a good time with their friends. I loved how The Ladybirds are each growing to not be afraid to show who they truly are. They’re individual characters, a little silly, a little cheeky and no longer afraid to show it. Sunkissed was total joy to read. I thought the writing of the setting was really vivid and interesting and it became the kind of place I’d like to visit myself. I also adored the ending, it was just so fitting and perfect and the kind that has you smiling hugely without even realising it. I’m even more excited to read Pearl’s story in the next book, having caught glimpses of her character in this book that dare I say I actually liked! Sunkissed was another great book in this brilliant series.

Summery, feel-good third installment in one of my favourite series

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