Award- winning Jenny Downham launched her career with Before I Die. The story of a young girl facing death, it showed a bold author who could write sensitively about a subject that could easily be sensationalised. In Unbecoming she adopts a similarly direct approach to coping with dementia, the breakdown of marriage and discovering adolescent sexuality as faced collectively and individually by three generations of women in a family. When Katie’s grandmother, whom she has always been told is dead, turns out to be alive and coming to live with them, it begins the discovery of secrets that changes everything in her life. Katie’s grandmother Mary has dementia; she is gradually loosing memories from her past. And yet, looking after her while her mother works, Katie finds that the memories that Mary retains help her to unlock secrets from her mother’s past while also liberating her own feelings and enabling her to speak truthfully at last. An ambitious story that is told across a time span of fifty years, Unbecoming swoops in and out of the lives of the three women reflecting both their enormous differences and their inextricable bonds. Mary’s dementia and increasing confusion is painful but Jenny Downham is touching in her account of it; the effect of it on Katie is optimistic but not unconvincing.
“Unbecoming is an astonishing feat of storytelling, a life-affirming book about identity and desire and learning to honour your own stories. It’s searingly honest and completely unputdownable.” - David Fickling
One of our Books of the Year 2015
Katie's life is falling apart: her mum's controlling, her dad's run off, she's in love with someone whose identity she can't reveal and now her estranged grandmother's turned up on the doorstep and Katie's expected to take care of her. Soon Katie discovers she's not the only one in her family hiding the truth. If she's going to get her life back together, she's going to have to expose everyone's deepest secrets - including her own.
Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.
Praise for Before I Die and You Against Me:
"Destined to drive hundreds of thousands of readers to tears and to swift injunctions to all their friends to read it" - Observer
"Downham's prose is brave and bare, her characters relentlessly realistic" - Sunday Telegraph
“Tough but tender....Moving and heart-wrenching” - Independent
“A heart-stopping first novel” - New York Times
“An unflinching portrayal of love under pressure” - Publishers Weekly (Starred)
“Blows other novels out of the water” - Sugar
Publication date: 02/06/2016
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication date: 03/09/2015
Publisher: David Fickling Books
|Publication date:||2nd June 2016|
|Publisher:||David Fickling Books|
|Genres:||NewGen - YA Fiction, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites,|
|Categories:||General fiction (Children's / Teenage), Personal & social issues: divorce, separation, family break-up (Children's / Teenage),|
Jenny Downham was an actress for many years before concentrating on her writing full-time. She lives in London with her two sons. Her book Before I Die was critically acclaimed and was short listed for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award. Get to know Jenny more by watching her 30 second interview.More About Jenny Downham