A powerful YA novel exploring the vulnerability of teenage girls and the world of social media!
I was kindly gifted an advanced copy of this from Ed PR in exchange for an honest review and to take part in the blog tour.
Kissing Emma by Shappi Khorsandi
From widely acclaimed comedian and author, Shappi Khorsandi, comes a modern fable about the rise and fall of a beautiful, but vulnerable, young woman in a world obsessed with money, status and looks.
Emma and her mother are down on their luck. They’re taking turns sleeping on the sofa in her nan’s tiny flat – and desperately trying to come up with an escape plan.
Emma is struggling with her family, struggling at school where the girls are bitchy towards her and the boys only seem to want one thing, and struggling with never having enough money for anything, ever.
Just as she’s contemplating quitting school to get a real job, she meets two men who convince her that she has a shot at modelling. But their motives are far from innocent, and Emma is soon pulled into a dark world. And then she meets Con, who is rich, handsome and so romantic! Has Emma’s luck finally changed?
Kissing Emma is inspired by the real life and untold story of Emma Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress. But Shappi Khorsandi’s modern Emma is going to get the happy ending her namesake never did – and stick two fingers up at the men who dare to take advantage of young women while she’s doing it.
Kissing Emma is one of the most powerful YA novels I’ve ever read which explores some very difficult subjects such as sexual assault and domestic abuse.
A story that all teenage girls and even women can learn something from, Shappi Khorsandi takes each difficult subject and handles it perfectly, showing just how easy it is for any girl to be taken advantage of.
My heart absolutely broke for Emma and even though there were many times where I just wanted to shake her to tell her that she was being taken advantage of, I could understand why she made the choices she did. This is a tale about a young vulnerable girl who just wants to be loved and have a better life but the way she thinks she has to achieve these things lead her into some very dark situations.
It was fascinating to learn that this was inspired by Emma Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress who I hadn’t heard of until reading this. I especially loved how the author modernised the story and incorporated the dangers surrounding the obsession with social media and the world of ‘influencers’. This was a big part to the story and what essentially starts Emma on this rocky path.
Overall this story is powerful, emotional and heartbreaking but ultimately it’s a story of courage, understanding, resilience and hope!
Kissing Emma by Shappi Khorsandi is out now, published by Hachette Children’s Group in paperback original, priced £7.99.