Sunday, 28 August 2016

Review - Caramel Hearts by E.R. Murray

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again - YA books are at the top of their game at the moment and if anything every YA book I read seems to be just as good if not better than the previous one I’ve read. This was definitely the case with Caramel Hearts by E.R. Murray which was an incredible little book. A true coming-of-age novel it was a book that I knew I had to read from the moment I first heard about it. All I can say is that it was everything I thought it would be and so much more. 

Caramel Hearts tells the story of Liv, a young teenager who does not have an easy life. Bullied at school, Liv currently lives at home under the watchful eye of her older sister who has returned from university to look after her younger sister whilst their mother who is an alcoholic is in rehab. Liv doesn’t have many pleasures in life until one day she finds an old recipe book of her mother’s which inspires and leaves her feeling determined to learn how to bake. But with money being so tight this turns out to be easier said than done. Can she make it happen and more to the point can she make it happen without getting into trouble? 

Caramel Hearts was undoubtedly one of the most emotive and heartbreaking novels that I have read to date. In Liv, E.R. Murray has created a character who you couldn’t help but feel for. Despite her temper and sometimes questionable actions I felt like I really understood why she was the way she was. For someone so young she really hadn’t had an easy life and I could really sense how frustrated and confused she felt - she hated her alcoholic mother at the same time as being desperate for her love and support. There were many times whilst reading this book that I admired her strength of character but also could see where she was going wrong and wanted to give her a push in the right direction. I also really liked reading about the relationship she had with her sister, Hatty, as despite their arguments it was clear to see how much they meant to eachother. 

E.R. Murray has done an astounding job with Caramel Hearts, having created a book that is really powerful and will definitely stay in my thoughts for a long time yet to come. She’s dealt with two very big and important issues - alcoholism and bullying - in a way that feels very raw and realistic. At times it wasn’t always easy reading but I think it’s very important for such issues to be discussed in YA fiction as a way of helping young people learn how to deal with their problems effectively and also feel comforted and see that they are not alone. 

Caramel Hearts was a book that captivated me from the start and that made for very compelling reading - I just wanted to know what was going to happen next for Liv. With some recipes thrown in along the way this is a book which has so many elements to it and I really recommend it to anyone looking for an unforgettable read that will really get them thinking. My only question is what will E.R. Murray write next? Whatever it is, I’ll certainly be reading it.