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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Young Fiction

Love ya Babe by Chris Higgins
ISBN 13: 9780340970751
Hodder children’s books (291 pages)

Fleur Homfray

For a male author Chris Higgins writes convincingly from a female perspective and seems to effortlessly put his mind into a woman’s psyche in the latest addition to his collection. Love ya Babe successfully manages to take an in-depth look at the life of a young teenager named Gabby, it follows the ups and downs ranging from her own love concerns to those of her parents as well as looking at serious issues including the current economic situation.

Life is never quite what it seems and sometimes certain events can shake it to the ground, Gabrielle discovers this when her previously stable life is knocked off its own foundations. With a pregnant aging mother, a boy determined to get between her and her best friend and attention from a male she has no interest in she’s pretty sure her life has hit rock bottom; then the baby is born. Now Gabby has to deal with a whole lot more and there’s no Angie to help her along, return to normality seems unlikely to ever happen but somehow other things are more important.

At the start of the text when we first meet our heroine she is a stereotypical teenager, but by half way through she is learning what it is to grow up and grow up fast. As well as her story the young reader is also invited into the world of adulthood with all its twists and turns, looking at issues that they themselves will not have to deal with for a considerable amount of time; if ever. This is giving the teenage market the credit for having a more mature mind than media often claims.

When Gabby first mentions her mother I would be shocked if most people do not associate Posy with their own mum, for this reason we tend to be over critical of the character, however in the end I found that I sympathised with her and it was a stark reminder exactly what it takes to run a household. I now remember the things that my mum said and realise she was not exaggerating. In this way Love ya Babe is a bump back down to reality in the form of fiction.

Felix is one of the most colourful characters in the book and I felt my heart go out to him on more than one occasion, permanently under threat of being sent away to boarding school and with constant pressure to ‘be a man’ somehow he has to retain his own identity and comprehend what is going on around him. His relationship with his father appears to be beyond repair and only Gabby seems to really understand him, even if that is a recent development. The other problem in his life is that not only does no one understand him they also don’t seem to want to listen to him; Felix’s only escape then lies with his love of art.

At first glance I have to admit that I never thought I’d enjoy this book, even the blurb did very little to sell it to, me but after it had done dealing with the usual problems associated with teenage life I found it an easy but pleasurable read. In a way it made me re-examine my own early adulthood and filled me with a sense of near nostalgia, if I had read it at the age of thirteen I think that it may have opened my eyes to the bigger picture and pulled me back down from my heady teenage emotions onto my feet. Over all it’s a good book, not great but definitely good, that suites its age target and will hopefully give everyone who picks it up something to think about.

© Fleur Homfray March 2009
qtpiekitten at

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