'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 22 October 2017

Review: Unrequited

Unrequited is the first novel of ward winning author, Emma Grey. From page one I was immersed into the world of seventeen-year-old protagonist, Kat Hartland. Unrequited is more than a romance story that makes you laugh and cry, it makes you think about your own relationships, passions and life changing opportunities.

Kat is thrust into fulfilling a sisterly duty that she loathes to her core, taking her twelve-year-old twin sisters to a boy band concert. Grey conjures a comprehensive image of what Kat will endure at the Unrequited concert; screaming girls, copious amounts of merchandise, corny lyrics and the smarmy band members, with their winks and smiles that make the fans melt. Kat is definitely not a fan girl.

However Kat does swoon for a guy that she meets on the way to the concert, McDreamy, the medical student. He might just be her knight in shinning armour, rescuing Kat and her sisters from a teenager sized disaster. Their encounter leaves her replaying the chance meeting over in her head, wishing that she could have another rendezvous with McDreamy.

Kat is not a fan of boy bands and the hysteria that accompanies them. During the concert she listens to Paloma Faith on her iPod, swaying to her own music ignoring Unrequited's performance. She notices that one of the band members, Angus Marsden, is staring at her. Angus is intrigued by the girl in seat L26 and tries to meet her after the concert. Failing to find her, Angus turns to social media to try to connect with her.

Oblivious to Angus and Joel 'McDreamy' Isaacson's  interest in her, Kat is busy continuing with her high school life. The ever industrious House Captain, is studying for her HSC and rehearsing for her chorus role with the university drama club. Kat is different to others girls, she likes to wear vintage clothes, does not wear make-up and in Joel's words 'It's like she's the most "real" person I've ever met.' On the other hand Kat is a typical teenager; her mother doesn't understand her, she is thinking about changing her uni course selections and at times boys distract her concentration at school.

Throughout the book Grey kept me guessing which guy Kat would end up with, if any. At times I found myself barracking for both Angus and Joel. I wondered who would be the best fit for Kat, the medical student or the musician?

The story Unrequited explores themes of  secrets, unrequited love, trust, betrayal, dreams, self doubt, choices, fear of loss and seizing opportunities when they present themselves. Luckily the characters have friendships both old and new to support them when the their world appears to crumble. Grey also touches smaller themes of consumerism and fame.

Grey has created a story that is relatable to teenagers through the realism of the character's problems to the appropriate use of pop culture and social media thorough out the story. She highlights the issues that occur with using social media, especially the instantaneous transmission and potential misinterpretation or manipulation of images and events.

A musical based on the book Unrequited has already been produced, with Grey's collaboration with dual ARIA-winning composer, Sally Whitwell.

Title: Unrequited
Author: Emma Grey
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia), $19.99
Publication Date: 18 September 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781460755044
For ages: 12+
Type: Middle Fiction