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Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison is one of those books I’ve walked past time and time again and been intrigued by without ever quite getting around to reading it.  I rectified that this week, and I’m glad to say I really enjoyed it.

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This is definitely a book for teens. It features sex and drugs and a smattering of rock ‘n’ roll and would not be suitable for younger readers. For teens though, this is pretty perfect.

It tells the story of Sam and Hannah. Sam is a gauche, socially awkward boy whose parents are desperate for him to go to Cambridge. Sam is crippled by self doubt when it comes to relationships, not sure he’s done well enough to get into Cambridge and generally not looking forward to his summer.

Hannah is Stella’s best friend. Stella is gorgeous, wealthy and unhindered by her parents as they spend most of their lives abroad. Stella and Hannah are part of a gang of four girls who have been best friends throughout high school and whose friendship is now really coming under strain as they negotiate the end of A-levels and the start of the rest of their lives.

Sam and Hannah meet at one of Stella’s infamous parties and are mutually obsessed with each other. Through a series of misadventures they end up not getting it together and the book charts the progress of their not quite relationship over the summer holidays before A level results and university loom.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of Sam and Hannah in turn.

The writing is frank, pulls no punches about the kinds of things teenagers think about, worry about, enjoy and do. It is funny and also, at times, rather poignant and sad. You really come to know Sam and Hannah as people, and they are so well written you find yourself rooting for them.

I like the fact that this is more than a standard teen romance. The complexities of navigating such a changeable time in a person’s life are well dealt with, as are the politics of friendships when competition, hormones and anxieties get in the way.

Highly recommended. I hope there is another book to come.

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