Retrato do autor

Helen Cross (1) (1967–)

Autor(a) de My Summer of Love

Para outros autores com o nome Helen Cross, ver a página de desambiguação.

3 Works 166 Membros 7 Críticas

Obras por Helen Cross

My Summer of Love (2001) 131 exemplares, 4 críticas
The Secrets She Keeps (2005) 21 exemplares, 1 crítica
Spilt Milk, Black Coffee (2009) 14 exemplares, 2 críticas


Conhecimento Comum



You could meet a crazy girl and truly believe her to be your saviour.

My Summer of Love is a bit of a bizarre read, a precursor to decadent novels of bored, awakening teenage girls like Dare Me and bares more than a few passing similarities to the real life crimes of Juliet Hulme (now crime novellist Anne Perry) and Pauline Parker. There's an almost surreal dissonance they exemplify: the obsessive, sexualized friendship between two girls, pushing the boundaries of every relationship, dispersing pseudo witticisms about men and sex in that under-experienced but over-aware teenage way, and the seemingly inevitable slide into violence and criminality.

Mona is a fifteen year old girl living above her father's pub with her stepbrother Porkchop in a small Yorkshire town. She's awkward, immature, ostensibly addicted to alcohol and fruit machine gambling, and vacillates between bold confidence and startling naivete. Though Mona is not particularly likeable, she's easy to fall into as even her internal monologue contains a strong Yorkshire dialect, allowing me to easily hear her voice in my head.

She meets Tamsin Fakenham a posh girl with a dead sister. She's beautiful, condescending, manipulative and controlling. Mona is instantly entranced by her and they become fast, if unsteady, friends. Together, they're explosive. In their absence, Tamsin's parents believe that she has gone to stay with an old aunt while she studies for her exam, but is instead living in a strange fantasy world with Mona where they are awake all night, starve themselves and have sex constantly. But their manic lifestyle is far from idyllic, their friendship unstable and volatile, each trying to gain the upper hand in an undending game of oneupmanship. Mona often comes up short.

Helen Cross's writing works wonderfully in developing atmosphere; you feel a sticky, cloying quality as you read, matching the heatwave that invades the setting. The entire novel takes place over a single month, so this works particularly well to generate the frenzied obsession the girls have with each other and their increasingly daring acts of criminality.

While Mona's chubby, sensitive stepbrother Porkchop is the only remotely likable character in the entire novel, it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. It may even have enhanced it as the near-mania that overcomes Mona and Tamsin will inevitably end badly and I was at the edge of my seat waiting for it. Ultimately, My Summer of Love is a taut, if sometimes confusing, coming of age story teetering on the knife edge of thriller.
… (mais)
xaverie | 3 outras críticas | Apr 3, 2023 |
This author has written one of my favourite books of all time, as well as one of my least favourite. So I was curious as to which this would most closely resemble. It ended up being somewhere in the middle - her ability to nail anything with sparkling prose is used here to good effect. She reaches heights other authors can only dream of. It’s worth reading just for that. On the other hand I found the storyline melodramatic and difficult to follow. Funnily enough, like narrator Mona I was also 15 in 1984 and growing up in Yorkshire. I can’t remember any of my peers engaging in the sort of repartee found here - and the ones who skipped school, smoked and drank, and were experienced enough to refer to “thumb-twiddlingly bad sex” would have been the least likely of all (though I unreservedly loved that phrase!). What did feel reasonably genuine was the tendency of Mona and her friend Tamsin to talk across each other, neither particularly interested in what the other was saying. As a depiction of the self-absorption of teenagers it was pretty realistic, but as a story it left me cold.… (mais)
jayne_charles | 3 outras críticas | Oct 13, 2019 |
I found this darkly funny, with enough slightly unpredictable and perhaps far-fetched happenings to keep it interesting but grounded. Its Northern setting and style kept it real. I like how it really downplayed the sexual side of the two main characters' relationship rather than basing the whole book around it. However, the ending - while it left enough unanswered questions to make you think - seemed a little rushed.
SadieBabie | 3 outras críticas | Jun 23, 2018 |
I dived into this with such high hopes. Another of the author's works is my fave read of the year so far. This one however started out with a bizarre set-up, and while I waited patiently for it to sort itself out, I had to admit one hundred or so pages in that it was unlikely to do so. Central to the story is 19 year-old sandwich maker John who is engaged as nanny for two young children - one a baby only a few weeks old. Presumably, I thought, he's got some kind of experience in childcare. But no, no, insists the book, he's a sandwich maker. And he hasn't got a clue either why he got the job offer.

It was as though this central issue was on one end of a bungee rope and I was on the other. Every time I tried to get into the story I was jerked back to this bit of improbable daftness, which by association made the rest of it daft too. John appears to fancy everything in a skirt, including his employer who has big tits and has in the past been some kind of model or actress or something like that, but can be (and is) mistaken for an old woman. So in my head she had Jordan's body and Helen Mirren's head, and frankly that was daft too.

One thing is undeniable: the author is a whizz with words. The text is lyrical and imaginative, and in places there are hints of profundity. But for me the scenario was too odd, the twists too guessable, and the moral of the story - always assuming I didn't miss a deeper one - too mundane.
… (mais)
jayne_charles | Oct 1, 2015 |


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