Digital version – browse, print or download
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
Branded was written by a mother-and-son partnership, which may account for the perfectly observed dialogue from both parents and offspring in this often hilarious, fast-paced read. The storyline revolves around an attempt by the central (un-named) protagonist to acquire a girlfriend and so return to an equal footing with his best friend Ric. There are several entertaining set pieces - the summer barbeque, the family wedding, the school disco, the Female Icon talent contest, requiring boys to dress as famous women. These are executed with a fine grasp of the burlesque and a great deal of energy, providing both light entertainment and food for thought eg. gender stereotyping raises its head in the chapters devoted to the Female Icon competition. The denouement is too obvious, too early - a girlfriend has been patiently waiting in the wings until the frantic flailings of courtship are over, with no end result. Sandi, faithful friend since junior school, takes on a new role as girlfriend just in time to rescue the narrator and make a sequel necessary.