Anna could not bear the thought of going to university. Then she is offered a job at a theatre in Liverpool, so heads there instead. Her housemates are a mixed bunch of people, most of them studying at a media college.
This is the story of their lives and about Anna’s journey towards true adulthood via the events that take place during her first few months in Liverpool. We also have Anna’s alter ego as a vlogger with lots of followers, and eventually the two worlds collide with painful consequences.
This is a complex book full of relationships ranging from flatmates and siblings, to parents and lovers. It is a series of almost parallel narratives, which connect through the house that the young people share. None of the characters have straightforward lives. Anna, the central character, starts off as a young and naïve person surrounded by people vastly more worldly-wise than she is, and even she finds her safe world has shaky foundations when her job falls through and her parents’ business fails.
The book is about how young people go about finding themselves in a tough world. One of the significant lessons that Anna has to learn is that life on the web is not private; everything can be linked and even a slight hint can give unwanted outsiders some access to things you’d prefer to keep out of the limelight.
This is a book that grew on me the further I read. The language and sexual content make it suitable for post-16s and I would definitely suggest that librarians and teachers read the book before deciding where it would sit in their school. As a fable for our modern age, this is a book for people to read before they go off to university so that they will have a broader idea of issues that can (but hopefully won’t) take place.