15-year-old Jenna has been thrown out of her ‘good school’ for some unexplained bad behaviour and is taken by her angry mother to spend a miserable summer with Aunt Sarah in her small cottage in the back of beyond. Her poetry writing aunt lives in chaos, runs a second hand bookshop and is into ‘alternative’ festivals.
Whilst there, Jenna works in her aunt’s shop, makes friends with the local eccentrics, joins the local youth club complete with vicar and orange squash and starts singing with an ‘anti-folk music’ band. Most importantly she pairs up with gorgeous Gabriel. So far, so conventional, but then Jenna learns that her soul mate is HIV positive and although he loves her deeply, he has other priorities in his life.
This wasn’t a story whose characters lived very long in my mind, but the story picks up pace towards the end and has some interesting ideas about how easy it is to pick friends because they are powerful rather than good for you. Teenage readers feeling misunderstood or hoping to find their soul mate, will be happy to wallow in Soul Love for an afternoon or two.