Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Blackout by Joey Paul

About Joey Paul:

Joey Paul is a writer, exploring the young adult crime genre. She has released seven books in total so far, but plans to write more. She is currently working on her thirteenth and fourteenth books. Her current works include the series "Dying Thoughts" and she plans to continue that for at least seven books, maybe more. Her other works are usually books about the many trials and tribulations of being a teenager, sometimes with a crime twist.
Joey is disabled and a recent graduate from The Open University with a BA (Hons) in Health & Social Care. When not reading medical textbooks, she enjoys reading crime novels, medical dramas and chick-lit. When not reading, she relaxes by playing the ukulele. When she's out and about, she likes looking for Tupperware in the woods with GPS satellites, otherwise known as geocaching! And when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping! She's 33 and has been writing since she was retired from her job on medical grounds at the age of 19. She plans to write for as long as she has ideas or until someone tells her to stop!

About Blackout:

Blackout was written in 2005, chronologically the first of seven books listed for Joey Paul on Goodreads. I haven’t read any of her later works yet, but I can see that there is room for improvement in her writing from a decade ago. With another six novels behind her, it will be really interesting to see how her writing has developed.

The first thing I noticed about Paul’s writing is that she really gets into the head of her teen character. Her protagonist, Tally, sounds just like the fifteen year old she is meant to be. All the usual teen fixations are here - clothes, boys, school, who is “in” and who is “out”. Tally as a narrator is hugely gullible, distractible and dramatic. Hugely annoying - and so true to life. Paul did a great job of really telling it how it is.

The story unfolds slowly, and it was beginning to really drag for me. Nothing appeared to be happening - I was simply reading the teenage diary of a blissfully ignorant, self-absorbed rich girl. There was nothing remarkable about her, unless you count the fact that, unlike all teens I ever knew, she seemed happy with her life. Or maybe the way she couldn’t see how hypocritical her judgment of her so-called friends was. The only thing that was a stand-out about her was how annoying she was. Her indulgent life was dangerously close to perfection. Dangerous because I couldn’t see many readers, nomatter what age, who would be willing to read a book like this.

Anyway, something does happen. (Hurrah!) This was quite a relief. When you pick up this book, be prepared to wade through the first third - but be reassured that there is a reason for it, and persevere.

The story itself is a bit of a mystery. Tally finds that there is something going on at school - in fact, within her circle of friends - and she sets out to get to the bottom of it. Along the way she has to put together clues, and untangle the web of lies which her friends and enemies have woven for her. She has to work out who is real and who is fake, and Paul sets up a few nice twists to keep her reader guessing.

All in all, I think that she has a lot to say here about friendships, the desperation that girls feel about fitting in, and the obsession with being popular. It’s about not making snap judgments, not just taking people at face value, and about finding the worth in everyone, whether they are classed as popular or not.

In some ways these issues are oversimplified. There is an awful lot of telling here rather than showing. However, for her target audience, this may ring truer than it did for me, or in fact may be necessary.

There are some difficulties with tense and flow. At times the story reads as a diary and at others a retelling, and I found the switching tenses jarring. It is also full of certain types of colloquialisms which possibly are fine for the genre but which didn’t sit easy with me. “He was stood waiting”… “she was sat…”

If you want to get in touch with Joey Paul online, her website is

Her books are available in a variety of formats. You can find her on Smashwords here

No comments:

Post a Comment