Author: Non Pratt
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
UK Release Date: 15th August 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT
Unboxed is about four teenagers who come together after several months apart. In previous years, they had put together a time capsule about their best summer with a friend who was dying. Now that their friend has passed, they reunite to open the box.
Where to begin with this book? I had been looking forward to read it for so long, ever since the release in August, and so I was overjoyed in December when I received it as a Christmas present! I absolutely devoured this book – after all my excitement to read it, I couldn’t wait to get started, finishing it in under two hours, a mere six hours after receiving it, and I could barely put it down.
I have seen a lot of talk about this book on Twitter, and one of the aspects that was most remarked upon was the characterisation. The book is only 140 pages long, as it’s a novella, and the amount of personality for the characters that Non Pratt managed to fit into the book was astounding. Within even just a few chapters, I had such a vivid sense of the characters and their personalities. They were such interesting characters as well – they had flaws and quirks and interesting points, and this made them feel so realistic. For me, this was definitely a highlight of the book.
The overall idea behind the book was such a lovely one, another aspect which I loved. As soon as I heard about the book, it stood out to me as unique and interesting, as I’ve never heard of anything similar. Time capsules and memory boxes are something I think every child considers making, but rarely come to fruition (that’s my experience, at least – I’d love to hear if things are different for you!) as they are either never gone ahead with, or are forgotten about. It was a pleasure to read about a successful memory box in the little gem of a book that is Unboxed, especially when it was used to explore wider themes of reconnecting with old friends and loss.
This leads me on to the final thing that really stood out to me: the level of emotion in this book. The entire story was full of strong feelings, whether it was nostalgia at the memories they were reflecting on, the thrill and adrenalin rush of having to retrieve the box, the frustration at other characters, the anger and the sadness at having lost a friend. It was an emotional journey from start to finish, and it was so well-written that I couldn’t help but have the feelings too.
Overall, I completely and absolutely adored this book. It was beautifully written, with amazing characters and so full of feeling – and it’s printed in a dyslexia friendly way, with the paper, font and spacing all designed to make it easier for dyslexic readers. I can’t think of anything about this book that I didn’t love, so I would definitely recommend it to others.