Title: Margot & Me
Author: Juno Dawson
Publisher: Hot Key Books
UK Release Date: 26th January 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Historical, Family
Sometimes love has to cross all kinds of barriers . . .
Fliss is on the way to visit her grandmother in Wales – the grandmother who she doesn’t get on with – with her mother who is recuperating from chemotherapy. But her mum is getting better, that’s the main thing, so Fliss can concentrate on being grouchy and not looking forward to meeting her grandmother Margot, who is so cold and always so unforgiving of Fliss’s every mistake . . . But when the six months is up, Fliss consoles herself, she and her mum will go back to London and back to Real Life!
In the meantime Fliss needs to get used to her new school, not upset the scary girls, and just keep her head down (whilst still making sure that everybody knows she is from London, of course). Then Fliss discovers a diary at the back of her bookcase. It is from the 1940s and is set in World War II, and, Fliss realises, is actually Margot’s diary from when she was a young woman during the Blitz. Intrigued, Fliss begins to read. There she discovers a whole new side to Margot, a wartime romance and also Margot’s deepest, most buried secret. And it is then that Fliss discovers something terrible in her own life that she is going to have to come to terms with…
A brilliantly written love story from acclaimed teen writer Juno Dawson.
-> Thank you to Hot Key Books and Tina Mories for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
I am so happy to be reviewing this book on my blog today, as it was such a pleasure to read, and I’m excited to be able to share my thoughts. I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few of Juno Dawson’s other books, both non-fiction and fiction, but this one was definitely my favourite of all her books. It was engaging, and vivid, and somehow both heart-warming and heart-shattering at the same time, and I absolutely loved it.
The family dynamic was such an interesting one, and I loved how it developed throughout the story. I haven’t read many books with the family dynamic as such a central theme, and having read Margot & Me, it’s certainly something I hope to be seeing more of in books, especially if other authors write it as well as Juno Dawson. I also found that Fliss’s move from London to Wales was something that I found interesting, and it was lovely to see her grow as a person, taking in parts of the country lifestyle but also being herself at the same time.
The diary, as I mentioned above, was a force which ultimately was used to develop Fliss and Margot’s relationship. Not only was it lovely to see it have such a positive impact on their relationship, but it was also a completely captivating and engaging aspect of the book. I could understand exactly why Fliss was so eager to go back and keep reading, as I was so gripped by it too – the rest of the story was gripping too, so on the whole I could barely stop myself from putting the book down. Margot’s life was absolutely amazing, and I liked how at first she seemed like a different person to the girl in the diary, but as the story progressed, more of her came to the surface. It was also so nice that Margot had a very open attitude in the 1940s, with no homophobic or racist attitudes coming from her, and that Fliss mirrored this over 70 years late, as she was equally open-minded and accepting.
Finally, I think the ending of the book was one of the best parts for me. It wasn’t a sad ending, but it definitely wasn’t an entirely happy ending. There was so much emotion behind it, which is really saying something considering how much emotion there was across the book in general. I honestly wanted to cry at the end, as it was just so poignant. However, it was wrapped up really well too. Although things weren’t left perfect, the loose ends were tied up so I was satisfied at the end of the book.
Overall, Margot & Me was such a wonderful book. It discusses so many important topics, like family relationships, diversity, and many more that I’m not going to say because I don’t want to spoil anything. The only other thing that I will say is that I would completely wholeheartedly recommend this book!