Publisher: Chicken House.
Paperback, 336 pages.
Release date: June 5th 2014.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find 'The One'. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love.
A laugh-out-loud tale of first times, friendship, and festivals, Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivision is the latest ‘keeper’ on my UKYA bookshelf. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this book from my fellow bloggers since its release in June – such good things, in fact, that I bumped Lobsters right to the top of my humungous summer reading pile. And I’m glad I did, because Lobsters does not disappoint. I read a lot of US-set contemporary fiction, and while I love those books dearly and have lots of favourites, I always find the many differences between US and UK contemps quite interesting: Most US contemporary fiction is quite tame in relation to its UK counterpart, and it can be sugar-coated at times too, quite sweet and thoughtful in its way. UKYA in my experience, and certainly in this book, is quite the opposite; I always find it refreshing that UKYA never fails to tell it like it is, right down to the often cringe-worthy nitty gritty. I can’t recall a US-set Contemp that made me laugh out loud (although many have made me swoon!), but that happens all the time with UKYA, and just as a warning, if you read Lobsters in public, you’ll laugh so much that people will definitely stare and wonder if you’ve completely lost the plot!
It’s the summer before Uni, and Hannah’s main goal in life is to ‘lose it.’ Her virginity, that is. It seems like all her friends are doing it, well, except for gorgeous Stella who is keeping her intact, not because she can’t lose it, but because she wants to hold onto it. That’s Stella all out, though, she always has to be different to everyone else. Not so Hannah, who is determined to get it over and done with –the sooner the better. Hannah meets Sam at Stella’s end-of-summer party, and the two immediately connect over a conversation about warm Ribena. Hannah believes she has found her ‘lobster’ a.k.a ‘The One’ in Sam while he feels the same – Sam’s never had all that much luck with girls, but talking to Hannah is easy; Sam feels like he’s known Hannah forever – he feels like he wants to get to know her a whole lot better.
It should all be plain sailing from here for Sam and Hannah, but the course of true love rarely runs smooth, and our two lovebirds face many, many obstacles over the course of the summer: Hannah doesn’t get Sam’s name and so he becomes known as ‘Toilet Boy’ amongst her friend, from here she loses track of him because she can’t find him on Facebook, there’s a problem with Hannah’s always-out-for-herself-friend Stella, a beautiful boy called Pax who Hannah meets in Kavos, and a girl named Miranda who calls herself Panda, because it rhymes and she likes Pandas. Okaaaay. Will Hannah and Sam ever get it on? Or are they destined to remain apart forever due to a serious of unfortunate events – and a rather large dose of jealousy coupled with way too much alcohol.
Well, I guess you’ll just have to read Lobsters to find out.
I want to give a special mention to the supporting characters in Lobsters. As far as I know, this is a standalone –at least I haven’t heard otherwise- but I really, really think that this could be the start of a great series. And the reason for that: the secondary characters. Now, I know that sometimes I harp on about secondary characters, but it’s my opinion that well-written secondary characters can really add a whole lot of depth to a story. That happens here. Not only do both Ellen and Ivison write pitch perfect teenage voices, but they’ve also developed some really great characters in this book who pretty much deserve their own stories. First up, Stella. Stella is Hannah’s beautiful, but very bitchy friend. I’m not saying I’m a fan of Stella’s at all, but does she intrigue me? Yes. I want to read more about her. Then, there’s Robin, Sam’s all-knowing, Harry-Potter obsessed BFF. This guy totally deserves a book all of his own. Too funny!
But I don’t know if that’s happening. I really think it should.
If you love Ali Cronin’s Girl Heart Boy series (the last book of which I haven’t been able to find anywhere!), Skins, or The Inbetweeners, then add Lobsters to your summer reading list. You won’t be disappointed!