Title: What’s Up With Jody Barton?
Author: Hayley Long
Published: 31 May 2012 by Macmillan
Length: 249 pages
Warnings: light violence, romance 13+
Other info: Hayley Long has been shortlisted for the Queen of Teen! She has also written the Lottie Biggs series.
Summary : Me and my sister are twins. She's Jolene and I'm Jody. We've both got brown hair, we're both left-handed and we both have these weirdly long little toes which make us look like long-toed mutants. But apart from that, I'd say we're fairly different. Well, actually, we're a lot different . . . It's hard enough being one half of the world's least identical twins, without both of you falling for the same guy. Jolene's turned flirting into a fine art, but Jody? Not so much. And as if a twinny love triangle wasn't messy enough . . . there's something nobody knows about Jody Barton. Something BIG.
Review: Jody and Jolene are twins who are quite different, as people are. They're also a bit similar. Looking the same. Falling in love with the same person. Except Jody is a bit different. In a way Jolene doesn't know. What's Up With Jody Barton is the story of what happens when the secret gets out.
I feel really bad about writing this review. The big reveal thing is about halfway through the novel, which often happens. But in What's Up, the big reveal is something so big that I feel really bad about saying it and ruining it for you. I'll try to keep this review spoiler free. But if you look at the tags (or if you got here by the tag), or if you have basic knowledge of name variations, then you'll probably guess. Anyway.
The book starts off with a sketch, which forms part of the story. There's lots of these spontaneous illustrations, which adds to the feeling of this being a diary. Also, this book uses a lot of different font sizes to emphasise various things, which is a technique that sometimes work, and sometimes doesn’t. Luckily, in this, it did.
Pacing is ok. The first half is set up, with Jody and Jolene both falling suddenly for Liam. Which actually works for Jolene, as they start going out. Jody is left on the sidelines. But after being left without Jolene with him, and finding out they have similar tastes in music, and they end up alone. In Jody's bedroom. And they kiss. Or try to. This is about halfway through, where the events go downhill and many other things happen.
It's really a bit jilting when you realise you are about halfway through a novel and you don't know something major about your main character (even if it's a trend that seems to be cropping up a bit more). It's great writing on Hayley's part to be able to keep this up for a hundred pages.
It's good characterisation for all the characters. You get a really good look at Jody's feelings, and a good idea of all the supporting characters.
I'm glad that the Barton kids don't end up with Liam. By the end, he shows his true colours as being an absolute a******e, and they're both better off without him. The issues raised in this were handled well,and realistically with many different attitudes to it being shown.
It's written in a young, style of a teenager in love, which is really nice to read. The voice is kept up throughout and it's easy to connect with.
Overall: Strength 4 tea a funny coming of age story that's a good look at what it is to be a [spoiler] teenager today.