When I read Tanya Byrne's Heart Shaped Bruise earlier this year, I was quite taken with the story, but even more so by the writing. And as in Heart-Shaped Bruise, the writing in Follow Me Down is really the stand out - because although the pace is rather slow, at times almost frustratingly so, again the writing was what hooked me in.
On the surface the synopsis seems pretty straight-forward - set in an English boarding school, two girls who are so very different on the surface become fast friends until a boy comes between them and things turn catty pretty quickly. All of the characters are complicated and the setting brings a level of intensity that would have been hard to produce if it wasn't in the fish-bowl of a boarding school where the girls are continually together.
Told in Before and After sections, it did feel like there was some parts of the story missing as it moved along, and although I'd hoped they would be resolved at the end, a few things were left slightly open which was a little disappointing, but certainly added to the mysterious plot-line.
I liked Adamma, but there were times that I didn't understand her actions. That doesn't make her a bad character, but it made it difficult for me to connect with her at times. I loved that Ms. Byrne threw in some cultural references too - Adamma's family plays a large part in her life and her relationship with them, in particular her father, is very close and felt realistic. Parenting in YA is so often absent or cringe-worthy that it was a nice change to have the families so closely involved with the story.
And although it is a mystery, I did guess about halfway through where the plot was going and who the baddie was, it was still a well-constructed mystery without any frustrating holes or discrepancies. Normally I'm happy with open-ended books but Follow Me Down wasn't completely satisfying - the climax was over too fast and there was not really any indication of what happens to the characters afterwards.
Follow Me Down is a strong novel, with a mixture of unique and slightly cliched characters, but once again I really enjoyed Tanya Byrne's style and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie