My mum reviews books for Letterbox Library and reads a LOT of children’s and ‘middle grade’ books. It’s not often that she is seriously impressed by something, so when she said she had been sent something I absolutely had to read, I was pretty excited about it. When she revealed it to be Starring Kitty, I was even more excited because I’ve been wanting to read this ever since I first heard about it. So naturally, I smuggled it home and returned it the next day without her ever realising it was gone. Well, what are you supposed to do when borrowing books illegally? Ask?
Plot & characters
This was an absolutely gorgeous book. Although the main characters themselves are aged 14-15, it reads a lot younger which goes perfectly with the idea that children & teenagers will often read about characters a few years older than them. I’m seriously impressed with the way Stainton was able to make the characters read true for their age while still making them accessible to younger readers and not exclude older readers. Kudos!
My favourite kinds of plots (in general) cover a very short span of time. I find it very difficult to gauge accurately how much time has passed if there are lots of time jumps, and so I loved that this story happened over quite a short timeframe. I like that we land in Kitty’s head when she has pretty much come to terms with the fact that she likes girls, and that it’s not just a coming-out story.
I love the diversity of the characters, in age, race, religion, sexuality and health. They don’t feel artificial and it’s clear Stainton has done her research, because to me (admittedly, a white able-bodied woman), they rang true. Nothing felt forced or shoe-horned at all, which is a great feat, especially for middle-grade and young adult fiction where I think generally issues of diversity can read as afterthoughts.
Like I said before, I’m seriously impressed with the pitching of this book. It is written in a very straight-forward way, which I think will help to make it accessible to younger girls. It’s not that there are no frills, it’s that it’s written beautifully and trimmed right back to what needs to be said. I never felt like I was reading anything unnecessary to the story, and I could truly appreciate the experience and crafting brought to the story.
Overall, an absolutely fantastic, much-needed, and astoundingly written book. I’m buying a copy for my school library immediately and recommending it to any Year 7-9 girls that come in looking for a book!
If you liked… you’ll like this
Children’s/middle grade: Smart by Kim Slater; The Savage by David Almond
YA: Geek Girl by Holly Smale; Lia’s Guide To Winning The Lottery by Keren David
Parental illness (specifically MS)