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Sunday 22 September 2013

Sia by Josh Grayson

This YA novel was Josh Grayson’s debut, and it is with pleasure I can say it delivered on all fronts: it’s well written, compelling, well conceived and structured, and…joy of all joys, immaculately edited. Well done, Josh.

Seventeen-year-old Sia wakes up on a park bench with absolutely no idea how she got there, but worse still, with no idea who she is. After a week ‘on the streets’, she finds herself back in the bosom of her family, diagnosed with ‘fugue amnesia’. Whilst she waits for her memory to return, she discovers her family is extraordinarily wealthy and she was part of a group of girls who tormented those less well endowed with money or looks. She also had the best-looking boy in the school as a boyfriend. Her amnesia makes her a different person. A rather amiable, considerate, compassionate one: the complete antithesis of her ‘former’ self. She finds she likes this person, but fears once her memory returns she will be the arrogant, unfeeling, shallow Sia.

This is a voyage of self-discovery and along the way Sia finds that wealth and looks aren’t everything. 

The plot was simple and uncomplicated, but the message was meaningful: sometimes you are forced to look at your life and priorities, and adjustments are often for the better. I cared for Sia from the start: her fate was by no means predictable. The person she used to be was not a likeable one, but she was almost a victim of circumstance, pathetic even. The post-amnesia person is who you root for, and Grayson keeps the story sharp and focussed till the end. An extremely promising debut novel.

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