Thursday, 1 March 2018

Mine by Sally Partridge, Book Review

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Sally Partridge’s YA novel, Mine hits harder than Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. Reading Mine feels like you’re on a runaway train that is threatening to derail at any moment. By the end, you need to catch your breath and check for any injuries that you might have sustained. Yes, it’s that good. Mine is the story of two Capetonian teenagers, Kayla and Fin struggling to make sense of life and love. It’s a story that’s as tragic as it’s beautiful. The story’s gritty and doesn’t treat difficult issues like sex and alcohol with kid gloves. If you live in Cape Town and are familiar with the surrounding areas you’re sure to get even more of a kick out of this novel because the manner in which Sally Partridge writes about the city is like it’s also a character in the story. You’re also in for some great music and comic book references. Music and pop culture play a huge part in the life of most teenagers and Mine is told through that lens.

Kayla Murphy is 16 and totally cool but she doesn’t know it. She doesn’t believe in love because she has been hurt too many times. She has learned time and time again that guys are asshats and only want you for one thing. What she doesn’t realise is that although she might feel broken she is beautiful, with her blue hair, ripped jeans, Vans sneakers and Led Zeppelin t-shirts. She is also an amazing skater, knows more about comic books than most guys and she is a total classical music nerd, with the flute being her instrument of choice. Finlay September is enthralled with her from the first day he sees her zooming by on her skateboard and giving him the finger. He is 19 and has a host of his own issues. He is repeating matric and it looks like he is well on his way to failing again. His situation at home is quite bad, what with his dad who beats him when he is not neglecting him. He has his music going for him, though. He is the frontman of a popular band on the Cape Town circuit, Dark Father. When he gets on stage and spits his hard-hitting lyrics he transforms from Fin to Thor and he is a god. These two characters collide and a love affair like no other ensues. Their love affair is beautiful, intense and tragic because of meddling from outside, miscommunication and trust issues. Both these characters are emotionally intense and have deep-seated issues with loving and being loved.

Sally Partridge excels at portraying characters that you can relate to and whose emotional state mirrors that of many teenagers. Navigating love is difficult and Kayla and Fin deal with many obstacles as they try to stay together and be each other’s mine. Kayla’s character is the most complex and intriguing. She has to deal with bullying, slut-shaming and not knowing when to say no when guys are just using her for sex. Mine takes you on an emotionally intense ride but tells an important story of how difficult life and love is for teenagers these days. Some people might be put off by the swearing, alcohol, drugs and sex in a YA novel but the reality is that this is what teenagers are dealing with and shying away from those themes doesn’t help anyone. Kayla and Fin’s story is worth the bumpy ride.

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