Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

unbecoming coverGenre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 352
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Paperback Proof
Source: EDPR
Rating: 4 stars
Buy the Book: Waterstones, Amazon, The Book Depository

Three women – three secrets – one heart-stopping story.Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can’t reveal.Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her.Katie’s grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and ‘capable of anything’, despite suffering from Alzheimers.As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is ‘badness’ genetic?In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love.Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and this did not affect my opinion at all.

Jenny Downham is a very well known author who has been on my radar for a while now but I have yet to read any of her books. Therefore when this book arrived in the post, I was immediately excited to read it, despite knowing nothing about it. Jenny Downham’s writing is amazing. I completely understand why everyone loves her books because her writing is just superb. Her descriptions and her analogies were both perfect.

This book is extremely different to anything I had ever read before. I went into it completely blind, knowing nothing about it which made it even more fun to read. I haven’t read many multi generational stories in my time but this one is definitely one of my favourites. I loved reading about Katie, Caroline and Mary all together and seeing the differences in their lives and situations. I must admit that I mainly preferred to read about Mary just because I loved the setting and her situation. Having a range of different stories and themes in one novel doesn’t work and in most cases it doesn’t however the way that Jenny went about it made it work. Everything intertwined perfectly and worked amazingly well together.

Katie as a character was incredibly relatable. Most teenagers in contemporary books these days are rule breakers so I was so happy to find someone who had fire and passion but still followed all of the rules and did everything she was supposed to do. I found myself in Katie in so many ways and I feel like she was a great representation of a teenager that isn’t showing much in YA. I felt similarly about Caroline. It is hard to find a good protective mother in YA who actually had her own issues but was still a good mother so Caroline was a breath of fresh air. I absolutely loved Mary as a character. Mary was strong, feisty and fabulous. Her story was interesting, different and unique. It is not something that is explored often in YA so I loved reading about her life.

This book may have taken me ages to read and it may have not gripped me but I still really liked it. I think it is a great novel that is going to be incredibly big when it comes out in September. I suggest you all go and pre-order this book now because it is not one to miss.


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