When I read the blurb on the back of the book, The Truth About Celia Frost didn't sound particularly original and I think that's why it's been kicking around on my "to be reviewed" pile for a while. I was therefore pleasantly surprised by the gripping, thought-provoking tale within.
The central character, teenager Celia Frost, has always known that she has a rare blood clotting disorder that means that the slightest cut could make her bleed to death. Unsurprisingly, her mum is extremely over-protective of her, wanting to minimise the risks, so Celia is barely allowed out of their flat, has no friends and no life to speak of outside of those four walls. When Celia is attacked by a knife-wielding bully at school and is carted off to hospital, instead of seeing her life slip away as she expected, she instead sees everything she's ever trusted and believed in blown away as she learns that her blood clots perfectly normally and her mum has been lying to her all these years.
Celia struggles to come to terms with her new life and liberty, as well as work out why her mum has been lying to her all this time. But while Celia's tale tugs at your heartstrings, we also come to understand the motives behind her mother's lies. I actually found myself wondering if the book was targetting teens, who would relate to Celia, or parents, who would identify with the mother's dilemma. It's a book that cleverly works on both levels.
As well as being an exciting thriller, the book also really makes you question what is morally right and wrong. Celia's mother has spent her whole life lying to her daughter but for all the right reasons, but the book also goes much further, with a thought-provoking look at medical research and how far you can actually go with the concept of the end justifying the means.
This is Paula Rawsthorne's debut novel but she made a name for herself winning the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices 2010 competition. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future books because I get a sneaky feeling they'll be as unputdownable as The Truth About Celia Frost.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
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