I had a splendid e-mail from a girl called Lauren yesterday. She’d just finished reading my teen book ‘Never Ever’ and wrote:
‘I wanted it to last longer. I love that book. I enjoyed it more than Twilight.’
What an accolade. My Erin and Liam better than Bella and Edward. Yes!
Actually, I love Never Ever, too. I haven’t thought about the story for a long time (I wrote it in 2000) but Lauren’s questions – she wanted to know what happened to the two protagonists at the end of my book – prompted me to get it down from my shelf and gaze at it in a fond way for a bit.
Never Ever was the first time I’d written a dual-narrative book, where the characters take it in turns to tell their story. Both Erin and Liam had a lot to say for themselves and both were real, warm and funny. Erin, the middle-class girl forced by family circumstances to readjust to life on a council estate and Liam, the boy who lives opposite and thinks he’s God’s gift to women. Some might call it chick-lit. Lauren called it better than Twilight. Either way, whenever I read the opening page to a class of Yr8 or 9s, the boys gag and the girls crack up on the floor laughing, after which they form a disorderly queue and hand over £5.99. I think you should too. It would be rude not to.