Review Blog

Jun 24 2012

Preloved by Shirley Marr

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2012. ISBN 9781742931903.
(Age 12+) Recommended. Amy always feels as if her glamorous friend Rebecca sidelines her. To add to her woes she has a Chinese mother who is always coming out with strange superstitions. She is obsessed with stuff from the 1980s, and helping her mother in their vintage store is not a great chore. When she comes across a silver locket with a photo of a boy dressed in authentic 80s clothes, her life is turned upside. Logan is the ghost of a boy from the Eighties and even though it is obvious that he was meant to haunt Rebecca, Amy becomes obsessed with this annoying and persistent ghost.
Preloved is a really interesting story with fabulous characters that were quite different to many found in young adult books. The loving but sometimes irritable, relationship between Amy and her Chinese mother, who is a firm believer in ghosts and has many stories about them, comes across as real and authentic. Rebecca is a strange girl and seems to be a poor choice for a best friend, and Logan's character and story are fascinating.
I loved the humour in this book. Amy's smart comments were a joy to read and kept me entertained throughout the book. Readers who like the 80's period, will love the references to The Princess Bride and the clothes and culture of the period. They will also enjoy the references to the contents of the vintage shop and the idea that preloved things can be loved again
It is difficult to categorise Preloved. It is not a standard ghost story or a standard adolescent novel. It is part a coming of age story, part romance and part an exploration of family and succeeds very well as an unusual and interesting read.
Pat Pledger

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