Review Blog

Dec 03 2012

I made lattes for a love god by Wendy Harmer

cover image

Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2012. ISBN 9781742379913
(Age 14+) This is the second YA novel by Wendy Harmer and again follows the ups and downs in the life of teenager, Elly Pickering. So it is a sequel of sorts and continues the humorous tone of I Lost my Mobile at the Mall.
However, Harmer's first novel cleverly shone a spotlight on the use and abuse of social media by the teens in her novel. This added a unique touch to a story which was essentially about friendship woes and broken hearts. Although I Made Lattes for a Love God focuses on the cult of celebrity, this in itself is less original and the plot unfolds in a rather predictable pattern: Elly and her sister must learn some humiliating lessons about friendship and loyalty before the world is restored to normality. Furthermore, the drama queen lurking in Elly was well balanced in the earlier novel by her sharp intelligence. Unfortunately, in Harmer's new novel there is far too much drama queen. Indeed, how two such intelligent girls as Elly (English award winner) and her sister Tilly (Chemistry whizz) could be so lacking in smarts when it comes to Jake Blake, teen mega-star and mega-celeb, may push the bounds of credibility even as readers chuckle in bemusement.
Elly's parents are well-drawn, in fact this novel could well be an ode to mothers, for it is Mrs Pickering who is able to steady the ship both professionally and personally, thus saving some characters' careers and her own daughters' further embarrassment. And Grandma's words of wisdom again help Elly to resolve some of the conflicts in her life, especially when it comes to handling secrets.
Harmer handles dialogue well and knows how to write a funny line. So, for teen girls looking for a light read, this novel is sure to please, especially if it is their first taste of Wendy Harmer and Elly Pickering. However, lovers of I Lost my Mobile at the Mall may feel a little let down by this continuation of Elly's life as bright, savvy Elly can only be seen in the last few pages.
Deborah Marshall

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