Review Blog

Oct 20 2017

No filter by Orlagh Collins

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408884515
(Age: Adolescent) Beautifully written, told in the first person by two adolescents who meet unexpectedly at the seaside in Ireland, this novel is delightfully entertaining. Collins directly addresses important issues for adolescents in the modern world. Emerald has come from England, having just finished her penultimate year at school, and Liam is similarly on holidays, having completed his schooling in Ireland. It is instant attraction for them both when they meet at the beach, and the summer is spent together as much as possible. Emerald has been sent to her grandmother's home in Ireland for the summer, her family having some undisclosed issues, and Liam is working while deciding what he will do in the future. Their powerful attraction is beautifully recounted, particularly as told in their first person narratives. The seaside setting is idyllic and described in its wildness and beauty.
In this vibrant, gripping, entertaining and delightfully told narrative, Collins addresses the issues of mental health, of class divisions and factionalism, of aging, of adolescence, of betrayal and loyalty, and of the abiding joy of deep friendship and the possibility of loving the right person. Beautifully told, this narrative reveals the goodness of two young people who grow to care deeply about each other, but also Collins ensures that we understand that they care and respect their families and their place in those families.
A strongly expressed reflection on the modern world, on family secrets and weaknesses, on healing, friendship and reconciliation, this is a powerfully moving novel of an emerging modern Ireland and its relationship with its neighbours. Highly suitable for adolescents, younger and older, and a beautifully written novel that would be enjoyed by adults who understand the conflict that has been so much a disturbing part of modern Ireland.
Elizabeth Bondar

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