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First Day of My Life by Lisa Williamson - Review

Sunday, February 21, 2021


Where did I get it? I bought it a few weeks ago, after seeing Lisa in conversation with Holly Bourne as part of NYALitfest. I enjoyed Paper Avalanche by Lisa when I read it last year so I thought I would pick this up quite soon. 


What's it about? It's GCSE results day for Frankie and Jojo, who have been best friends since they were four years old. Frankie is waiting at home for Jojo, who never turns up. Frankie goes to pick up her results, wondering what's happened to her friend. She then heads to work, and discovers a baby called Olivia has been snatched from her mother's car. Then Frankie gets a weird phone call from Jojo, in which she hears a baby cry. She thinks things have been a little weird between her and Jojo for a while, ever since Jojo got into the Arts Academy to study drama, and Frankie didn't get a place. But coupled with the sound of a baby, Frankie becomes convinced that Jojo has snatched Olivia for some reason and taken off with her.

Frankie enlists the help of the only person she knows with a car - her ex boyfriend Ram. At first he thinks she's being totally loopy even suggestinfg Jojo could have done such a thing, but eventually he agrees to help and the two set off together to find Jojo. 

The second part of the book is from Jojo's point of view and the third is from Ram's. I enjoyed each of the main characters equally and thought each part was written really well from their perspective. I thought the twists and turns were brilliant and didn't see quite a few of them coming. I raced through this book because I was desperate to know what happened. I liked how parts of the ending weren't happy - that's life and people have to deal with things in their own ways. 


What age range is it for? Fourteen upwards 


Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No 


Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Ram is half Iranian and half white. His dad has died a couple of years before the book is set and I liked how this was dealt with. 


Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No 


Is there any sex stuff? Yes, it's not graphic 


Are drugs mentioned or used? No 


Is there any talk of death? Yes, but it's not graphic


Are there swear words? Not many

 

What criticisms do I have? As an adult I was just screaming out for each of the main characters to TALK TO AN ADULT, but I appreciate that this is because I am a grown up. And besides, it would have made quite a dull book. 


Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely. I think Lisa has a really accessible way of writing - things are difficult sometimes but she gets them across in really simple ways, but is never patronising 


Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I just had my interest piqued when I heard Lisa talk about it. Plus of course I love the Bright Eyes song it's named after!

 

What do I think of the cover? It's cute, it fits with Lisa's other books 

 

What other books is it like? I can't think of any specifically by other authors, but it is like Lisa's other books


How many stars? Four out of five 

 

Where is the book going now? I'll keep it - I hope that after Covid I can get it signed somewhere! 

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