Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne
Tanya Byrne stormed onto the YA scene with her debut novel Heart-Shaped Bruise in mid-2012 and now she is back with her second book, Follow Me Down.
Adamma has moved home a fair few times by the age of sixteen, due to her father’s work as a Nigerian Diplomat. We meet her as she begrudgingly enters her latest home, Crofton boarding school in the rural British countryside. Rather a leap from her previous homes in New York and Nigeria, she finds herself lost and lonely until a mesmerising girl sweeps her up and makes her feel at home. Scarlett is a force to be reckoned with, all red lipstick, red dresses and the general talk of the town. Adamma also makes another friend as she struggles to negotiate the winding halls of her new school, Dominic. The charming bad boy that is the focus of many rumours, one being the expulsion from his previous school was due to getting a teacher pregnant. These two friendships change her life forever, at first she feels welcome and part of the family but soon it becomes clear that three’s a crowd, no one will walk away unhurt and one of them will pay the ultimate price.
Follow Me Down is an absolutely hypnotic read, the kind that will have you missing your train stop and forgetting to eat. Tanya Byrne addresses a number of provocative subjects for a young adult novel, including sex (but implied rather than anything detailed), drinking, sexual assault and murder. One of her fabulous talents as an author is to portray such adult themes, make them suitable and accessible to a younger audience but never making them seem simplified. Throughout the story, you are given enough detail to be immersed and enough room to let your imagination fill in the rest, which results in an even tenser read. The main character of Adamma is likable and made more intriguing by her unique past and Scarlett is a ‘love to hate and hate to love’ style character that really gets under your skin. Gripping, twisting and yet handled with great sensitivity, Follow Me Down is a must read for any YA fan and a perfect first choice if you want to delve into this genre for the first time.
Buy Follow Me Down by Tanya Bryne