Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford, published February 2016 by Walker Books.
Read: February 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: Gloria is tired of her ordinary life. She barely recognizes the free-spirited girl she used to be in the unadventurous teenager she has become. So when a mysterious boy bent on breaking the rules strolls into her classroom, Gloria is ready to fall under his spell. Uman is funny, confident and smart. He does whatever he likes and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him. The only people for him are the mad ones, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn. He is everything Gloria wishes to be. He can whisk her away from the life she loathes and show her a more daring, more exciting one, in which the only limits are the boundaries of her own boldness. But Uman in not all he seems and by the time she learns the truth about him, she is a long way from home and everyone wants to know, Where’s Gloria?
I was approached by the Publisher and offered a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Having never read any of Bedford’s previous work, I relied on the cover and blurb to give me an indication of what would be in store. I assumed this would be a YA suspense story or thriller, and while it does have suspenseful elements, I wasn’t prepared for the beauty of the writing, or for Bedford’s story-telling style, which at times was reminiscent of Gone Girl. This was a solid YA suspense novel, with a little contemporary romance, and a dash of writing that at times seemed John Green-esque.
Gloria’s story unfolds through her answering Police interview questions, which explains both the present day scenario and also drip-feeds the story in a way that keeps the reader hooked until the last page. Twenty Questions for Gloria is a coming of age tale, which discusses some difficult topics I’m sure most of us have pondered at some stage – ultimately, that growing up and being responsible sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A slightly depressing, but unfortunately realistic undertone.
This story wasn’t disappointing for being different than I first imagined, if anything it made it a more intriguing read. However, I believe it’s marketed as a thriller, which doesn’t quite fit how the story ultimately unfolds. At times, our characters could read as a little arrogant and pretentious – while this could make them feel unlike-able, it also resonates with occasional melodramatic teenage behaviour, and was part of the reason I felt a John Green vibe off this novel (because let’s be honest, John Green writes some seriously pretentious teenagers!).
Have you read Twenty Questions for Gloria, or are you interested in picking this one up? Let me know in the comments!