Author: Chloe Seager
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Publication Date: August 10th 2017
Format: eARC (368 pages)
When sixteen-year-old Emma Nash is ‘ghosted’ by the love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any normal teenage girl would do…
Emma spends the summer lurking in her bedroom, avoiding all human contact (and the shower), surrounded by the collection of chewit wrappers she saved from packs Leon gave her, back when he actually acknowledged her existence…
But seeing Leon suddenly ‘In a relationship’ on Facebook with the perfect Anna, spurs Emma into action and she embarks on a mission to make positive changes to her life (or ‘edits,’ if you will) and vows to use the internet for more than obsessively stalking Leon’s activities! Instead, she will use it for good and noble causes like finding someone who will actually be nice to her, and recording her findings for the rest of the world to see (i.e. BFF Steph and her mum) on her new Editing Emma blog.
But Emma soon discovers her ‘habit’ is harder to break than she first thought – turns out she’s not the only one ‘editing’ herself online (thank you Tinder for finding her mum’s profile, age 35, really?) and that life through an Instagram filter isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. But it could be worse, she could have outed her best friend, accidentally chatted up a 12 year old boy and revealed to the world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s time or virginity… oh no wait, that’s exactly what happened…
My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Editing Emma is such a refreshing read. It is funny in all the right places, witty where it needs to be and honest. Before picking up the book I had heard whispers of comparison to Louise Rennison’s series and it took only a couple of pages for me to see why. It is filled with hilarious anecdotes that are so relatable I couldn’t help but cackle to myself.
Emma has been ghosted by her ‘boyfriend’ Leon and after taking what she deems as adequate time for self-pity, she takes to stalking him and his new girlfriend on social media. Then Emma embarks on a new journey, one where she will edit her own life to pursue her own new romance with unexpectedly funny and touching results. In true teenage fashion, Emma discovers a lot about herself in this book as well as about those around her. There’s plenty to make you both laugh and cringe in this hilarious set of blog posts.
It took only a few pages before I fell in love with Emma’s voice. She has such a refreshing voice and I’ve not read one quite like hers in a YA novel for some time. Written as a series of private (or not so private!) blog posts, we truly get to grips with exactly who Emma is right from the beginning of the book. I loved her edgy, sassy voice that, combined with some eye rolling moments and plenty of laughter, had me sucked in straight away. The main reason I loved Emma was that she was so relatable.
Whilst there is a big focus on romance in the book (Emma is, after all, trying to find herself a boyfriend) it doesn’t feel like it is pushed in your face. The anecdotal style writing makes for a light, quick read whilst actually Emma is making leaps and bounds in character development. I think a lot of teenage girls reading this book (basing this on the teens that I know) would really love the romantic aspects and reading about Emma’s dates – the good and not so good.
I loved how heavily weighted social media and the Internet were in the story. I thought the book did really well to show both the positive and negatives of using the internet. From approaching online personas and Internet safety, to online dating (even finding your Mum on there!) and a bit of good old Facebook stalking (which we are ALL guilty of…) there were definitely plenty of things to relate to for anyone of these modern times. As mentioned, the book is written as blog posts so the Internet was sure to have a big feature but I think one of my favourite moments was when Emma had her devices taken from her and she had to live without the Internet. She used the time to rediscover an old passion of hers and, whilst that may not happen for everyone, I thought it was a really nice way of showing that life isn’t all about the internet and sometimes we all need to take a break.
This book also delivered in many ways that I did not expect it to and I think that’s why I’ve given it a high rating. Not only is it a laugh out loud novel but it also covers so many topics that are often taboo in YA novels. Emma openly talks about masturbation in the book, both privately in her blog posts and openly with her friends, and it was nice to see this put out there in such a way that doesn’t make female masturbation embarrassing. There is talk of periods, the societal pressures put on women to act or look a certain way eg. to wear makeup or shave their legs – my feminist heart was bursting to the seams with joy at reading certain parts of this book. Level this out with really strong messages that (despite the romantic nature of the book) relationships aren’t the be all and end all and you don’t need to be with someone else to be happy and I was a very happy camper. There is diverse representation in the book as well and discussion between the main 4 girls (one of whom is a lesbian) about why being straight has to be considered the norm. Again, this book approaches topics I didn’t think I would find within the covers and I was very happy to see these topics being discussed so freely.
The four main characters are all flawed in their own ways. Emma certainly makes a lot of mistakes and it was nice to read a main character that is not deemed to be perfect. It also shows that friendships are not always perfect, even within our closest friendships we will all make mistakes and that’s okay. Editing Emma shows that even after some pretty horrific mistakes within a friendship things can be fixed if you work on it and I think that’s a great message to send out into the world. It was also good to see a rocky relationship between Emma and her mother being explored and there was a scene towards the end that really brought a tear to my eye.
This book truly reignited teenage Kelly within me and I can’t begin to imagine what it will do for the thousands of teenage girls out there who will read this. Teenage Kelly would have fallen head over heels for this book and I can’t wait to share it with some of my older pupils who will find so much of themselves in Emma.
Filled with plenty of laugh out loud, relatable moments and with a fresh new voice for the YA scene, Editing Emma is sure to capture many hearts.
Thank you to NetGalley, HQ and Chloe Seager for my advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Is Editing Emma on your TBR? Have you already read it?
What are your favourite laugh out loud YA books?