Back in July I attended a blogger event at my local Waterstones arranged by the lovely people at TEENSgate. We were very kindly given a goody bag (as well as lots of free books!) and included in the bag was a proof copy of Editing Emma by Chloe Seager. I’d heard a lot of fab things about the book on Twitter from other book bloggers so I was really excited to have the chance to read it. And I was able to get it signed by Chloe at YALC too!
From the cover:
“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…”
Within the first few pages of Editing Emma, I was hooked. The format of the book differs quite a bit to those that I usually read; the book is made up of blog entries, or ‘edits’ as Emma calls them, which definitely aided the pace of the story and made for an interesting read.
Emma was a relatable character, (sometimes worryingly so, especially the party scene), whom you laughed along with but also couldn’t help laugh at occasionally and was the perfect protagonist for this kind of story. Emma’s friendship group was also another high point. Despite a few hiccups, the girls were really there for one another and reflected the relationships teenage girls truly have with one another. It was also lovely, and of course important, to see such a diverse group of friends.
While Emma did not always disclose the full truth, for the most part she was totally herself which I really respected, and there were definitely a lot of moments where she and the group discussed feminist topics and I was like “yes girls!” I particularly liked Emma’s internal monologue around shaving legs.
For example, Editing Emma dealt with issues that are often dubbed as “taboo”, as Emma and her friends had no issues talking openly about periods and sex. Chloe also included topics a great deal deeper than I anticipated but gladly welcomed, such as the struggles of coming out as gay in a family that are putting pressure on you to find a boyfriend. These are not always covered in your typical YA but is definitely necessary and I was really happy to see them.
Not only was Emma relatable, but with such a focus on social media and the internet, Editing Emma is definitely fitting for today’s environment. Chloe made care to show all the sides of using the internet, both positive and negative, like a little bit of Facebook stalking (guilty) and even using dating apps.
The story does focus heavily on boys and relationships, but for me this was totally realistic. I know that when I was 16 my friends and I definitely spoke about boys and “what do you think this text means?” and planning ways to casually ‘bump into’ one another. But aside from this, as mentioned earlier, Editing Emma is so much more. I really enjoyed that towards the end of the story, and after both encountering and causing several problems, Emma comes to realise what truly is important to her and embraces herself.
Editing Emma was an easy to read, fast paced and laugh-out-loud funny book, and is an ideal read for for teenagers who are likely to be going through similar situations to Emma and the girls. This is a superb debut novel from Chloe and I highly recommend that if you enjoy lovable teenager characters who are coming of age and can’t help but embarrass themselves on more than one occasion, and like to have a giggle while reading, you should pick Editing Emma up!
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