Monday, May 2, 2011

Anonymity Jones, by James Roy

First published by Woolshed Press in 2010

Critically acclaimed author James Roy’s latest book for teens, Anonymity Jones, concerns sixteen year old Anonymity, a normal teenage girl except for the fact that her life seems to be falling apart around her. Her father - in-between secretary girlfriends - is having a breakdown, her mother’s new boyfriend has some suspicious tendencies, her girlfriends have all dumped her for boyfriends and she’s in love with her thirty-year old art teacher. And to top it all off her older sister, the only one she can talk to, has run away to spend the year in Europe.

Roy takes us through the full reign of teenage emotions, with a narrative tone that will appeal to the adolescent world Anonymity is herself a part of. There are both familiar and ‘what if’ moments to engage with, although I will say that Anonymity is not an entirely sympathetic character, nor does she have much spark. This may deter a teenage audience in search of a new heroine. Some of the situations she found herself in I sometimes felt like saying 'well, what did you expect!?' Then again, I suppose it rings very true to the teenage years, but I still felt like there was so much angst without anything to redeem it.

I came to Roy's writing late and found his style appealing. There is plenty, either in Anonymity's head or in the action, to drive the reader on. He does have some nice moments of well-written or clever prose as well.

Anonymity Jones is a good choice for those who want all the angst without the supernatural love affair. Also watch for the clever plot line with the character Sam. And I also just want to lay on some love for the publishers, Woolshed Press: I love the ideas behind this imprint (of Random House) and am rarely let down by the books they produce.

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