Truly Wildly Deeply

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review

Annie is starting sixth form at a new college 20 miles away from home – and looking forward to it. She’s excited about catching the train on her own, making new friends and expressing her (deeply potent) sense of independence.

One thing independence certainly does not mean is being someone’s girlfriend – a firm-held belief that is to be challenged. Fab (also new to the college, from Poland) is kind, unconventional, flamboyant, unselfconscious and utterly unique. The pair become firm friends, but with an undeniable underlying chemistry. Can Annie retain her independence without losing – or worse still hurting – Fab?

This is a contemporary love story, but it’s also about friendships, peer pressure, family, lit-crit, cultural identity, vodka, pet rats and having the courage to make one’s own way. As a protagonist, Annie is forthright, mischievous, witty – and gently flawed. The reader quickly falls for both Annie and Fab, willing the "will-they-won’t-they" romance to unfold.

Annie has mild cerebral palsy, which means she sometimes uses a wheelchair. While this is by no means central to the plot, we do witness some of the occasional challenges and tiredness that Annie hides behind the self-confident exterior. She describes the ‘extra effort’ (think bright pink lipstick, bravado and meeting any stares with a smile) she employs to make absolutely sure that people quickly recognise that the way she walks and her wheelchair are amongst the least extraordinary things about her.

A highly readable, upbeat story with heart, introducing a cast of unusual and memorable characters.

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