Friday, March 17, 2023

Today's read... Lily Upshire is Winning by John Holmes

The cover on today's read had me dreaming of ocean-sides and peaceful moments...which I think is due to the cold nights we've been suddenly having again and more running around the usual. But it was the blurb which really caught my interest. I'm expecting this one to be a fun read with clever twists and some realistic moments, which show how ridiculous life truly is. Or maybe, it doesn't hold any of these things and will be completely different than what I expect.

Shall we head on in and find out?

by John Holmes
YA Satirical Fiction
376 pages

A young teenager without parents or siblings, Lily Upshire takes the world on her own terms. When she finds something wrong with her favorite drink, she just wants the big company that made it to say sorry to her. But the adults in her life have other ideas, seeing everything in terms of money. As the company makes ever more extravagant overtures to avoid apologizing to her, she remains unmoved. She’s more concerned with what makes her life miserable: the school bullies, most of her teachers, and the scammers and catfish online. To gain self-confidence she begins boxing lessons. When she realizes her name is more important to the world than she is, she hits upon an idea that changes everything. The once-solid walls of the behemoth corporation slowly begin to melt.

With elements of satire and surrealism, Lily Upshire Is Winning is a coming-of-age novel with a difference.




What a fun (and very British) zest of life, which weaves a coming-of-age in all the right ways.

Lily's life is filled with typical days, which include bullying, not the best grades, a wonderful best friend, active neighbors, an internet boyfriend, and a grandmother to adore. What it doesn't include is finding an odd pea-like thing in the smoothie. Everyone seems to know how to handle this best, which includes squirming in some extra cash. But all Lily wants is an apology, and that seems to be the hardest thing in the world to acquire. What happens, instead, is a small adventure she never saw coming.

Lily begins this tale at the age of twelve, and it ends around the beginning of her twenties. So, this is a coming-of-age on many levels. The author begins with a thorough run-down of how the first day (the day of finding the object in the smoothie) is an ordinary day in Lily's life...and while going through, ends up placing a solid background not only for the rest of the plot and Lily's character, but also gently hints that maybe everything isn't extremely typical, anyway. I enjoyed the repetitive phrase that the author used as each 'theme' was addressed...just a wonderful way to hit that message well.

Lily is a girl with spunk, although she isn't really....or, at least, doesn't trust herself in the beginning to let that freer side shine. This along with Lily's tendency to allow imagination to filter into reality leaves room for a full character arc, which makes Lily easy to root for from beginning to end. She's got just enough quirks to make her fun, and yet, is no problem to relate to. Her grandmother is the perfect person at Lily's side and offers wisdom and love.

Of course, this read head-butts some aspects of today's society. It does a lovely job at poking and prodding with a little sense of satirical humor against corporate attitude, greed, internet, neighbors and more. The messages are brought across clearly without feeling preached. This makes it a well-rounded read with quite a bit to enjoy, and enough depth to add for food for thought after the last page is read.

And here he is...

Honours Graduate in social sciences; former insurance claims adjuster; member of Crime Writers Association; distinction in freelance articles course with London School of Journalism. Author of 7 books: novels, non-fiction, short stories.

No comments: