An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

26 September 2018

I probably wasn't the best person to review this as I never read YA. I mainly stick to crime & thrillers so this was a big change. Kelly contacted me and said she was looking for disabled people to read and review her book so I agreed. I mean I should probably vary my reading habits and have a break from gory murders from time to time anyway. First of all, I love the cover and it definitely makes me want my pink hair back.

Silver is a 15-year-old homeschooled girl with a dysfunctional family. Her ex rock n roll parents are divorced and don't get on. When Silvers Mum, Nicola, has brain surgery to remove a tumour Silver has to go and live with her father, Renz. Her relationship with her dad is strained as he's an obnoxious, immature and hard partying man who doesn't take his parenting role seriously. He drinks too much, smokes weed around her and has various women over seemingly forgetting that he has a teenager staying with him.

Silvers world is basically her parents, Italian grandparents and her best friend/cousin. She helps out at her grandparents' bakery where she crushes on one of the local boys and dreams about going to a normal high school.

An Authentic Experience follows Silver coming to terms with her mums' recovery whilst going through all the things that teenagers go through. She then suffers her own trauma and doesn't really know who to turn to. She doesn't want to stress out her already stressed family but it's too much for a teenager to go through on their own.

I struggled to get into this book as it's just a bit slow going and full of teen angst. It's obviously very different to the books I normally read which took some getting used to. I also wasn't a massive fan of Silvers character but she definitely develops as the book goes on. It was really interesting seeing Silver grow as a person and seeing how different experiences and people shape you as a person. I thought Kelly also covered topics such as triggers and the emotions that happen after a traumatic event well. I do wonder though if we will ever have coming of age stories that don't involve young females being assaulted to help them to grow. 

I'm not entirely sure why Kelly was specifically looking for disability bloggers because apart from Nicola's brain surgery the only other hint at disability is a musician called Cripple Brace because she has Cerebral Palsey. I was hoping to finally have a protagonist with a disability whose main role in life wasn't to be cured. That being said. the scenes with Silvers mum were well written and showed how hard recovering from a major surgery can be and that it also affects those close to you.

So in summary YA isn't really for me, however, this book is written beautifully and is a great coming of age story which touches on dysfunctional family relationships, teenage love & friendships and trauma.

Side note for parents: There is some sex, one violent scene and a lot of swearing in this book.

What's your favourite genre to read?

Beth...x

*I was kindly sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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