Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review of Suicide City by Julie Frayn

Lately, I have been getting a lot of reading done. In fact, if you have been paying attention to my blog, I have been getting a lot of stuff done. Exercise, writing, work.....and now reading.
I typically only bring you guys the stuff that I really think is great. I think it is a complete waste of time to use my blog to show you what sucks.

So, I'm going to do it again. I have a great book if you like a young adult love story, but one that deals with some very hard subjects and never flinches. I don't know if it is for a young adult or not. That is for you to decide.

That book is "Suicide City" by Julie Frayn .

Here is the synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old August Bailey yearns for more than pig slop and cow shit. She fantasizes about an apartment in the city, not a tiny house on an Iowa farm. She dreams of new clothes and falling in love with a worthy boy. Not hand-me-downs from the second hand store in Hubble Falls, population two-and-a-half, or having her jock boyfriend grope her and push her for sex. During another fight about makeup and boys, August’s controlling mother slaps her. And August hops the next bus out of town. She arrives in Charlesworth to discover that reality and fantasy don’t mix. After a night of gunfire and propositions from old, disgusting men, she is determined to find the ‘real city,’ the ‘real people’ of her dreams. To prove to her mother, and herself, that she is the adult she claims to be. When her money runs out, she is ‘saved’ by seventeen-year-old Reese, a kind boy with electric eyes and a gentleman’s heart. Reese lives on the streets. Though clean for months, he battles heroin addiction and the compulsion to cut himself. Each day is a struggle to make the right choice. August falls in love with Reese, and knows her love can save him. She breaks down his emotional walls and he tells her his secrets – of abuse and the truth about his mother’s death.  Suicide City is an edgy young adult novel. Told from the points of view of August, Reese, and August’s mother, the story takes an honest and sometimes explicit look at some hard realities including teen homelessness, drug use, child abuse and prostitution. But at its heart, it is the story of first love – and the consequences of every choice made.

First, I have to say that this book is one of the few indie books that I have read that is so well-put together that I predict that this writer is going to be famous. Remember, you heard it here. Julie Frayn is going to be famous.  I kid you not!

What I liked about this story:

Characters: August is a believable character and at times you find yourself getting or being extremely angry with her. I will not tell you why, but suffice to say that you can see why she makes some decisions, but still wish that she wouldn't. I found myself saying over and over, "Stop it!" Characters are what make a book for me and if I feel so much that I am yelling in my head, it is good characterization.
Reese is another character that I really loved in this book. I didn't think I would and was, literally, taken aback by his story. I was in tears in a part. I felt stupid, but I felt for this kid in a deep way. He is such a good guy and of all of the characters in this book, Ms. Frayn seemed to really see the heart of this guy.
All of the side characters in this book were good too, but the love interests in this book are the ones that truly stand out and that you are rooting for.

Setings: "Suicide City" is full of dense and deep settings. The It-Feels-Like-You-Are-There type of settings where you imagine you can smell the trash in the dumpster. There was not a set piece in this novel that did not feel real to me. That is a great feat, because I am terrible at setting and have seen a lot of writing that is terrible at it as well. Julie Frayn really puts her scenes together in a way that made me feel like I was there. Thanks Ms. Frayn.

Themes: The world is not like in the movies. Love cannot overcome. Love can overcome. There are consequences to love. So many themes. All deftly handles by Ms. Frayn. I like when a book gives me some stuff to think about, but that hasn't preached to me that entire time. This book handles many difficult issues without wavering or talking down to me for not ever being in this harrowing a situation.

Cover: Are you kidding me? 'nuff said. Great great great great cover!

Altogether, I felt a little emotional reading this book. It was a great read for me and I couldn't put it down. It took me a minute to get into it, but when I did, I couldn't stop reading it. It was like a freight train.

I recommend this for adults, and reservedly for young adults, that will not be offended or jaded by the contents. It does deal with some very adult situations and language. However, I believe it tells a very sobering tale many could benefit from reading about. It is a dark story, but with a solid moral compass.

I am totally giving this book five-stars! *****


  1. Jason, thank you so much! I appreciate your support and friendship. You rock! :D

    1. It was truly a great book! No lie, I work. You should be very proud. You are going to be famous!

  2. Yes, she is... :) Awesome review Jason!

    1. Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for stopping by. I have seen writing that is not as good make an indie writer a very decent living. With the right marketing and enough people reading this book, I kid you not, she could be very famous indeed. Most deservedly so. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Great review! I couldn't agree more! If Julie isn't a famous writer one day, well, then I'll just eat my hat.

    1. Hi Jen,

      I said that once too. She has taken a very difficult subject and made it into the most compelling novel I have read in a long time. She is very talented. She needs another book. Over time, properly marketed, she could definitely get some attention. Thanks for the compliments on the review. :)