Meg Rosoff – Friends Like These

Meg Rosoff – Friends Like These

Eighteen-year-old Beth arrives in Manhattan in June 1983 with high expectations. An investigative article for her school’s newspaper secured her a prestigious internship at a newspaper and promises to become the summer of her life. However, her welcome is rather unspectacular, the apartment she shares is shabby and she feels like an outsider. At her workplace, too, she soon feels like a stranger, her three fellow interns seem to be much more knowledgeable and move around like fish in the water. She immediately befriends Edie, an outgoing young woman of New York’s high society. Hard work, a completely new life – Beth is overwhelmed by her new life, too overwhelmed to notice that not all is what it seems and therefore, she has to learn the hard way, that New York is a shark’s pond.

Meg Rosoff has created another young adult novel that also attracts adult readers like me. “Friends Like These” tackles not only Beth’s coming-of-age but also friendship at workplaces, the precarious situation of interns and still after so many decades, women’s place when it comes to careers – it does not make much difference that the novel is set four decades in the past.

Beth is the typical bumpkin, she is inexperienced, insecure and does not know how to behave in these unknown surroundings with all the cool people. Edie quickly becomes her mentor and introduces her to the habits and lifestyles of the Big Apple. The difference between the two girls could hardly be greater, but soon, Beth comes to understand that not all is gold that glitters and that what she envies is not what it seems at first.

I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, funny as well as reflective it opens a whirling world that makes you question what you really want in life. A novel of first which can be exciting and hurting at the same time.

Martin Walker – To Kill a Troubadour

Martin Walker – To Kill a Troubadour

Summer could be enjoyable and light hearted but then, the cosy Périgord region is caught in Spain’s trouble with Catalonia’s independence movement. “Les Troubadours”, a local folk group, have published a song supporting autonomy for the region that shares their cultural heritage. The song goes viral and soon not only the Spanish government but also shady groups become aware of the poet and the band. When the police find a sniper’s bullet and a stolen car in the woods, the know that the situation is much more serious than they thought and that people are in real danger as the Troubadours are about to perform a large concert.

Martin Walker continues his series around the French countryside chief of police Bruno Courrèges. Even though also the 15th Dordogne mystery offers a lot to recognise from the former novels, “To Kill a Troubadour” is much more political and takes up a current real life topic. Apart from this, you’ll get exactly what you’d expect from the series: a lot of food to indulge in, history of the region and the French countryside where everybody seems to be friends with everybody.

One would expect the life of a countryside policeman to be rather unspectacular and slow, however, this could not be farer away from Bruno’s reality. Not only do big conflicts come to his cosy province, but also a case of domestic violence demands his full attention.

What I appreciated most, like in other instalments of the series before, was how the cultural heritage was integrated into the plot and teaches about the history you along the way in a perfectly dosed manner.

Full of suspense while offering the well-known French countryside charm, a wonderful read to look forward to summer holidays in France.