|Note: A Month with April May is actually the first one…but to get the similar picture I’d have to show you the backs!|
I decided to review these books together because that’s how I think they’re best enjoyed – and besides, they look so gorgeous side-by-side! A Month with April-May introduces April-May February and her dad Fluffy, aka July, who live together in South Africa and want to stay together. But in order to do this, April-May must keep her mother happy by doing well at the school she has just joined as a bursary student.
The spanner in the works is Mrs Ho, a fearsomely prolific teacher determined to keep an eye on April-May, who just wants to be left alone to read Twilight, wear stripy socks, and hang out with her own Edward, trouble-making Sebastian. So April-May comes up with a plan or three to get rid of Mrs Ho, but she’s not easily removed, and she’s also got Fluffy’s finances and her mouth-breathing new friend Melly to worry about…
I generally prefer reading books aimed at older teens to those aimed at younger teens, which is why I think it took me a while to warm to A Month with April-May. Also, I think that, in comedy, the better we know the characters, the more we laugh at and with them. I liked the setup in the first book – there’s a diverse and interesting range of characters introduced, but by the time I’d gotten to know all of them properly the book was over! Both books are very short for modern YA, which is one of those things that appeals to some people and not to others – I would definitely have preferred them to be longer and for the story to be more fleshed-out, but other readers will love how quick they are to read.
April-May has a strong voice as a narrator – she is opinionated, nosy, greedy, and self-assured. It’s always refreshing to read about a young girl who knows that she is smarter than most of those around her. April-May February is no Frankie Landau-Banks, she is much too nice, even though she tries not to be, and her schemes don’t always work out the way she hopes, but she has a similar level of confidence and respect for her own values.
April-May’s family and friends are a gently quirky bunch of people who are alternately her allies and enemies, and I found that I wanted to know more about every single one.
I laughed a lot more at the second book, 100 Days of April-May, and would probably find a third even funnier. I hope there is a third, because it’s really great to see more YA books from outside the UK and the US being published here and I think April-May and her friends have many more schemes to attempt!