‘The Golden Child’ by Wendy James

YA / Contemporary

4 out of 5 stars

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‘Blogger Lizzy’s life is buzzing, happy, normal. Two gorgeous children, a handsome husband, destiny under control. For her real-life alter-ego Beth, things are unravelling. Tensions are simmering with her husband, mother-in-law and even her own mother. Her teenage daughters, once the objects of her existence, have moved beyond her grasp and one of them has shown signs of, well, thoughtlessness …Then a classmate of one daughter is callously bullied and the finger of blame is pointed at Beth’s clever, beautiful child. Shattered, shamed and frightened, two families must negotiate worlds of cruelty they are totally ill-equipped for.’

The Golden Child tells the story of two families on the opposing ends of cyber bullying. Beth is the mother of two daughters – Lucy and Charlotte – who appear to be perfectly normal, caring children. However, when accusations of bullying are thrown Charlotte’s way Beth begins to question whether she truly knows her daughter at all. On the other end of those rumours are Sophie, a girl who at the start of the novel appears to be perfectly content with her lack of friends. However as the story progresses it is clear that she is being bullied, both online and in school. As the impact of her peer’s actions begins to throw Sophie’s life into disarray, Sophie and her mum – Andi – have to decide how to navigate this world of scathing remarks.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! At the start I did fear that it would have a similar plot to 13 reasons why – I have nothing against it, I just didn’t want a complete replication of the story and it’s themes. However, I was positively surprised when it did not, and I loved the twist at the end. It hit a personal level when they mentioned the social media platform ‘Askfm’ as I remember my who school being obsessed with this when we were younger, and it made me realise my naivety, in that while for me and my friends it was just a bit of fun, for others it may have been a source of daily torment. I really liked how it covered a vast array of important themes, which should be discussed in literature more, including cyber bullying, teen suicide / mental health, peer pressure, and parenting. If your looking for a book that focuses on current issues facing teenagers today, whilst also demonstrating the struggles of parenting, then this could be the book for you! Give it a whirl…

Have you read this book before? Let me know in the comments what you thought of it?

Amy XOXO  

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