School should be a safe place for Jess, but at the moment it’s everything she dreads. Jess’s life is difficult enough without Kez picking on her. Kez’s life isn’t any sweeter. She has plenty of problems too but she finds comfort in knowing she is better off than Jess – or so she thinks…
Publisher – Scholastic
Date Published – 5th February 2015
Pages – 288 pages
Format – Paperback
Category – UK YA
I was sent a review copy of this book by the wonderful author Keris Stainton as I was talking about it in my anti-bullying post and she offered to send me her copy when she had read it. I was also lucky enough to attend the Scholastic Blogger Book Feast last week and was given a finished copy which I got signed! This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review. Thank you all for sending / giving this to me to read!
** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**
This book had me smiling, shouting no! at the characters in the book and with my bottom lip trembling and eyes welling up very often I realised what a powerful, important thought provoking book Eve Ainsworth has written and I really encourage every one to read it!
7 Days tells the story of beautiful and popular, Kez who excels in art at school and really does not care who she hurts and finds an easy target to bully in overweight and awkward 14 year old Jess. Told from the alternate perspectives of Jess and Kez over the course of a week, 7 days, and with a Facebook conversation with Kez and her friends before each day I really got a sense of feelings from both sides and of what was to come each day often with heartbreaking outcomes.
The book opens with a heartfelt letter which immediately sets the tone and gives the sense of what’s to come and as soon as I read this I knew that this book was going to be special.
I loved the way how as each day goes by the characters start to unravel and reveal themselves to the reader but not necessarily to each other. Home life for Jess is hard, taking care of her little sister Hollie a lot after her Dad recently left her Mom and her Mom working nights Jess and her family seem to struggle juggling everything and whilst trying to support each other seem quite detached from each other. As the story progresses there is a touching scene between Jess and her Mom that really brought tears to my eyes and really made the relationship develop and open Jess’s Mom’s eyes in a sense to how much her daughters need her. It was lovely to see this develop over the course of the 7 days. On the flip side Jess sees Kez as having the perfect little house and the perfect little life, but as the story progresses we find that behind closed doors or beneath someone mask or shell things are not always as they appear.
One of my favourite characters was Lyn (find my character Q&A with Lyn here)! Boyfriend of Kez, Lyn has known Jess since they were 4 years old and I loved the memory Jess remembers of them playing in the paddling pool together when they were little. I have known my now husband since I was 4 years old so I really could relate to memories of being young and thinking back on times shared. This is maybe why I liked his character so much. I also loved Jess’s friend Phillip…I loved they way he stands up to for Jess against Kez and sticking up for his friend saying to Kez “at least I’m happy with who I am unlike you”. This sentence speaks a thousand words to me and sums up, in my opinion, Kez’s character completely.
This book was un-put-downable (is that a word?)! I read this book really quick due to the pacing and the way the book just flowed. I felt fully invested in the characters and cared for them, even Kez and I think that’s what made this book so special and Eve’s writing spectacular as Kez does some awful, un forgiving and horrific things to Jess and as a reader you hate her, but somehow as the story progresses Eve writes in such a way that you have pangs of caring for this character too which in your mind you know you don’t want to, which to me, to do this to me whilst reading, makes Eve’s writing very special indeed.
Eve Ainsworth gets the message over to the reader powerfully and raw without sugar coating anything. There are scenes between Jess and Kez that are just horrific for Jess often bringing tears to my eyes. There’s also scenes in Kez’s homelife that are heartbreaking to. There’s one particular scene with Jess in the girls changing rooms where Jess goes through her thought process on getting changed in front of all of the other girls. I could definitely relate to this from school. Whilst I can’t say I was ever bullied at school, even though people did test the waters, I was too much of a hardworking, guitar playing joker to really care what other people thought (except boys of course). I was always a big girl and yes people at school did comment on my weight a lot, but I was lucky that I used to brush it off easy, but PE was always horrific for me! I hated it! It was just humiliating! Especially getting changed afterwards so I could totally relate to Jess trying to cover up whilst getting changed or doing it as quick as possible so people did not see!
I found in the last third of this book that due to being so invested in the characters it was heartstopping and one particular scene I was reading as fast as I could, gripping the book so tight and thinking no this can’t be happening!
Everyone should read this book! If your being bullied, doing the bullying, a parent concerned for their child or just to get an understanding or sense of what people go through when being bullied then please read this book. I really hope schools invest the time to put this book into their libraries as I really feel that it could help. I also like to think that as much as it is raw that the ending will give people hope or change peoples lives. My 10 year old son has shown an interest in reading this book and I have handed it over to him with pride! Well done Eve! You should be proud of this book and all it stands for! Thank you for writing this book…thank you!
I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday books!
You can buy the brilliant 7 Days Here
You can find my Q&A with character Lyn here
You can check out a review of Eve’s second book, Crush, which features Lyn from 7 Days here
Eve also featured 7 Days on my post titled Does music influence UKYA – to read this click here
I also wrote quite a personal post for last years Anti Bullying Week which features 7 Days and some other books that helped my son deal with bullying. You can find it here.