Sunday, 2 December 2012

All That Glitters by Ashley Quinn

The day Alexis Vlodosky moves into her new home in Coastal Breeze, Florida, is the day she meets Michelle Murphy. Michelle loses control of her battered skateboard and runs right into a pile of cardboard boxes. Eighth graders Alexis and Michelle become firm friends from that day onwards.

Alexis is the daughter of a Jewish father. They moved from New York City, New York to Florida to start afresh, after her lawyer father had business problems. Alexis has one younger brother, autistic Dougie.

Michelle is the only daughter of a single alcoholic, man eating, mother, Angela. The different men coming in and out of their home causes no end of trouble between mother and daughter. Angela professes to want the best for Michelle and pushes her way beyond her limits. It’s no wonder Michelle escapes to be with Alexis so much.

As Alexis and Michelle grow close, they begin to question the normality of their relationship. When the rumors start around school, Michelle disowns Alexis in favor of the ‘in’ crowd, breaking her heart in the process. Deep down Michelle knew she was in the wrong, but it didn’t stop her joining in with the rest of the bullies in making Alexis’s life a misery. Michelle lives for the day she can escape from Coastal Breeze.

Ten years later, Michelle has become a big name in the pop world. She’s on the verge of becoming a huge name. Michelle hasn’t returned to Coastal Breeze in quite sometime, then she gets a call, her mother has been injured in a car accident. She reluctantly returns.

Michelle is in a faux relationship with a closeted gay actor, Tyler. She is struggling with her own sexuality. It suits both of them to be together in name only. But both Michelle and Tyler are getting restless. They both want more out of life. How much longer will Michelle or Tyler allow the farce to go on?

When Michelle bumps into registrar Alexis Vlodosky at the hospital while visiting her mother, the memories that have been simmering away in both women for ten years surface and erupt. They spend one night together and realize they love each other more than ever. But what will Michelle do? She has to make a decision. If she listens to her agent, she will end up right back in the closet. Will Michelle break Alexis’s heart yet again?

This is Ashley Quinn’s debut book. I would never have known from her excellent writing. The lay out, editing, dialogue, scenic descriptions, are really well done. The main characters are multi layered, they interact well with the lesser characters and each plays hers or his part to perfection and is essential in progressing the story forward. I love these characters, it was so easy to feel they were personal friends and just lose myself amongst them.

The story covers a lot of ground. School, teenage years, bullying, first love, finding ones sexuality, coming out, everyday life, the pop world, drug abuse, forgiveness and lots of other things that make this book a veritable page turner from the first page right the way through to the last.

The story begins with Alexis and Michelle’s first meeting and goes between the past and the present throughout the rest of the book. It’s easy to keep up with the story though. Easy to see also, that all that glitters isn’t gold.

I am eagerly looking forward to reading more from Ashley Quinn. Her debut book says to me, that she has the ability to go far with her writing in the lesfic

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