You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? But I’m not.
Lobsters is about Sam and Hannah and the summer before they go to uni. It’s about longings and fears and misunderstandings and not knowing the right way to behave. It’s about everything that goes through your head when you’re seventeen or eighteen and not sure about anything.
I’m not going to tell you anything about the plot. To be honest, the plot isn’t the point (not that there are any flaws in the plot. Absolutely not. The plot is perfectly unflawed). The point is the interaction of the cast of characters. There’s exactly the right mix of poignant and side-splittingly funny. I know you think I’m exaggerating by now. You’re going, ‘Oh come on, Claire. It can’t be THAT good.’ I’ll tell you how funny Lobsters is. I read it while my father was in hospital. I sat in the relatives’ room of the ICU and had to stop reading because I kept laughing out loud which was hugely inappropriate in a room full of grieving relatives.
There aren’t an awful lot of novels around with more than one author. I’m assuming Lucy Ivison wrote Hannah’s parts and Tom Ellen wrote Sam’s. I’m curious to know how this worked for them from a technical point of view. I’m imagining it must have been fun. From a reader point of view, the two voices are very distinct and neither viewpoint dominates, as can be the case when you have a two-handed narration from one author.
Teeny quibble? There are a couple of bits of teenager-speak which didn’t ring true to me, in particular the way the authors used the word ‘pull’. Could it be I’m too old to get teen-speak? I don’t think so, because my daughters picked out exactly the same bits. However, then we had a chat to some other kids from a different part of Britain, and there were expressions they used that no one here would say. And then there’s the Buffy argument (invent your own vernacular). So I’ll let that one go.
In summary? Read it. It’ll make you laugh. A lot. Wherever you are.
Shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2015