Thursday, August 26, 2010

Family Sold Separately by Kate Long

Published: 2005
Pages: 326
Genre: YA fiction
Katherine is on the verge of turning eighteen and is living with her grandmother. Friendless, loveless and overweight, she does not have high hopes for her future. Will a chance to study at Oxford convince her grandmother to let her leave? Or, even better, when a mysterious boy shows up and claims to be her cousin, will Katherine finally learn more about her parents?

Ah, such British fun. Family Sold Separately is witty, sarcastic and smart. Despite the various laugh-out-loud moments and the absolutely wonderful main character, I kind of stopped caring plot-wise at around the half way mark. I don't know what caused this, now that I think back. Was it because I was getting lost in the slang? I couldn't tell you. But I can tell you this - Family Sold Separately has a loose (maybe even weak) plot, but the dialogue and authentic characters will make you fall in love.

I've read another book by Kate Long in the past, and one thing is certain: she seems to be consistent in creating real, tangible characters. They all have their faults, strengths, and problems that don't feel far-fetched in the least. It's refreshing to read about an overweight girl who's living with her grandmother, and is unsure about her future. At the age that she is, it's natural to questions your purpose in life. It's natural to be debating what university you want to go to. It's natural to want to leave your old, boring life behind. Nothing is masked in Family Sold Separately, and that's something that I appreciated. After all, real life isn't as easy as many books make it out to be.

The dialogue in this book was fantastic. There were sprinkles of sarcasm here and there, bits of comedy thrown in for good measure, and smart little comments that made me smile. Katherine's grandmother, Poll, is cruel and harsh. Seeing those two people collide was so, so entertaining! Then you have "Dogman", a semi-perverted man who is a friend of Poll's and is a regular visitor of the house. The comments that Katherine directs towards him under her breath are too funny! I would write some of them down for you to see, but they would be out of context and I'm afraid their full effects wouldn't be shown.

As I said before, the plot kind of slipped away at a certain point in the book. It became a backdrop to the lovable, funny characters that truly brought Family Sold Separately to life. I will admit - I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get more involved in the "meat" of the book, but I had so much fun along the way! Pure charm.


Melissa said...

Excellent review! I'm glad to hear the dialogue was so strong...sometimes that's the worst part! I will definitely need to read this one :)

Anonymous said...

Great review as always. This sounds like the book for me. If I really like the characters, the plot isn't all that important.

Nymeth said...

I could tell from your teaser alone that I'd enjoy this. It sounds so fun!

Darlyn said...

How about the overweight part? I kind of like the idea of it. Sounds like me =)

Juju at Tales of said...

Ahhh what a cute review :) I do have a problem with British slang sometimes.

Trillian said...

Great review. I love the sound of this book. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...


I love British books, so maybe I'll look into this. I don't mind a lack of plot so long as everything else makes up for it. It sounds like it does here, with the dialogue and characters. I'll have to give it a read!

Marce said...

Great review, i like the sound of the sarcasm in the book.

Alison said...

Great review. I liked the teaser you posted the other day of this book. I'll have to look into this one.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Thanks for the awesome review! I think maybe it wouldn't matter to me so much if the plot is thin as long as the characters and dialogue are awesome!

Letter4no1 said...

I'm just over from the hop. This sounds like a fun book even if the story gets lost in the background

Sarah @ Loving Books

Emidy (Une Parole) said...

Melissa - Thanks! I know, I've read so many books where this is the area that needs to improve.

Sharilyn - Thank you! I feel the same way.

Nymeth - I loved that quote! It was a fun book.

Darlyn - I hope you give this book a try, then!

Juju - Aw thank you! Yes, sometimes it's hard to follow.

Trillian - Thank you! Great, I hope you get the chance to read it.

Sarah - Oh you'd like this one for sure, then!

Marce - Thanks! Sarcasm is so great in books like this.

Alison - I loved that teaser, too! Hope you get to read it.

Carrie - Too true! The characters make this book.

Sarah - Thanks a lot for visiting!

Aths said...

It's great when some aspects of the book compensate for the not-so-great parts. I haven't heard of it, but I love books with witty characters and engaging dialogues.

NotNessie @ Today's Adventure said...

This sounds like something I'll enjoy. Good dialogue is my favorite.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Thanks for an honest review! I've never heard of this book, but it sounds fantastic and I love the cover!