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.