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Review of Desperate Measures by Laura Summers

by - March 28, 2014

Publisher: Piccadilly Books
Release Date:
Genres: Contemporary, Disabilities
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback

Vicky and Rhianna are twins but they couldn’t be more different. For their fourteenth birthday, Vicky wants a card from the hottest boy in school. Rhianna, brain-damaged at birth, wants a Furby. Instead they get a nasty shock – their foster parents can’t cope and it looks as if Vicky and Rhianna and their younger brother Jamie will have to be split up. How can they stay together? Desperate times call for desperate measures…

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The story is set in the UK and follows the three siblings as they choose to get themselves out of a difficult situation. Their mother has passed away and their father is in prison, so they were staying with a foster family. However, their foster mother has been rushed to hospital so they only thing the social services feel they can do is to split them up, which just isn't an option in their eyes. So, they run away, traveling hundreds of miles across the country.

The story starts with Rhiannon's (Rhe's) point of view. She speaks in a simple style, about whatever is preoccupying her mind the most at the time, usually her toys or her siblings. The point of view then switches the Vicky in the next chapter. Vicky speaks in an older voice, her mental age being older than her twin sister's. The font also changes accordingly. It goes back and forth that way throughout the book. It was easy to keep up with and the transition between voices each chapter was smooth, I never found myself confused about who was speaking because the voices were so different. They also have a younger brother, Jamie, who is mentioned often throughout the book. He clearly has a lot of anger issues due to his circumstances.

I really identified with Vicky. Having no parental figure around after they had run away, so she assumes responsibility for both Rhe and Jamie, a difficult task for any 14 year old. She often gets frustrated with Rhe, which I could understand as I also felt frustrated with Rhe. But Rhe, brain damaged at birth, just doesn't understand the urgency of the dangerous situations they find themselves in. One thing I loved was that throughout the story Rhe really found herself and started growing up and Vicky eventually realised that Rhe could look after herself.

The ending was cute, as you would expect a Middle Grade book to be. Honestly, if I hadn't have got the ending I was hoping for I would have sat and bawled my eyes out. I felt that Laura really captured the voice of both of these characters and I was really happy with the book as a whole.


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