Well, that was a ride! When it comes to this book you might love it, you might hate it, but you will certainly have an opinion on it… I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like ‘Sweetpea’ before.
Ever wanted to be inside the mind of a psychopath? No? Well maybe if you’re of a sensitive nature, or easily offended, this book won’t be for you – but if you are a fan of dark comedy drama such as Dexter, and you like your protagonists with a dark side (ok, she’s pretty much all dark in this case), but laugh out loud funny, then this book will likely hit your sweet spot.
An unique combination of inappropriate behaviour, downright psychopathic behaviour and some really unsettling mental and physical thrills, Sweetpea is a confusing read – based around Rhiannon, the sole survivor of a nursery killing who outwardly appears to be fine – she has a (cheating) fiance, a little dog that she worships & she collects Sylvanian Families…but she’s completely undone inside her head. She’s so normal, she could be anyone. The girl you sit next to in work, one of your group of ex high-school friends, your babysitter – you get the picture.
This book confused me because I really didn’t want to like her but I did, because she’s funny and she also has a ‘kill list’ (c’mon, we’ve all done it, no? No? Just me then…), which consists of people who wind her up in the queue at Lidl, to paedophiles. Yep, they’re on the same list and if Rhee gets her way, then they’re all going to hell in a handcart.
When it comes to what Rhiannon gets up to, there is an element of the unreal about it – I mean, without giving too much away, it’s unlikely she’d not get caught, but then we do sometimes wonder how people got away with murder after the event, don’t we? I was kind of rooting for her, despite thinking ‘Oh no, what’s she up to now…”
Right up until the last part of the book, (the Beyonce concert), I was with her, I felt like her actions were at least in some way reasoned, if not justified…then she did something that actually made me gasp out loud (seriously, I’m not kidding) and that was it, we were done, I couldn’t be her facilitator any more.
In summary, Sweetpea is crude, crazy, funny, utterly abhorrent, awful, and most importantly, an absolute joy to read. I miss Rhiannon now I’ve finished the book. CJ Skuse has made the jump from fantastic YA to a really adult themed book – and I cannot WAIT to see how opinions are divided when this hits the shelves. All the way through I was thinking what an amazing series/film this would make…
Thanks to Netgalley & Harper Collins/Harlequin for a review copy of this book.