Despite loving Sarra Manning's other books (both YA and adult!), I've had Pretty Things by Sarra Manning unread on my shelves for absolutely ages. I'm not sure why, but possibly that far too colourful and cheerful looking cover?
Either way, I've read it now and I really enjoyed it. Sarra Manning really knows how to tell a story and pull me into it. Pretty Things is the story of four teenagers over the course of a summer as they're all taking part in a local drama production. There's Brie, pretty but dim, who is in love with her gay best friend, Charlie. Whereas Charlie is in love with man-whore (straight) Walker. And Walker is in love with Daisy who just so happens to be a lesbian. What follows is this fun summer of drama both onstage and off as these four characters are consumed with all these unrequited feelings for each other.
When I was a teenager, I always had crushes on the most unavailable of people. Teachers, boys with girlfriends, boys who lived on another continent that I'd never met before, film stars. So I could completely understand this concept of putting all this time and effort into fancying someone completely unsuitable.
And unsuitable or not, the feelings are very real, and I could really believe in each of these four characters falling in love with their respective crushes. It felt heart-breaking to me, experiencing these feelings along with Brie, Charlie, Walker and Daisy. I really loved each of these characters as well, especially as we see them from different perspectives and watch as each of the characters realises more about themselves and about the other three over the course of this summer. There's kissing and Shakespeare, there's rows and tears.
I loved that the backdrop of this novel is a drama production of The Taming of the Shrew and also that there's this great emphasis and importance placed on loving people, regardless of their sexual orientation and just loving a person for their own individual merits. I read this book straight through on a free afternoon and loved every minute of it. Recommended.