11131963Reviewed by Krystal Larson

It’s amazing how your life can change in a moment. One person can make a massive difference in your life if you let them. James, the main character, has gone through life as the “good kid.” He has done everything right and is ready to make his way on his own as an adult. When he takes a road trip, he doesn’t expect what he finds. Sophie appears harmless, she says she just needs a ride, but is that all she really needs? Throughout the road trip, the reader will gain insight into James’ and Sophie’s characters as well as the key lessons in the book.

James was a decent character to read about. He didn’t stand out too much, but he didn’t fade into the background either. Overall, he seemed a little “benign.” It was cute to see how he grew to care for Sophie and clearly enjoyed her company. Sophie’s character was a little bit of a wild card. She doesn’t open up right away, but instead takes her time. She is running from her past, but towards her present. She brings out a new, wild side to James’ character that the reader is guaranteed to enjoy.

Black Painted Fingernails is told from multiple points of view including James’, Sophie’s, and James’ mom and dad. This facet of the novel should have made it much easier to connect to the characters and enjoy them; however, the constant commentary on feelings and actions was a little too much. The reader gets to know the characters to the point where she loses interest in knowing about them. I did like the characters, but sometimes I felt like they were getting on my nerves.

I loved the author’s style of writing when it came to description. He does a wonderful job laying out the setting of the novel; I could literally picture the setting in my head. The way he detailed the scenery was fantastic. I have never been to Australia, but I felt like I was visiting. The plot was a little predictable and I knew within the first few pages that this was meant to be James’ “coming of age” year. I did like how the characters seemed so interconnected; it’s weird when characters in a novel are distant with each other. All in all, I think this novel makes for a good beach or airplane read for young adult readers.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Krystal is a young college student who loves meeting new authors and finding great books! Her favorite place to read is the Botanic Gardens.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Allen & Unwin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.