Friday, March 5, 2010
Finding Freia Lockhart - Aimee Said
Publisher: Walker Books
Date: February 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Freia Lockhart is struggling to fit in. Her best friend is trying to infiltrate the Bs (the Queen Bees of Westside Girls High) and her strict parents push studies over socialising. In an attempt to bond with the Bs, Freia auditions for the school musical, only to be banished backstage to control the lighting with Daniel, a loner and outcast from the local boys’ school. Freia is faced with the dilemma of choosing whether or not to force herself to fit in, or risk facing a friendship freeze-out.
Despite having read a lot of YA, this is one of the first books which I’ve been really able to relate to. There were parts that seemed to mirror my own high school experiences to any almost creepy extent (like dancing around my room to Kylie, not getting the hype of Pride and Prejudice and particularly Freia’s changing relationship with Kate and the Bs). Also, like Freia was able to escape and gain a sense of self-understanding and acceptance through working on stage crew, I felt like I had a similar experience with my media class and filmmaking projects.
Freia herself is a very likeable, very relatable protagonist with a great dry sense of humour – though from early on, I couldn’t help urging her to drop the Bs (who despite being uber-popular and “cool”, were of course completely boring and full-of themselves) and start hanging out with Siouxsie. I also enjoyed (and related to) Freia’s relationship with her parents. I could cringe at their fashion choices, get irritated with the seemingly over-interest in schoolwork and academic excellence, sympathise with their strictness and (now as an old lady of 22) be able to understand their concerns about Freia.
Aimee Said is able to capture many of the moments a lot of us go through as teenagers – feeling like an outsider amongst our peers, the desire to fit in, strict parents, catty girl comments and learning to take our own moments (like dancing wildy to The Ramones in the privacy of our bedroom, whilst kicking away all the anger and frustration of a crap day). She is also able to seamlessly weave in references to Pygmalion and Pride and Prejudice, subtly mirroring some of their themes. Aimee also sensitively tackles relevant teen concerns like cliques, female friendship, fitting in and self identity.
The clincher of the novel, for me, was the inclusion of the recipe for 'Freia's Best Ever Double-Fudge Chocolate Brownies'. Now I must admit, when it comes to baking brownies in the past, I've mostly stuck to a packet mix for convenience and because I found a pretty tasty one at my local supermarket. Not anymore! Aimee's brownie recipe is amazing! Pretty easy to follow and the result is awesome. Completely delicious and will definetely be keeping it for the future. (I cut mine into quite small squares as I love to eat them with a coffee, whilst my sister had larger ones and served them with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate topping).