A first crush. An unexpected friendship. A dream come true. Dear Dylan! Thanks so much for your email and I'm sorry about my last one when I said I love you. I hope you don't think I'm a weirdo mentalist?!!! It's just that I was watching Oprah yesterday and she said we should all say we love each other a whole lot more. Not to everyone of course. There's no way I'd tell my scummy step-dad that I love him because that would be lying. But the thing is, sometimes when I watch you on TV, I feel as if you're talking just to me and it makes me feel less alone. I know you probably get loads and loads of fan mail but I wanted to ask you - could we be e-mates? Yours hopefully, Georgie xxx
'Dear Dylan' was a surprising and delightfully heartwarming read with a wonderful central character who by the end of the book felt like an old friend.
The format of the story is a series of emails over a period of three months between Georgie and her e-mate. Into her emails, Georgie pours all her thoughts, feelings and emotions about her life and is able to express all the things that she'd never be able to say in read life. Her emails are funny, thoughtful, amusing, insightful and frequently made me laugh and smile, as well as cry and feel genuine empathy and compassion for her situation. I was slightly wary of the email format initially as I haven't always enjoyed books which are set out like that but I needn't have worried because I was hooked on 'Dear Dylan' almost immediately.
I loved the way that Georgie and her e-mate each helped the other through a difficult time and taught each other valuable lessons about living and enjoying life. Of course, the dangers of corresponding with people you don't know on the internet can't be ignored but in Georgie's case she acquires a beautiful new friendship.
I really admired Georgie who was desperate to have the normal life of a teenager that all her friends seemed to have but had to deal with looking after her little sister, as well as coping with an angry step-dad. She seemed absolutely genuine and was true to herself always. Her crush on Jamie, dubbed 'the boy with the sorrowful smile' was touching and sweet and I couldn't help but keep my fingers crossed that something good would happen between them.
'Dear Dylan' was an amazing and poignant debut title which really touched my heart! I can't wait for Siobhan Curham's second book 'Finding Cherokee Brown' which I can only imagine will be just as good.