The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Jane Rogers manages to portray the adolescent I was. I'd forgotten the ideological smugness, and the feeling that I'd make a much better job of things than my parents had managed. I'd forgotten how I'd noticed and thought about the world around me, such as this about people in a crowd: 'It was weird to imagine there was no possibility, ever, of getting to know even one of those strangers'.
I also liked the fact that the novel is based locally in the northwest of England. When stations and cafes were mentioned I knew exactly the ones she meant.
The narration is suitably simple but convincing. Jessie, the first-person protagonist, is a serious girl, somewhat self-absorbed, and as she considers and comes to a quite unreasonable conclusion about what she must do, I felt as frustrated as her parents. Like them I would have felt desperate enough to imprison her, but such was the skill of the writing that I could see the dilemma through Jessie's eyes too, and could see exactly why she was doing what she was doing.
I had just finished listening to Margaret Atwood's 'Onyx and Crake' on audio, and also watched the film version of Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go' on DVD, and I know this is just a question of taste, but to my mind, certainly in terms of form, 'The Testament of Jessie Lamb' was superior. Jessie Lamb is shorter and so there is less packed in, but this allows greater emphasis on the important point of the novel: the motivations and pivotal moments of the characters.