I received a copy of Furious Thing by Jenny Downham as a participant of the Bookstagram Book Tour with the publisher David Fickling Books and Darkroom Tours – hop on over to Insta to see what other people thought of it too!
Bad things happen when you’re around, Lex…
That’s what her stepfather tells her. That’s what she believes about herself.
But how can she convince herself and everyone around her that her anger doesn’t make her a monster? If only she could stop losing her temper and behave herself, her stepfather would accept her, her mum would love her like she used to, and her stepbrother would declare his crushing desire to spend the rest of his life with her. She wants these things so badly, she’s determined to swallow her anger and make her family proud.
But pushing fury down doesn’t make it disappear. Instead, it simmers below the surface, waiting to erupt. There’ll be fireworks when it does…
An intensely real story of manipulation and identity, Furious Thing is about the slippery slope of manipulation and how one girl can fight to claim back the spaces that belong to her.
Furious Thing did exactly what it says on the tin – it made me rage. I frequently hurled insults at Lexi’s stepfather out loud whilst reading, because he was particularly horrible and I was apparently incapable of not letting my disgust out.
John was the kind of man who makes you feel like the sun shines only for you when he’s pleased with you, but like everything that ever goes wrong in the world is your fault when he isn’t.
I’ve lived with that. It’s no fun.
And having lived with it, I know exactly how the others in the household would have felt and Jenny Downham captured it perfectly. It brought me to tears a couple of times, my own past frustrations merging with those of the characters, and that only fuelled my own fury at everything. I burned with Lexi’s fury at times – wishing I’d been a bit more like her at times and let the monster of it all out to see if it would make a difference.
Lexi as a character wasn’t just a ball of fury though, she was funny, clever, caring, and a relatable teenager. She had all the usual hangups about boys and school, but everything felt more intense when mixed with the background of her home life – so what would have been a standard teen grumble about a Drama audition leads to behaviour that gets her sent home from school. Arguments at home end in things being thrown out of windows.
And while none of those were the right responses, they were also entirely understandable when viewed through Lexi’s perspective. She just wanted everyone else to see John for what he was. Instead of just seeing the charming, caring man who has taken this troublesome teen under his wing out of love for her mother – the John that he presents in public.
The fury and pressure builds through the book to boiling point as Lexi’s mum and John make wedding plans and when the inevitable showdown happens, it is pretty explosive.
It’s also all very real. None of it felt far-fetched. The ending wasn’t fairytale perfect with cocktails at sunset and everyone happy – it was honest, it was hopeful, it was happy enough. It was almost more of a beginning.
It was lovely.
Fast-paced and easy to read – I almost definitely would have read it all in one go if I wasn’t taking part in a read-along where we read five chapters a day. Stopping every time was horrible because I just needed to know what happened next!!
A brilliant 5* read that I’m so glad I picked up.
Many thanks again to the publisher and tour organisers for letting me take part! (And thank you to Amber Cat for posing for my photo – I promise she is actually yawning and I didn’t enrage her just for the purpose of the photograph!!!)