Review: One Long Thread – Belinda Jeffrey

Synopsis from Goodreads.
I had moths in my chest. A thousand of them drumming with their insistent wings, thumping inside my heart. It was the feeling of something struggling to get out, to fly free . . . Love is like that.
When divorce rips Ruby Moon’s family apart and tragedy traps her twin, Sally, in a cocoon from which she might never escape, Ruby learns that love is never simple.
 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a Young Adult book set in Tonga.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a Young Adult book that discusses the production of silk.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a Young Adult book where I’ve rooted for a girl to get with a boy in… this situation.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a Young Adult book which is so open to discussing (and discussing well) controversial and hard-hitting subjects as this one.

I think this is the thing I love most about Ms Jeffrey’s writing. Everything is absolutely unique. I’ve read a lot of YA fiction and sometimes, just sometimes, they begin to sound the same. But there wasn’t one part of this story where I thought ‘Urgh, I’ve read this book before’.

It’s difficult not to compare this book to Brown Skin Blue  [my review] , which is the prequel to this book. I say prequel but I’m not sure whether you would have to have read it before reading this one. You’ll have to ask Mandee, who did just that. As you know, I love Brown Skin Blue so much. It left me numb, speechless and absolutely smitten that I had found another author that I could add to my ‘Aussie Friends- Send Me Books by This Author Because the UK is Missing Tricks All Over The Place’ list that I sneakily have and use every now and again.
Whereas One Long Thread didn’t have quite the same impact as BSB did, I still absolutely adored it and it was the perfect addition to the story that Ms Jeffrey began.

Ruby Moon was such a delightful character and a wonderful narrator. She’s such a quiet character but very observant and I loved seeing the world through her eyes because even though it was incredibly sad, it was always beautiful. She had such a glorious way of seeing things and she was so normal. I mean, if things were going a bit skew-whiff in your life and you had the option to run away to Tonga, you’d do it, right? Of course you would.

And also, I loved that Ruby had a hobby. Seriously, why don’t more heroines have honest-to-goodness hobbies anymore? I loved hearing all about Ruby’s artistic designs, her passion for…. Sorry, I have to say it… fashion and, mate, I can sympathise with her desire to be surrounded by materials, ribbons, lace, strings of beads and spools of thread. I could quite happily spend the whole afternoon in a haberdashery just wandering in between the valleys of material. Actually, I could quite happily live in a haberdashery.

But what I thought was really special was the mixed feelings Ruby had about her art. I think a lot of people would be able to relate to Ruby’s emotions and how she is reluctant to accept that she’s good, brilliant actually, at something. I mean, haven’t we all, at one point in our life, been self-conscious about our passions? Maybe that’s just me.

“I had a moment of looking at it, like Amona might have, seeing it for the first time and thinking how lovely it was, too. But then I retreated back into myself and could see only its faults.”

Going back to her passion for clothes making- yes, it was linked to a metaphor that ran through this book but it never felt false or convoluted. I know I keep rabbitting on about subtlety but tough, I’m going to go on about it again.
The two books that I’ve read by Ms Jeffrey have both dealt with some of the most harrowing subject matters I have ever read about, but she knows exactly how to portray them with tact and restraint. Sure it’s horrendously sad and I had to back away a few times because of all the emotions, but it wasn’t overdone or sensationalised. It just shows that in the right hands, subjects that would put off a lot of readers can be absolutely stellar.

Have you noticed that I am staying as far away from the plot as I can? I really don’t want to spoil this book for you if you think you’d like it because, and I know I say this all the time, but you should read this book not knowing anything.

And of course, it would be impossible to write a review about a book Ms Jeffrey has written without mentioning her writing.

“I knew I’d never have another moment like this. Just a single place in time where everything had come together to breathe in harmony. Time slowed and I had gathered all her restless strands in my hands; where I had come from, where I was and where I was going was one long thread as I emerged to make my way into the world.”

J’adore.

It’s the connections between the characters that really make this book what it is though. My favourite relationship is the one between Ruby and her dad. Seriously, I loved this guy so much. They watch Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire films and they eat popcorn and drink cold lemonade and then they get dressed up and go to bad Chinese restaurants and tell each other the crappest jokes they can think of. Ahhh. Bliss.

Also, while I’m here I feel I have to talk about Barry again. Because I’m hopelessly in love with him, so what?

“The only living example of a Romeo in the modern world.”

He only had a cameo role (albeit a very important one!) in this book but he really stole the show. I cannot go on enough about how much I love this guy. He is definitely one of my favourite YA characters ever.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that I would read anything that Ms Jeffrey writes.

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4 thoughts on “Review: One Long Thread – Belinda Jeffrey

  1. Is that the same Sally that’s in Brown Skin Blue? God, I HAVE to read this one soon. I’m going to send you that short story she wrote once I’ve done a bit about it for my short story thing. Why isn’t this writer more well-known? She is amazing

  2. Beautiful review, Jo! It is so hard to talk about this book without giving away the plot but you managed to do it so well!

    I love Barry, too, and I’m looking forward to reading BSB so I get to know him a bit better. Also, yes to MCs having proper hobbies!

    And thanks for the shout out, I love you heaps!

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