Have you heard the one about the couple jump off a tall building but no bodies hit the ground? Jazmin Little has and unfortunately for her, she is about to be embroiled in a mystery of paranormal conspiracy theories, secret agents and teenagers with publishing contracts.
The latest from the critically acclaimed Sally Gardner is a tense sci-fi hall of mirrors. The reader is given multiple perspectives, as several key figures recount their memories of a bizarre series of incidents to an interviewer named Mr. Jones. Using this, the author wastes no time in plunging the reader into the story and intrigues immediately with its various threads which seem impossibly connected. Like most mysteries, the story slightly deflates once it becomes clear what the explanation is, but fortunately the winning cast of characters and suspenseful set pieces will keep the reader interested.
The jumps between the varying accounts are well done and never confusing, each voice conveying a distinct personality. (Interestingly, it’s one of the few YA novels to be narrated by adults, albeit some looking back on their teen years.) The clear protagonist emerges as Jazmin Little, a guarded teenage girl from a council estate who has received a few bruises from life and the reader feels each one as she endures the brunt of a situation she can’t understand.
Once you scratch under its surface, it’s clear that My Side of the Diamond is another gem from Sally Gardner.