Author: Estelle Maskame
Title: Just Don’t Mention It
Publisher: Ink Road Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Overall Rating: 5*/5
I received a copy of JDMI from Ink Road Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions in this post are entirely my own.
Tyler Bruce – hell raiser and bad boy – tells his story in his own words.
Alternating between past and present, Just Don’t Mention It is narrated from Tyler’s perspective. We see his life as a twelve-year-old boy suffering physical abuse at the hands of his dad. We see him as the daredevil seventeen-year-old we first met in Did I Mention I Love You?, the stepbrother who falls head over heels for Eden.
In these parallel timelines we finally understand the enigmatic Tyler’s complex story and his innermost thoughts – on his dad, his mom, on Tiffani and Eden – all the things Eden wasn’t witness to. And, crucially, the reader gains heartbreaking insight into why Tyler becomes the self-obsessed, angry and unhappy guy we encounter in DIMILY.
It’s my stop on the blog tour! I was kindly sent a (signed) copy of this wonderful book by Ink Road Publishing, and I am so glad I was accepted onto this blog tour! I hadn’t read the previous books (DIMILY trilogy) however I know that I will definitely be going out to get them now! This book exceeded my expectations 100 fold being so heartbreaking yet captivating and so fantastically written.
The book skips between 12-year-old Tyler, and his current 17-year-old self and we gain this insight into his behaviour and what in his past makes him put on this front. It highlights such important issues surrounding child abuse – the scars though no longer visible are very much present mentally for Tyler. He acts out and puts on this façade determined never to look weak again.
Following the two sides of the story means that you’re simply gripped by both narratives and I experienced so many types of heartbreak for the young Tyler, and somewhere between heartbreak and frustration with the older version. I just wish his mum had been able to make him open up before he set his life on this drug-infested path.
Writing-wise this is astounding; Estelle has managed to contrast so many voices in this; Tyler as a young and confused child who wants to be able to stand up for himself but is simply unable, the one who still loves his dad sometimes, and just wanting a place amongst his friends and their football games. The other is this angry and defensive young adult who struggles with so much emotional baggage; she perfectly shows the cracks in his persona without it sounding cliché or false. This flawless narration, for me, was one of the major highlights about this book.
The plot also keeps up this amazing pace; potentially helped due to the fact there are two stories, but I just found myself turning page after page wanting to know more of the story now and 5 years previously. It really hooks the reader and anyone who has enjoyed the previous DIMILY books I’m sure will adore this one too.
Naturally we get to know Tyler the best out of the characters in this book, but despite being mostly inside his head, we also see other characters develop throughout the pages – as either flashbacks from Tyler’s POV or, in the case of new characters to his life, opinions he forms of them and their actions. To be honest, behind his walls, Tyler is pretty level-headed and knows right from wrong, and good from bad people.
I would definitely recommend this to any fans of Young Adult Contemporary Fiction and am going to award it the full 5* without hesitation. I loved that despite the one-character POV, we were able to get to know other characters in good depth, and the fact I was so hooked just proves to me that this is a series well worth continuing with.
ESTELLE MASKAME started writing at the age of thirteen and completed the first three books in her international bestselling Did I Mention I Love You? series when she was sixteen! She is also the author of the “highly addictive” standalone novel Dare to Fall. Her YA fiction has attracted passionate, loyal fans all around the world, with rights sold in seventeen territories… and counting. Estelle won the Young Scot Arts Award in 2016, and was shortlisted for the Young Adult award at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards. Estelle grew up in the fishing town of Peterhead, Scotland, where she lives with her family.