Ginger and Me
by Elissa Soave
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Pub Date 21 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 4 Aug 2022
Wendy is lonely but coping.
All nineteen-year-old Wendy wants is to drive the 255 bus around Uddingston with her regulars on board, remember to buy milk when it runs out and just to be okay. After her mum died, there’s nobody to remind her to eat and what to do each day.
And Wendy is ready to step out of her comfort zone.
Each week she shows her social worker the progress she’s made, like the coasters she bought to spruce up the place, even if she forgets to make tea. And she even joins a writers’ group to share the stories she writes, like the one about a bullied boy who goes to Mars.
But everything changes when Wendy meets Ginger.
A teenager with flaming orange hair, Ginger’s so brave she’s wearing a coat that isn’t even waterproof. For the first time, Wendy has a real best friend. But as they begin the summer of their lives, Wendy wonders if things were simpler before. And that’s before she realizes just how much trouble Ginger is about to get them in…
An unforgettable debut novel from the winner of the Primadonna Prize 2019 which will stay with you long after the last page.
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––Your favourite authors love Elissa Soave
‘Vivid, funny, sad, thought-provoking, acutely observed and full of compassion’ Helen Sedgwick
‘A debut novel to treasure, by turns funny, dark and heartbreaking and I didn’t want it to end!’ Louise Mumford
‘A fascinating and poignant take on friendship and obsession’ Caron McKinlay
‘Startling, sly and full of suspense. Not your ordinary coming of age novel’ Catherine Mayer
‘Full of charm, insight and wit – with the power to break your heart’ C. E. Riley
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 68 members
A gentle and thought provoking story. Told through innocent eyes that makes this feel almost quite understated and simplistic, but the story told is anything but.
Interesting themes in this, and dynamics of relationships are also unusual but make for fascinating reading.
Meet 19-year-old neurodiverse Wendy, whose no-filter narrative delivers a story that’s by turn funny, tragic, uplifting and heart-breaking – and sometimes all four at once!
A bus driver by day in her home town of Uddingston on Scotland’s west coast, Wendy is an aspiring writer, inspired by local writer Diane, whom she avidly follows on Twitter. Wendy fondly imagines a close bond between them, and her virtual stalking of Diane becomes reality when she finds out where she lives.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old Ginger has come into Wendy’s life when she boards her bus one day. A streetwise waif who’s constantly looking for ways to avoid going home to her uncle Tam and his sleazy friends, she latches on to Wendy.
The tragedy of the story is that though Wendy recognises that all Ginger needs is someone to tend her flame and make sure she bursts into life, she is so obsessed with Diane that she cannot see her young friend is the one truly in need of permanent rescue.
Events escalate and the implied tragedy underpinning the narrative becomes heartbreaking reality.
This story has it all. Wendy and Ginger will capture your heart in all their beautiful, naïve frailty. You’ll laugh, cry and empathise with Wendy, Ginger and all the other colourful characters that populate this book.
This is Elissa Soave’s debut novel, but I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot more from this witty, warm and perceptive story teller.
I couldn't resist this book. It's set in Uddingston, a small town on the outskirts of Glasgow. I'm not sure many people outwith the west of Scotland will know of it. I know it because for six years I travelled to Uddingston station every day on my way to and from school in Bothwell. It was a little dreary then. That was a long time ago. By the sounds of things it hasn't changed that much.
Wendy is nineteen and a bus driver. Her mother has recently died and she isn't coping too well. Her mother helped her navigate through life and now all she has is weekly visits from her social worker. She needs more than that. She needs friends. Ginger, a damaged but very likeable 15 year old comes into her life and that helps. The writers' group she attends ought to help but she doesn't quite gel with them. Their snide comments make her uneasy but she doesn't really understand why. Teachers thought she might be autistic but her mother didn't want a label put on her. She becomes fixated on Diane a local writer who she feels is her soulmate. Diane doesn't feel the same and Wendy misunderstands her reserve as showing her to be abused. But Diane isn't the one she ought to be worried about.
What a book! I absolutely loved it. Wendy is a fully formed character who will find her way into your heart. The story is full of humour and compassion. The scenes in the writing group are so well realised. Ginger too is a great character and will break your heart. I can't recommend this book highly enough. A fantastic debut. Thanks to NetGalley and HQ for the ARC.
This was such a good read. The different backgrounds and stories of the two women, the mysterious ways and what they go up to, what a mess. Thank you
This opens with you knowing something has happened, something big, and the majority of the book is the build up to that.
The back story not only had me tensing for what was coming, but building up sympathy for the main character, who was just a bit different, and didn't always quite get the glaringly obvious.
Sad, tense, with moments to make you smile. This is a very enjoyable read.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the writing style, it had a good flow, good pacing and kept me engaged the whole way through. The story was compelling and the characters were well developed. I was gripped right from the start and there was a good level of mystery and unpredictability. I read this really quickly.
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