By Nia Lucas
When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother’s floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that’s not so much ‘less well trodden’, more ‘perilous descent down sheer cliffs’. Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent. Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn’t balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse. Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along.
Love Punked is certainly a roller coaster ride to read and for the main protagonist herself, Erin Roberts. At a party at the age of just 16, she loses her virginity to a drug dealer, a few weeks later she realises she is pregnant and from then on, her life twists and turns with many ups and downs.
Erin has to battle with many things being a 16-year-old, hormones, boyfriends, love, family, school and friendships as well as bringing up her babies! You read about Erin’s life, from here on up until she is in her early 20s.
I really loved that this book deals with such important young adult issues such as teenage pregnancy, drugs, bullying, abusive relationships, school, parties and all things in-between. Whilst reading this book it really reminded me of the Jaqueline Wilson series I used to read when I was younger “Girls In Love” but Lucas’ novel is a lot more advanced and goes into so much more depth into the story and characters as you follow Erin, her friends and family through almost 10 years of their lives.
Erin is a rainbow of emotions throughout, and although sometimes I felt she was quite horrible to some people and let her feisty nature get the better of her, I had to remind myself that she was a young teen trying to do it all, bring up children, have an education a life and a love life. So of course, she will be battling a lot of emotions. This novel not only focuses on teenage dramas but also choices. Erin must make a lot of choices and a lot of the time she tries to do the adult thing by choosing her family over her heart. I got really frustrated with her at points when she made certain decisions, but I also understood why she did them in the end. Her romantic relationships throughout the novel become quite complex for a girl with a lot on her plate. Of course, like many romantic novels you know who she is “meant to be with” and I was really gunning for the right outcome until the very last page. I won’t spoil the ending for you though, you will have to find out for yourself!
For a debut novel Lucas writes with such a well-established style and has a fantastic characterisation. She really draws you into the story by making each and every character so well rounded and with lots of complexities and layers. There was only 2 niggly things for me that stood out whilst reading this, I felt Lucas over used the phrase “kissed her/his teeth” when someone was angry or holding their tongue. Also, Jamel was called Jamel throughout the first half of the book then suddenly Erin started to call him Jay. I was a bit confused at first who Jay was, as Erin’s parents still called him Jamel. But other than that, I felt like the writing was so well accomplished and polished.
Love Punked is a very modern and edgy teenage drama, that made me laugh out loud and almost made me cry! It portrays very poignant and important topics in a modern, realistic and insightful way. I really enjoyed reading Nia Lucas’ page turning debut novel and can’t wait for her to write more. You can buy Love Punked on Amazon for just £8.99, click here for the link.
*The lovely Nia allowed me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*