Title: Melissa and Kasho
Author: Camilla Chance
Genre: Young Adult / Romance / Paranormal
A young girl from a comfortable upbringing goes on a journey to discover her full potential in this latest offering from author Camilla Chance. Melissa has always followed the rules, especially those set out by her domineering and abusive parents. An opportunity to study in Italy serves as a catalyst for a chain of events that will ultimately change the course of her life and leave an indelible mark on who she is as a person.
The book intersperses glimpses of Melissa’s difficult childhood with scenes from the present, where Melissa is currently enrolled in a Florence boarding school. This affected the momentum of the narrative, and readers who are expecting more action will initially struggle with the writing style. However, once they recognize that the author’s objective is less about moving the plot forward and more about giving the readers a deeper understanding of the main character, they will be able to appreciate the expositional manner in which the story is told.
The main love story is unexpected and different. Kasho breaks the mold of the typical love interest by being more metaphorical rather than physical. This is in keeping with the theme of the book, which is largely centered on Melissa and the daily battle she wages with her personal demons. Whether this was intentional or not on the part of the author, Melissa’s relationship with Kasho felt more like a coping mechanism than actual romantic development.
Apart from the romance, the book also has serious undertones and even hints of something ominous going on just beneath the surface. It follows the current trend of young adult books by tackling issues such as body image, the struggle to fit in, and the yearning to love and be loved. The fact that this book is set in the late 1950’s is a testament to the author’s ability to make what is essentially a period piece feel timeless and relevant.
The book reached its peak when it started to explore what it meant to be a woman at the time, with all the regimented structure, restrictions, and gender inequality that existed. It was a time when women were rarely given a voice and were considered sinful if they dared to explore and express their sexuality. Camilla Chance was able to paint a grim but accurate picture of the issues women of that period were faced with.
It’s clear the author has a strong viewpoint on these issues. It’s at this point that she could have used metaphors and philosophical musings more sparingly. She could have chosen to keep the writing simple and straightforward so as not to detract from the powerful message she intended to convey, that women should be free to make their own choices and live their own lives.
A coming of age story with a twist, readers looking for a little something different will enjoy Camilla Chance’s own spin on a well-known plotline. It stands out from the run-of-the-mill young adult novels with its depth and insight into the journey that every young girl travels on her way to adulthood. A dash of romance, a hint of fantasy, and a whole lot of entertainment, this book will be welcomed by fans of the genre and by anyone who is simply looking for a good story.
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