Author: Bryony Allen
Publisher: Pneuma Springs Publishing
Publication Date: 28 April 2011
Synopsis from Amazon
OTOLI – Have you been there? Social outcast ALICE TURNER went there to escape the constant bullying from the Populars. She is befriended by Jenny; an enigmatic waitress who seems to be stuck in the past. As the Populars begin to reap the wrath of a faithful friend, suspicions build in Alice’s mind. Why does Jenny keep mementoes that are four years old? And why does Alice feel that she is to blame for the downfall of her enemies? But friendship is a two-way deal as Alice soon discovers. After breaking her promise to Jenny, she faces a far worse foe than before. Alice is forced to make choices on which her future and that of others will depend; whether or not she knows it. Moreover, she will have to find courage to escape the ultimate bully – her best friend.
GUEST REVIEW BY BETH
This book surprised me more than any other I’ve received from Emma.
OTOLIis definitely my favourite book of all of those I’ve reviewed since beginning as a guest reviewer for Book Angel Booktopia and I’m so glad I got to send it because without Emma sending it to me, I would never have even noticed it or considered picking it up.
The first thing I felt when I began reading OTOLI was how creepy it was. I immediately felt extreme empathy for Alice and the torment she has to put up with but the second I met Jenny, I did not like her at all. Really really creepy and something just wasn’t right, which of course is properly revealed throughout the course of the novel.
OTOLI is extremely fast paced and takes us on Alice’s journey from being mercilessly bullied to seeing her tormentors suffer a terrible downfall. She can’t understand how or why Jenny is involved but she’s convinced she is and this is what makes it so creepy and unnerving. As well as Alice’s story, we also meet Kieran who is by far my favourite character as he has the strength of character to understand what Jenny’s about and works out exactly how to escape her friendship.
OTOLI is brilliantly written Jenny’s character however unnerving and scary, is a fantastic creation although despite her past, I find it hard to feel any sympathy towards her due to the way she treats those chosen as her friends. The ending is particularly powerful and the sense that OTOLI is infinite is again, an unnerving thought.
Throughout the course of the novel it is possible to work out exactly what OTOLI stands for. Now for some reason, as my brain didn’t want to work, I couldn’t work it out whilst reading it but eventually came to it after some hurried tweeting in the direction of the author, who to her credit, refused to tell me outright so I had to discover for myself.
A fantastic novel which should could easily and should, in my opinion, become part of the PSHE education of children in schools.
Thanks to Beth for that fascinating review – the book is indeed going into the school library to supplement the PSHE lessons on bullying after it has been on tour with UK BOOK TOURS (go sign up now)