SCARLETT DEDD by Cathy Brett

Published by Headline

£6.99

Not quite sure where to place this book within our family library – I want everyone in our house to read it – but some not just yet.

This is, without a doubt, the most creative novel I have read this year and not just in its storytelling.

Kathy Brett has created a new style of novel here – ideal for the new generation in the way that it is interactive and makes the reader work – things that just might help to slow the threatened takeover by digital books and get younger people interested in ‘real’ books and all they can offer.

Self illustrated and designed – every page is a treat and you never know quite what to expect on the next.

Every tool is used here, from standard pages of text (although they are few and very far between), graphic novel pages, comic strips, screen displays from internet chat rooms and iphone displays – all clever ways of making a ‘book’ more appealing to modern younger readers.

I’ve never read a book before that has required me to completely rotate it about eight times for each of two pages to follow the spiral written text – and was glad I wasn’t out in public at that point.

The tale itself is ‘fairly’ straight forward.

The Dedd family are alive to begin with, until they are all killed by Scarlett, who also kills herself by mistakenly choosing the wrong kind of wild mushrooms for dinner.

Whilst her parents and brother seem to get on quite well after becoming Dead-Dedd’s, Scarlett feels isolated and misses her friends.  She soon discovers that the only way to make them see her again is to kill them too.

Scarlett Dedd and her friends are all horror movie buffs and make and upload their own videos online with quite a following and fanbase.

And it’s here that I guess I have my dilemma.

I want my kids to experience and appreciate every nod and referenc in the book to really enjoy it.  But at 8 and 10 years of age neither are old enough to ‘get’ the references to one of the girls being called Ripley, or to the other classic horror movie images and characters mentioned throughout the book.

So, whilst I loved the book in all its bloody gothic teen-angst gore-hound glory, sorry kids – you’ll have to wait a while longer.

Keith B Walters

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