www.kepayne.co.uk

Reviews of 365 Days

"The Rainbow Reader"

Back in the halcyon days of the Eighties when I was but a wee little lass, keeping a diary was one of the Tiger Beat top ten things for teenage girls to do.  We were encouraged to emote upon the trials of growing up, the horrors of our peers, our periods, and our siblings, and [/gasp/] our crushes and deepest desires.   Of course, I grew up in a house with no locks and only two doors, so my diary usually consisted of weather reports, game statistics, song lyrics, and blank space.


Yup, lots and lots of white space [/sarcasm/]


In K.E. Payne’s debut novel, 365 Days, we’re introduced to Clemmie Atkins, a thoroughly modern, old-school 16-year old that tells her diary everything.  She’s just had a rotten New Year’s Eve, and is suckered into dating a monosyllabic dolt with zits and oily McDeez breath [/queasy/].  Of course, she’s also coming to the conclusion that she might really be a lesbian, because she thinks about J (can’t say her name lest Her Royal Bloody Highness reads the diary) ALL the time.  She even gets those little flutters when J smiles at her in the hall.  Nope, didn’t get them with Ben the dolt.  


But of course, J has a boyfriend [/mad/], and this about kills her.  But things start to change as she gets to know the new girl, Hannah Harrison.  Hannah is a Goth – sorry, EMO, but she’s really a warm, sweet, happy person.  Slowly but surely, Clemmie starts to forget about J, and starts to think about Hannah ALL the time [/flutters/].   Before long, Clemmie and Hannah become lovers, and we follow them through vacations, holidays, first fights, misunderstandings, and sweet, angsty reconciliations.


And then there’s the dream featuring a dog wearing a pair of swimming trunks, doing a Scottish jig while Donald Trump plays the bagpipes [/creepy/].


YA novel or not, 365 Days absofreakinlutely blew me away. 


The writing is crisp and clever; the characters are simple yet multi-dimensional; and the storyline is fresh but familiar.  Ms. Payne artfully captures the confusion and concerns of a young woman coming to terms with her lesbian libido, as well as life with her family, the inconvenience of schoolwork, morphing dynamics with friends, the torment of waiting for a text, an email, or a call, and the near-consuming fear of losing it all.


Been there, done that, still waiting on a callback from 1984 [/pitiful/].


I will hazard to guess that every one of us that realized she really, really liked girls during her teen years will recognize this story – even the old ones, like me.  I’m even willing to bet a substantial number of dead presidents that a few readers will rummage through their crackly old diaries to see if their teenage torment was somehow plagiarized.


For the record, it wasn’t, so put the phone down.  Now!


I will also hazard to guess that a lot of teenage girls for many years to come will read this book and rest better knowing that they’re not alone, that this whole crazy experience is wonderfulmanicnatural, and that things will get better.  Damn, I wish I had this book when I was Clemmie’s age.


But noooo, you got James Michener’s The Drifters in your Xmas stocking.  


I don’t know how she did it, but K.E. Payne delivered a remarkable debut in the simple form of a teenage lesbian’s diary.  It’s all the things I hoped it would be, and none of the things I feared.  I’m giving this sweet, little gem a 5.0 out of 6 on the Rainbow Scale, and encouraging everyone to give it a read – it really is that good [/confident/].

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It is amazing how anyone can sum up a teenage girl so easily. The complexity of Clem's thoughts and feelings are really brought to life. Not just a simple girl meets girl tale. This book is a must for any young girls unsure of their true feelings. The worries that every girl has about her first time are written with such an honesty.


This book really is a must read for anyone not convinced how a crush can turn into something much bigger. Personal experience made me identify with Clem easily and i am sure i am not the last to have ever felt this way.

A great read that I have already recommended to many of my friends 

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Daisy Porter/Queer YA

This hilarious novel consists of a series of daily diary entries by Clementine, an English teenager who’s funny in the style of Adrian Mole and Georgia Nicolson.  Why do the British do teen diaries so much better than Americans?  I mean, I love The Princess Diaries as much as anyone, but Clem is just funnier than Mia.

So for the first half of the book, Clem is coming to terms with her sexuality – dating a boy, crushing on girls, etc.  In the second half, she’s secretly dating the gorgeous emo kid Hannah, with corresponding sex and drama. But Clem’s diary is never one-track.  While Hannah is clearly the center of Clem’s life – as most relationships are to most teens – there’s plenty in there about Clem’s parents, her annoying sister, her dog, her teachers, and her friends.  Clem is well-rounded, is what I’m trying to say.

The lack of predictability was refreshing as well. Yeah, the reader knows Hannah’s crushing on Clem long before Clem does, but in my experience that’s pretty much called high school.  Also, I really didn’t know whether Hannah and Clem were going to be together at the end of the book. I didn’t think they would be, actually, but I was wrong, and delighted to be.

Another interesting feature of this book is that it is modern and realistic, yet it’s neither a problem novel nor a gaytopia.  Clem is so comfortable in her sexuality that there’s no problem for her to overcome, but since her family and most of her friends have no idea she’s with a girl, it isn’t exactly a lesbo utopia either.  At the end of the book, Clem and Hannah are still madly in love, but no one knows yet. Please, K.E. Payne, write a sequel, would you?

 

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After reading 365 days in one day (No, I couldn't put the book down!) I will start with saying that you need to buy this book, and read it yourself, because I cannot formulate in words how brilliant this book is. 365 days is an immensely humorous and quick witted book that is written in the form of a diary, and flows extremely well. The story is captivating and easy to relate to (whether you have been there and experienced dilemmas contained in the book, or whether you are currently in the very same situation).

365 days really makes you giggle and you can relate to the situations that occur throughout. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I liked the book so much - it is something that everyone can relate to, in one way or another.


The interaction between the characters that the Author (K E Payne) delivers is extraordinary and very real. The descriptions and explanations within the book are not only accurate, but allow the reader to imagine easily. This of course allows for easier reading as you are soon pulled into the world of the lead Character, where it feels like you are observing her life from the sideline.


Lastly I will say that the book is a good turning point in terms of touching on social difference (I.e. the exploration of sexuality, and individuality). I feel that the author has executed these story lines well, and I know that 365 days is a brilliant example of how social differences are acceptable, and how everyone is equal no matter how "different" they may seem.


365 days is a well executed piece of writing that is imaginative, humorous and makes you think.


I would advise anyone to read this book, and would challenge you to tell me you didn't laugh or relate to the characters at some point within the book.


Buy it, read it, and enjoy it. Happy reading! I will read it again...and again.

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Having had this book on pre-order for months, I was finally relieved to actually see it come through the letterbox and it certainly didn't disappoint.

The lead character offers a year-long diary of a standard life of a teenage, exploring friendships, dating, life, growing-up, family and her sexuality. Anyone who can remember back to their teenage days will be able to relate in some way to Clemmie and the dilemmas she has faced, and how trivial they seem in the grand scheme of things.

Guaranteed laughter throughout, and I couldn't put the book down... The only downside is that there are only 365 days in a year!