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 a book that draws you in, holds on tight and takes you on a roller coaster journey through the trials and tribulations of teenage Erin Roberts’ life. With memorable references to the 90s that will bring a smile to your face before making you laugh out loud, the author perfectly captures the scene. But it is with her well-drawn characters that she will really steal your heart. Erin – Ginger Feist – has a unique way of dealing with anyone who threatens her status quo: attack, attack, attack! She wears her heart on her sleeves, and will defend those close to her like the lioness she is.
Jay – Jamal Watson – is the ‘older man’ who, after a fumble an Argos recliner in her dad’s garage, goes missing for nigh on a year, enjoying life at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, only to be released to the news that Erin has given birth to his twin sons. He does the honourable thing and seeks her out to find she is doing really well thanks to her wonderfully supportive family and amazing friends.
However, having the father of her sons in their life is of vital importance to Erin, and soon Jay feels exactly the same. Both turn out to be amazing parents; they mess up now and then, but they adore their boys with every piece of their heart and soul. They even find themselves able to love each other. However, this ‘love’ comes at a cost. Determined to be the best parents they can be, both forgo the true adult loves of their lives in order to be the fabulous family unit they are.
This is a story – a long one – of doing your very best for your children, no matter the heartbreak that it causes.This is where Lucas is so deftly able to showcase her skill at creating believable characters. In fact, these are not characters, these are real, live people. The type you will meet every day, but whose struggles you may never realise.
Balanced with the most delightful touches of humour I’ve read in a long while, the story of Erin and Jay (as well as their boys, friends and family, and especially their sacrificial relationships with Gio and Casey) will hook you in and hold your attention. Emotion pours off the page, it’s all-encompassing and generous. Lucas doesn’t shy away from anything – which explains the length of the book – but nor is she excessive or repetitive.
An outstanding debut novel (although it would benefit from another round of proofreading / editing).
If you’re in any doubt about reading this, then don’t be. You’ll be in for a treat if you get on the roller coaster. Just be prepared for a bumpy ride!
About the author:
My Welsh heritage and my life as a practising Social Worker with teenagers and their families heavily influences my work as does my love of all things 90’s and an adolescence spent immersed in clubbing culture.
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