Ben Brooks - Lolito (4 stars)

A charming exploration of love by witty authentic teenage voice

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Ben Brooks - Lolito

(Canongate)

If you enjoyed Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you’ll love this latest novel by Ben Brooks. An unconventional love story that is both twisted and tender, centring on two lonely individuals who find solace in each other (despite their age gap).

When fifteen-year-old Etgar discovers that his girlfriend Alice has cheated on him, his entire world grinds to a halt. Unable to cope with her betrayal, he begins scouring the internet for comfort. In an adult chatroom he finds Macy. Having lied about his age, the two soon begin exchanging intimate emails. But how long until the truth comes out?

Brooks has created the most authentic teenage voice of the twenty-first century. He is unflinching in his portrayal of the mind of a fifteen-year-old, exposing the underbelly of the adolescent world as its inhabitants manoeuvre through life via alcohol, sex and the internet.

Brooks’ genius ultimately lies behind his deadpan comedy. His turn of phrase reads like poetry. His humour can be so abrupt and unexpected that it will make you genuinely laugh out loud, which is fundamentally what makes it an unforgettable read.

Though the novel may be grim at times, it is also a charming exploration of love in all its different forms, whether it is for our lovers, friends, parents or even our dogs.

Funny, witty and addictive, Lolito is a quirky and disturbing ball of energy that will consume readers until they have turned the last page.

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