The 90s - home of boy bands, individualism, teenage angst, ultra skinny models, and "Whatever!"...
In a decade when image matters, when the so-called Generation X is swelling with 'future perfect' hopes and pride, 16-year-old Roshell McRady dances her way through High School, never quite admitting that she's ashamed of her trailer park family home. Meanwhile she listens to Madonna while conjuring creative Top Ramen recipes to feed her younger cousins; she empties enough hairspray until her bangs are feathered and vertical like a lethal weapon; and she agonises over how to convince Gabriel Harrison, the new Mystery Guy in town, to invite her to the prom - a night which threatens to turn into a disaster.
But then life takes a dramatic turn for Roshell, and her life changes forever.
A love story emerges from the anguish of Roshell's life, and when she leaves school and finds work at a casino, things don't get any less complicated for her - until one night a powerful dream marks out the exact path that she must take.
Thank you to Fingerpress and NetGalley for letting me review this book :3
I have a confession to make. I'm not a 90's kid. I was born in the year of 1995 but I grew up in the early 2000's and was a teen in the late 2000's therefore this book doesn't bring any nostalgia of the 90's. However, I do remember sitting in front of the TV every Saturday morning watching MTV with my siblings as they sang along to Backstreet Boy songs and watched Pokemon. So therefore, I was interested in reading this book, purely because it was set in the 90's and what I could remember of the 90's, it seemed like an interesting decade.
Embracing You, Embracing Me is about the story of Roshell McRady, a sixteen year old girl growing up in the 90's, who dreams of escaping from her trailer park home in rural Oregon. She has big dreams and escaping her small, unambitious town while having to deal with high school and all the insecurities that teenagers face. Roshell was a strong character but her voice didn't quite ring true for me, Michelle Bellon's choice of wording and phrasing was quite awkward at times - sometimes it seemed like she was an older person trying to sound like a teenager. It just didn't sound right, especially coming from a character like Roshell, who is bright, young and carefree.
Roshell has no male influence in her life whatsoever and finds it hard to establish relationships with boys her own age. Until she meets Gabriel. She loves him more than words can say but she can't bring it in herself to explain to him so she moves away. There is a massive time jump then and the audience is taken on a wild ride from one year to the next without much explanation at all for the things that happen in between up until Roshell is in her twenties, so her teen years (which are crucial) are glossed over quite quickly.
I gotta admit, the summary made the book sound more interesting than it really was. We see excerpts and snippets of the other character's dealings with Roshell but I didn't care for them at all. It was too distracting to make any impact on the story and I didn't want to know what they are thinking, this is Roshell's story and I want to know her story.
This story had such potential - I always enjoy stories about the small-town teenager who has big dreams - but there was too much holes to be enjoyable.