Glitterland - Alexis Hall "My entire life subsumed into the act of waiting: waiting to be ill, then waiting to be better, the one consuming the other."

Meet A.A. Winters. Clinically depressed, anxious, socially awkward and beyond lost. He also has a tendency to be self-absorbed, rude and sometimes a little cruel. Despite all of his faults I fell madly in love with him. Ash was not always likable but when he was able to see through the fog of an illness that consumed him what he saw was beautiful and you just know that he has the potential to experience something amazing.

”Oh my God, babes.” He pointed at the wall. “What’s that? No offence, but I fink that’s the creepiest fing I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s quite all right I didn’t paint it.”

He leaned forward in transfixed horror. “Why’ve you got a picture of a naked ghel and a skeleton?”

“I err, I like the naked ghel…girl and the skeleton.”

It was perhaps the first time I’d ever seen him lost for words.

“It’s a Paul Delvaux,” I added, trying to explain. “Just the print, obviously. The original’s in the Tate Modern. He painted a lot of naked women in strange situations.”

“Yeah. But why?”

“Um, exposure to waxworks at an impressionable age?”

“I dunno ‘ow she’s managed to doze off wif that skeleton staring right at ‘er. And what’s that uvver naked one supposed to be doing? She looks like she’s trying to get a taxi to take ‘er ‘ome after living it large.”

Meet Darian (The Glitter Pirate) Taylor. Spray tanned, coiffed and perfectly groomed up and coming Essex model who may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but he is certainly the sweetest. Darian sees the world in a very unique way and it is perfect in its simplicity.

I actually think that the reason these two worked so well together was because of Darian’s take on the world, Ash needed to see that it’s not as complicated and tangled as he thinks. His world crumbled at a young age and a life that he thought could never be bettered is taken away from him. It’s unfair and it’s sad but it’s also not the end of his world, it’s just the end of that chapter. Unfortunately due to his illness he can’t see that, I think he needed someone who saw life was for living and lived it with total abandon, he needed someone who was sparkles and sunshine to spread light on a life that had become dark through fear and an illness that was going to stay with him for the rest of his life. He needed someone who was brave enough to take that on and accept that, that illness was a part of who he was always going to be. Darian may not be the brightest intelligence wise but everything else about him is blinding.

There is a lot to be adored in this book. I loved the writing, I loved the secondary characters (Amy and Chloe in particular), I loved getting to see the world through Ash’s eyes and watching him crawl out of the dark, I loved seeing how he began to see all the wonderful things that Darian had to offer. I loved that Alexis Hall could make me so angry at characters throughout this (those being Niall and Ash) and then have them redeem themselves in wholly ordinary but wonderful ways.

This book is beautiful and I am ashamed to say that one of the reasons I didn't read it before now is that I first off totally judged a book by its cover and secondly assumed that I wouldn't really enjoy a character that in my mind would essentially be a character from ‘The Only Way is Essex’.

So guess what I am?

After becoming friends with ‘Kat Wants To Be A Glitter Pirate’ (the endorsement is in the name) and seeing the ratings that the rest of my Goodreads friends gave this I thankfully saw the light. This is a book that will be read over and over again, I’m pretty sure this has now become a comfort read for me and I love when I find those.

If you haven’t done so yet, read this book. I beg you.

”He catches my face between his hands, his painted fingernails twinkling like stars, and when he kisses me it feels a bit like fear and tastes a bit like tears, but it’s as bright and sweet as sherbet, and I decide to call it joy”