Review: Walking on Trampolines

Posted 2 February, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Walking on Trampolines
By: Frances Whiting
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA

“Tallulah de Longland,” she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. “That,” she announced, “is a serious glamorgeous name.”

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah ‘Lulu’ de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable…

It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

I knew nothing about this book until I received a ARC courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA 😛 It’s been out for a few years in Australia, but it’s only being released over here now. I don’t read nearly enough from Australian authors, I think, so I was quite looking forward to reading it. This book will be available in North America on 03 February 2015.

Firstly, how catchy was the opening scene? Wow, talk about drawing your attentiont to the book!

Walking on Trampolines was an interesting read, following Lulu de Longland over the course of her teenage years and early adulthood. It’s what is normally labelled in anime as a “slice of life” piece, and for a while it does leave the reader wondering where the story is headed if it wasn’t for the opening sequence and the chronological order that the novel follows afterwards. What led Lulu to that opening sequence? How did this “nice” girl end up doing what she did? The first half of the novel more or less looks at the events leading up to that decision, and the fallout of that decision in the latter half. I felt for Tallulah, perhaps in a way I can relate to her and how things were turning out for her early in the novel after high school. I’m honestly not sure what the appeal was with Annabelle (except for the fact that she spoke her mind and did what she want when they met in high school), but her friendship with Lulu was really strong, which made the implosions in their friendship later on all the more hurtful for Lulu.

Because the novel covers such a large span of time, there were some slow moments reading the book, but I really enjoyed the charcter of Duncan. He injected some life in the story during Lulu’s transition after high school and later again after the incident. He’s a total cad, but he’s also quite charming and endearing, and I really enjoyed his interaction with Lulu; he had some of the best lines in the book. Probably my favourite relationship in the novel? He had this sort of mentor-like role in Lulu’s life and yet she’s the one watching out for him and taking care of him especially when he does some really crappy things…It’s a weird dynamic, especially for someone like Lulu, but he’s exactly the kind of energy she needs, I think.

I should add at this point that Lulu’s family was also very interesting to read. I wish they were in the story more before the last quarter, but it made sense why they were in and out given where Lulu was at that point in her life. The mental health issues that were raised were subtle and in the backdrop, but it plays in a lot to Lulu’s home life and trailing back to her friendship with Annabelle.

The latter half of the novel should read much slower because of where Lulu ends up, but for me it was the most endearing because of all of the people who come in and out of Lulu’s life, helping her out or hanging out with her. Her struggle to come to terms with everything that had happened and with the decisions she had made was really interesting to read (compelling now that I think back on it), and there are a lot of interesting little moments along the way that keeps the story going.

Overall, while Walking on Trampolines wasn’t as heartfelt as I thought it was going to be, it was a very interesting read and over time I think it did leave quite an impression on me. I recommend this book for readers of contemporary adult fiction 🙂

Rating: ★★★½☆

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