***** - Strange Sally Diamond
STRANGE SALLY DIAMOND
Sally Diamond cannot understand why what she did was so strange. She was only doing what her father told her to do, to put him out with the rubbish when he died.
Now Sally is the centre of attention, not only from the hungry media and worried police, but also a sinister voice from a past she has no memory of. As she begins to discover the horrors of her childhood, recluse Sally steps into the world for the first time, making new friends, finding independence, and learning that people don't always mean what they say.
But when messages start arriving from a stranger who knows far more about her past than she knows herself, Sally's life will be thrown into chaos once again . . .
There’s been a trend of books from the perspective of a neurodivergent main character recently, and after listing one of these - ‘The Maid’ as one of my 2022 Kindig Gems of the year, I was excited to read Strange Sally Diamond.
Sally’s father has always told her when he dies to ‘throw me out with the trash’, so it’s to her surprise that when he does die and she tries to incinerate him at home, that she gets in trouble and a spotlight is thrown on her previously secluded life. From there, we start to learn that Sally’s past isn’t all she had been led to believe…
I really loved this book and Sally is a great narrator - her character is interesting, flawed and charming, and she has a real progression throughout the plot which takes the reader on a journey. The story is also nicely paced and the idea of spacing the letters out (which tell important exposition), as to not overwhelm her and give her time to process things, was a very clever technique to keep suspense and drip-feed information in a realistic way. The writing style was incredibly engaging, and I found it hard to put the book down!
The chapters also alternate between Sally’s perspective and flashbacks from Peter’s childhood – a man we are initially unsure of how fits into the narrative. He is also a flawed character and we feel somewhat sorry for him at times as he has been shaped by his unusual upbringing. There are plenty of twists and turns and I couldn’t guess what would happen next, with a few red herrings interspersed in as well. The ending may divide readers, but I thought it was perfect and really leaves you thinking about the book for a long time after you put it down.
Overall, Strange Sally Diamond is a must read and one of my Kindig Gems of 2023! Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin General UK – Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton and Viking for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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