Narrated in the first person by Indie, we begin at the start of her conversation with the Samaritans. Through reflection, we’re taken through the story, interspersed with the present time (the phone call) until past and present meet.
Beginning with the first day of Indie’s second year at hair and beauty at college ( when Suzie Grey is the girl in front of her trying to enrol with no fixed home address … and Indie steps in to help her out), we’re taken through an emotional rollercoaster ride of friendship and love.
On the first day of college in the common room we find out more about Indie’s boyfriend Rick and how opposite they are. Indie is cautious and organised from a middle class family and Rick is impulsive, lives for today and is from a sprawling council estate at the other side of town… and lives for his cars which mean everything to him. Indie reflects on a perfect summer day they shared – this portrays beautifully the depth of their love.
Indie fights for the underdog and Suzie with her sad demeanour piques her interest and she wants to know her story. Suzie changes from a drab and sad teen by copying Indie’s hair cut/style and along with this transformation, changes her name.
The reader knows that something awful has happened. In the proof, Indie says, “How naïve was I? Now I know there are worse things than being hungry and homeless. Far worse.” This draws the reader in, wanting to find out exactly what the story is building up to. It captures the imagination …
As Suzie becomes more and more entrenched in Indie’s life, more and more goes wrong for Indie. Rick makes some bad choices which lead to some heart-wrenching scenes. Once the Samaritan’s share information that changes things, the plot builds in intensity. Even though I was enjoying the story beforehand, when the timelines merge into the present time, I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
The flow and style of writing pulls you in and everything feels so real. The reader feels those emotions alongside our characters and at one point, despairs that life will be anything else but the fear and dread. We’ve all made a decision at some point that has turned out to not have the effect we wanted … The Day I Met Suzie takes us along one of these roads that could so easily have been ours.
Not only is this an enjoyable read, it also highlights a valuable service that is available for everyone – the Samaritans. It also lays bare something that is real and makes us aware of possible dangers (can’t say too much because I don’t want to give away any spoilers!)
I finished this story with mixed emotions. Joyous at a victory but the final couple of pages made me feel quite upset that there are people who see the best in everyone and that makes them vulnerable (yes, I am one of those people). That this is so easy to exploit… and that it is!
Although The Day I Met Suzie is targeted at the YA audience, I also recommend for adult readers too.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.