My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was struck, very much, on reading this how adorable a book it is. The initial title in a new series from Stainton, Starring Kitty is a book about friendship and being who you are – and realising how important a bond true friendship is. Set around a trio of friends, Sunny, Hannah and Kitty, each title focuses on one particular member of the group and this initial one is Kitty’s moment to shine.
Kitty has secrets. Her mum’s ill, her little sister’s panicking, and her dad’s struggling to cope. And Kitty’s starting to fall in love with a girl named Dylan. As Kitty and her friends work through a film competition with school, she starts to realise that secrets quite often have a habit of being found out. How is she going to deal with when people find out her truth? And how is she going to keep Dylan?
It’s a poignant and quite beautiful book this. Stainton has the substantial gift of sympathy. Her writing is warm and gentle and precise, colouring each moment of Kitty’s slow realisation of how much she loves Dylan with a sort of very genuine hue. You believe this girl so much. Kitty is lovely. She has this rich, timeless quality about her that is again a testament to Stainton’s writing.
I would recommend this very much for somebody looking for a bridge into young adult literature. Stainton handles some quite powerful themes here – severe illness, sexuality, pressure at school – with a lightness and deftness that is very much a pleasure to read. I know that’s an odd sentiment to express when it comes to such themes, but it’s sort of the best way to describe it. Stainton’s created story here and it’s story that is coloured and shifted by these moments, but not about them. Not wholly. This is Kitty’s story through and through, and what shines is the glorious warmth and humanity of it all. An adorable and quite wonderful little book.