Why aren’t there more YA mystery novels? What is not to love about them? Follow Me Down has everything: Posh boarding school setting! Whodunnit! Beautiful prose! Brilliant characters! Sixteen-year-old Adamma Okomma – a Nigerian diplomat’s daughter – was the stand-out character for me (thankfully because she’s our protagonist!).
Adamma was the reason I picked up the book and the reason why I kept on reading. She has tasted the high life back in New York City, and is unhappy about moving to Crofton College, Wiltshire, but she is anything but a snob. Scarlett Chiltern, her new best friend, however, is snobby, rich and downright bitchy. She’s cool and fashionable and lives in the biggest house in the village, but she’s not as complex and original as Adamma felt to me. Follow Me Down, instead, is a ‘Before’ and ‘After’ odyssey in which we see Adamma passionately and loyally deal with some pretty horrific experiences – from the disappearance of Scarlett to the suspected rape of a school friend – yet because it’s YA mystery, it’s never too graphic.
You are probably wondering ‘So what’s the mystery’? Follow Me Down untangles just what has happened to Scarlett and who Adamma is romantically involved with throughout the book. You’ll have to keep up when reading otherwise you may find yourself screaming ‘WHAT?!’ once you’ve reached the last page, and will have to re-read the last few pages again, as I had to.
Follow Me Down is an accomplished, sophisticated novel with its haunting tone and clever foreshadowing. One of the things I like most about reading is not knowing what is going to happen next – unlike in real life where I have to plan everything – and mystery is the epitome of this. Follow Me Down does credit to YA, a thrilling mix of contemporary and mystery. Now, let’s hope it starts a trend! Of course, I’ll be picking up Heart-Shaped Bruise as soon as possible…