My Side of the Diamond

My Side of the Diamond

My Side of the Diamond
Sally Gardner

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471406430

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner. Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But Becky didn't just disappear - she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air. Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance? Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . . With detailed and intriguing black and white illustrations throughout.

Librarian's Book choice

My Side of the Diamond is an intriguing, thoughtful look at love, friendship and the power of telling one's story by Carnegie-winner Sally Gardner.

When her best friend Becky is seen jumping from a tower with her boyfriend, Icarus, Jazmine is blamed. That happened many years previously but now, Jazmine and other key witnesses to Becky and Icarus's disappearance are given the chance to tell their side of the story, truthfully and without being judged. Each narrator takes us back to the weeks before Becky and Icarus disappeared and it is an extraordinary tale of aliens, life after death and love.

The narrative is told by several different people, each getting their own chapter, so you are immersed in the story from several different viewpoints. Gradually, the reader comes to understand the events or at least how those events were perceived by the characters sharing their stories.

The Other Side of the Diamond is an exploration of love that also looks at the absence of love and its opposite, hate, and it raises many questions about why humans behave as they do. The story also looks at depression and eating disorders through the character of Becky, broken families and friendship.

I could see this novel working well with book groups for students aged 12+ as there is so much to discuss and the main narrator, Jazmine, is such a compelling voice. The pages are also beautifully illustrated.

240 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Alison Long.


Reviews

My Side of the Diamond4/5

My Side of the Diamond

Sally Gardner

Review

My Side of the Diamond is beautifully presented to resemble the moleskine notebooks that Becky writes in/ wrote in. You see, Becky and Icarus jumped off a tall building. Twenty years earlier, Skye and Lazarus also jumped off a tall building. Not one of them landed. They just sort of 'disappeared'.

Now the quiet Mr Jones is here to interview witnesses. Each has suffered since the events and each is willing to answer Mr Jones's quiet questions. No-one has really listened to them before; Mr Jones offers them the first chance they've had to fully recount, without judgement. Their recollections of the event are so at odds with rational explanation that prior to Mr Jones they've been dismissed and ridiculed. He listens. For them it's a cathartic process.

Each articulates a tender love - whether for a child, a brother, a friend, a boyfriend - and that is what the quiet Mr Jones wants to understand. Love. What it means, what we'd do for it, the power of it to construct and destruct. The witnesses all linked together through their relationships with the disappeared and each had a different account of love; through their narration, Sally Gardner masterfully exposes the events.

So hold on to the idea that we're all about love and the conduit to discovering it is the quest of Mr Jones - and aliens. Yes, aliens. The aliens are a useful tool to the exploration of love. Surprisingly, I was OK with the aliens, it was the Frankenstein construct of the humans, the alien-cyborg hybrid Doubleday, that unseated me. He was the antithesis of love, an innocent corrupted by human meddling and while he added a frisson of mystery and thriller, Doubleday didn't really have enough of an explanation. I would have liked to have loved this book more.

240 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Catherine Purcell, school librarian.

Reviewed by: Catherine Purcell