Minty is Christina Banach’s debut novel and although aimed at the young adult market, I think it is a book that older readers will enjoy too. I know, I certainly did. Minty and Jess are 14 year-old identical twins. As you would imagine, much of the time they are inseparable but every now and again, they wish they could just have some space to be themselves – not one of a pair. I have twin nieces, not identical, and must admit that I am a bit guilty of thinking about them as ‘the twins’ rather than as individuals. On a trip to the beach with their parents, one of their dogs gets into difficulties in the stormy sea and Minty rushes to help with devastating consequences.
I started reading this book over the weekend when Halloween was nearly upon us and lots of people were having parties dressed up as zombies, ghosts, witches and so on. It was purely coincidental timing but turned out to be rather appropriate as life beyond ours is very much a theme of this book. As you may have gathered, tragically Minty drowns and the book follows her devastated family as they try to come to terms with her death. I can only imagine how awful it must be to lose a child this way, let alone losing a twin. Christina Banach wrote very movingly about Jess in particular and how she was affected by Minty’s death. As well as missing what felt like her other half, Jess felt so guilty as the sisters had argued before the accident and Jess felt partly responsible. It was so sad to see Jess sink into what can only be described as a deep depression. I was touched too by the girls’ parents responses, particularly their father. He seemed to feel he had to be the strong one of the family while really, he was hurting as much as his wife and Jess.
But this book is also about Minty and how she is trapped in some kind of place between life and death. Teenagers are often quite fascinated by the possibility of ghosts and the supernatural – the success of the Twilight series shows that. I feel that this is a book which would definitely appeal to young adults and that Christina Banach has captured the teenage voices of her characters perfectly. As heartbreaking as it was to read about Jess’s grief, it was equally sad to read about Minty and her desperate attempts to let Jess know she was there. Yet the book, isn’t all sadness. There is warmth and humour often provided by Jack, a wonderful ghostly character Minty meets on the other side. He could sometimes be infuriating but he also made me smile, particularly when he was just like any other teenage lad eyeing up the girls!
Minty is a very thought-provoking book looking at grief and how people deal with loss in different ways. It’s about letting go, moving on and forgiving yourself. A compelling, very emotional read with an uplifting conclusion, it’s a book which will remain in my thoughts for some time.
My thanks to the author for my copy of this book. It was published on 8 April 2014 in paperback and as an e-book by Three Hares Publishing. You can order a copy online here: Minty
From the back of the book
Fourteen-year-old twins Minty and Jess are inseparable. Maybe they bicker now and then, even crave a bit of space once in a while. But they have a connection. Unbreakable. Steadfast. Nothing can tear them apart. Until a family trip to the coast puts their bond in jeopardy. As Minty tries to rescue her dog from drowning she ends up fighting for her life. Will Minty survive? If she doesn’t, how will Jess cope without her? Only the stormy sea has the answer. Minty is a story of love, loss and coming to terms with consequences. It’s a spiritual tale that will linger in your mind long after you’ve read the final word.