Title: Let Down Your Hair
Author: Bryony Gordon
Pages: 288 Pages
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Introducing the YA fiction debut from bestselling author and journalist Bryony Gordon in a modern twist on Rapunzel and one girl’s quest to find a different sort of happy ever after.
Barb may have zero friends IRL, but online, she is popular. Like, several-hundred-thousand-followers popular. Or at least, her hair is popular. Because Barb’s hair is glossy and beautiful. Which is why hairbrush manufacturers pay her stupid money for a 30-second clip. But most of the time Barb just wants to be a typical teenager, who has friends and a life. One who isn’t confined to her bedroom on the 12th floor of the tower-block flat she shares with her aunt making content. One who can go about her business without everyone obsessing over the way she looks. Barb just needs to save up some money to make a new life for herself.
But it’s soon clear something isn’t right. Because when Barb runs her fingers over her scalp, she feels something smooth and different. She gets out her mirrors and combs for a video and sees it … a bald patch the size of a ten pence coin, slap bang in the middle of her head.
Barb has alopecia.
In this stunning retelling of Rapunzel, Barb must learn that she is so much more than her hair and that there is no such thing as a happy ending … just lots of complicated new beginnings.
As far as retellings go Bryony Gordon’s retelling of Rapunzel is pretty good.
Set in modern times with modern day problems – social media being the biggest, Bryony Gordon revisits the tale of Rapunzel placing her in a London tower block instead of an ivory tower and making her an online content creator instead of a princess. Instead of dealing with just a crazed mother figure locking her in a tower our new Rapunzel Barb has to contend with school bullies, passing her GCSEs and now the biggest problem of all – alopecia – not great when your content is all about hair care.
What Bryony Gordon does so well is concentrate on the mental health worries of children and the impact that social media can have. She looks at low income families, the growing desire for the fairy tale life that is presented through our screens and also alternative families.
Another strength in Let Down Your Hair is the relatability factor. No one is immune from the insecurities that our characters face. It is a real strength in Bryony Gordon’s writing.
Let Down Your Hair by Bryony Gordon is available now.
For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildren’s.co.uk.