My Favourite Manson GirlTitle: My Favourite Manson Girl

Author: Alison Umminger

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Little Brown Book Group

The Blurb

Anna has had a miserable year. Everything feels wrong with her life. And rather than stay and face the mess, she steals a credit card and books herself a seat on the first flight out of town to Los Angeles, to crash with her sister. But soon after she lands, cold reality soon dawns on her: Hollywood isn’t the escape she needs. She is trapped in a town full of lost souls and wannabes, with no friends, no cash and no return ticket.

When she’s offered a job researching the murderous Manson girls for a dubious film, she reluctantly accepts – she needs the money. But soon enough, among the fake smiles and glitter-fuelled parties, things turn from strange, to dark, to dangerous . . .

This is not going to be the summer Anna had in mind.

My Favourite Manson Girl is a chilling story about being young, lost and female. This is a story about how girls disappear.

The Review

My Favourite Manson Girl is a story about a young girl called Anna. She has ran away from her seemingly dysfunctional life in her hometown to visit her sister in LA. As the sparkle of Hollywood begins to wear away, Anna realises that maybe her life wasn’t so dysfunctional after all.

Ok, so I have a few problems with My Favourite Manson Girl. It was good. I was entertained but I wasn’t enthralled by the story. I think that Umminger had several workable elements but there were patches of the story that were just too thin to make me care. The exposition of the story was realistic enough but for large chunks of the novel I was continually asking myself “what’s the point?”

Not all is lost. My Favourite Manson Girl does pick up towards the end and the pace quickens. However, the majority of the plot is languorous and you don’t really feel like you are getting very far.

The macabre Manson element will titillate those who like social history but My Favourite Manson Girl could have been told without this side story – title aside. The Manson murders add nothing to the plot.

Overall, My Favourite Manson Girl won’t be making my list of favourite books but it is an easy going book that I would recommend as a holiday read. It doesn’t require too much concentration.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger is available now.

Follow Alison Umminger (@AlisonGraceU) on Twitter and for further information visit her official website

For further titles from Little Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit

3 Stars


The Blurb

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet, because if they ever did, one of them would certainly die. As recluses from society, they develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline.

Through an exchange of letters, the two boys develop a strong friendship which becomes a lifeline during dark times – until Moritz reveals that he holds the key to their shared, sinister past, and has been keeping it from Ollie all along.

This is a story of impossible friendship and hope from a brilliant new speculative fiction writer.

The Review

For someone who reads a lot of Young Adult fiction, I often find that the books follow a trend. They become samey. Once it was vampires and then fairies but most recently it has been stories of illness and suicide. I hate to lump Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas in a category such as ‘Young Adult: Illness’ because this genre of novel has almost become a cliché yet that is best way to pigeonhole this novel. The flipside of this is that Because You’ll Never Meet Me is unlike any book I have ever read. And it is bloody brilliant.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me is the story of an unlikely friendship between two boys – Ollie and Moritz – who bond through letters. Both boys lack a social life; they are reclusive, kept away from others due to their medical conditions. However, through their conversations we see both characters grow within their constraints and learn to live with what life had to offer them rather than slowly rotting away.

Normally, I find stories told in letter format quite jarring but it is a testament to Leah Thomas’s writing that I didn’t find Because You’ll Never Meet Me cloying and detestable. She is very accomplished at making you empathise with her characters but what I found myself thinking is just how lucky I am to not have to live with such a debilitating medical condition. Because You’ll Never Meet Me makes you realise just how good you have thing in life. This book should be on the shelves of every junior library because the message within it is so darn strong.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me is one of the most impressive books I have read this year.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas is available now.

Follow Leah Thomas (@blunderkinder) on Twitter.

Because Youll Never Meet Me