“Everybody’s good when they’re good, darling. You don’t judge a person by that. It’s how they act when things aren’t good that tells you who they really are.”
Seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper – Ily for short – is named after war and angry at the world. Growing up with a violent father and abused mother, she doesn’t know how to do relationships, family or friends. Her love-hate friendship with Max turns into a prank war and she nearly destroys her first true friendship with misfit Mia. She takes off her armour for nobody, until she meets Jared, a local actor and someone who’s as complicated as she is.
I was kindly sent a copy of this book by Penguin in exchange for an honest review, and I loved this book so, so, so much. And I’m so glad I picked it up!
Just before I tell you the one hundred reasons I loved this book, I just want you to know that this novel does discuss some dark topics such as domestic violence and toxic relationships.
I can’t believe how much I loved this novel. The Build-Up Season only took me a few days to read and I’m so happy I decided to pick this one off my shelf instead of ignoring it along with my other 217 unread books. *cries internally while still ignoring them* I really think Megan Jacobson covered the themes with respect and sensitivity, which can be a challenge.
When I first met Jacobson, she’d only just published her absolutely gorgeous novel Yellow, which follows a fourteen year old girl struggling with school, friendship and a little ghost problem. Sadly however, I just couldn’t immerse myself into the world like some of my good friends could, my tiny feet didn’t fit the shoes of a 14-year-old girl. AND THAT’S OK! Sometimes some worlds just can’t coax you in, even though the home a brilliant story.
I WOULDN’T GIVE UP ON MEG, though, and decided to pick up The Build-Up Season one lazy Sunday, and could immediately see me walking a mile or two in Iliad’s shoes. She’s sassy and sarcastic and has a unique way of seeing things, and it just made her really easy to fall in step with. She feels like a friend I’ve known my whole life, and trust me, I’ve had a LOT of friends *eyes bookshelf* and by friends I mean real life people . . . obviously.
I really appreciated the themes integrated into the novel, they carried on naturally throughout the story and didn’t seemed forced. I love seeing important topics such as domestic violence in the novels I read, and we need more of it. I don’t usually tab or highlight or underline my books, or fold the corners of the page, but every so often a quote or paragraph really stood out and caught my attention. I would have a small break from the novel while eating dinner, and a conversation between two characters would stay on my mind, it was just so real and authentic.
I also really loved the relationships throughout the novel, save for one, and the natural progress and development of them. I also adored the growth of the side characters, from not standing up for themselves to gradually standing tall and proud for what they believe in. Development like that just makes me so happy, smiley and warm on the inside.
All in all, I loved this gorgeous novel. I rated it a smashing four and a half well deserved stars on Goodreads, and am definitely going to grab a copy of Jacobson’s novels in the future, as I’m sure there will be more, and who knows – maybe I’ll even pick up Yellow sometime soon?
Have you read The Build-Up Season? Are there any themes or topics you would like to see more of in YA? I would love to hear your thoughts~
Until next time, happy reading!
If you, or anyone you know, are suffering from domestic abuse, please call
1800 RESPECT if safe to do so. You can find more resources here.