07 Oct Review – Empress & Aniya
Empress & Aniya by Candice Carty-Williams
Alison Palmer reviews the first YA novel from the bestselling author of Queenie.
What if there were people who actually looked out for you and cared enough to find out why you might be cross and angry about stuff? What if you found your soulmate and things worked out?
This is a brilliant story told with love and humour about two girls thrown together at school who realise they have a bond and a friendship that overrides normal conventions. Empress and Aniya decide on the eve of their shared 16th birthday to cast a spell to switch identities. They discover exactly what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes and experience a unique opportunity to see what is really important to each other.
This book shines a light on the realities of neglect and hunger, both often hidden problems that far too many young people experience. The book makes a powerful case for why greater acknowledgement is needed of how young people are affected and how more discussion and openness could help. Although the book explores difficult issues, above all it is a story of hope, of finding out that nothing is inevitable and that it is possible to change your outcomes. We all need a friend like Aniya.