People disappear when they most want to be seen.
Jess Walker, middle child of a middle class family, has perfected the art of vanishing in plain sight. But when she arrives at a concrete university campus under flat, grey, East Anglian skies, her world flares with colour.
Drawn into a tightly-knit group of rule breakers – led by their maverick teacher, Lorna Clay – Jess begins to experiment with a new version of herself. But the dynamic between the friends begins to darken as they share secrets, lovers and finally a tragedy. Soon Jess is thrown up against the question she fears most: what is the true cost of an extraordinary life?
I loved this.
It is a book with a love triangle at the heart of it, but an unexpected one. It is a coming of age story where age comes upon the characters in darkly observant ways. A page turner that is also a literary delight, multi faceted in character and plot, it engages in both entertaining and intelligent ways.
I fell for Jess, for all the ways life sought to change her and for the edgy, incalculable Georgie, their friendship is utterly compelling even as it is betrayed. Between these two sits, yes, a man, but he becomes ever more irrelevant as the plot moves forward and it is in fact another woman, enigmatic lecturer Lorna, who becomes the pointy end of the aforementioned trio.
The Truants is a mystery that sits firmly in the heart of the characters portrayed on the page, an insightful and subtle friendship drama, a set of women seen through a glass darkly. I adored the whole thing, from first page to last it hooked me in and left me wanting more..to follow these characters through the rest of their lives after the final, thought provokingly ambiguous denouement.
Very good indeed. I definitely want more from this author.