Thursday 9 September 2021

Book Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop by Maryam Master

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Maryam Master
Illustrated by Astred Hicks
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Imprint: Pan Australia

Publication date: 27th July 2021

Genre: Children's / Teen

Pages: 216

RRP: $16.99AUD

Format read: paperback

Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace Book Club
About the book
Anahita Rosalind Ghorban-Galaszczuk (yes, that really is her name but you can call her Ana) is discovering that life is absurd. As if dying of cancer at the age of 12.5 isn't bad enough, she still has to endure daily insults from her nemesis, Alyssa (Queen Mean) Anderson.
Ana's on a wild roller-coaster of life and death, kindness and cruelty, ordinary and extraordinary.
And she's got a few things to do before she exits.....
My review
Exit Through the Gift Shop is Ana’s story. Ana is a 12.5 year old girl with cancer. She writes the book as an English assignment about the last year of her life.

Can I say this is a fun book! Cancer and dying are tough topics but at no time does Maryam Master try to wring the emotion out of her readers.
We follow Ana through what she is told will be her final year of life as she contemplates her own mortality, succumbs to cancer treatments, takes a last hope trip to the USA and faces a ruthless bully.

Ana is very down to earth and philosophical. She has accepted her fate and is ready to make the most of the time that she has. She has quite a sense of humour and her story is written in a dramatic (comedic) way with lots of big bold words and sketches on the pages.

There is a best friend, Al, by her side to support and cheer her up. He is also a little bit silly and not worried about what people think of him. And what’s a teen novel without a nemesis! Here, Alyssa takes the cake with relentless bullying which Ana expects to stop when Alyssa finds out she has cancer. Ana has already graciously decided to forgive her. Alyssa would have to be the embodiment of bullying. I think Alyssa's character is over dramatic but isn't that what a teen novel is all about, the drama!

Maryam Master has written an entertaining novel that will be ideal as a school study novel with the inclusion of metaphors, alliteration and exaggeration. Alyssa, the bully, would be a good case study and excellent discussion point.

Recommended for ages 12 – 16 years
My rating  4 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author
Maryam Master was born in Iran and moved to Australia when she was nine. She is a screenwriter and playwright who loves creating shows for young audiences.
She began her career in TV, writing for shows like Home and Away, Blinky Bill and the Jim Henson Company's Bambaloo, in 2011 she was selected by Sesame Workshop as the writer for Elmo's tour of Australia.
Exit Through the Gift Shop is her first novel.
Challenges Entered: Australian Women Writers Challenge AWW2021
                                   Aussie Author Challenge #Aussieauthor21 

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