'[a] winning debut... Funny, bleak and moving, with a poem at the end which reduced me to tears'
- The Daily Mail
'funny... emotional... [What a Way to Go] also looks at the different facets of the relationships with the adults in [Harper's] life quite beautifully.'
- The Sun
'Poignant, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny and a fabulous portrait of the time.'
- Woman and Home
'a poignant and touching novel'
- The Herald, Scotland
'This is a bittersweet tale of one girl just at the cusp of becoming a young woman with a burgeoning mind of her own, and a blossoming sense of life's possibilities'
- The Western Mail
'This novel has everything; a strong, quirky voice, lyricism, humour, and a true understanding of the teenage mind'
- The Irish Examiner
'What a Way to Go is funny and sharp and it's a treat to hang out with Harper'
- Emerald Street
'[This] novel showcases [Forster's] talent for distilling reality and conveying the voice of a smart twelve-year-old girl as she comes to terms with being the daughter of a single mother at the fag end of the 1980s'
'The epiphany of this coming-of-age novel (fittingly, for a book about mortgage) is re-evaluation: of Harper's estimation of her individual tastes, potential and need for control... I love [Harper's] voice.'
- New Welsh Review
'What a fabulous novel! So fresh, touching, truthful and laugh-out-loud funny. I absolutely loved it.'
- Deborah Moggach
'I hugely, entirely enjoyed this book. What a Way to Go is richly transporting - and so funny, and so moving. Julia Forster has all the marks of a prize-winning novelist; you know if from the first pages.'
- Horatio Clare
'Funny & warm & sometimes sad & always beautifully written & just a bl**dy joy, really.'
'What a fabulous, funny book.'
- Abbie Ross on Twitter, author of Hippy Dinners
‘A brilliant debut. Sharp, sweet, bristling with wit and full of hilarious, wildly imaginative observations. Julia Forster has created a bold and distinctive 12 year-old voice that manages to be nostalgic and authentic at the same time.’
- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals
'I haven't enjoyed a book this much in ages. It's wonderful... Harper [is] an amazing protagonist - all the things I wanted to be at that age but probably never was - brith, funny, inquisitive, happy in her own skin'
- Megan Bradbury, author of Everyone is Watching
‘What begins as a humorous, pitch-perfect, coming-of-age story, turns into something with much darker undertones. Forster covers themes of divorce, being a single parent, mental health, death and sexuality.... an entertaining look at some of life’s challenges with some brilliant 80s references scattered within. It’s perfect for fans of Nina Stibbe’s Man at the Helm.’
- Naomi Frisby, blogger at The Writes of Women
1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson's parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents' club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents' broken hearts...
Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.
What a Way to Go is published by Atlantic Books (2016). You can buy it at your local bookshop or on Amazon now.To get a flavour of what to expect, click on the novel's playlist above. Prepare your listening chimneys for everything from Adam & the Ants to Yazz and the Plastic Population, Belinda Carlisle to Vanessa Paradis...
What a Way to Go Blog Tour
With a mixture of reviews, author Q&A and also one-off pieces on the creative process, here are the links to the Blog Tour, which ran in January 2016:
Poppy Peacock Pens: How I swapped sweets for pop music when I wrote What a Way to Go
Debra's Book Cafe: Author Q&A
One More Page: Review of What a Way to Go
Novel Kicks: Author Q&A
Liz Loves Books: '1980s Fashion Faux Pas' guest post
It Takes a Woman: 'Top Five Things I'd Bring Back from 1988' guest post
Lia Mills: Author Q&A
Jera's Jamboree: 'Echo Chambers' guest post on pop music and politics
Anne Cater - Random Things Through my Letterbox: 'Mail Order Queen' guest post
Naomi Frisby - The Writes of Women: Author Q&A
I was also hosted over at Nathan Bransford's US blog where I wrote a guest post on how NOT to write a novel, and a post on Greenacre Writers is also available here. An author interview with the journalist Sue Leonard, which first appeared in the Irish Examiner, is available in full here.