Wednesday 18 March 2015

Spotlight on Sunny, Keris Stainton

Pages: 205
Publisher: Catnip
Release Date: 5th March 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

A film-making course in London with your favourite people in the world. Sunny, Kitty and Hannah are set for the Best. Summer. Ever.

But for Sunny the trip also raises questions. Is she happy just being with the funny, gorgeous boy she’s met? Has her life already been mapped out? What does she really want?

And then there’s the secret she hasn’t told Kitty and Hannah... Because is changes everything.

The second book in the Reel Friends series, Spotlight on Sunny, is just as warm and full of heart as the first. I loved it.

Spotlight on Sunny is a testament to diversity. After Kitty’s story focusing on LGBT issues, Keris moves over the what could possibly be the last taboo in YA: religion. Sunny is a Muslim. She prays, wears a hijab and won’t have a boyfriend unless it’s marriage-serious. She has to deal with the assumptions made by complete strangers, the looks and the judgements, and the lack of them too. Religion can be a difficult topic to approach but I think it was done beautifully in Spotlight on Sunny. It wasn’t made a big deal of but it was present and still seen as important to Sunny.

As well as Sunny’s religion, the novel features Will, a cute and cheeky boy with Hyper Mobility Syndrome; a scantily dressed Australian girl who causes some trouble for Sunny and a girl with bright blue hair among others. It was so good to see such a variety of teenagers represented without judgement or stereotypes adhered to. And the gang took on this message for the product of their film course. After experiencing wolf whistles on the street, judging each other on how they present themselves and realising that those snap judgements led them way off track, Sunny, Kitty, Hannah, Danielle and Will make their final piece about just that: don’t judge a book by its cover. Perfect!

Sweet, easy reading and a brilliant advocate for diversity and feminism, Spotlight on Sunny is a must for everyone.


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