Six friends attend a music festival in the Cederberg. Only five come back. For her seventeenth birthday Demi Crowley invites her five closest friends to join her at a music festival for a party to end all parties. But what was supposed to be the night of their lives soon becomes a nightmare none of them will ever forget. Sharp Edges is a topsy-turvy tale of love, loss and friendship that will stay with you long after the final page has been turned, and leaves you questioning what you really know about your friends.
In her fourth novel for Young Adults, SA Partridge documents the few days and weeks of a group of friends after the death of Demi Crowley. Going inside the mind of teenagers, Partridge gives us a glimpse into the thoughts, actions and heartbreak that shapes the lives of the five friends left alive after a horror weekend at a music festival. Demi the fun loving, happy-go-lucky girl who held together a group of friends, only wants her friends to be happy and to have the best 17th birthday party imaginable – however it ends in her untimely death.
Written from the different viewpoints in the aftermath of the tragedy, Partridge brings to life six characters who are all unique (and demented) in their own way, there are few authors I have read who have written a teen’s point of view so accurately. Reading this book reminded me of the politics and drama of my high school years, the fine balance of teenage friendships is so carefully constructed you could probably pick this group of friends out any high school in South Africa right now. It also reminded me of The Breakfast Club, everyone playing their specific role in their micro-society. Sharp Edges is reminiscent of Barrie Hough’s work, the emotion is captured so perfectly that your heart breaks along with the characters and unlike a lot of YA this book evokes empathy that is hard to find in the genre. It is also refreshing to read about actual teenagers, who are nothing special or supernatural just kids trying to find their way through life. The book hurtles towards a conclusion that will shock the reader and leave you horrified at the so-called friends of Demi Crowley. It is superbly written and a must-read for any YA fan.