I struggled with this book as I found the subject matter upsetting and quite difficult to read. It is the story of Poppy and Serena’s relationship with Marcus, which begins when they are underage, develops into him dominating and abusing them, and results in him being killed. Poppy suspects Serena killed him, and Serena suspects Poppy killed him. Serena is found innocent of the murder but Poppy is found guilty, and after her release from prison she is determined to make Serena admit her own guilt and prove Poppy’s innocence.

It is a very gripping book, mainly I think because it seemed to be four stories in one; Serena as a young girl; Serena in present day; Poppy as a young girl; and Poppy in present day so I felt I was holding four stories in my head at the same time and it was difficult to resist reading just one more chapter in case that chapter gave more details of the storyline I’d just read about – a very clever way to write a book. It is also a gripping book as the reader is unsure who has done the murder or what exactly happened.

After finishing the book, however, I was left with many feelings of doubt as to the credibility of the storyline and how on earth two young girls could be investigated and one actually imprisoned for killing an adult who had abused them; I just really don’t think it would be as black and white as that. Firstly, why weren’t previous allegations of Marcus abusing young girls brought up either by his victims or their families or other teachers as a defence for Poppy and Serena? Secondly, surely Poppy and Serena’s underage status would have made the police suspect that it was much more likely that they were being manipulated by Marcus rather than them manipulating him as he had committed a crime in the first place by having a relationship with underage girls. Thirdly, why did the girls’ families not confirm their allegations that they were beaten by Marcus, as surely the families would have noticed broken bones, cut lips, etc, even if the girls had tried to explain them away at the time, also the hospitals would have had records of the girls’ injuries to back up their stories. These are just a few of the holes in the plot that niggled away at me while reading the book.

I also found the ending and the discovery of Marcus’ murderer (which I won’t give away and spoil someone else’s read) as unnecessarily complicated and introducing yet another plotline that wasn’t needed as the story would have been gripping enough as it was.

I admire Koomson’s desire to highlight abuse like this and can see that writing a gripping fictional tale about such a subject does bring it to people’s attention in a way that campaigns may not, but I was disappointed in the quality and believability of the storyline, which is a shame as her other books I have read have been of extremely high quality.

The Ice Cream Girls (Paperback)

By (author): Dorothy Koomson

Paperback. Pub Date :2010-5-1 Pages: 470 Publisher:. Little brown As teenagers. Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were the onlywitnesses to a tragic event Amid heated public debate. the twoseemingly glamorous teens were dubbed The Ice Cream Girls by thepress . and were dealt with by the courts Years later. having ledvery different lives. Poppy is keen to set the record straightabout what really happened. while Serena wants no one in herpresent to find out about her past But some secrets will not stayburied -. and if theirs is revealed. everything will become a livinghell all over again ... Gripping. thought-provoking andheart-warming. The Ice Cream Girls will make you wonder if you canever truly know the people you love.
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