Dark Poppy's Demise is the newest novel by local author S.A. Partridge, and a great one at that. It is an extremely potent psychological offering that displays Partridge's ability to get inside the head of a reader. Dark Poppy's Demise is aimed at a young adult audience, and with its modern themes and its understanding of the trials and tribulations of teenage life, it hits its target very effectively.
The book tells the story of Jenna Brooks, a sixteen-year-old from Cape Town whose life is anything but easy. Her parents are divorced, the boy she's had a crush on for years has started dating her arch-nemesis, and she feels as if nobody understands her. Just as life seems to have become totally unbearable, she receives a Facebook friend request from a handsome stranger named Robert Rose. Robert appears to be the answer to her prayers. He's good looking, understanding, romantic, and wants to be her boyfriend. However, as Jenna finds out, everything is not always as it seems.
Dark Poppy's Demise explores the very real dangers of online relationships in a manner that is gripping, intelligent, and rather unlike the after-school-special-esque way in which this topic has been dealt with so many times in the past. It is not the first great page-turner by this bright, young talent, and will surely not be the last. With this book, S.A. Partridge cements her position as one of South Africa's most brilliant writers of this generation. This is a novel that not only reaches its target audience effectively, but will also capture the minds of readers outside of the young adult population. Dark Poppy's Demise is not a novel to be missed.
Dark Poppy's Demise
by S.A. Partridge
Human and Rousseau, 2011
archive - issue 8