Rich and Mad by William Nicholson cover

Rich and Mad

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Synopsis: This is a compelling and beautifully written novel about first love, first sex, and everything in between. Maddy Fisher has decided to fall in love. And not just any sort of love: can't-eat can't-sleep crazy in love. Rich Ross is after the same thing. He's set his sights high, and he's going to make it happen. The problem is, in life's messy whirlwind of friends and lies and sex and porn, the real thing can be hard to fine. But there's always a first time for everything...

17 and never been in love? Then you’re not alone. Maddy Fisher is just the same. But that is all about to change; she has set a course for a great love. But some unexpected happenings arise, and she is swept away with a boy she hardly dreamed of falling in love with. But it is to late now; love has already caught her and is reeling her in, and before her lay many uncharted waters…

I’ve been a convert of William Nicholson’s works for a while now- they always provoked emotions in me and made me think in ways many other books didn’t. So when I heard about Rich and Mad, I was utterly thrilled. I know, it’s a romance, and I’m a boy, and it’s odd for a boy to read, let alone enjoy these books… But I am a complete sucker for romances… In fact, I was so excited about reading Rich and Mad that I requested a review copy of it (luckily, the publishers accepted!). So when I found it in the post, I immediately began to read. I read as much as I could; I couldn’t get enough of it. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about the concepts it put forward, and when I was reading it, I was so engrossed that it pained me to put it down. Yes, I loved it that much!

I think one of the main reasons why I loved it so was that I could relate to Rich. I was and am, to a certain degree, in a very similar position to him. To Maddy to, I felt a strong connection; from the very start; she said what I had thought only a few months ago. And so, even from early on, I really enjoyed reading about how they managed in their situations. The love the characters felt, I shared. The excited emotions they felt, I felt through them. In their pain I shared; and I understood them; I understood how Rich felt, what he was saying, how he behaved. In a way, Rich seems a lot like an older version of me. This is the bond that drove me right through the book; the understanding. Perhaps I enjoyed Rich and Mad more than most people because I can relate to them very well. But I loved it; I loved every word of every line of every page.

But I don’t think that was the only thing that made me love Rich and Mad so; what I also enjoyed was the characters; and, in a way, they remind me of some of the boys in The Dead Poet’s Society– particularly Rich, and the book he reads; ‘The Art of Loving‘, which brought forward some truly fascinating concepts and ideas, which worked in my head for many an hour. Mr Pico, too reminded me of Robin William’s character; a great, unconventional teacher with many secrets and passions; I’m not sure if William Nicholson did this purposefully, but Mr Pico is fascinating, and his lessons are a joy to read about.

The characters lead me straight into my next point: the writing style. I adore the style. In my opinion it fits so well with the book; it is practically 90% speech. This means we get to know our characters far better… The words they speak reveal their personalities in ways which don’t require the ‘God view’. Instead of needing an over-god telling us what they are feeling, we hear straight from them; their thought process, their emotions. The style fits so well with the book; Rich and Mad is all about the characters, and this is the best way of understanding and relating to them.

You’ve probably realised that I utterly enjoyed Rich and Mad. I loved Reading it so much, I wanted to spread out the book as much as possible to maximise the thrill… It didn’t work, as you might expect! I read it in just over 24 hours on a weekday. It has to be a very good book if it makes me read it that fast, especially if I stay up to read it! Rich and Mad is a touching and compelling tale that I’m sure will touch many hearts. Although I did thoroughly enjoy reading, I don’t think this is a book for everyone. I suspect it might be a bit like Marmite; you either love it or you hate it.

About Rhys

Rhys is a 19 year old with roots in the UK and Germany. Aside from reading and blogging, he also produces theatre, loves Kate Bush and hopes to pursue a career in publishing. His reviews have been widely quoted in books such as Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet, Catherine Bruton’s Pop!, James Treadwell’s Advent and Anarchy and he has presented at such events as Book Expo America.

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