Wow, I don’t even know where to start. This book was absolutely incredible! The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson is probably the first ever book I have read which made the hairs on my arms stand up on end, and my legs feel like jelly.
Poppy Carlisle and Serena Gorringe were teenagers in the late eighties, who both fell in love with the same man – a teacher, Marcus Halnsley. Constantly in competition with one another, the girls would try and do everything possible for Marcus to love them more than the other, despite the abuse and beatings he would give them. Both girls were constantly treading on egg shells around him and taking beatings from him, so why were they so in love with this monster?
After witnessing a very tragic event, the girls go completely separate ways. Here, we are brought to the present. Poppy has just came out of prison after 25 years, as she was found guilty for what happened. Serena is a mother of two, and married to the lovely Evan, and has hidden her past from everyone she loves for all these years. Now Poppy is out of prison, she is determined to set the record straight. She did not kill him, and she is furious that she has lost 25 years of her life from being locked up for a crime she did not commit. Poppy tracks Serena down, and is determined to make her confess to the murder, so that Poppy can clear her name and get her life and family back.
I won’t say any more, because I don’t want to give too much away. From page one, I was gripped to the book. I did not want to put it down. You step in the shoes of both Poppy and Serena, and you see both sides of the story. The fact that you swap from the life of Poppy, and then to Serena, sounds confusing but it really isn’t. You feel emotionally attached to the characters immediately and you are caught in the middle – trying to decide whether to believe Poppy, or whether to believe Serena – both adamant that they are innocent.
I was hooked on this book the whole way through, and I was so excited yet nervous to find out what actually happened that night. The ending caught me by surprise – I honestly did not expect to find out what I did. However, it was totally worth the wait and anticipation.
I would recommend this to anybody! Looking at the cover of the book, you get the impression that it is a happy chick-lit book, but really it is an emotional, haunting, psychological journey of two vulnerable girls who want to leave their past behind. I cannot express how much I loved this book. I experienced so many different emotions, and the whole way through it felt like I was actually there with them, inside the book.
Once I had finished reading the book, the only things I said for ages afterwards was – “Oh my gosh… Wow… That was incredible”. No joke – I was left speechless.