Kissing Daisy Parker by Michael Milton @mikemiltonbooks @KLnovels @lovebooksgroup #bookreview

First loves. Last chances. Street Fighter II.

Daisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning on a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. 

Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she?

Scottish-born, English-accented Junaid is the couple’s best friend. Haunted by that school dance and terrified of the future, he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. 

When a disastrous event at the video game tournament brings Daisy and J closer together, Greg attempts the ultimate redemption.

Each makes decisions which alter the course of their friendship, and their lives, forever. But do the answers to life’s biggest questions truly lie in kissing Daisy Parker?

This coming-of-age young adult novel has the heart of Aristotle and Dante (Benjamin Alire Sáenz), the spirit of Looking for Alaska (John Green) and the punch of Street Fighter II (Super Nintendo).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Milton spent the first 25 years of his life pretending to be other people. After switching drama school for university, he lived and worked in East Asia before settling down in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Kissing Daisy Parker is his first novel, and yes, he can beat you at Street Fighter.

Review

Kissing Daisy Parker is the brilliant debut novel by Michael Milton. Set in the late 1980’s, when video games were played without the internet, the theme is fully relevant to the present. How woefully short the fight against discrimination has come. 

Kissing Daisy Parker is a coming of age YA novel decidedly for the older age bracket of that genre. A mature telling of the messy, intertwined lives of three friends and how life doesn’t always go as planned. Not even close.

 The cover’s bright lime green background spotlights Daisy Parker, hiding her face behind a bouquet of daisies, being (presumably) kissed by Gregor and Junaid, her boyfriend and their best friend. The light, airy cover is the façade the characters put on. The story is about their becoming. Where they came from. Where they are meant to be. 

The novel  reminds me of a Tilt-a-Whirl (for those in the US) or the Waltzer. You know, that crazy spinning carnival ride? There’s the large undulating outer spin of the whole platform and the individual carriage spin. Kissing Daisy Parker is like that. The timeline moves from present to past and back again. The perspective changes from one of the three main characters on a rotating basis. And then there is what really happened. Dizzying? Yes. Brilliant? Absolutely. As a new author, Michael Milton has mastered the art of narrative. Of angst. Of humanity. The novel is, if nothing else, completely unexpected.

And, in my mind, beautiful. 

Raw, harsh truths lie within. But that, indeed is the true nature of life. “If we write our own life stories, then we also have the power to choose our own endings.” 

Add Kissing Daisy Parker to your must read list for 2021.

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