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Lex bok Sara Kadefors, Lex bok (Lex's Book)

Lilla Piratförlaget,  2013.

Reviewed by Mia Österlund in SBR 2014:1

Review Section: Fiction for Young Adults

Thirteen years ago, Sara Kadefors won  the August Prize for her young adult  novel Sandor slash Ida (2001), a spot-on story about an unlikely friendship  between a solitary boy and a gregarious  girl, and their pained thoughts on growing  up in contemporary Swedish society. In  Lex bok, she returns to the same motif  and a similar friendship. 

Lex is an outsider who refuses to  be branded by society. Her father is  in prison and her mother tries to heal  herself through Zumba dancing. When  her mother brings home a new partner,  Bruno, an unsuccessful author of fiction  for young people, Lex does her best to  end the relationship by feeding Bruno the  ‘true story’ about her abusive upbringing.  Fuelled by frustration, she and her male  friend start a blog that combines selfies  with a sentimental life story about a  broken girl. The blog becomes a huge  success and, as it happens, a means  for Lex to overcome her self-chosen  passivity and repressed problems. 

Today, the plots of young adult fiction often reflect the fact that social media occupy so much of the daily  lives of teenagers. Kadefors’s portrait  of a girl outsider in baggy clothes and  hoodies, who manages to become a blog  fashion icon, is a convincing depiction  of contemporary girlhood aspirations.  The novel is entertaining, yet raises  serious questions about our neo-liberal,  entrepreneurial society. Kadefors has  also written a meta-novel: her mockery  of the young adult novel genre is  brilliant. Reshaping the typically problem-oriented tendency of young adult novels,  she raises generic questions such as:  ‘How will the genre survive?’ Through  Lex’s blog, Kadefors gives the girl a voice  of her own, which also raises questions  about who has the authority to write  about young people. 

Lex embraces negativity. She belongs  among other lying and manipulating  girl characters, such as Monika  Fagerholm’s post-modern heroine Diva. Simultaneously a negative outsider  covered by a hoodie, a blog fashionista  and a competent storyteller, Lex provides  an updated and intriguing portrait of  young femininity, as well as of the young  adult genre itself.

Also by Sara Kadefors

Other reviews by Mia Österlund

Other reviews in SBR 2014:1

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