Updated on December 6, 2015
14. ‘Riccarton Junction’ by W Scott Beaven
The writer of this novel, Scott Beaven, got in touch after reading my review of Unravelling Oliver. He reckoned his book Riccarton Junction would be my style, and a few days later this beauty arrived in the post.
Kikarin is a teenage girl of British-Japanese descent. When she moves with her family to Scotland she tries to make a fresh start and pursue her interest in history, but her beauty and ethnicity cause her problems and she often has to deal with racism and unwanted sexual advances. Before long her brother is released from prison, but in his wake comes a trail of dangerous men and missing money.
I really liked Kikarin. She’s a gutsy character with an unusual interest for a teenage girl: she’s fascinated by dying communities, in particular the lost town that sprung up around the now derelict Riccarton Junction railway line. Her relationship with Chris is quite interesting (and, later on, very exciting!), and I also liked her parents (they’re well-meaning but occasionally misguided, such as when they suggest that she suffered sexual assault because of the clothes she was wearing). What’s more, each of the characters has their own complexities: her mother turns out to be something of a badass and her father keeps a secret that I certainly didn’t see coming.
Now and again the novel does try to tackle one too many plot threads at once. Handling romance, racism, school drama, prison life and murder is certainly ambitious, but it could probably bear to lose one or two of its subplots to make the whole that much stronger. Overall, though, the story moves quickly and certainly holds your interest, and there are plenty of shocking surprises to keep you guessing.
Riccarton Junction is the first of three books that follow Kikarin. You can buy it here.
Read my review of the third book here.