Lush by Natasha Friend (Banned Books)

banned books month for the rest of 2014 ChrissiReads, Bibliobeth & I (aka Luna’s Little Library) will be reading a Banned or Challenged Book.

We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged. How/If things have changed since the book was originally published. What we actually think of the book.

If you’d like to joining in there is a list of the books we’ll be reading at the bottom of this post.

Previous Banned Book Discussion: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks as “Anonymous”
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Lush by Natasha Friend

First published: 2007
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2010 (source)
Chosen by: Bibliobeth
Reason: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group


Blurb: Natasha Friend is a Judy Blume for today — clearly evident in this remarkable new novel about a girl whose father is an alcoholic and how she and her family learn to deal with his condition.

It’s hard to be a 13-year-old girl. But it’s even harder when your father’s a drunk. It adds an extra layer to everything — your family’s reactions to things, the people you’re willing to bring home, the way you see yourself and the world. For Samantha, it’s something that’s been going on for so long that she’s almost used to it. Only, you never get used to it. Especially when it starts to get worse…


Do you understand or agree with any of the reason for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: This is such a recent publication (2007) that I’m actually really surprised that it is banned/challenged in schools. Out of all the books we have read so far, this is the one that I really don’t understand the reasons behind it and it confused me so much that I actually had to leaf through the book again to try and work out why there may be problems.

CHRISSI: This is one book that I totally DO NOT see why it was challenged. I’m actually quite annoyed by it being challenged, because I actually see this book as a book that could be used to support teenagers going through the very same thing. It is a story about alcoholism- so of course it’s going to contain reference to that. As for offensive language… pffft.

LUNA: You know I actually checked to see if there was another Lush by Natasha Friend because seriously are you kidding me? Do I understand any of the reasons – NO. The story is about a 13 year old girl dealing with her father’s alcoholism how can it not contain alcohol and its effects? The offensive language as far as I can figure out is the word “boobs”. I repeat, are you kidding me?!

How about now?

BETH: As I said above, this is a recent release, and not much has changed in seven years, so definitely NO. By banning or challenging it, I think it could be depriving teenagers of a book that could be incredibly useful if they were in a similar situation. There was a sexual scene but I really don’t think it was particularly explicit (You probably get worse on Coronation Street or Eastenders for goodness sake!)

CHRISSI: No. It could be used as a support/understanding/educative book. Just no.

LUNA: Pfft. Don’t understand why it’s ever been challenged in the first place. I’ve said it so many times but here I go again: Don’t underestimate teenagers. 

What did you think of the book?

BETH: I think this is one of my favourite books out of our banned book series. It was a beautiful and emotional rollercoaster of a read as Sam and her family learn to deal with her father’s addiction. The characters were brilliantly realised, I loved our main character Sam and her little brother Luke is too adorable for words. For me, it felt like such an authentic read that I think teenagers in the same situation could relate to the circumstances that Sam finds herself in and benefit from it.

CHRISSI: This book is potentially my favourite out of our banned book series. It contains so many important topics and as I’ve said before, I think it could be incredibly educative/supportive. I was very moved by this story. I loved it!

LUNA: I am so impressed how much of a punch this relatively short book packs. Sam has a lot to contend with, her father has been drinking for a long time but her mother isn’t acknowledging it. Sam’s father is stressed, he needs support and understanding. Sam doesn’t agree and then it comes the night he goes too far.

Natasha Friend really deals with the emotions Sam goes through brilliantly, as the reader you’re with Sam from the very beginning. I loved the friendship she strikes up with AJK. Sam’s relationship with her little brother, how she looks after him. At times my heart just ached. Lush is a great book.

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Without a doubt!

LUNA: Absolutely

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