A teenage narrator or central character is a significant but not clinching consideration. The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu, despite its YA-ish title and bold cover foregrounding the titular teen, focuses much of its witty narrative on Nnenna’s parents. There’s a cardinal rule in YA about treating parents as Other and keeping the focus on the teenage point of view. Adulthood is another country; they do things differently there. For this reason we must regretfully discount this well-written tale.
"One Booker shortlist later, Galley Beggar were proved correct. Ellmann’s novel isn’t perfect, and it may not take the prize, but in a world where Ian McEwan is still at large, something introspective and richly painted is a tonic for us all...."
— The Daily Telegraph
4.25 out of 5