I was drawn to this new young adult novel for several reasons:

To begin with, the cover caught my eye.  It’s true that you should never judge a book by it’s cover, however a well-constructed and designed book cover will always lead browsers to pick it up and at least read the back.  A good start in getting read!

Secondly, I was intrigued by the concept for the story – that the characters of three of the best known romantic poets of the early 19th century should be transposed into contemporary high school students.

Also, Ty Roth was a new name to me (turns out So Shelly is his debut novel) and it’s good to read authors who are either new to you or new to being published.

I enjoyed this novel very much, though initially I was skeptical about whether I would stick with it when I thought the whole novel was going to consist of teenage angst about death and dying.  However, Roth neither sensationalises nor dwells on this topic even though it is one of the main components of the story.  John Keats is our narrator who intersperses the tale of his friend Shelly, whose funeral is the opening scene for the book, with the task given to him and Byron by their deceased friend.  Keats and Byron have been charged with the task of appropriating Shelly’s ashes and scattering them at the scene of her death – and so this relatively unlikely premise begins.

There were sections of this novel that, while entertaining seemed superfluous to the main story, until I read the afterword in which Roth explains how he cleverly weaved real-life events into the plot and setting for each character.

Overall, a very polished debut.  I will look out for further novels by Ty Roth. Give So Shelly a read and see if you find it as satisfying as I did.