Title:  Kuklite (original title Cherry Bomb)

Author: Jenny Valentish
Published by Via Lettera, 2016
Translation from English: Diana Nikolova
Book cover: Kamena Dimitrova
ISBN: 978-619-7204-06-3
Year of publication: 2016
416 pages
Format: 140 х 200 mm


‘The Dolls’, with original title Cherry Bomb, is the debut novel of the Australian writer Jenny Valentish. She has been working in the field of musical journalism for decades but with this novel she manages to give shape to the impressions and observations from her long experience.

‘The Dolls” is determined by some critics as a teenage novel for adults. It tells the story of Nina and Rose Dall, first cousins teenagers from Sydney, founders of the super successful pop punk band ‘The Dolls”. Nina is talented and wild, Rose is more introvert and balanced. With the help of their legendary aunt – pop star from 1980’s – they break through the thick walls of Australian showbiz and storm the US musical charts thus finding themselves at the top of their dreams before they have even turned twenty.

Typical representatives of our times, Nina and Rose are bold, narcissistic and have aversion for authority figures. Their sole criterion for significance is the number of their followers on Twitter and Facebook as well as the labels of the clothes they choose to wear. Alcohol and drugs are their worst adviser and in love, they seem to encounter more often betrayal and disappointment rather than support and understanding. At the same time, however, they are brimming with self-confidence, they believe in their undertaking on one hundred percent.

The protagonist in the novel, Nina Dall, is an unreliable narrator. Her winding road to success runs parallel to her attempts to break free from the traumatising events in her childhood.

Is success going to make them the puppets or the puppeteers? What is the painful secret from their childhood that binds them together more than anything else? Are they going to ride the wave of success as seasoned surfers or is it going to throw them on the shore, drained and numb?

The author Jenny Valentish cunningly engages us in this fast-paced story, full of wit and punch, about family and alienation, about dreams and disappointments, about success and the price it comes at.