The Coll and Art Quadrilogy

The Coll and Art Quadrilogy

I finished my very first YA book back in 2000 but long before I reached the last chapter, I realized the story wouldn't be over on the final page. No, I needed to write a sequel and then a sequel to the sequel before I'd truly be done with those characters. Yep, it turned out I was writing a trilogy and in the middle of my second book I began doing some comparative reading and discovered two YA relationship trilogies that felt like first cousins to my novels. The first of these was the Jackie & Kev Trilogy—an Irish series by Marilyn Taylor (Could This Be Love? I Wondered; Could I Love A Stranger? and Call yourself a Friend?). The second series was by best-selling British author Kate Cann and is referred to as the Diving In series or the Coll and Art trilogy. Only it's not a trilogy any longer because at last Kate Cann has released a fourth novel in the series.

Diving In, In the Deep End, Sink or Swim by Kate Cann

While the first three books are from Coll's point of view, exploring her feelings as she falls for Art, discovers sex and navigates their often rocky relationship, this fourth book is, at last, Art's thoughts on their love affair. Being a big fan of the Coll and Art books I'm extremely excited about this new novel, Art's Story, because, as Kate Cann mentions on her website, this fourth book, “tells you if they stay together or not.”

Here's the blurb on Art's Story from Kate Cann's site: “While Coll's passion for Art is growing – what's he feeling? What does he think of her, how does he see her? And why is he so cut off and cruel sometimes? And when Coll comes back form Canada, can Art change enough to keep them together?”

I highly recommend the Coll and Art books for readers who are fans of realistic teen fiction. These novels remain amongst the best, most truthful YA books about a teen relationship I've ever read and they have the added bonus, for Anglophiles like me, of being British.

But if you happen to be in North America, you're not of out luck, because the Coll and Art trilogy was released on this side of the pond under the titles Ready? Sex and Go! several years ago. It's interesting to note what a different impression a title and cover give a novel considering that the same words appear inside. In this case, I think the British titles and above cover designs do a much better job of capturing the feel of Coll and Art's tale. You might get the impression from the American packaging that this is a sensationalized story but in fact its charm is that it's completely down to earth and open-hearted.

Readty? Sex. Go! by Kate Cann

I fell in love with Coll and Art's story years ago and now that Kate Cann's released Art's Story (which she says her old publisher wouldn't offer her a contract for because they felt “Art was too dark and negative”) I'm going to go back and gleefully reread them all as I wait for my copy of Art's Story to arrive in the mail. If you're interested in checking out Art's Story too, you can order it on Kate Cann's website.

Leader of the Pack and Art's Story by Katen Cann

As a side note, I'm happy to hear that Kate Cann also intends to re-release Breaking Up, which I was lucky enough to pick up in paperback several years ago. And, finally, if you enjoy books with realistic male central characters, you'll love Cann's book Leader of the Pack about seventeen year old Jack who struggles to balance his lives and breathes rugby mentality with the realities of a relationship.
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