Keris Stainton’s Spotlight on Sunny is the second in her Reel Friends series, following on from last year’s Starring Kitty, a favourite of mine. The first book was a sweet, tender romance about Kitty, who was in love with another girl, trying to navigate a relationship without at first feeling quite confident enough to come out to her friends. This sequel follows the same group of friends – Kitty, Sunny and Hannah – but shifts to Sunny’s point of view, and moves the action to London, where the trio take part in a film-making course. Sunny is happy to be in London but has to keep a big secret from her friends, as well as doing the course and making a new friend in the lovely Will.
This is similar to Kitty in many ways – it’s a really sweet, charming read. I particularly like the dynamic between the central trio, who are extremely close friends despite having very different values – Sunny is a Muslim and has massively different ideas about boys to Hannah, for example, but both characters’ views are expressed well and non-judgmentally, and they respect each other despite their differences. I also thought Sunny’s relationship with her parents was very well-portrayed. There’s a wonderfully diverse cast, with wheelchair user Will being great to read about – charismatic and funny – and even someone who originally seems to be a slightly stereotypical bad girl shines towards the end as we see more of her character revealed. I also really loved the way Keris Stainton captured the thrill of exploring London when you’re unfamiliar with it, the setting is brought to life brilliantly!