Seventeen-year-old Yan Harris is on a dream summer trip to London with her best friend Chelsea, exploring the city and visiting colleges where they might apply to study. London is an amazing contrast to life in their rural hometown, where Yan feels out of place as a half-Chinese girl, and working-class Chelsea has to share everything in a small house with her five siblings. While Chel falls for a boy who’s already studying at UCL, Yan networks with professional fashion designers and explores her sexuality. But as Yan’s erratic behaviour escalates, both girls become scared, and their friendship is pushed to breaking point.
Told with heart and humour, Rapids is an honest, powerful and affecting read, communicating the fearfulness (and odd magic) of both mental highs and lows very effectively. It is a significant contribution to young people’s understanding of hypermania.