Shirley Marr's Reviews > Six

Six by Karen Tayleur
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Jan 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: aussie-ya

When I see the intriguing title, the number that springs immediately to my mind is “three”. This is Karen Tayleur’s third YA novel and she can now claim to have a substantial body of work, so what will this novel be like?

At first glance, the cover, with a bent number plate revealing the number 6 makes me think that it is a natural continuation of her last novel, Hostage, which shows the inverted image of a dark road heading toward the horizon. Like Hostage, I am thinking a journey, an accident, something unsettling and horrible that will crunch and emotionally punch me in the stomach at point of impact. I also think about Tayleur’s first YA book, Chasing Boys and I wonder how far she has come from that. They always talk about authors in terms of the “successful debut novel”, the “difficult second novel” and then the “triumphant third”, so will it be that “three is a charm”?

Six derives its name from the six characters that make up the novel. Primarily told from the viewpoint of Sarah Lum, the occasional chapter will switch to the other five characters, using both first person and third narrative point of view. From the outset, we are told there is an accident, so the question isn’t what happens, but how and who dies? It chronicles the six months that lead up to the crash. The pitch:

But the facts are simple. A recipe for disaster

One car.

Five seatbelts.

Six people.

A late night party.

A generous splash of alchohol.

A sprinkle of bad weather.

Two P-plate signs.

I’m not going to give away too much of what happens, as this is a very plot and suspense driven story, but when I got down to what happened in “The Woods” of Tayleur’s suburban geography, I literally jumped! Karen Tayleur has written what is both a tight psychological thriller and also an effective coming of age story, which mashes the creepiness of childhood rhymes with end of school balls, teenage dreams of escape, initiations through the getting of car licences. It will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

We all know what Karen Tayleur does best: beautiful boys and the exquisite changing of seasons (Chasing Boys), darkness and intensity (Hostage)… they all come together in this one book within a sophisticated, artistically triumphant framework. It can be said that this is a coming-of-age story for Tayleur herself as much as it is one for her audience. Smart, well written and ultra-contemporary (Facebook and even a vlog!), I really enjoyed this ride. I feel the author has hit her stride and I await her next novel with much interest.

This review originally appeared on my blog Life on Marrs

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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-4 of 4) </span> <span class="smallText">(4 new)</span>

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message 1: by Nic (new) - added it

Nic Great review! I just bought Karen Tayleur Chasing Boys. Once I have finished that I will have to try this :)


Shirley Marr I love Chasing Boys! I think you'll be pleased with your purchase Nic. I really should review Chasing Boys as well... it makes me feel like a giggly teen (but in a good way)


Blue Eyed Vixen Excellent stuff! I'm keen to go looking for any of these books now. Will definitely put them on my search list.


Shirley Marr I'm glad to be of help Vixen! :)


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