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The Sham

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  188 ratings  ·  140 reviews
When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no on
ebook, one, 248 pages
Published September 7th 2014 by BookBaby (first published August 30th 2014)
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Shin The Bookworm Twisted and Bloody! Didn't expect the ending to be like that! :)

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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  188 ratings  ·  140 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Dec 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2015, arcs
Find all of my reviews at:

This is one of those ARCs that I ended up with because it had an interesting title, a pretty cover, and my read/review ratio on NetGalley was sitting above 37% so I thought I should just request errrrrrything that sounded decent.

Dallas Commercial Photography

The basic synopsis is this is supposed to be a YA mystery/thriller. Girls in “The Sham” are going missing and Emily might be next. Things started with a major bang and an über gruesome opening of a special
Sarah Elizabeth
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Ellen Allen and NetGalley.)

“Because I can do things other people can’t. Extraordinary things.”

This story was weird; crazy weird.

I didn’t really understand the characters in this book, they were all certifiably crazy. There were the insane girls who bullied literally everyone in the most disgusting ways possible (view spoiler)
Maxine (Booklover Catlady)
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: young-adult-read
This book just blew my mind wide open. I went into reading it with no expectations of what it would be about and the first chapter had me reeling, gasping for air. A group of nasty, cliquey teenage girls bullying a young boy, just a child in the most awful of ways. It made me angry, it stirred up a lot in me, I did not like this gang of girls ONE BIT. Very disturbing but critical to the rest of the book.

Eighteen year old Emily Heath tries to get these girls to stop tormenting this young boy, but
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading The Sham by Ellen Allen, I can't stop myself from quoting Arthur Conan Doyle’s remarkable words:

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

Ellen Allen, an indie YA author, who has woven a spectacular story in her debut book, The Sham about simple unexplained mysteries surrounding us, and which will force you to stop and think before trusting anyone so blindly.

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known
Rae King
Oct 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Upon finishing this book, I felt as if I was in daze, unable to face the fact that this story was over. I did not want it to be over!

Obviously, I loved this book. This story was built on mystery and suspense. My mind was constantly working, trying to figure out what the truth of it all was.

The book starts off with a bang, to say the least. We have Emily, an almost eighteen year old, who is at the park with her baby sister when four girls arrive to have some 'fun' with a ten year old boy. Please
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received a free download of "The Sham" by Ellen Allen through First of all, I have to be honest as I did not know what to expect from this book. the author,"This book is unsuitable for younger readers; it contains discussions about murder scenes, conversations about sex, and slight profanity." This book is not for the faint hearted as the first chapter is extremely gory, to the point that I nearly stopped...but I am glad that I continued on, as this book proved to be a real ge ...more
Liz Barnsley
The Sham was a book that surprised me. I expected one thing, got quite another, it was a terrifically eclectic and weirdly wonderful read exploring some haunting themes at its heart.

Emily meets Jack, a strange enigmatic character and falls for him. So much so that she glosses over his odd proclivities and rather weird ways and is willing to go a long way to protect him from the suspicions of the town. Meanwhile her own family is causing her grief, old signs are appearing all over “The Sham” and
Oct 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
I hate giving one star reviews. I also hate not finishing a book. Unfortunately, I just couldn't finish this one.

The Sham has sat on my Kindle for far too long. I keep opening it, trying to read it, and yet I never get very far. Very quickly, I lost interest. Very quickly, I found myself putting the book aside. No matter how hard I tried I could not get into this book – and trust me, I tried repeatedly.

The story felt really disjoined. The characters failed to pull me in. Events did nothing. I w
Jan 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
ARC for review.

Emily is a small town good girl, chomping at the bit to get out. One night she comes across a group of her high school peers terrorizing a young boy - the tries to help, but the situation is only diffused when a mysterious stranger, Jack, appears. It's a horrible case of insta-love between the two. But then the girls involved with the incident begin disappearing and Jack, with no past, is immediately seen as the main suspect.

AS HE SHOULD BE. I really didn't get this book at all

I was very fortunate to receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

NOTE: This book is not suitable for children. It contains graphic descriptions, profanity, and issues of intercourse. This is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. Reader discretion is advised.

Emily lives in a small, dead-end town called The Sham. She's a smart and genuinely likable protagonist. At the beginning of the book I was shocked by the disturbing events that took place.

There were the
Sep 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
DNF @ 45%
I can't seem to grasp this story. The main plot is interesting but details keep getting thrown in that make no sense to me. I go back and reread but I still don't get it.
**Check out the original review - a part of the official The Sham Blog Tour - over on 21st Century Once Upon A Times**

The Sham is a twisted labyrinth of signs, lies, and buried truths.

From the very beginning I could tell that it was unlike any book I'd ever read. The Sham sets the reader up from the start to prepare for an ending that isn't all sunshine and rainbows...and to realise that there are no answers to be found in the present - rather we, the reader, must look for the answers in the pas
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Emily lives in CleveSham, a quiet town where nothing ever happens. It is only when she meets the mysterious Jack that the murders begin to happen. Who is Jack and is he the one behind the murders of the girls who bullied her? Read this for yourself and find out.

This was a pretty good read. I enjoyed this story. If you like murder mysteries, definitely give this a check out. You'll enjoy it.
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
Finished reading: October 29th 2014
Rating 3,5

"Fifty-three minutes in and my list was pretty full in all of the ways that Jack wasn't normal, the ways he was special, so very bloody different from everyone else. I had to admit it - despite my fierce reservations - I liked him all the more for it."

*** A copy of this book was kindly given to me by the author through Ethereal Book Reviews in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
(Guest Reviewer Program) ***

(view spoiler)
Jen La Duca
Wow, how do I even begin my review for this book? This is one that I had to sit on for a few days before I could even attempt to gather my thoughts together and make sense of them, there was so much going on in my mind about this book! I will tell you that I absolutely LOVED The Sham, it totally blew me away!!! This was such an obsessive read for me and I couldn’t tear myself away once I started it.

Now, as much as I loved this book I suspect that some will absolutely hate it! The Sham opens with
Anna (Enchanted by YA)
***I received the eBook free as a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review***

As the author’s note says; this book is not for the faint hearted. It starts with a bang and the mystery leads on beautifully from there, turning into a story that will constantly have you on the edge of you seat trying to answer the millions of questions it brings up. I will admit that at times it was hard to read and while my mind was telling me to give it a break for me to catch my breath I couldn
Read all my reviews on

The Sham starts immediately gruesome with some of the worst bullying I've encountered in books. However, what exactly it added to the story, I'm not quite sure. Emily meets Jack, a mysterious guy who might not be who he claims to be. At the same time, girls start to go missing. What is Jack's role in this? And worse, is Emily next?

This was such a strange novel. There were a lot of situations that felt off, and I couldn't get why she was
Melissa Chung
Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'm speechless and not in a good way. I was given this ebook for free for an honest review as part of a book tour.

I will start with what I liked about the book first. The synopsis is what made me add it to my want to read list on goodreads. I was definitely excited to be asked to read this book and given the ebook. I dove into the read eager to envelop myself in a great mystery.

This is what I had a problem with, 4% into the story I read about 4 horrible girls who beat up an autistic boy. Then I
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
*Note: I was provided a digital ARC of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review*

This book...was not quite what I expected. While I have not read the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin, I can imagine this book would (without question) appeal to fans of that series. This is a first-class YA thriller -- caveat emptor: this is a thriller for the older YA crowd. It shies away neither from gore nor language.

But with that gore comes a plot that is beautifully and intricately woven to
Thank you to the Ellen Asher, via Netgalley for allowing me to read The Sham, in exchange for an honest review.

My review is originally posted on Adele Is Reading.

Trigger Warnings: Paranoia, Blood, Self Harm, Murder, Suicide.

What drew me into the book was not only the cover, but the synopsis to The Sham as well. I only wished that the synopsis lived up to the story.

I was really interested in The Sham. ….And then I actually started reading the book.

Throughout most of the story I was left confused
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-teen, mystery
Wow. This book was so engrossing, I could barely put it down.

I don't want to spoil much of the plot, because I feel it's one of those books where you benefit from knowing as little as possible. I will say that it's about a girl called Emily in a small town in the North of England called 'The Sham'. Small town life gets disrupted when mysterious words start appearing around town, a girl goes missing, a strange boy called Jack appears.

The book can be quite disorientating at times, as you try to
Crina (Reading Addict)
Original post on as part of the blog tour.

So, this is going to be a very short review because I don't have a lot to say.

I picked this book up because the cover looked interesting and the synopsis was crazy enough to grab my attention. But after I read it I can't say that it was amazing or that it kept me on the edge of my seat, because I would lie.

It was a so-so novel for me, it had good and interesting parts, bad parts too, some of them were boring and nothing happ
Oct 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, romance, r-r-s
Thank you to Carla for informing me about the blog tour she organized and to the author as well!

This was certainly a different book. If you read the first chapter, you'll know what I mean. It was just... strange. I've never read another book like it which in this case is mostly a good and wonderful thing!

Lets get the bad out of the way eh? The only thing I really questioned was how disjointed it was. It would jump from one topic to the next and back again all 'within' Emily's head. I understand
Cheryl (I Heart Fictional People)
In The Sham by Ellen Allen, eighteen-year-old Emily just wants to get out of her town that they call “The Sham.” She repeats quantum equations out loud when she feels nervous or is in uncomfortable situations, which makes her seem a bit odd. She meets Jack, the mysterious new boy in town who has his own secrets, and they witness something horrible being done to someone, which has an impact on several people throughout the book. Ellen and Jack become closer, but his past still haunts him. Plus, t ...more
Bookish Indulgenges with b00k r3vi3ws
This is the story of Emily Heath and dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham". When the quiet town is turned uspside down with mysterious writings popping up and one of Emily’s classmate’s body is washed up by the floods, the suspicions turns to her boyfriend Jack. Jack is very sick and little is known about his background. Emily’s loyalties tie her to Jack when everybody is looking to pin the mysterious things on him.

Emily is a loyal one. She stands by Jack no matter what and it helped me war
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone with an open mind.
Recommended to Srikari by: Ellen Allen
Ms. Ellen Allen was kind enough to give me this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.


This book is not a book you would come across everyday!
The plot left me biting my nails till the very end!
I loved every bit of it. I just could not put this book down. It was not only the plot but it was everything from the characters to the setting.
The way in which all the events were strung together to form a wonderful journey connecting the past with the present!
At ever
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the author, Ellen Allen, for giving me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.
The Sham is not an easy read. It requires concentration. But it rewards the reader with a wonderful - if harrowing - experience. Most of the characters are unlikeable, but they breathe. It shows a violent, grim, sad world, that jumps off the page and makes you want to know more. It is excellently written, and grabs your attention without letting go. As disturbing as some scenes are, you can't loo
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
On paper, the premise for this book is intriguing--local teens start disappearing right after another teen, one with an indeterminate past--shows up in town. Yet this book left me cold. Part of the problem was a graphic and horrible bullying/torture scene in the opening of this book. As a reader, I found this scene difficult to get through, especially as my introduction to this story and its characters--and now that I've finished it, I can't even say that this scene in all its gory detail was ev ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Sham is an intriguing, exciting debut novel by Ellen Allen. A true page turner. It’s a psychological and contemporary Young Adult thriller that has just the right amount of mystery and drama to keep you reading…desperately wanting to figure out just who the bad guy is.

Full Review at The Perks Of Being A Book Lover
Valerie Sparkle
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, arc, ya, netgalley
I received this book as an arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book was just crazy. It really starts with a bang. The things that happen in the first chapter are just so horrible. Then as the story goes on it just keeps getting weirder. The story is so well written that it really kept me guessing until the very end. I highly recommend it. Just beware, it really isn't for the faint of heart.
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I've loved reading ever since I was tiny and discovered Enid Blyton in a corner of my classroom - The Magic Faraway Tree, anyone?

I'm author of indie YA thrillers, an avid reader, a wild swimmer, and collector of writing titbits and all things bookish. If you want free writing advice or free help with publicising your self-pubbed books, go to and

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