Written by a thirteen-year-old author, this exciting and captivating page-turner transports you into the fascinating story of sixteen-year-old aspiring singer Fiona Watson who runs away from her family, oblivious to the dangers outside her shielded comfort zone. As she journeys through her new world, leaving her past behind and determined to find a new identity, she uncovers surprising secrets buried deep within her long ago... How do her new friends link to her past? What secrets are they hiding behind their misleading smiles? How much of herself has she really left behind? And how will she cope when she realises that she has made a huge mistake... one that could ruin her forever?
Samiksha Bhattacharjee is a 14-year-old British author living with her parents and younger brother. She started writing 'Legal Crime' when she was 7, and hopes to inspire other children to start creative writing too. She also enjoys acting, singing, drawing and talking (a lot). Find out more information about her by visiting https://www.legalcrime.co.uk and contact her by emailing email@example.com.
Her debut novel, Legal Crime, was published when she was 13.
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5 stars: Damn. Wow. I love this. I will be talking about this to anyone who will (and will not) listen.
4 Stars: I really, really liked it. It was amazing. Thank you author.
3 stars: Yup, it was really good. I really like it. I would change some things, but it's still great 😊
I never give reviews under 3 stars, all books are amazing... or they wouldn't be published.
For a debut novel by a thirteen-year-old author, this is an incredible achievement and the perfect read for young adults. It’s fast-paced and Bhattacharjee’s wonderful descriptions are very accomplished and dynamic for an author of her young years.
Sixteen-year-old Fiona Watson feels snubbed by her parents who she believes favour her eight-year-old younger brother, Jack, and she decides to run away from home. She’s keen to become a singer and as the story unfolds, it’s clear that it is not just her parents that have led her to want to run away as she has clearly been having issues at school with her best friend, Luna, and the pressure she feels to hang out with the ‘popular girls’.
Through her journey, she meets a wonderful group of friends who help her in discovering herself and deciding inevitably whether she should return home as she begins to regret her decision. But as she opens up, can Fiona, or as she now likes to be known, Isabelle Smith, truly trust these new friends and what secrets they are hiding. Fortunately for Fiona, her parents are hot on her tail and despite embracing the newly created persona of Isabelle Smith, she always returns to her familiar self, Fiona.
On occasions, I did find it difficult to follow the story as the time-based jumps are sometimes a bit hard to follow but all in all, it’s incredibly imaginative for an author of her age and I think she has a wonderful future in writing.
This is a lovely story of friendship draped in an adventure story, with the theme clearly about identity. This book is perfect for teens and their struggles with the pressure of fitting in and how they should look, the force of destiny, and where it can lead.
Sixteen-year-old Fiona Watson has big dreams: she wants to become a famous singer. However, her teenage years have been challenging. Falling in with a bad crowd in an effort to be popular, Fiona finds herself distancing from her parents and brother, desperate to prove her independence. After running away from home, Fiona changes her identity and begins a life in London. As she gets to know a new group of friends, Fiona makes important realizations that help her navigate her turbulent teenaged existence.
Fiona’s story unfolds in four distinct segments, one for each of her identity shifts. Though the majority of the narrative takes place in 2019, past and future events are included, as well. Each transition is denoted by a date and time stamp, much like a diary entry. The first half of the book is a bit confusing in its delivery, lacking a clear narrator and through line, but the clarity picks up later in the story. Extensive dialogue occurs among the characters, including accents, some French and German phrases, and colloquial English terminology. Intricate details are found in the descriptive text, utilizing ample color references when discussing both characters and locations.
Older readers will likely recognize a lack of maturity both in the writing and in the character development of this story. However, the fact that this book was written by a thirteen-year-old who is not even the age of most of her protagonists is impressive. This author shows promise, and as she gains more life experience, her writing is sure to reflect that fact. This story about the unconditional love of family and friends with a hint of Romeo and Juliet is a courageous debut by a very young author.
First of all, the fact that this was written by a thirteen year old is pretty amazing! However, that does make it a little more difficult to review properly and objectively. With that being said, this was a good book!
I can see that with a little more maturity this author will be a wonderful writer! This was an enjoyable read and I am honored to have been able to read and review this for this young, new author. I am excited to see the growth that Samiksha will show as more books are written.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Samiksha Bhattacharjee's debut novel, Legal Crime, was a delightful, captivating read; I got through it in only one sitting - I could not stop reading! It delves into the mind of 16-year-old Fiona Watson, who runs away from home, leaving her family distraught, in hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. She faces many challenges along the way.
This 13-year-old author impressively shows the feelings of Fiona as unloved and uncared for, and following this, we see the life of a teenage girl like any other, who faces issues including peer pressure (alongside others). The book explores different relationships, including romantic, platonic and family, with the protagonist learning the ways of real life, and struggles you have to face. Legal Crime is split into four parts showing Fiona's different identities, each of which reflects something different in her life.
Legal Crime is separated using a date and time, and I like this diary style since it is fitting to what happens in the book. The book also uses flashbacks, diary entries, letters and emails that effectively enhance the writing, as well as the extra narrational voice giving opinions and the quirky, humorous comments of the character, which I loved. The flashbacks, in my opinion, did get confusing at points, however, they are a nice touch to the book itself. The writing matures as the book progresses, and we also begin to see different perspectives and sub-plots.
Most of all, unlike many books I have read, the voice of the character sounds authentic, like a teenager would sound like. Despite this, there is a nice voice to the writing and with the dialogue, there is great description (and I loved the cover and idea of the snake).
Overall, Legal Crime is about self-discovery, friends, family, love, life, and what happens in life. Samiksha has written a captivating, page-turning book that tackles problems of the teenage mind. I took away ideas and lessons from this book, and this is one of the greatest books I have read, and I would love to read more from her!
Legal Crime, written by 13 year old Samiksha Bhattacharjee, follows our MC 16 year old Fiona, as she runs away from home believing her parents favour her younger brother. Fiona wants to prove to everyone that she can accomplish her dreams as a singer and as the story progresses, she comes to terms about how others influence her. This is a coming-of-age story that is told through multiple POVS, flashbacks, and other literary devices to paint a full picture of what is going on in the world surrounding Fiona and her decisions.
Fiona has lived a pretty sheltered life and throughout her story, her eyes become open to how the world really is for some people. She is determined, outgoing, and convinced she knows best, like most teenagers are. Throughout the book she learns who she is outside of other’s people influences and the pressure that high schooler’s feel to be popular. On her journey, she meets friends and people who make her question if she is doing the right thing by leaving her home and pursuing her desires. These people ground her and really support her decisions, although those decisions are not necessarily the best…
Legal Crime takes place in for the most part in modern day London. The story is broken up into four segments, all which correspond to an identity which Fiona has assumed on her travels and the chapters are spilt up through date and time stamps. Samiksha started plotting and writing this story when she was seven. While this is an excellent debut from who I would assume will become a big name in a decade, this novel does lack a little maturity and some plot points need clarity. Some events in the novel I don’t think would occur in a real life scenario. For example, Fiona, while she changes identities, survives in the modern world with no ID and no cash; her runaway plan is purely funded by the kindness of others and their parents. These romanticized and idealized scenarios that are scattered throughout the book are why I only gave it 3.5 stars. There are just too many events that I believe would not happen in the real world.
This book’s theme is identity. It really dives into the minds of those teenagers who are struggling with finding theirs. It tackles who others influence us and change our world views, while also providing a glimpse that what we believe to be true may not be the case. I have to say that this is an amazing accomplishment from someone so young and shows great promise into a long term career as an author.I would recommend this book to others and will definitely be keeping an eye on Samiksha’s work in the future.
ARC provided by Samiksha Bhattacharjee
Note: Samiksha, please keep writing and honing in on your skills as a writer, because there will be a lot of people who will want to read your stories as your writing and content matures.
Legal Crime is an impressive debut novel written by “the youngest YA author in the UK”1, as noted in the guest blog on The Book’s the Thing and Lucy Rambles. Its complexity is astounding. The author’s planning board must have been as busy as a crime investigation’s—rather, as a cold case investigation’s, incorporating new-found evidence—for the multi-layered plot interweaving past and present surely required Bhattarcharjee to compartmentalise timelines and character relationships with scientific precision. The drip-fed clues through which the audience pieces together relationships between various characters invite speculation, with some big reveals surprising the characters as much as the reader.
The three-layered narration is unusual: the prominent voice is the third person narration of the storyline; the protagonist’s thoughts are in second person; and then there is an overlay of first person commentary, from outside the world of the book. This external narration is intriguing; it leaves the reader wondering how the external narrator is connected to the story. Starting off relatively insignificant, this voice builds as the story progresses—tantalising the reader into guessing, wondering, pondering—until it is particularly dominant in the denoument, when its association to the protagonist is revealed. Such a strategy draws the audience into a quest to discover the truth.
¬¬Bhattarcharjee clearly had fun with all the characters’ names: the audience is challenged to not only keep up with the multiple characters, but also with their various name-changes. All the main characters have at least one nickname or alternative persona, quintessentially demonstrated in this passage: ‘It doesn’t surprise me. Fiona is capable of many remarkable things, right Isa?’ ‘Well… hopefully?’ Anna paused. Three different people here? You be the judge.
Not only does Samiksha have fun with names, she has great fun with language: the characters write secret messages to each other in code, and use various text types to communicate. Direct speech, letters and text messages are shown in varying fonts. Ceri Evans from Ceri’s Lil Blog remarks that the “use of a diary style … fitted well with the writer’s intentions in terms of plot and theme”2. Refreshingly free from errors in the application of the fonts, these passages are a delight. The author credits “Charlotte Mouncey from Bookstyle [whose] typesetting was flawless”—Mouncey also created the “brilliant and unique cover design”, which is certainly attractive and suits the YA genre.
As Steinbeck effectively blends the dialect speech of his characters with the formal constructs of narration, Bhattacharjee balances her narration with the colloquial text- and spoken language of her adolescent characters and that of her adult characters (who Bhattacharjee pens with skill and compassion, especially for someone of her youth): as with Steinbeck’s internationally-recognised skill, this authenticity increases the appeal of Legal Crime. Kate from If these books could talk concurs, stating that “[Bhattarcharjee] has managed to encapsulate the teen pysche without it veering towards the stereotypical tropes that many adult writers rely upon”3. Hear, hear!
The grammar of this book is not perfect. In fact, a solid edit would improve the product immensely. The phrasing is sometimes clunky. (For example, “Blasted hepatocellular carcinoma. Liver cancer.” would flow better through a statement, “Blasted hepatocellular carcinoma.” and reply, “It’s not fair you’ve got liver cancer.”) However, the grammatical errors and somewhat flawed expression are also indicative of the writing ability of a thirteen-year-old, who “really hope[s] that this skill progresses as [she] get[s] older”4.
The author has certainly paid attention in her English classes and is widely read. She employs recognised literary techniques well, such as a motif of the snake in the protagonist’s tattoo (featured on the cover). The snake haunts Fiona with its head pointing upwards, threatening to bite her with her past bad decisions… The figurative language is engaging: one character lives in “a block of flats [which] stared at her with googly eyes” and another wears "a smile so bright; it could make the sun cower in fear”. Mai from Mai’s Musings agrees when she states that the book “has moments of beautiful writing that hint at the talent this young author has”5.
The novel follows a standard narrative “story mountain”, the exposition setting the scene with care. It quickly gathers pace until it is rollicking in action and sheer fun, taunting the reader to second-guess the plot before it is exposed. Noteworthy for an author her age, Samiksha regularly brings in details of diverse subject matters (for example, scientific processes and ancient gods) which not only demonstrates her own vast knowledge, it also gives her characters individual voices.
As characters in commendable novels do, Samiksha’s characters grow with their experiences. Assessing their past actions, they ultimately realise that “yesterday was history, tomorrow’s a mystery. Today’s a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”, learning that “life is such a precious and special thing, and we should all appreciate it”. The albeit fairly cheesy characters’ realisation demonstrates the culmination of the author’s desire to “write a story about a runaway, who, through her experiences, comes to appreciate her family”6.
A main aim of this talented debut author is to inspire other young writers. She enthuses, “remember, age is just a number attached to you. You can write an amazing book that might be even better than you … expect!” This novel is a praiseworthy example of what other aspirant young authors can achieve.
With Legal Crime Samiksha Bhattacharjee has invigorated one of the most important things about reading: pleasure. She “shows a lot of promise … if her first book is like this then she will definitely be an author to look out for”7, Hannah from Hannah’s Book Club writes. “Currently writing a YA dystopian fantasy”8, Samiksha Bhattacharjee is certainly an author to watch.
Initially, as I was reading the prologue, I was quite impressed by the prose and style of this debut novel. The Diary style always works, and it is especially fitting to talk about the life and grievances of a teenager. However, proceeding with my reading I felt that too many styles started mixing up, with the emails and messages, and the temporal jumps are sometimes a bit hard to follow. The author tries to make teenage language and internet lingo into a literary language, but this is not always successful. I fell that the plot would have shone better had a more traditional narratorial style been used. A good example of this is the email exchange between Evelyn and Daniel, with the repetition of their emails and the subject line, very true to life but a bit hard to follow. It is to mention that the writer, Samiksha Bhattacharjee is only 13. This is what drew me to this novel, the fact that this is her style now, just promises amazing things for her future as a writer. This reflects also in the plot, that has a bit of the picaresque novel and of the classic European bildungsroman, with a young girl going into the world, leaving her sheltered life to find herself.
There are certainly some moments of good style, especially in the prologue and in some of the diary forms, which give a beautiful insight in the character’s mind. I liked how she scribbles out “I don’t want my family” to replace the word “want” with “need”. Almost as if she liked the courage to lie to them like that, giving the first hint that Fiona does indeed love her family. This is mirrored by how she cannot settle down in her own skin, how she keeps mixing her names, going always back to Fiona.
Fiona, like any of us as a teenager, has a bone to pick with her parents. She feels misunderstood and unloved, not understanding that this is just what everyone is meant to feel at that age. The world she finds is one of continuous dangers, but also of friendly strangers, an alternative family of sorts. Like any of us, she feels the pressure of needing to belong to a group, which prompts her to betray her best friend for the “popular girls”. She wants to grow up too fast, to be seen as an adult, leaving her friends and passions behind sometimes. This novel treats a lot of very difficult topics, sometimes a bit too shallowly. This is especially due to how fast the narrative flows, which doesn’t allow for much exploration, as well as the novel being quite crammed. However, I admire the author’s awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, suicide and addiction, her way of representing the difficult side of being a teenager. The fault is not in her not being able to handle these issues, but it has more to do with the style and with the scope of her ambition in wanting to give a truthful picture of what it means to be a teenager nowadays. In this respect, the sub plot relating to Ben might be a bit redundant and the fact that the characters have known each other as children, but somehow do not seem to recollect that in the present, seems a bit far-fetched.
One of the passages I preferred are those about Fiona’s family, I find especially poignant how she keeps saying that they do not know or understand her at all. An idea that is challenged by how the narrative cuts back to her father and brother finding snippets of her life through the special memories they have of her. All and all, I would recommend this novel, if anything for the such promising talent that is Bhattacharjee. There is certainly room for growth and improvement stylistically, as I found the plot interesting, but maybe not developed to its full potential.
This review contains extracts from the page one, chapter one and a bit from page two.
My commendations to the thirteen year old author. An interesting and unique idea for the storyline, and the protagonist was definitely the sort of looker that everyone dreams of being (I mean, red hair and turquoise eyes? I wanted to look like that when I was seven, too). But the writing style just wasn’t for me.
It’s hard to explain, so here’s an extract from the first page of the first chapter:
‘You would think that someone would wake themselves up after sleeping for twelve hours, especially because of the time. I certainly would, Mum wouldn’t let me sleep that long.’
You would think from this that this book is written from the protagonist’s point of view, ‘I’ being the main character, Fiona. You would think wrong. That was just the narrator stepping in. And so it continues (still on the first page)…
‘“How dare they didn’t wake me up? […] They don’t even care about me so…” But still, Fiona stomped out of her room and kicked her brother’s door open.’
That is exactly how it is written in the book, bar the square brackets which I have edited in, consisting of sixteen year old Fiona’s inner turmoil. Anyone notice the grammatical error? And then there’s the parental confrontation (we’re still on the first page of chapter one):
‘“You don’t sleep much nowadays, with all your stress and problems…” her mum’s faked caring voice started. Fiona wasn’t going to take it. “Sleep? Yeah… right, totally. I’m his flipping big sis and…’ she started to say. “Don’t talk to us like that!” her dad yelled. “Especially on Jack’s birthday!” She frowned and continued to scream. “You don’t even give a fudge about me, do you? You know what? Why am I even here? I’m not wasting my time around… idiots.”’
I live with teenagers in my house. They definitely do not speak like that. And certainly not to me. The rest of the book continues in pretty much that tone, with characters saying ‘OMG!’, ‘LOL’ and ‘Loner dog’- that typical movie stuff which the majority of sixteen year olds do not say. I would know. It’s just not cool amongst their peers.
But regardless, if you loved that first page, I’m sure you’ll love the rest of ‘Legal Crime’. Please do go ahead and borrow/ buy it! You may have a completely different experience to me, or you may even find your new favourite book. I am not saying that this book is the worst book in existence.
A gentle note to the reader: Please bear in mind that while writing this review, I have not taken into account anything other than the quality of the novel and the writing etc., meaning that I have not factored in the author’s young age. I also want to emphasise that this review is just an OPINION. None of this takes away any of the author’s great achievement in actually being able to write a novel and even get it published.
Legal Crime provides a foray into the mindset of a confused teenage girl called Fiona, who runs away from home to escape her previous life and reinvent herself as a singer. This may not sound too unusual at all until you realise that it is written by a 13 year old girl. I have to say that I am brimming with respect for the author, Samiksha Bhattacharjee.
She has managed to create a book, which will appeal to its intended audience with its mean girls, attractive boys and all of the uncertainties, pressures and ambitions that dominate the life of a teenager. There is a vast array of characters, all of which have been brought alive with lively dialogue, littered with the slang and banter that young people exchange. It is fast moving throughout, the story told through recollections and diary entries as well as what is happening in the present.
One thing that I noticed is that the action of the book is a little choppy for my liking, the use of flashbacks providing the back story in pieces and I sometimes felt that this could be made more smooth. There were times where I wasn’t totally certain of how the characters were connected and this sometimes hindered the clarity in my mind of the plot and its direction as well as their significance to it.
I liked the quirkiness of the extra narratorial voice, chipping in with her observations and comments – this made me smile; I enjoyed her presence.
But I think what is really accomplished about Bhattacharjee’s writing was her use of description. One example of this that will stay with me from the reading of this book and demonstrates her control and her command of word choices is shown in the vivid picture of a snake, the appearance of which is literally brought alive by her accomplished vocabulary and her mastery of word manipulation which moulds this snake into a tangible thing. Its menacing presence fairly leaps off the page. A true writing strength.
With the theme of identity being so strong, I think this book has much to offer to most teens: you have Fiona’s own struggles; the mounting pressure of peers and their thoughts on how you should act and look; the idea of who you think you are as opposed to your true self; and finally, what you could be given the chance.
This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I had the privilege of reading this book as an ARC.
In the early hours of her sixteenth birthday, Fiona runs away from home. Why she’s leaving isn’t clear at first, but things are revealed as the story goes on. With the help of a group of new friends, she starts to carve out a new identity for herself and chase her dreams. But being young and naive, she is unaware and unprepared for the dangers and struggles that await her away from home. And as her new friends’ secrets are unveiled, she begins to wonder if she has made a big mistake...
I think it is important to know before reading this book that it is not just young adult fiction, but the author is just thirteen years old. When viewed through that lens, it is a good book. But I also feel like it makes it a little tricky to review this book objectively as I look at the world very differently as a woman in my forties to how a thirteen-year-old does.
Writing any book is a remarkable achievement for anyone, particularly a young person. This book has the bare bones of a great book but suffers without the nuance and experience of a more mature author. The narration was sometimes a little confusing, the writing a bit clumsy and the pace a bit choppy for my liking, but all of that could be my more mature perspective of a book written by, and for, young adults.
But being young also has its advantages and the author authentically conveys the frustration, pain, angst and naivete of being a teenager. She took me back to that time where every small problem felt like the end of the world and I was so sure I knew so much more than I did. A time where our friends are the most important people in our world and it seems our parents are only out to get in our way. But as the story goes on, she shows how a teenager learns the importance of the right friends, family, and how to forgive yourself for your mistakes.
Legal Crime’s themes of identity, self-discovery and peer pressure will resonate with young readers. Quirky and imaginative, I think the author has the potential to be a great writer with a little more maturity and experience and I am sure we will see more from her in the future.
Legal Crime is a YA Fiction debut novel written by 13 year old Samiksha Bhattacharjee. For this, I have to commend her and say how proud I am of the book and her efforts to write it. As you read, you will find out the meaning behind the title as the book progresses!
The story follows Fiona, a sixteen year old teenager who runs away from home and tries to make it on her own. The first step in her plan is to disguise herself and then find shelter. The story is written in sections, as Fiona changes her identity and tries to blend in, hiding from her parents and the police. The author tries to highlight the different phases of her journey in different sections, showing us how she handles the different hurdles she encounters.
We meet many new people, many old ones from Fiona's childhood whom she has forgotten about, and many who want her out of the way. She soon realizes that being on your own is more difficult than it looks. Life is not so glamorous. With the help of her friends, she also becomes a YouTube singing sensation and gets to perform on stage with a famous singer. Amongst all this, we see a girl who is dealing with peer pressure, trying to live up to an image and expectations that make her change who she is. She finally learns to respect the bonds of family, friendship and to trust in the people around her.
Now let us take a look at the plot. It is strong enough to carry forward through the book. However, there are some minor gaps that make it a little hard to place the events and people. The characters are well thought out, but once again, we miss some of their background and the development that leads to where they are. Also, there are some jumps back and forth in time which take a little getting used to.
However, all this does not take away from the fact that Samiksha has done a great job. It is not easy to write a story and definitely not so easy to handle as many characters as she has. The writing feels personal and more relatable considering that the entire story is written like diary entries. Though the writing is a little amateurish, I think Samiksha has amazing potential. The concepts she has chosen to handle in this book are pertinent and take a lot of effort to write about. Samiksha has managed to handle all of this delicately and in a very mature way which is amazing for a thirteen year old! Way to go!
This is a book about a sixteen year old girl called Fiona who like many teenagers, they feel the need to be independent and want to be acknowledged for their talents and so, Fiona makes a difficult decision to run away from home and encounters a very different world to what she’s been used to before. Onto my thoughts: 💚 This is written by a thirteen year old which is phenomenal 💚 I was hooked to the point that I read it in one day 💚 published by the Conrad Press 🙌🏻 💚 I could relate straightaway to the teenager wanting to be a part of the popular kid group, felt a character connection there. 💚 I loved how the characters all had connections with one another and it felt like one big family being put together. 💚 Lots of different character perspectives which I’m a big fan of. The only slight negatives I have are…. Firstly, I didn’t like the first chapter. I felt I needed to see more of why Fiona was leaving her family. However, chapter two onwards, I was hooked all the way with the book. Secondly, the book is set in 2019 and yet, the characters don’t encounter the Coronavirus Pandemic that was going on at the time. I think this would have been interesting to explore and ended up imagining they were in 2018 instead as I believe it’s important to address the time period correctly even if it’s a fictional as they were essentially living in our world rather than their own fictional place created.
On her sixteenth birthday. Fiona runs away from peer pressure and parents, who do not understand her, to chase her dream of becoming a singer. Fiona has some incredibly lucky escapes from the dangers of the grown-up world and is fortunate to meet new friends who help her achieve her goals. Some of these new friends are unexpectedly tied to Fiona’s past. These connections slowly reveal themselves throughout the story to unearth family secrets.
Legal Crime is a complete story. I found the narrating confusing in the first part of the book, but this could be because I am not a young adult, and the format and language is aimed at that age group. I could picture the characters and visualise the story, Samiksha ties up the ends of this story beautifully, which I found to be very enjoyable. Samiksha started this story at 7 years old and evolved and completed Legal Crime at the age of 13 years, which I find inspirational. How many of us wrote stories as a child or dreamed of writing a book? I know I did, I still romanticise about sitting down to write a novel. If Samiksha continues to develop I genuinely believe she could become a great author.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
AN AWESOME BOOK, I NEED MORE. HELLO, SAMIKSHA (IF YOU'RE READING THIS), PLEASE WRITE A PREQUEL BEFORE I DIE OF NEED FOR IT. I. NEED. A. PREQUEL. *launches a tantrum for the prequel* PREQUEL, PREQUEL, PREQUEL, PREQUEL. I'M ALSO GONNA SNEAK WALK INTO THE ASK THE AUTHOR SECTION AND ASK YOU, JUST IN CASE YOU AREN'T READING THIS. (Also, yes, the family tree is VERY confusing....) I mean, BLEACH?? I'm not gonna be able to look at that for a while few years.... OMG, like poor DANIEL!!! Losing Eveyln and Natalie??? OMG how. did. he. live? I feel especially bad for LUNA, like when she lost Ben, everything to her became dark. And when Fiona (Isabelle, Anna, IDK what to call her anymore
When 16-year-old Fiona is completely left out of her kid brother’s birthday, it’s the proverbial last straw for her. Fed up of her family, and distant from her friends, she takes off for a new life. Assuming a new identity as Isabelle she ends up at a hostel for young women and slowly starts to build herself not only a new life but a new persona as well. But how much of her new identity will be risked by her old one? As she meets and forms relationships with a new group of people, Fiona comes to a stark realisation. To truly escape her old life she must fully envelop her new one. Soon Isabelle fully takes hold of her new life, although her new circle of friends may not be so new after all. As the mystery deepens and Fiona’s old and new lives collide, it becomes clear that all is not quite as it seems – especially within Fiona’s head.
Samiksha is a very clever young writer. She has managed to encapsulate the teen psyche without it veering towards the stereotypical tropes that many adult writers rely upon. While Fiona’s initial ‘It’s not fair’ whine may come across as typical teen angst, it’s clear as the story progresses that there’s much more at play here. Samiksha utilises flashbacks well, and the narrative often drops back to her family, especially once her disappearance is reported to the police. These flashbacks give the reader clever little insights into the reality of the world Fiona believes she lives within. These clues tell us quite early on that Fiona may not be the neglected teen she leads us to believe.
The ideas are certainly there, but this is quite clearly written by a young author. With some tight editing, this could become an incredibly tight psychological drama. Although at times the narrative was tricky to navigate, Legal Crime shows the first steps of what could be a fantastic literary career.