Remember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of CharmRemember how I was just saying I wanted a YA thriller that would actually, you know, thrill me? Here it is.
Those who liked certain elements of Charm & Strange and Wild Awake might like this, and certainly you'll like it if you enjoy books like Dangerous Girls. Not a perfect book, but a really, really good one, so I'm bumping it up in star ratings in support. I had never heard of Nick Lake until now, but I'm definitely reading his other books! Review to come. ...more
4.5 stars So freaking funny. There's a hysterical moment in this book when the main character is described as being "paralytic with giggles" and that4.5 stars So freaking funny. There's a hysterical moment in this book when the main character is described as being "paralytic with giggles" and that is exactly how I felt! I kept trying to smother my laughter so I wouldn't wake Mr.Darling.
Stuff the book includes that's great:
-- Girl friendships and how they can be both rock steady comforting and shockingly poisonous -- Affectionate adult/teen relationships -- School and career -- real connections (you totally get why people dig each other) and kindness
-- And more than anything, a sexual frankness that I've never before read in a YA book. This casual matter-of-factness and open curiosity is something I'm used to in adult books by British authors like Sarra Manning or Sophie Kinsella, but I'll admit my Puritanical American / mother hen heart is surprised to see it for younger audiences. But have we been kidding ourselves or filtering too much in American YA lit? Kids do a lot of exploring and hooking up, and it's not always with the person they think is their HEA. The authors do a bang up job of walking you through both Hannah and Sam's emotions, however, so you really do see why they act/react the way they do.
The plot gets a little convoluted with all the friends' side stories and hook-ups, and there are a few too many missed opportunities / understandings between Sam and Hannah towards the end--and it takes a beat to get adjusted in the opening chapter, since you're immediately thrown into a she's-losing-her-virginity-let's-wax-her-bikini-line scenario. But I was totally riveted by the fumbly chemistry between Hannah and Sam, I appreciated the way all the characters were distinct and related to Hannah differently, and I loved the crazy great dialogue and narrative voice. Seriously--I laughed from beginning to end.
Okay, so. That was meant to be a quick 3 am reaction but this is what happens when you finish a book and can't wait to talk to people about it!
Maybe more to come, because clearly I can't shut up about how much I like this.
3.5 stars I have such mixed feelings about this one. It started off great, and what Mo Hayder does extremely well is to build up tension and create me3.5 stars I have such mixed feelings about this one. It started off great, and what Mo Hayder does extremely well is to build up tension and create memorable characters. This story is also filled with a lot of twists and turns, some of which I thought were too convoluted and involving human behavior that wasn't entirely convincing, but others that were also really intriguing and offering genuine surprises. The payoff was good, (view spoiler)[in that that little witch gets what's coming to her (hide spoiler)] but I do wish it had felt a bit more emphatically satisfying. A little more time wrapping that up probably would have let us revel in the climax more.
As someone who revels in the previous books in this series, as well as in Karin Slaughter and Chelsea Cain and other thrillers, I'm no stranger to boundary-pushing extremes of human behavior and violence, but what's portrayed here felt mostly like shock-value material rather than stuff that really gets to you. It's terrible and violent and traumatic on paper, yes, but I didn't experience the kind of visceral reaction I normally would with descriptions and writing and character development that truly put me inside a character's head and made me care about them (or made me fascinated by them, in a killer's case).
I'm glad, however, that we finally, FINALLY get more of the overarching story arc involving Jack's brother that was so riveting in the first two books. It's been 13 long years since the second book The Treatment, the last time any significant developments have occurred--we've known about Ewan's fate for a long time (I still think about that haunting final scene), but Jack never did. But to have this major storyline relegated to a relatively minor role in this book, particularly in a book already stuffed full of perhaps too many details and characters, and with the additional "mystique" distraction of The Walking Man, felt unnecessarily cruel and did not allow for it to be infused with nearly as much poignancy and guilt and regret as it should have been. I know this will change him--I just hope that in the future Caffery books, it's in the kind of meaningful way that we saw in the first two brilliant books in this series....more