Tag Archives: abuse

Book Review: The Deviants by CJ Skuse

Published 22nd September 2016 by Mira INK.

23126437Goodreads Synopsis: the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

My Review: I didn’t know a huge amount about this book, and hadn’t read any of CJ’s books before, and needed something to read for fun instead of for studying – so I chose this from my TBR pile on a whim! I’m very glad I did, and I don’t think I’ve raced through a book so quickly in a long time. The Deviants had me entirely engrossed, and left a mark on me.

Firstly, the characters: we’re introduced to them all in strange, different ways. These five inseparable children have all grown apart after Max’s older sister’s death, but they unexpectedly find themselves joining together again, under dark circumstances, to begin wreaking revenge on those who have hurt them. All of the characters were visible so clearly in my mind – Skuse goes into such detail with all of their backstories, and as a result I don’t think I could forget any of them any time soon. I became really attached.

I really liked the way that the story is told! All of the chapters are told from the perspective of Ella, whose personality I was most attached to – I sympathised with her so much. Each chapter ends with a question that feeds into the next part of the story, and they feel like interrogation questions, leading up a completely unexpected ending. The questions at the end of each chapter were definitely what kept me hooked – I wanted to read on; discover the truth; see who was asking them (AND WOAH I DID NOT EXPECT IT OH MY GOODNESS).

The Deviants felt quite bizarre at first, then a little creepy – then it spiralled into an incredibly dark and horrific story. Every turn was completely unexpected – there are subtle, clever hints throughout the plot, but I could not have possibly predicted where the book ended. I was on the verge of tears the whole way through the book, and I literally couldn’t hold it in for the last 30 pages!

A warning to those who want to read this, though – The Deviants is incredibly dark, and quite traumatic in places. It was much more grim than I thought it could be, and I think it could be quite sensitive for some readers – without giving anything away, there’s prominent themes of abuse and violence. However, if it’s something you can read, I do definitely recommend it – it’s rare to find a book that discusses its main theme so vividly, without sugar-coating it. It’s devastating in places, and hard to read, but I think that’s what makes it important.

Overall, The Deviants was much darker and sinister than I predicted, and its vivid approach to some sensitive topics can make it a hard to read in places. However, it can’t be doubted that it’s an incredible, incredible book. It was really eye opening to read about such terrifying events that still happen to so many people every day, and these characters and their stories will never really leave me. This is a very hard-hitting book, which will definitely make you think and it can be really upsetting – but at the same time, it’s important, and I really do recommend it to those who can read similar things.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of The Deviants from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Crush by Eve Ainsworth

Related posts: 140 Character Reviews [contemporary fiction]

Published March 3rd 2016 by Scholastic Books.

26099256Goodreads Synopsis: Love hurts… but should it hurt this much? Reeling from her mum’s sudden departure, Anna finds the comfort she needs in her blossoming relationship with Will. He’s handsome and loving, everything Anna has always dreamt of. He’s also moody and unpredictable, pushing her away from her friends, her music. He wants her to be his and his alone. He wants her to be perfect. Anna’s world is closing in. But threatening everything is a dark secret that not even Will can control…

My Review: I was so excited when Eve Ainsworth’s second book was announced, because Seven Days, her début novel, was absolutely stunning. Upon learning more about it, I was even more eager to read it; I don’t think abusive relationships (that aren’t parental) are talked about enough in YA.

Crush is quite a short read, at under 300 pages, but I do almost wish it was longer! I was really engrossed in the story.

Anna meets Will and falls for him quickly – soon, they’re in an all-encompassing relationship; but Will isn’t really who Anna has thought she’s fallen for. He begins to take over aspects of her life, and Anna realises after everyone else that this isn’t what a relationship should be.

I really liked how Ainsworth takes the time to delve into both main characters’ backstories, in different ways. Each chapter is told from Anna’s perspective, and it’s visible how her life becomes divided between her life with Will and the struggle she has at home, where her family is recovering from her mother’s leaving. Will’s perspective, however, is only seen through the letters he writes, which appear after every chapter or so, and are really haunting. The letters provide a really interesting outlook on Will, and why he acts the way he does.

I really felt for Anna, and the things she goes through are pretty scary – especially because she doesn’t initially realise the emotional manipulation that’s occurring. The story is an incredibly important one to be told, but also very chilling. It’s a very grim reminder of how hard it can be to recognise abuse that isn’t always physical.

Overall, Crush is most definitely worth reading – I feel like it’s going to start a really thought-provoking conversation in the YA community. I’m really glad this book is out there, and I’m sure it chas the potential to really help people in asimilar situations. As before, Eve Ainsworth’s writing is fantastic – I can’t wait to see more from her in the future, as the contemporary fiction she writes is realistic, raw and memorable.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Crush from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.