I See You

So I mentioned in a review in July that I had two books that month which would be in my Top 10 – this was supposed to be my second. (Yes, the review is a little late). But I See You is one of the most gripping, terrifying and satisfying books I’ve read this year and easily rockets into my top 10 of the year without a doubt.

I-See-You-by-Clare-Mackintosh

First I have to say thank you to the PR team at Little, Brown who not only sent me a copy but a FINISHED copy before publication (Vendula and Kirsteen, thank you!). I’ve been a fan of Clare’s since I Let You Go which took the country by storm, quite rightly and I couldn’t wait to read her second.

The thing with second novels is that often, they’re so built up in your mind, and there’s so much expectation from the debut, that you can be left disappointed. This is why one of my initial adjectives was satisfying. Because this book did not let itself down, or its predecessor. If anything, I think the plot of I See You will stay with me for far longer than I Let You Go.

If you’re a Londoner, or even if you’ve just ever got public transport, this book is utterly terrifying. I read it nearly a month ago and still I find myself choosing different seats on the tube, trying to depart my house at different times, mixing up my schedule and constantly looking over my shoulder. I’ve never read a book like it, one which carries through its intensity and thrill into my everyday life. The very idea at the heart of the novel is drawing on such a terrifying and realistic fear, particularly for a woman, and it’s brilliant. It was also brilliant because it really felt like it could happen, like someone would come up with this idea as the next stage of Tinder for busy, city living millennials. It was a fresh concept too, something different which is almost impossible to find in thrillers at the moment.

Clare’s writing really is sensational – I think that’ll be the only time I agree with the Daily Mail. But they’re right. The tension, fear and mystery is completely encapsulating. You are sucked into this book, its characters and its story and it’s the definition of a page-turner. I read it in one sitting and immediately found myself texting people to tell them about it, telling my friends about it when I saw them that evening whilst we travelled on the tube.

I have no doubt that I See You will be just as successful as Clare’s debut, because I thought it was better. The intensity is taken up a notch, the twist ingenious and the ending truly chilling. The novel delivers pace, mystery and tension in abundance as well as a killer few final pages and it’s perfectly handled, delivering each new piece of information with expert delivery and never letting you sit back for a second. The twist is unguessable yet believable and I felt constantly on edge: an insanely good psychological thriller. More, please, Clare!

I See You is out now from Sphere.

Nina is Not OK

I’m a huge fan of Shappi Khorsandi’s stand up so I was thrilled to hear she was writing a novel. Then I saw this cover and I got even more excited. A unique and brilliant novel which surprised me, warmed me and will stay with me. A masterpiece.

Nina is Not OK.jpg

“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?

Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all.

And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before , then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend.

But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her…”

I felt so much in common with Nina at first. I was definitely the girl at 17 who would drink too much every time I went out, enjoy male attention and throw up, feeling suitably shamed the next morning as my friends told me how annoying I was. It’s a remedy when you’re feeling insecure, or anxious, or just a bit rubbish. People remember you as ‘the laugh’ and you end up enjoying that role, at first anyway. When you’re 17, you just want to be liked. But Nina takes this to a whole new level.

As expected, Shappi’s debut novel is hilarious. Witty, original, likeable and wholly relevant. I actually read this book two months ago and am only just getting around to writing the review for publication, yet I can still remember it perfectly. Her voice is unlike anyone else’s in the market today and she’s proved here that she has a huge talent as a storyteller as well as a comedian. The book was heartfelt, honest and discussed issues I haven’t read before. Yes we’ve all read the book about characters who drink too much, but never a girl this young. I’ve certainly not read any that show it in such detail and with such poise. Nina’s deterioration is gradual at first, before spiralling and Shappi uses her writing to show that downfall perfectly. The pacing is spot on, the emotion involved heart-wrenching and you really do see how bit-by-bit, Nina ends up at rock bottom.

The story was believable too. You felt everything Nina did, we were on her side despite her sometimes ‘poor decisions’ and it showed perfectly her own realisation that she had a problem. We see this girl go from the life of the party, a girl we think is fun, if a little too vivacious – pushing boundaries we might not push. It just felt so real and Shappi wrote it so well, that even before discussing her brilliant characterisation and touching tone, it’s more the structure of this book that was so powerful to me. We really felt this decline, we saw it happening and every moment was believable. In her wildest moments, we don’t feel disgust – we feel pity, sympathy and a caring protective notion for Nina. We can see her disease and that’s what’s so important. Shappi has shown Nina as a victim of alcohol, not as a wild animal out of control. Not as a slut who drank too much. Not as a girl who ‘can’t handle her drink’. We don’t blame her once and that’s masterful writing.

Past that, the characters were rounded, lovable and relatable. We love Nina but we love her friends too, and Max and her own family, despite their problems. We laugh, we cry and we feel both protective and proud of Nina. It really shows what it’s like to be 17. As a young woman, I’m always hearing ‘it’s the best time of your life’ but this shows in a powerful way that it’s hard. Expectations are hard. Insecurities are hard. And the medicine you treat that with can be destructive.

I think this is a rare find. A book that speaks with such a distinctive voice, I won’t ever forget about it. There’s nothing else like it, nothing comparable, it’s truly unique with important messages delivered with detailed planning, stunning writing and a subtlety that makes it all the more poignant.

A wonderful debut from Shappi Khorsandi, I’m a fan for life. Nina is Not Okay is out on 28th July.

Children of Icarus

I’m a huge fan of myths. I studied Latin at school, right up to A Level and I devoured stories of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus and Hercules (yes, the Disney version). So when Georgia mentioned this book from Curious Fox, I knew it would be right up my street.

children of icarus.jpg

“It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen.

But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter.

Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.”

Think Maze Runner meets Gladiator when it comes to this book. A group of teenagers, thrown into a maze to become Icarii, though we never really know if that’s actually a goal they should be striving for. The creatures and dangers of the maze are horrendous, we are closed in, just like the narrator to its narrow walls and we are equally nauseated by watching what happens to the other teens around her.

I’ve got to say – at times I found the narrator a little too… pathetic? She freezes whenever faced with danger, she is silent to the point that it ruins her future and she doesn’t seem to get over this at all. But then, if I was shoved into a maze like this, I think I’d be pretty useless too. Plus, it’s a little refreshing to read someone who isn’t automatically the reluctant hero (Katniss, Harry Potter etc.)

I don’t want to give anything away, but as we watch the narrator in the maze, navigating through the various people she meets, we realise how much of an impact family, friends and emotional ties have in this incomprehensible maze. Everyone has a role, everyone has a story and they are fighting just to survive which must be exhausting when there is no hope of anything more. I actually enjoyed these quieter moments more, when you saw the effect their situation could have on their personality and mental state. Yet these moments were matched with throes of action.

I loved the rumours of the maze – the stories of what might happen to you and the mysterious creatures and possibly, people, who roam it. When our narrator is out on her own, we learn so much more and the tension towards the end of the book is palpable. You know, just like the narrator, that we are close to finding out the truth, to finding out what’s at the end of this trail of clues. And then the book ends – infuriating but brilliant because all I want to do is pick up the next in the series to find out what is happening.

At moments, I hated that we never knew who the narrator was. But mostly, I loved her elusiveness – a characteristic that lends herself to a new role by the end of the book. The excitement that builds as you realise what she might become, and the chances she might have in the maze is great.

This novel mixes the classic labyrinth and its monsters with new trials, relatable characters and an intriguing plot. Though at times I was frustrated with our narrator, I’m desperate to find out the truth behind the Icarri and what secrets the maze holds.

Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith is out now from Curious Fox.

All is Not Forgotten

I’ve had this book on my list for months, since I spotted it possibly in The Bookseller when it was first sold. It just sounded like something I’d probably enjoy. So when it came up on NetGalley, I was first in line. It’s one of two books published this month which are likely to be in my Top 10 of the year. Compulsive, ingenious, original and incredibly clever, this is one of the best books I have ever read.

all is not forgottten

“You can erase the memory. But you cannot erase the crime.

Jenny’s wounds have healed.
An experimental treatment has removed the memory of a horrific and degrading attack.
She is moving on with her life.

That was the plan. Except it’s not working out.
Something has gone. The light in the eyes. And something was left behind. A scar. On her lower back. Which she can’t stop touching.
And she’s getting worse.
Not to mention the fact that her father is obsessed with finding her attacker and her mother is in toxic denial.

It may be that the only way to uncover what’s wrong is to help Jenny recover her memory. But even if it can be done, pulling at the threads of her suppressed experience will unravel much more than the truth about her attack.”

This will be so hard to review without spoiling but I’m going to give it a go. The brilliance of this book is down to many things, mostly for me: the plot and the narrator. We’re reading from the eyes of Jenny’s psychologist, offering an insight into her life as well as his own. It’s this relationship which really creates the ingenuity and cleverness of this book as we slowly feel his voice change, becoming more unreliable and more manipulative. It’s this slow decline which Wendy Walker has carried out spectacularly well. On top of that you have the mystery of Jenny, the girl who wants to remember being raped. But with the memory come secrets which create even more tension, suspicion and mystery. Page-turner isn’t strong enough. Gripping isn’t strong enough. I wanted to inhale this book, it makes you want to keep reading that much.

I found myself telling other people about this book whilst reading, it’s the kind where you grab your friend or family member to tell them about it which for me is rare. I’m always reading something. For me to mention it, it must be good. I devoured it on holiday, reading it at the dinner table instead of focusing on the beautiful views, it was that good. The twists are unforeseeable, the pace gripping and compelling and the story perfect in all senses of the word when it comes to a thriller.

For the first time since Gone Girl, I finished a thriller and thought oh my bloody God, that was good. It was so smart, so brilliantly crafted I wanted to read it again instantly to watch for every moment the breadcrumbs were laid out for you. The effect one character, one person can have is amazing, especially someone in a position of trust, influence and respect. We have the passive narrator who may not be wholly passive, a rapist whose identity needs to be found, secrets which need to be protected. We are the narrator watching every moment with him and seeing Jenny and her family’s life from an outsider position. IT’S JUST SO CLEVER. I can’t forget this book. I can’t forget such an incredible narrator who creeps up on you in a way that makes your heart pound. Yet he’s understandable, he’s not the enemy and you can’t blame him for his actions as he silently goes along his way without anyone noticing. The narrator who can have such an influence without anyone realising and who can get away with it too. Don’t be misled – you might be more interested in the revelation of Jenny’s attacker, yet another incredible thread and twist in this astonishing book. It offers everything you could want in a psychological thriller.

This may not make any sense to someone who hasn’t read it. It’s so hard to explain without ruining the journey for you because that’s really what this book is: a journey with the narrator as you unfold the truth of Jenny’s attack and feel the suffocating pressure of secrets which envelopes the characters.

Just read it. You won’t be disappointed. It’s out today and God bless you Wendy Walker, I can’t wait for the next book.

I’m even going to leave this here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Not-Forgotten-Wendy-Walker/dp/0008173613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468443892&sr=8-1&keywords=all+is+not+forgotten

Eden Summer

I’m a huge fan of everything published by DFB – their books are always incredibly written, overwhelmingly powerful and usually pretty beautiful. Other than The Call which is less beauty and more intensely terrifying and brilliant. The lovely Carolyn sent me a copy of Eden Summer which did not disappoint – a stunning book exploring the pain of loss and power of friendship.

eden summer

“It starts like any other day for Jess – get up, draw on eyeliner, cover up tattoos and head to school. But soon it’s clear this is no ordinary day, because Jess’s best friend Eden isn’t at school…she’s gone missing. Jess knows she has to do everything in her power to try to find Eden before the unthinkable happens. So she starts to retrace their steps, looking back over the summer she and Eden have just spent together. She starts to notice new things. She starts to question everything she thought Eden’s summer had been about…A tense and thrilling journey through friendship, loss, betrayal and self discovery.”

God this book had all the emotions. First, because me and my sister also had a pretty tempestuous relationship growing up and so I quickly text her after reading this just to say, you know, I do love you really. Second, because of Liz Flanagan’s writing. An expert in a YA mind it seems and a beautifully emotive writer of grief and recovery. Her prose is poetic, haunting and incredibly touching.

I loved Jess because she was different, but more so because she didn’t act like she was in a stereotypical way. So often we have these tropes of someone who dresses like an ’emo/goth’ and the connotations that come with it. But Jess is one of those people and is funny, interesting, kind and honest and bloody lovely to Eden and I was thrilled to see Liz Flanagan fight against the morbid stereotype. I also loved Jess’ Mum in who we could see the battle between keeping her daughter safe, and trying to help her recover and move on from what happened to her. The love there which isn’t as obvious as the friendship was still so significant to me.

There’s a perfect balance between annoyance and empathy for Eden as we watch her struggle after what has happened. We react with Jess as she recoils in hurt but is bravely determined to be there for her friend. Eden’s journey of grief is also so recognisable and so delicately handled by Liz, it just really made my heart ache. The moments of bravery which so easily destruct into moments of indescribable sadness. You could really feel her pain, and the pain of Jess who felt so helpless. Even though we are reading from Jess’ point of view, I felt so invested in Eden, so intrigued by her and really started to care for her. I think, in fact, I just felt some sort of comfort in her. That someone was experiencing what I have, what so many of us have: loss and guilt.

And then we have Liam, a character who you don’t wholly trust but really hope he’ll turn out to be the guy you think he is. I won’t spoil whether he is or not. All in all, a powerful, moving book which really makes you leap from sadness to warmth over and over as you journey through their grief and beautiful friendship. I felt every moment with these characters – a wonderful debut and I can’t wait to see more.

Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan is out now.

The Woman In Cabin 10

Sophie and I are both big Ruth Ware fans. Luckily, when the post arrived, this one was addressed to me, much to Sophie’s disappointment. (Don’t worry, I’ve passed it onto her).

It’s another tense, suspenseful thriller with a great air of Agatha Christie and also a little The Girl on The Train – an unreliable narrator, the drink, the judgement and assumption of instability which comes with that. It also really made me want to take a cruise around the fjords – for the beauty, not for the spooky murder.

cabin 10

“This was meant to be the perfect trip.

The Northern Lights. A luxury press launch on a boutique cruise ship.

A chance for travel journalist Lo Blacklock to recover from a traumatic break-in that has left her on the verge of collapse, and to work out what she wants from her relationship.

Except things don’t go as planned.

Woken in the night by screams, Lo rushes to her window to see a body thrown overboard from the next door cabin. But the records show that no-one ever checked into that cabin, and no passengers are missing from the boat.

Exhausted, emotional and increasingly desperate, Lo has to face the fact that she may have made a terrible mistake. Or she is trapped on a boat with a murderer – and she is the sole witness…”

For me, this was a book of two halves. The first, brilliant, the second a little rushed and not quite as brilliant. The pace of the book is insane, you’re thrown straight into the action from page one and you’re met by the narrator of Lou, a slightly grumpy, funny and unreliable. The story is structured much like a classic thriller novel: a rocky relationship, a traumatic experience making Lou want to get away and a chance to do so, whilst getting ahead in her career. I loved the first night on the boat when Lou is introduced to each character, it felt so authentically Agatha Christie as she met each aristocrat, each passenger who you are immediately trying to work out.

We are firmly on Lou’s side in her argument of seeing the mysterious woman in cabin 10. I never doubted her sanity for a second, or blamed it on the concoction of drugs and alcohol as those around her did. For we see the girl and hear the screams just as she does and we’re convinced. But the confusion over where this mysterious girl has gone, whether she has died or is on board is so brilliantly handled – we are drawn in, whisking through the pages as the tension builds and the suspects increase. It’s a book that feels timeless, that gets straight to the action and exudes the feel of a classic ‘whodunnit’. I loved the mystery and the build to the realisation of the truth. There’s a pressing suspense throughout as you follow Lou as a detective around the ship and her slight frantic, distressed way of investigating makes her a brilliant narrator. We feel her frustration but it’s easy to see why those around her might not believe it. Unless they’re behind it all along…

But for me, after that, everything just happened in a whirlwind. It was incredibly rushed, moments felt a little unrealistic and I was slightly left feeling disappointed by an outcome which felt less Agatha Christie and more James Bond. Let me say that I still really enjoyed the second half, I just felt that the first built it up so much that I was expecting a lot, I wanted that Christie feel to carry through. I wanted to see Richard more, I wanted a more realistic ending. And I’m also very picky about thrillers, I say with so many books that the ending was a little disappointing when really, I’m not sure how an ending can keep being different to other thrillers whilst staying credible. I just don’t feel like the tone of the two halves of this book matched, but either on its own worked really well. I feel incredibly harsh saying so because I love the way Ruth writes and I think it’s a fantastic book, one I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy without my overly-critical and hard-to-please mind.

The Woman in Cabin 10 is out on 30th June.

In the Dark, In the Woods

The first time I heard about this book, it was because Louise O’Neill tweeted about it and I thought, well if she says it’s good, it’s got to be. And as expected, Louise was so right.

in the dark

“An unforgettable thriller from an incredible new author.

Father wants sixteen-year-old Castley and her five siblings to hide from the world. Living in a falling-down house deep in the woods, he wants to bury their secrets where no-one will ever find them.

Father says they are destined to be together forever. In heaven. Father says the sooner they get there, the better.

But Castley wants to be normal. She wants to kiss boys and wear jean shorts.”

What a beautifully written book. I mean, stunning. It’s such an uncomfortable read as you hear about the planned ‘incest’ of Castley being coupled off with her own brother, the fierce love between them all as siblings, the intense religion and heart-breaking trust of their father. When you’re young, all you have to look at is your parents and this is an extreme example of reaching an age where you start to question whether they’re really right about everything…

The novel is such a lyrical one, written so delicately and so perfectly that it makes its darkness even more prominent. I could feel myself as a teenager in it, the desperation to fit in and the moment you start to draw away from your family but feel guilty for doing so, wanting to be able to return to safety at any moment. Castley feels that so intensely and it’s brilliantly portrayed as she battles her normal teenage wishes with the guilt and love for her family.

It’s not all about Castley either, I actually found her siblings far more interesting. The brother who followed his father so closely he nearly becomes him, the other brother who is so rebellious, it’s painful to watch. Another brother who chooses to punish himself. The sisters who choose either silence or a painful kind of self-preservation. The torment the children suffer is ungodly, ironically. You could see each of them flit between being fastly loyal to their father and starting to believe there is an alternative.

Their father is abhorrent but in a way, I ended up feeling sorry for them all in the end. He is cruel but obviously so tormented in his own mind, it just feels like a tragic finale for every member of the family. You learn as much from what isn’t said, as from what is.

The story was certainly disturbing, treated with such delicacy and such detail in every sentence that you were drawn into a story which felt some-what magical. A truly uncomfortable read but an incredible coming-of-age story. Haunting is the best word to describe it. Heart-breaking, touching, stunning are a few more. The writing is what makes this book, such beauty in its characters and in the storytelling, with a darkness that sends chills up your spine.

In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Wass is out now.

The Fire Child

Last year, in the airport on my way to California, I bought The Ice Twins. It was good enough to keep me so captivated, I forgot to look outside whilst driving down a stunning coast road. (Luckily for me, it’s a long coast so I didn’t miss it all). So when I saw The Fire Child on NetGalley, I was quick to request. It’s the next book from S K Tremayne and for me, didn’t quite hit the same mark.

the fire child

“The chilling new psychological thriller by S. K. Tremayne, author of the Sunday Times No. 1 bestseller, THE ICE TWINS.

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’”

As with many thrillers recently, I was very quickly and suddenly taken in by this book. It was unputdownable, keeping me questioning with such a brilliant air of eeriness, I wouldn’t want to read it close to bedtime. That was for the first half of the book anyway. I think what I didn’t like about this book was the sci-fi element. That’s not because I don’t like sci-fi, I love sci-fi but I just wasn’t expecting it. Thinking about it, it’s not even that it slipped into the territory of sci-fi, psychic abilities, ghosts etc because the landscape and setting lent itself so perfectly to a ghost story but it frustrated me that it then didn’t follow through. It seemed to try to take back the sci-fi/psychic element, trying to give a ‘real’ reason for all the spooky occurances but I found the ‘real’ reason completely unrealistic. It was either luck, explained with something incredibly rare and unlikely, or not explained at all – or a character had lied.

The twist, for me, was a little hard to believe. The ghost story stopped being a ghost story which made the whole build up feel very pointless. Though it was a clever way to tie it all up, it just didn’t ring true for me and I felt like the book built in an incredibly way to just take it all back in a rather clumsy and unlikely fashion.

I can’t fault this book for building suspense and creating a spooky, gothic atmosphere. I can’t fault S K Tremayne from writing brilliantly, her books are so different and unique and it wouldn’t stop me picking up the next book at all. I think in this case, it’s definitely personal opinion and a frustration at an ending which I couldn’t believe in, as I know other people have read it and thought it was one of the best twists they’ve read in a long time. I, unfortunately, was a little disappointed. It felt like a book or film, where at the end they wake up and it was all a dream; a cheat. But the tension, fear and incredibly unique and gothic setting is indescribably perfect and I really enjoyed reading this book for the most part.

The Fire Child is out now.

 

Dear Amy

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere, all over my newsfeed and the magazines and it’s caught my eye. When I got an email from NetGalley, I downloaded it immediately and read it the same evening. A fantastic cover and a brilliant, twisting thriller.

dear amy.jpg“FIRST CLASS PSYCHOLOGICAL SUSPENSE FROM A MAJOR NEW VOICE IN FICTION

Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy,
I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me.
Please help me soon,
Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything…”

This book feels like you’re watching an episode of Criminal Minds (one of my favourite FBI/BAU shows). You’re constantly guessing and suspecting, following Margot’s train of thought and sometimes not wholly trusting her and it leads to an incredibly exciting twist and final few chapters.

I love a unreliable narrator as much as the next person and I think Helen Callaghan has done it perfectly. Gone are the excuses of ‘alcoholism amnesia’ or ‘blackouts’, this is realistic, hinting detail at a darker secret and darker past than we are originally led to believe.

At first I found Margot a bit frustrating, a little wet and twee. But there are flashes of anger which completely flip your expectations and as we learn  more about her, she became more and more interesting.

The twist is perfect – the kind you realise just as the main character is about to find out. Other than a few passages where I wanted to skip ahead, purely because I was so eager to find out what was going to happen, I was gripped by every word. You become more and more involved towards the last few chapters as it all begins to unravel and any thriller fans will love this book – the slow tension and build up and exciting last few chapters make it a traditional and fantastic thriller novel and I loved the passages where the past of Bethan became unravelled.

I wasn’t as invested in the storylines surround Margot’s lovelife or her interests in the male characters romantically – I was much more interested in the story of Bethan and Katie and finding out what happened. It’s not as gritty as some of the psychological thrillers out there but it has a great old-school thriller feel to it, following the traditional plot sequence and a twist I never would have guessed. It’s one of those books you finish and feel satisfied by because it delivered what it said it would, a thrilling story and an explosive, intense and compelling twist ending.

Dear Amy is out on 16th June from Michael Joseph, £12.99 in hardback.

Sign of One

I’ve heard a lot about this book – mostly good too, so I was thrilled when I was offered a copy by Maggie at Egmont. It’s a brilliant cover and a fantastic concept, one I was definitely intrigued and taken in by.

sign of one

“One for sorrow, two for death…

On Wrath, a dump-world for human outcasts, identical twins are feared. Only one will grow up human, while the other becomes a condemned monster with ‘twisted’ blood.

When sixteen-year-old Kyle is betrayed, he flees for his life with the help of Sky, a rebel pilot with trust issues. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway – although he has no idea why he warrants this level of pursuit.

The hideous truth they discover could change the fate of Wrath and its harsh laws forever. Their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them – or bring about their destruction.”

I loved the examination into twins that this book took, the idea that one was evil and one good was an interesting idea in itself. We’re working on a book about twins at the moment too (False Hearts by Laura Lam) and I find it all so fascinating to see the bonds between them.

I’ll be honest in the fact that I really enjoyed Sign of One, I read it one summer afternoon in one go and it’s incredibly readable, exciting, emotional and full of adventure. However, I wouldn’t say it’s one that’s going to stay with me, I won’t be clamouring for the next one, though I’d definitely want to read it. And that’s got nothing to do with the writing or the book itself, more the fact that it was another dystopia (/sci-fi) and unfortunately I just feel worn out of them as a genre. It’s another group of people who are misunderstood and presented as evil when actually they were just feared. It feels very X-Men/Divergent.

I think this book has more to offer than just the same old dystopian story though – it’s got clever twists and great lead characters, I was more of a fan of Sky than Kyle but that’s probably just because I feel I’m a similar person to Sky. I love that every character has another version of themselves to fight for, I love the bond between twins that is more unbreakable than most other relationships. I loved Kyle’s family – I won’t say too much as I don’t want to give away spoilers but they’re brilliant, loyal, kind and clever.

It’s a really easy read, so pacey and realistic; the writing brings their world and the characters to life. I’d definitely recommend it; it just won’t be making my top 10 pile unfortunately.

Sign of One is out now from Egmont.