Mini Reviews #2

Posted November 3, 2014 by chooseyabooks in reviews, Uncategorized / 1 Comment

100societyTitle: The 100 Society
Author: Carla Spradberry
Publication Date:  September 4th 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Source: Review copy from publisher via Netgalley
Summary: For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it’s an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.
With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever…
Review: The 100 Society was a highly anticipated read for me from the moment I read about it in the Bookseller. I love psychological thrillers and boarding school settings!

I have to admit that I found the first couple of chapters a little hard to get into and I think the concept of the 100 society and graffiti felt slightly implausible at times. That said, this was a compelling read and one that was very easy to devour. In some ways it definitely reminded me of the 90’s horror films Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer along with classic Point Horror novels. I love that this is coming back into YA and Spradberry really captures the psychological thrills very well. The atmosphere was wonderfully tense and the big confrontation well done.

At times I did feel some of the characters felt a little flat and I found Grace a little hard to understand – though I think some of this was due to my issues with the concept of the 100 tags and its importance – however there was some great witty dialogue and twists in the tale.

Fans of horror and mysteries should find a lot to enjoy in the 100 Society.  I would definitely be interested in reading Spradberry’s next novel.

flirtydancingTitle: Flirty Dancing
Author: Jenny McLachlan
Publication Date:   July 3rd 2014
Publisher:  Bloomsbury
Source: Review copy from publisher via Netgalley
Summary: Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It’s just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.
This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

Review: Flirty Dancing is a fun, quick read filled with dancing and humour I was able to read in one sitting.

I really loved that Bea’s family had an important role in the book, especially Bea’s grandmother. McLachlan also does deal with more serious issues like bullying in Flirty Dancing and yet because the focus is on Bea’s dancing and personal growth it doesn’t feel didactic. I really enjoyed Bea’s journey in the book and her relationship with Ollie. The dancing scenes were convincingly written and worked well.

I do think that this book works more towards the younger end of the YA market in terms of humour and content and would fit in well with books like Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging.

dangerousboysTitle: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Publication Date:  August 14th 2014
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Source: Review copy from publisher via Netgalley
Summary: Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Review: Haas’ Dangerous Girls was one of my top reads of 2013 and captured psychological twists and drama so well, so I was excited to see what she would write next. Dangerous Boys has a very interesting concept and strong narration, however sadly didn’t quite pull me in the same way as Dangerous Girls.

I’m fascinated by the bad boy- good girl dynamic (as some of you may know I focused on it for my postgraduate critical work) so I thought many aspects of Oliver’s character and Chloe’s relationship to him very interesting. I found Chloe a compelling narrator and her difficulties in being stuck in a town and a position she shouldn’t have to be in well conveyed.

The overall plot and twist fell slightly short for me. I wonder if this is because I read the book expecting certain twists and turns in the same way as Dangerous Girls though. I did read Dangerous Boys in one sitting and it is compelling and well-written, however didn’t quite have such a hold on me as Dangerous Girls and I’m not entirely sure why.

Haas knows how to concoct a dark, twisted, compelling tale with flawed, unreliable yet believable characters and I think her writing is strong. Dangerous Boys is an interesting examination of relationships and relationship dynamics and fans of twisty novels with unlikeable characters such as Gone Girl will find a lot of interesting material in this novel.

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