Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA Releases

Posted January 2, 2017 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: Cell 7
Author: Kerry Drewery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 384

Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions - all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?

Review: Cell 7 has a brilliant concept and I was drawn in the moment I read the summary. In some ways the summary reminded me a little of When She Woke by Hilary Jordan in terms of someone being in a  televised cell after a crime but Cell 7 stands on its own and is a compelling look at media, reality and crime. I hadn’t read any of Drewery’s books before but knew her from twitter and UKYA Extravaganza as a strong voice in the UKYA world.

Cell 7 begins after a celebrity is murdered and the teenager accused of his murder is processed on Death Is Justice, the TV show that over a week the public watch to vote on whether someone is innocent or guilty with death as the punishment for guilt. In itself, this is a fascinating concept, especially when you consider how prevalent reality TV is now and how TV audiences decide and judge guilt even without voting or causing direct consequence as in Cell 7.

Martha, the main character was well written and a strong narrator. I wanted to find out why she had been found holding a gun over the body.

The reality TV structure worked well and showed how editing and behind the scenes agendas can dictate how a story is told. That said, the ending felt a little weak to me and I think the format would potentially feel a little overdone if continued ad nauseam in the sequel.

While aspects were predictable, overall this was a compulsive page-turner and a terrifying plausible world.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: The Monstrous Child
Author: Francesca Simon
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories
Pages: 320

A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the bets of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.
Francesca's first and wonderful foray into teen.

Review: I heard about the Monstrous Child at a Faber event at the start of 2016 (which now feels much further away than it actually was) and knew I had to read it. All about mythology? Grumpy teenage narrator? Grumpy teenage narrator who runs Hell? Yes, please! Atmospheric, very well crafted and utterly compelling, this is a brilliantly darkly fun and clever read.

Francesca Simon is most popularly know for her Horrid Henry books but according to Goodreads the Monstrous Child is third in her Mortal Gods series; that said the book description says it’s Simon’s first foray in YA so I I hadn’t read this series at all and yet it stood perfectly on its own for me and in fact I’m tempted to say from reading the descriptions on Goodreads it doesn’t really belong in a series.

Hel is exactly as she was pitched to me; an upset, irritable young woman who has not been dealt the easiest hand in life and now is going to make it work for her. The use of mythology works really well and Simon doesn’t avoid some of the more strange or grisly tales from mythology.

If you’re in the mood for a well written novel using Norse Mythology with an utterly flawed and teenage narrator then definitely check out the Monstrous Child.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesTitle: The Deviants
Author: C.J. Skuse
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
Pages: 320
three-half-stars

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves
Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, 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?

Review: I’ve enjoyed several of C J Skuse’s YA novels so was pleased to see she had a new book coming out. The Deviants feels a little different to her previous books in my opinion, however at it’s roots is clearly CJ Skuse.

The Deviants looks at several big issues; teenage pregnancy, intimacy and several others View Spoiler » without getting preachy or didactic. There is, as you would expect with CJ, a creepy and yet realistic atmosphere to the novel with an increasingly sinister atmosphere

Overall, I enjoyed Deviants and felt the darker atmosphere worked very well. While at the start it felt a little less pacy, it developed quickly and I read the book in a couple of sittings at the most. Ella definitely felt the strongest of the characters and her journey was very interesting as her fears with taking her relationship with Max further were something not really explored in YA and yet something very real.

Dark, twisting and tense, CJ Skuse fans and YA suspense lovers should find a lot to enjoy in The Deviants.

 

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