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The Search Party By Simon Lelic

The Search Party‘The Search Party’ is the latest book by Simon Lelic.

16-year-old Sadie Saunders is missing.Five friends set out into the woods to find her. But they’re not just friends. They’re suspects. You see, this was never a search party. It’s a witch hunt. And not everyone will make it home alive.

I really enjoyed ‘The Search Party’ a fast paced whodunnit since from the narrative of the detective investigator investigating a young girl’s disappearance as well as her 5 closest friends, who are all suspects in the case.

The story revolves around the 5 friends going out on their own search party in the woods for their friend and then them telling their perspective to the police being interviewed. It’s during these moments, that you really see the different personalities come to light and shows the friction between the friends. The five friends are Mason; Sadie’s boyfriend, Luke; Sadie’s twin brother, Cora, Abi and Fash. It’s during this time whilst searching the tensions rise, opinions are voiced and the friends turn on each other especially when their phones are stolen and they feel that they are unable to trust each other.

The detective in charge, DI Fleet is under a lot of pressure to solve the mystery, as the search for Sadie is turning out to be one of the biggest and most expensive searches of all time. Even though, all fingers are being pointed at Mason, but he doesn’t believe it’s as clear cut as that and is determined to find the culprit. Fleet comes with his own baggage, having returned to his hometown for the first time in 17 years after the death of his sister and is working through a separation with his wife.

The book is a gripping and tense story and for me, read like a Young Adult novel. The troubled group of teenage friends all going through the hardship of losing a friend whilst battling with peer pressure, abuse and the pressure of social media. The multiple narratives gave an interesting slant to the story, with perspectives from Fleet including police procedures and the tension between the teenagers kept the reader on edge, as all of the supposed friends had issues with Sadie.

Atmospheric from the first page, ‘The Search Party’ is a well written and cleverly crafted thriller. With unreliable characters and everyone with a motive, this book is a compelling story with an ending that will take your breath away.

You can buy ‘The Search Party’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Are You Watching? By Vincent Ralph

Are You Watching‘Are You Watching?’ is the latest book by Vincent Ralph.

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man. She was the first of his victims but not the last. Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all. The whole world is watching her every move. And so is the Magpie Man.

If you like your Young Adult riddled with drama and suspense, then this book is the book for you.

Seen solely through the narrative of 17 year old Jess, she’s using the opportunity of being a vlogger to finally find the killer that murdered Jess’s mother when Jess was a child. Named the ‘Magpie Killer’, they have gone onto kill 12 more women after Jess’s mother. With having her short YouTube series, Jess is hoping to find some evidence and bring the spotlight back into the killer.

Jess is a strong and interesting young woman, she’s determined to finally bring the killer to justice and finally bring some peace to herself and her broken father. With each episode of her show viewed, she finds herself open to new drama and putting her own safety at risk, as new twists and secrets are revealed.

This book is aimed for young adults, but to be honest I found that the book suited all ages, the only time I noticed the younger element of the story was when Jess was in school with her best friends, Hanna and Emily, who coincidentally inject some humour into the tense thriller. The fact that the story revolves around social media is current, the responsibilities of the company as well as the impact social media can have on lives, it’s not always about the views to be a success.

Jess’s father added some poignancy into the story as well, a broken man who never got over the brutal murder of his wife, he lives in the shadows, hidden away but is there when it counts.

A story that travels at a fast pace that really pulls the reader in, with short chapters that made it impossible to put down. ‘Are You Watching’ is a gripping, murder mystery filled with suspicious characters and a determined protagonist that made for fantastic reading.

You can pre-order ‘Are You Watching?’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 6th February 2020.

One Of Us Is Lying By Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying ‘One Of Us Is Lying’ is the latest book by Karen M. McManus.

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

This is Karen’s debut book and it’s an addictive read filled with secrecy, bitchiness and lies.

The story starts just as the five students all arrive for detention and then is seen through the four remaining narratives as they all become the suspects in the investigation when Simon, the fifth student suddenly dies in suspicious circumstances.

The four students all come from completely different sides of track and in a different situation, they may never have forged friendships. But, in the surreal situation that they are experiencing, they are all there for each other, trying to piece together the mystery of Simon’s death.

Simon, who tragically died was a bit of hated character, he was an antagonistic boy, who liked to spread humours and make people uncomfortable with the creation of his gossip app ‘About That’, which shared tales of speculation and lies. Bronwyn is a serious and studious girl who finds herself attracted to social outcast, Nate, a bad boy that trouble seems to follow. Whilst Addy is the prom queen of the high school, with the perfect boyfriend and star of baseball team. But her life is far from perfect with her boyfriend’s controlling ways and her mothers pressuring ways of wanting to settle down. Finally Cooper, is the boy that the girls want and the boys admire.

All four of the students, had something to hide, that they didn’t want other people to know, but Simon knew more than he let on and that’s why they are all suspects in the case. As the story progresses, their secrets are revealed and they all have motives to kill Simon.

This book is great, it’s similar to ‘The Breakfast Club’ which is one of my all time favourite films, which is also set in detention and has similar characters. But that’s were the similarities end, as with the normal everyday issues that young adults have to face, there is the added fear of being a suspect of murder.

Cleverly written, this dark story is seen through the narratives of the characters and this gives quite vivid insights into each of their minds and all the problems they face.

Riddled with twists and turns, this suspenseful story is engaging from the start. With relatable characters and situations, this fantastic murder mystery is a must read.

You can buy One Of Us Is Lying from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Treatment By C.L. Taylor

The Treatment‘The Treatment’ is C.L.Taylor’s first Young Adult novel.

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people. Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

I’ve been a fan of CL Taylor’s books for a number of years and I’m not the only one, as she recently won a Dead Good Reader Award for her latest book, ‘The Escape’. So, when I heard that she was releasing her first YA book, I was curious to see how she would write for the younger market and I wasn’t disappointed with this fast paced drama.

The story is seen solely through the eyes of Drew, a quick-witted girl who enjoys nothing more than surfing the web and online gaming, than interact with real people. She’s content in her life until one day, it’ all blown apart when a woman approaches her with a letter, claiming her little brother needs her help and so Drew finds herself in a cult like society, which rids rebellious teenagers and children of their personalities and turns them into clones through various methods of treatment.

Drew’s priority is stop her brother getting the treatment, that he would lose his outgoing and fun personality so the only way she can get prevent that from happening is to get inside the Residential Reform Academy. Once inside, Drew uncovers a lot of secrets about the institute and discovers a lot more than she expected in the eerie place.

I loved this story. Even though it’s set in the present and in UK, it does read like a dystopian and futuristic book. It flows at quite a fast pace with a fascinating lead character, who’s bold, outspoken and most importantly determined. She’s a confident young woman, who’s not afraid to stand up to the bullies and the staff at the school and she becomes friends with the quiet underdogs that others may take advantage off.

Throughout the story, there’s an eerie undertone, that only fully comes to a head when the story comes to an end, revealing quite a few secrets, not only to the reader but also to Drew and Mason. The book is cleverly written and it reads like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’, which is also scarily realistic. ‘The Treatment’ is an exciting introduction to a new series by C.L. Taylor and one series that all people of all ages will enjoy.

You can pre-order The Treatment from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th October 2017.

Alyson Noel Writers Tip

Alyson NoelAuthor of ‘Unrivalled’, Alyson Noel shares her writing tip. The best advice I can give any writer is to read—and read widely. Read different genres and learn from books you like and those you don’t because you can take something away from every one to develop your own style.