Twisted

Lisa Harrington’s novel Twisted has a very appropriate title for the content. It was a good book until the last chapter but it is disturbing that Lyssa does not tell the police the full story, she acknowledges a resemblance between her love interest and her brother, and that she is calm about what she discovers in the final paragraph. The decisions made by the author about the ending cast a new light on the novel that is not as favourable. Were it not for the denouement, the reader would be left with a less unsettling feeling.

Twisted begins as a drama with the typical teen angst about relationships and the sadness of a lost parent, but the second half of the novel is a suspenseful, psychological thriller. The pace begins slow but things escalate quickly once the suspense begins.

If you liked Twisted read:

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Life Cycle of a Lie

Life Cycle of a Lie is a novel that manages to be both entertaining and thought provoking. It deals with racism, prejudice about sexual orientation, domestic violence and environmentalism. It tackles all of these subjects in a thoughtful manner that isn’tcover art overly preachy but shows that the author has wrapped her head around the issues.

This novel does what When Everything Feels Like the Movies failed to do in my opinion. This book is more likely to be relate-able to gay teens and to inspire empathy in straight teens. It has the sexual awakening of a young man, who develops feelings for a male friend. It has mature content, describing the physical effect of the feelings- but this is done in a tasteful manner. Jona is a well rounded character who isn’t defined by his homosexuality. He’s also intelligent, well read, kind, and talented. He is faced with prejudice, and has a bit of an identity crisis.

Linc is a First Nations character who faces prejudice because of his race. He is not defined by this struggle any more than Jona is by his homosexuality. Linc is open minded, athletic, compassionate, protective, and a bit naive. He is a lovable character who’s major flaw is he has trouble reading body language, or understanding what his girlfriend is upset about.

Victoria is a character worried about being defined by her dysfunctional family but there’s more to her than her abusive father. She is an environmental activist and more. She makes big mistakes because of her insecurities, but I think readers will forgive her.

Romance, suspense, and character based drama make up this wonderful book.

Sea of Shadows

Kelley Armstrong has created an exciting fantasy world in Sea of Shadows. The first couple of chapters lagged a bit but by midway through the book I was completely hooked.

The twins are strong female characters with very different strengths. Moira is tough, brave and bold- a character that will be loved by girls who admired Merida the most out of the Disney princesses. Not that this is novel is Disney-esk. In fact, it’s often grotesque with gruesome death, scary monsters, and suspense.

Ashyn is intelligent and sweet, although a tad too naive for her age. She lives in her powerful sister’s shadow but isn’t spiteful about it.

The action is well done. Mythical beasts that are a nightmarish cross between fairy tale creatures and monsters from a horror movie.

The only thing that disappointed me was that the novel does not stand alone. I’m happy it’s a series because I want to experience more of this strange world and the wonderful characters in it, but I don’t like that it’s a cliffhanger. It would be great to have a series where everything was connected but each book left you with a sense of completion.

I think the undertones of class struggle and prejudice will be explored further in the sequel.

Guardian

Natasha Deen’s novel Guardian is a supernatural mystery. It has a wonderful combination of teen drama, paranormal adventure, and suspense.

Dysfunctional families, bullies, and a murder make up the dark side of the story. There is also a lightness thanks to the sense of humour of the characters.

This book will appeal to fans of:

once dead twice shythe body finderthe summoning

Graffiti Knight

Graffiti Knight

It’s not too often I hear about World War 2 era stories that are from the perspective of Germans. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I really enjoyed it. Graffiti Knight is an interesting view of life in Germany following the war. The kids deal with hunger, violent oppressive police, mistreatment of their older sisters, and depressed or alcoholic parents. Young reader’s will enjoy the protagonist with a rebellious streak and good heart. The balancing act of keeping his independence, standing up for his people, and staying out of trouble creates a suspenseful tale that exposes the grittiness of the past.