I really enjoyed this book!
Sara Shepard’s' Pretty Little Liars' and The 'Lying Game' books have really soured me on the 'bag things happening to popular girls' genre. Her characters are unsympathetic brats; her books are poorly plotted so that she can drag the mystery out for a whole series and her narrator grating to listen to.
Todd Strasser, however, has done the same genre much, much better.
Somehow a man was able to write far less annoying teenage girls! While they were not exactly complex they weren't just stereotypes trying not to seem like stereotypes by having really specific Starbucks coffee preferences (urgh…a pet peeve of mine in teen literature)!
I also found parents, teachers, cops etc all normal/relatable unlike the caricatures used to create problems for the main character in so many other YA books.
As I said the lead wasn’t exactly complex, she just seemed normal and worked for the story but she also came through for herself, not having to rely on a cute boy which I love seeing.
Initially the book makes you feel a little clueless because so many points of view bombard you with little explain but that’s builds genuine intrigue for the reader AND it is rewarded as things slowly become clearer.
Chunks of mystery are not spelled out for readers either – yes, you’re treated as if you have half a brain and have to put bits and pieces from the various points of view together!
I also love how it had almost a slasher movie vibe with some chase/stalking scenes and they actually put me right on edge. Of course, I was walking to my car late at night through empty hospital grounds at the time…. Still I can honestly say the book gave me some chills.
The narrator is a problem. She’s pitched and squeaky and sounds so similar to the one that does Sara Shepard’s books I kept forgetting this wasn’t one of hers…you know, until the plot starting going somewhere and reminded me it couldn’t be!
Anyway, I’d definitely recommend this as a teen mystery and will check out the rest of Todd Strasser’s work!
I guess I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Hit given the brief summary supplied.
I thought I’d be in for shenanigans and life lessons from Adam in his last week alive with the sharp satirical edge the premise lends.
The Hit actually plays more like a rollicking British gangster flick. You’ve got a rock star, leg breakers, drug dealers, an anonymous protest group and hundreds of thousands of disenchanted Britons all converging as Adam tries to fulfil his bucket list.
He’d expected to spend his last seven days drinking, shagging and partying but as revolution threatens to spark in a depressed near-future England Adam realises his death will be anything but meaningful in the face of such unprecedented events. And of course, there’s a distinct chance me mightn’t even see out his rapidly ticking clock…
The Hit was brash, violent and over-the top at times and I definitely think it could have (should have) dug deeper to a more poignant morale core. Still, the book cracked along with some interesting twists and while I initially wasn’t a fan of the surprise multiple ‘bad guy’ POVs, they definitely built tension.
Overall, I’d recommend The Hit if you’re looking for something with an interesting premise that is a bit rougher than the usual. Guy Ritchie fans could definitely find something to enjoy here too.
VM was one of my fav shows and it set off an obsession I had a few years back with teen detective literature and YA mysteries. Unfortunately, I never found anything particularly good, let alone anything reaching VM brilliance.
Escape Theory wasn't a hard core mystery but the premise, set-up and style were really well crafted. Devon doesn't believe all around good guy Hutch killed himself by Oxy OD at their scenic boarding academy. She begins to investigate and put pieces together with the help of her role as peer counselor to those closest to Hutch - wealthy and popular kids she is not at all in with.
Clues and new pieces on information are doled out at a steady pace and I stayed interested. The mystery wasn't too hard to solve and you'll probably figure it out before the book, but it never gets boring or too obvious. The author manages to inject a seedy but not melodramatic underworld into the boarding school and while it never got quite as noir or dark as VM it never got clichéd
The real brilliance to this story are the characters. They are incredibly well drawn and felt very real. The relationships are authentic and character turns and depths are organic and sincere. It lets the teens be teens (not adult caricatures) while also not relying on standard high school clichés (jocks, nerds, cool, uncool).
At the same time though there is an ever present but subtle rich/poor divide particularly between Devon, a scholarship student, and the wealthy inner circle. The way this way played really reminded me of VM with the way it gave the school community texture that you always sensed could become serious tension with the right catalyst.
While I would have like Escape Theory to go a little more in depth, be a little be more mysterious and have a bigger bang to the conclusion/revelation Escape Theory was still a fantastic YA mystery and overall great book.
I highly recommend it and can't wait for more in the series. I will definitely be reading them!
Our protagonist, Oona Crate, is smart but troubled by tragedies in her past. She has clever helpers, a crow who carries all the world's knowledge in it's scattered brain, and an elf.
She lives on the border between our world and fairyland. She has a dilemma to face - to go on developing her talents as a wizard or become a detective which she dearly desires.
This is the story of how circumstances force her to face her fears and move forward. A wonderful growing up story, told charmingly.
The story is fresh, original, and convoluted enough to make it a satisfying mystery.