Buddy Read – 11/22/63 by Stephen King

August/September 2017 – Mel’s choice

11/22/63

by Stephen King

Published 2011

Genres: Historical Fiction/Thriller

 

“You’re healthy and in the prime of life. You can go back, and you can stop it.’
He leaned forward, his eyes not just bright; they were blazing.
‘You can change history, Jake. Do you understand that? John Kennedy can live.”

Maine high school teacher, Jake Epping is about to have his life turned upside down. The owner of the local diner reveals to Jake that he’s discovered a portal to travel back to the 1950’s, and wants to enlist Jake to carry out his plan to stop the Kennedy assassination. What will life be like for Jake in a different era to the one he knows? And could he really stop Lee Harvey Oswald?

 

Mel says…

Wowsers, what a ride!

11/22/63 took me 2 months to read from cover to cover. It was a damn big commitment when it comes to books, at 1080 pages, but I kept chipping away at it and boy am I glad I did.

This is my second attempt at completing this book. The first attempt was a ‘did not finish’ (DNF) due to lack of dedication and the sheer volume of pages to devour. BUT, I picked this as our August (come September) Buddy Read so Janelle and I could keep each other motivated enough to stick it out to the end.

Aside from the sizing of literature, this was an excellent addition to the Stephen King collection. It is only the second King novel that I have read, but it won’t be the last! The amount of research and thought that were put into these pages is astounding and evident. If I was naive enough, you could tell me this was a Non-Fictional recount of a time travellers journey and I would whole-heartedly believe you.

I felt that 1080 pages was too long for this story however, as it was edging to the finale, I was sad to think it would soon be over. As the day of the assassination neared, I myself felt the nervousness and eagerness that I could believe of George Amberson/Jake Epping and felt that King took his readers to those emotions with such cleverness, from a master of the written word.

I rate 11/22/63 4.5 stars. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever been fascinated by the JFK assassination and has ever asked themselves, ‘was Oswald a lone gunman?’

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

Janelle says…

I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book. However, I am glad that Mel chose it as our Buddy Read, as I think the sheer size of the thing would have forever turned me off it had I not been forced to read it.

I agree with Mel that it did not have to be quite so lengthy. The middle of the book did get taken up with the details of George Amberson’s/Jake Epping’s new life in the past, and while some of that was necessary to the plot, I got bored with the story at this point. It was difficult to motivate myself to read on to the end, and I did consider DNF’ing the book.

BUT I wouldn’t let it defeat me! It started out so strong, and having had previous success with reading King, I persevered. The story raced towards a thrilling finish and I ended up breezing through the last third of the book. I’m not sure I was entirely satisfied with the ending, only because a possible (and much more exciting, in my opinion) ending was hinted at and then didn’t eventuate, so I had been expecting and hoping for a different conclusion. In general, I was expecting and hoping for more time travel back and forth, and was somewhat disappointed when the protagonist got stuck in the late 50’s/early 60’s for the majority of the book.

Overall, not my favourite King so far but well worth the read if you can handle the commitment.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

 

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Consuming – Shelter by Jung Yun

Shelter

by Jung Yun

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Literary / Thriller

“He shakes his head and glances at Gertie, who hasn’t said a word since she turned toward the window. Her eyebrows are angled sharply into a frown, and her mouth is open as if she means to speak, but can’t.

“Is something wrong with the yard?” he asks.

Slowly, she lifts her finger and taps on the glass. “I think that woman out there – I think she might be naked.

 

Kyung is the son of Korean parents, and lives with his American wife and son. His upbringing, while lavish, was lacking in affection and warmth, and his connection with his parents as an adult is shaky. But when an act of unspeakable violence suddenly impacts the family, they find themselves thrown together and having to confront their issues from the past and deal with their internal demons.

 

Janelle says…

This book was such a pleasant surprise. I’m still thinking about the story and how much I loved it.

I was expecting a story roughly centred around Asian immigrants trying to make a life in America. I don’t know where I got that expectation from, but I was wrong. This is an exploration of family dynamics and secrets, particularly within non-Western cultures. It looks at both gender and race. It deals with grief and trauma, and it packs quite a few tough scenes. It’s certainly not an easy read, but it’s so thoughtful and moving, and leaves a lot to ponder.

What struck me most about this book was just how much it packed in, and how appealing it would be to a wide range of readers. You’ll notice I’ve categorised it as both literary fiction and thriller, and it’s true – I can’t completely dump it within either category. The plot kept me keen the whole way through, every time I had to put the book down I couldn’t wait to get back to it to find out what else it had in store. It had a few unexpected turns, and I questioned my views on various characters time and again. It kept moving at a steady pace which is something that’s important to me to keep my attention.

Shelter was both shattering and entertaining. It was just a solid, enjoyable read. It would be perfect for book clubs, I think you could discuss this with other people for hours. One of my favourite reads so far this year. Highly recommended!

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Satisfying – The End Of The World Running Club by Adrian J Walker

The End Of The World Running Club

by Adrian J Walker

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Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Thriller

 

“You want to know how it feels to run thirty miles. You want to know how it feels to run thirty miles straight through mud and across scorched earth, dodging sinkholes and crawling beneath toppled trees, when you’ve already run the length of the country, when your ankle’s sprained, your fingers are broken, you’re blind in one eye and you’ve only had half a tin of baked beans for breakfast.”

Ed is a 30-something male, married, with two small children, and already in something like a mid-life crisis. It’s clear, through the way he drinks and tries to steal any time away from the house that he can get, that he’s not satisfied with where he’s found himself.

Then one day, the whole world changes. A spattering of asteroids hit Earth and devastate whole cities. Most people die. Life as it’s known, stops. But Ed and his family survive, just. When they are rescued after weeks holed up in their cellar, they are taken to an emergency evacuation centre to bunk down with other survivors. Everyone must do their bit to pitch in. Ed volunteers to assist with patrols and scavenger hunts, which also provides him with opportunities to get away from the family. But then a patrol he’s on returns to the centre to find everyone gone, including Ed’s family, taken by helicopter to the coast where ships await to ferry survivors to South Africa, and the chance to start again.

Ed, along with five other left-behind comrades, pursue the rescue mission on foot to reunite with the other survivors. Before too long, they are running in an effort to cross the country in time to get to the boats before they depart, and an unlikely but desperate running-club is born.

 

Janelle says…

I LOVED this book! It ticked all the right boxes for me – a post-apocalyptic setting, well-formed characters, fast-moving plot with twists and turns, symbolism and relatable themes, thoughts to ponder, and a satisfying ending.

My summary above seems quite long, but once I started to note down the main plot points of the story, I realised how full it actually is. A lot happens in this book, and I think it was because of that that it kept my interest the whole time, whenever I would sit down to continue on with the book I would wonder what was going to happen next.

The main character, Ed, starts out as quite unlikeable. Because of his selfishness and ignorance, his family very nearly almost doesn’t survive the asteroid pummelling. Even when they narrowly escape death, he still bemoans the life he’s found himself in and doesn’t appear grateful at all. It’s only when his family is taken away from him, that he changes his tune and truly comes to realise that he does want them in his life and would do anything for them. And by the time he does do the unthinkable to get to them, we’ve come to hope for him and cheer him on.

Even though this book is set in a world and scenario that hasn’t eventuated in our time (and hopefully doesn’t!), I felt like the characters, and their decisions and the way they process their situation, were all honest and believable. Maintaining realism in a book where the plot is determined by the choices of the characters, is something I don’t always notice if it’s going right, but if it goes wrong…..boy does it give me the irrits!

If you’re just after a really good read, something that will keep you turning the pages and leave you satisfied, then this would be a great choice. I can’t fault it.

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

*I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

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Action-packed – Fear Is The Rider by Kenneth Cook

Fear Is The Rider

by Kenneth Cook

9781925240856

Published 2016

Genres: Fiction / Suspense / Thriller

“There was a girl running out of the scrub towards him. The temperature was fifty degrees centigrade, there wasn’t a house within two hundred kilometres and a girl was running out of the scrub.”

Katie and John are both lone travellers, making the hot and dusty journey across Australia’s south-east corner, when they briefly cross paths in a lonely outback pub. The next day, back on the road again, they cross paths again….but this time, it’s because Katie is running for her life from the vast scrubby nothingness towards John’s car as he passes by. She’s been attacked by someone, or something, and now they will both be hunted in a terrifying and exhausting game of cat and mouse in the unforgiving desert.

 

Janelle says…

That line up there is the first line of Fear Is The Rider. This book doesn’t mess about. Action from the get go.

I read this book in one day. I haven’t managed a one-day read since The Deathly Hallows! Yes, this is a novella which makes it entirely possible to read in a day, but I don’t force my eyes to stay open until the AM hours to finish just any old book. This book packs a massive punch. I felt like I needed a cup of tea and a lie down afterwards just to get my heart rate back to normal.

Basically, this is about a couple being chased by a wacko through the outback. You’re probably thinking “Wolf Creek”, aren’t you? The story isn’t original, but what made this book so great was the pace (lightning fast), the timing (suspenseful), and the plot (unrelenting). And of course, the Australian desert landscape is the perfect foreboding setting for a tense, scary thriller, it’s almost a character in its own right.

I didn’t plan to stay up late and finish the book, but I just couldn’t stop! At no time did an appropriate place to place a bookmark and walk away present itself. It was just this non-stop roller-coaster ride that had me hiding behind my hands and gasping. It was SOOOOO GOOD.

I don’t know what else really needs to be said about this book. To me, there was no moral to the story, no commentary on this or that, no theme….it was just pure, adventurous fun. And I really want you all to read it! It’s out on 27 January 2016 – what a great way to recover from your Australia Day festivities!

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

*I was provided with an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*

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Buddy read – Bird Box by Josh Malerman

December 2015 – Janelle’s choice

Bird Box

by Josh Malerman

IMG_20151219_205957

Published May 2014

Genres: Fiction / Horror / Thriller

“How far can a person hear?

Rowing blindfolded is even harder than Malorie had imagined. Many times already, the rowboat has run into the banks and got stuck for a period of several minutes. In that time she was besieged by visions of unseen hands reaching for the blindfolds that cover the children’s eyes. Fingers coming up and out of the water, from the mud where the river meets the earth. The children did not scream, they did not whine. They are too patient for that.

But how far can a person hear?”

Something is happening out there. The news is reporting an increasing number of frightening incidents of murder and suicide from all over the world. People have started shielding their faces with their hands when they are outside. Others are nailing blackout curtains or cardboard to their windows to keep out the light. There are rumours that the people who killed themselves, or others, saw something before they died, but nobody knows what that something is.

When the story opens, the world has been this way for four years already. Malorie lives alone with her children, the children who were born inside her house and have never laid eyes on the outside world. And Malorie is about to make their escape. Together, they will set out to flee this place. Blindfolded. With only their other senses to guide them, and to keep them safe from whatever it is that they must not see.

 

Mel says…

When Janelle recommended Bird Box for our December joint read, I had no idea what it was about and had never heard of the author, Josh Malerman. But for the sake of keeping things interesting, I put in a request at the local library and waited patiently for my copy to arrive.

Upon beginning this book, I was hooked by about, hmm…page 5.

The way that Malerman has written this book is perfect for the thrills and suspense that he so perfectly executes. Each chapter alternates between the past and present, with each so easily flowing into one another. I found myself asking eager questions about certain characters and events, and just as if Malerman had read my mind, these questions were soon answered within a few pages.

If you are like me and a tad afraid of the dark, imagine living in a world where you can no longer go outdoors with your eyes open, as there are things?/creatures?/stuff? that if seen, you will go insane and kill yourself and possibly others. So to live, you must always be blindfolded outdoors, have your windows covered over, so not to get a glance of whatever the heck is lurking outside. Creepy, am I right?

Bird Box is a must read for anyone who loves a good page turner. If it wasn’t for Janelle insisting that we read the second half of this book together, at one of our famous reading parties (more on that later), then I would have devoured Bird Box in a day. Definitely a library book that I will be purchasing for my own collection.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Janelle says…

It was everything I ever hoped and dreamed.

I have been waiting SO LONG to read this book. And then my sister had to go and have a pregnancy-related reading aversion. AND THEN she had to go on a month-long overseas holiday. And still I waited. Because I knew this would be the perfect book to read together!

I almost don’t know what to say about it, because I don’t think I can do it justice. If you love horror or thrillers or both, then you must read this book. If you don’t like either of those genres at all, then this is probably not the book for you, because it is an all-out horror/thriller/suspense-FEST!

The thing that first reeled me in with this book was the concept of a monster or threat that you can’t see. You don’t know what it is, you can’t even look at it….but you know it will kill you. I could see the movie version of the book playing in my head while I read this, in which half of the movie is just a black screen and we’re forced to rely on our hearing and touch to keep us safe from the evil thing that is, quite possibly, right behind us at any given moment.

AAARRGGHH! What was that?! Something just brushed my shoulder! What was it? Get away! Get awaaaaaay!!

Mel wasn’t impressed when we started the book and then I made her stop halfway until we could have a reading party, so we could read alongside each other and gasp in shock at the same moments. But I don’t care! It was so much fun! I want to read it again!

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Gripping – The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining

by Stephen King

halloween shining

Published 1977

Genres: Fiction / Horror / Suspense / Thriller

Yep, that’s a copy of The Shining in my freezer up there.

Thanks for the hot tip, Joey Tribbiani.

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“They were alone. Aspen leaves whirled and skittered in aimless packs across the lawn that was now neatly mowed and tended for no guest’s eyes. There was no one to see the autumn leaves steal across the grass but the three of them. It gave Jack a curious shrinking feeling, as if his life force had dwindled to a mere spark while the hotel and the grounds had suddenly doubled in size and become sinister, dwarfing them with sullen, inanimate power.

Then Wendy said: ‘Look at you, doc. Your nose is running like a fire hose. Let’s get inside.’

And they did, closing the door firmly behind them against the restless whine of the wind.”

And so it begins.

Our story is set at The Overlook Hotel, set up high in the wild and breathtaking mountains of Colorado. The peak season is over, and winter is about to set in. The Torrance family, Jack Torrance particularly, are engaged as caretakers, to live in and maintain the hotel over what is expected to be another harsh and isolating snowy season.

But little Danny Torrance has “the shining”, the ability to see into the future, to know things that are otherwise unknown, and to look into the minds of those who also possess even the smallest morsel of this extraordinary ability.

From the time the Torrances first arrive at The Outlook, Danny starts to feel, see and hear things that shouldn’t be there. But is it in his head? Or is it the hotel? Before too long, cabin fever sets in, all while the mysterious and historic hotel is weaving its spell over not just Danny, but Mum and Dad Torrance too. How bad will it get?

Janelle says…

Lately I’ve had such a craving to read horror, and with it being October and all, of course I was going to indulge. I looked to my bookshelves, and immediately chose this old, battered, second-hand copy of The Shining. I don’t think I can imagine reading a shiny new version of this book, to be honest. That just wouldn’t fit at all.

This is my first time reading The Shining, although I have seen the movie many years ago. It totally fulfilled my horror craving and left me feeling content, and also with that lost, unmotivated feeling that happens after reading an incredible book, when you’re not sure when you’ll read something again that measures up to what you’ve just finished.

It’s a reasonably-sized read, my copy is just over 400 pages. Usually anything over say 300 pages makes me slightly nervous at taking a risk on it, because of the time commitment involved to finish it, and the potential for the story to drag. But I sped through this book, and I finished the last quarter or so in one epic session that had me staying up way past my bedtime (again).

Oh man, It. Was. AWE-some!

“From behind him, that soft flump sound of falling snow came again. He turned around and the head of one of the hedge lions was sticking out of the snow now, snarling at him. It was closer than it should have been, almost up to the gate of the playground.”

AAARRGGHHHHH! Freaky hedge animals that move!!

The pace of the story was just perfect, it kept rolling along with intrigue, building in ferocity. I didn’t want to put the book down. The scary bits were for the most part that creepy, tingly kind of scary as opposed to the in-your-face, gory and screamy kind of scary. I caught myself with my fingernails between my teeth a few times.

The book also has themes of domestic violence, anger management, and alcoholism, which I found to be sad in parts, but not upsetting. The parts of the book told in Danny’s voice also clearly represent a young child who is taking in perhaps more of the adult world than he should at his age, yet not completely understanding everything he’s hearing and seeing.

My interest was held fast the whole way through the book, and the length, the pace, the depth of character background and reflection, the plotting…..it all felt perfectly suited to my own personal preferences. It was a great ride, and I think would make a fine introduction to horror for those new to the genre. Read it for Halloween!

 

 

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

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Read together: August 2015 – The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

August 2015 – Mel’s choice

The Farm

by Tom Rob Smith

The Farm

Published February 2014

Genres: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller

“Had I chosen blindness, I’m quite sure Hakan would’ve celebrated my choice, delighting in my surrender and rewarding me with a host of friendships. But blindness is not an easy path. It requires commitment and dedication. The price was too high: I would become an imitation of Elise. Perhaps she was imitating a woman before her, perhaps this pattern of blindness was generations old, women forced to empty their heads of questions or criticisms, playing a part that was as old as these farms – the part of loyal devotion – a role that would bring me acceptance, maybe even happiness of a kind. Except when I was alone. I’d hate myself. It’s how we feel about ourselves when we’re alone that must guide our decisions.”

Daniel believed his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden, the country of his mother’s birth. But with a single phone call, everything changes. 

Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. In fact, she has been committed to a mental hospital.

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad…I need the police…Meet me at Heathrow. 

Daniel is immediately caught between his parents – whom to believe, whom to trust? He becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury. Presented with a horrific crime, a conspiracy that implicates his own father. Daniel must examine the evidence and decide for himself: who is telling the truth? And he has secrets of his own that for too long he has kept hidden…

Mel says…

I read a couple of reviews on The Farm and from those reviews, I immediately wanted this book in my life. All the reviews said the same thing, read this now! 

From the first 10-odd pages of this book, I was captivated. Within sentences, the author has this adventure off and running. The main plot focuses on a series of events, told to Daniel by his mother, Tilde. During the chain of events, I found that I was wanting to jump into the book and play detective, right beside Tilde.

As the story progresses, I found myself concocting all kinds of possible outcomes and reasons for the series of events. I knew there would be more to each event than was being presented, and wanting to find these reasons out as soon as possible pushed me to zoom through this book faster than any other in a long while.

By the time I finished the book, I was bewildered and shocked. I love books that take many twists and turns to end up in a place you had no idea existed. This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys an unpredictable storyline and outcome. For anyone who is looking to discover that not everything is quite as it seems. Get on down to your local bookstore or library and pick The Farm up today!

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Janelle says…

When Mel suggested this book for our next joint read, I actually hadn’t heard of it. So I looked up the summary on Goodreads, and I believe my reply to her was something like, “Holy cow! Get this book in my face right now!”

I knew it was going to be suspenseful, I would be plagued with questions the whole time, and I would not want to put it down. And it delivered!

The Farm wastes no time getting down to business. You’ve barely learnt the names of the main characters when BAM! The rollercoaster begins, and it feels like with each turn of the page you change your mind about who you believe, who is in the wrong, and who needs saving.

The overarching themes here, are secrets and trust. Secrets from people who you’re not supposed to have any secrets from. Secrets that threaten to hurt or destroy. Secrets that are too unfathomable to be believed. Questioning the long-held trust you’ve had in your loved ones. Not knowing who to trust in desperation. Not knowing if you can trust yourself.

I really did blast through this book at speed, but the one small thing that let it down for me was its style. The majority of the book is written from the POV of the mother telling her complex story to her son as a chronological order of events, in the hope that he will believe her story if she has shown evidence and clear facts to substantiate her claims. But there was something about the language, it felt far too formal for me to believe it was a mother speaking to her son, even if what she was relaying was a detailed series of events, rather than just casual chit-chat. The language she was using was more conducive to a job interview than speaking to a member of her family. I couldn’t naturally envision the scenes in my head as I was reading, and it irked me.

Having said that though, that is no reason to overlook this book. If you enjoy suspenseful thrillers (like me!), with a little emotional trauma and dysfunctional family dynamics thrown in, then I think you’re gonna love The Farm.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Joining in with The Weekend Rewind with Maxabella Loves and friends

Read together: June 2015 – The Fever by Megan Abbott

June 2015 – Mel’s choice

The Fever

by Megan Abbott

the fever

Published June 2014

Genres: Fiction / Thriller / Young Adult

‘You spend a long time waiting for life to start – her past year or two filled with all these firsts, everything new and terrifying and significant – and then it does start and you realize it isn’t what you’d expected, or asked for.’ – Deenie Nash.

The Fever follows the story of the three Nashes; Tom, Eli and Deenie. They live in the quiet town of Dryden, where Tom is a teacher at the Dryden High School and Eli and Deenie attend as students. It doesn’t take long for things in this quiet town to start falling apart when two of Deenie’s close friends are the first to fall victim to a mysterious illness, or The Fever. But what is this affliction, and why is it only affecting girls?

Mel says…

My initial feeling for this book began with an excitement. The synopsis on the back cover described a story full of mystery and enticement. The first few chapters started off describing the first victim of the mysterious “fever” and it felt like the readers were in for a very interesting ride. It wasn’t until I was roughly half way through the book that I began realising that the story was waffling back and forth between reasons of this mysterious illness, yet nothing exciting had yet occurred within the plot. The story was very slow to build, and even now that I have finished the book, I am not entirely sure if there was a build at all.

The plot ran back and forth between reasons for this mysterious “fever”, but not delving into much of a storyline for either reason. The character development also felt disjointed. I did not build much of a rapport with any of the main characters, as I felt their back stories were rushed. I did get a sense of the teenage angst that I feel Megan Abbott was trying to get across, through the characters of Deenie, Lise, Gabby and Skye. The moods that were described for the characters did portray this however, there was not enough context around these characters to get a full sense of their back stories, which would lead to these current feelings and events. Gabby, in particular, had a very tragic back story however, apart from having a brief description and then touching on her tragedy in various other parts of the book, this back story was rarely mentioned as her characters demise in the end.

This brings me to victims of the mysterious illness. The story eventually describes how the first victim, Lise, came to be so ill. When I say eventually, I actually mean this is described in the final 30-odd pages of the book. Not a lot of space to provide any interesting and exciting cliffhangers or resolutions. Sigh!

All in all, this book had a lot of potential. I think Megan Abbott needed an extra hundred or so pages to build on her characters and the ending. The briskness of description in this book has been the let down here.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Janelle says…

I was stoked when Mel picked this book for our first joint read, it was also right up there on my own list of books I wanted to choose!  Oooh, maybe it’s some kind of weird sister ESP thing or something…..

The Fever is about growing up, and trying to understand how you and your world are changing as you cross that blurry line between childhood and adulthood. That phase of life can be scary and awkward, just like this story. Puberty is a place filled with intense emotions and confusion, generally a place best forgotten once we’re past it. As I was reading, I could feel that familiar teenage state coming through in the characters as they tried to understand what was happening in their little part of the world – relationships are over-analysed, games are played, nothing else in the world is as important as what is happening to you and your friends right now. In The Fever, we’re shown how dangerous decisions can be when they’re made in times of extreme emotion and without proper judgement, as decisions made in puberty sometimes are. Beware of hormonal teenagers!

I found at most times the pace of this book was too slow for me. The chapters consist of lots of smaller sub-chapters representing different characters’ points of view. While being handy for those moments when you only have time to read a short snippet, it meant that the story was jumping around constantly between characters, sometimes twice or more over the course of a double-page spread. You might think that this would have the effect of speeding the pace up, and it probably would have, if the story didn’t get stuck on the never-ending speculation of what was happening to the girls, why it’s happening, and the same old theories being thrown around again, and again, and again. And oh look – again! It seemed to be at a stand-still a lot of the time, and it didn’t take long for me to feel frustrated by the lack of anything happening.

I think the way the chapters were formed could also be the reason for why I didn’t feel very connected to any of the characters. You’re with one character for a few paragraphs, and then suddenly their view stops and you’re back with someone else. But then again, most of the characters are teenagers and are very obviously still figuring themselves out, so in a way it didn’t feel completely unreasonable to not fully understand who they were.

There was a point about 2/3 of the way through where the story seemed to pick up intensity and suspense, and I felt like it was finally speeding towards something. But I have to say, I was underwhelmed by the ending. All in all, I had high hopes for this book because I’d read some good reviews but I was disappointed, and disappointed to be disappointed because I think it could have been something amazing!

Read this if you’re a teenager yourself, you will probably empathise with the personal struggles that the younger characters are dealing with. Don’t read this if you’re expecting a gripping, dark YA thriller like I was, it’s halfway there but doesn’t fully deliver.

If you do want to read a review of this book that delivers on the funnies though, check out this on Goodreads.

Rating:

Did not like it  –  It was ok  –  Liked it  –  Really liked it  –  It was amazing

Linking up with The Ultimate Rabbit Hole at The Annoyed Thyroid

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