Posts Tagged ‘Murder – YA fiction’

Blackbird

By N. D Gomes

ISBN 9780008184896

Harpercollins NZ


I have just listened to the audio edition of this new Young Adult novel by N. D. Gomes. I generally listen to books while  driving to and from work. With Blackbird I found myself making excuses to go out driving just so I could hear the rest of the story. There was certainly a few extra trips to the supermarket.

Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died.

It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before fourteen year old Alex McCarthy’s sister Olivia went missing from a party.

Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot.

 

This story jumps right in at the beginning and before you know it you are totally involved with Alex and her family. As things progress, sadly,  the story becomes a murder mystery. I love Alex and her sense of the world around her. Her pain and grief is raw and so real. She is so determined to find out what happened that she unwittingly puts herself in danger. We see a family grieving, each in their own way and this only makes it all so much more believable. The landscape too has its own place in the novel where island living has its own set of rules and where everyone knows each other.

I believe she will be just fine. I love the relationship Alex has with Detective Inspector Birkens, a rather flawed but real character, who is equally determined to find out what happened. And as with all good novels, there are secrets to be discovered. I kind of see Alex as one of those characters that I will stop and think about from time to time and hope that she is doing okay. I believe she will be just fine.

A top murder mystery for young adults.

 

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Long way down

By Jason Reynolds

Illustrated by Chris Priestley

ISBN 9780571335114

Those who follow this blog probably know how much I love verse novels. I love everything about them, especailly the language and how it can pack a punch.  Long way down  knocked me sideways. William Holloman’s brother has just been murdered. He wishes he had laughed more at his brother’s dumb jokes because he won’t ever get the chance again. His brother is dead. Tragedy seeps through every page of this book. The language is real and gritty. It is powerful, beautiful and haunting.

After his brother’s death Will knows one thing for sure. He must follow the rules.

  1. Don’t cry
  2. Don’t snitch
  3.  Get revenge

It is raw and dark and I will think about Will for a long, long time. After reading this book I had to just sit awhile and reflect on the lives of the characters. The reality is that there are many William Hollomans in this world and we need to change this. How? I don’t know the answer but something has to change for people like William. They get caught up in the world of poverty, gangs, hardship and anger. This book takes us in to Will’s world, and his thoughts. It is a dark and scary world and as tough as he is trying to be, we see his vulnerability. We hear his thoughts and we find ourselves caring for him in a way only good writing can make us. An amazing insight into the sad and desparate life of a young man looking for revenge. Loved it so much. Need to read again.

Listen to the first few pages being read by the author. 

I hunt killers
By Barry Lyga
Jasper Dent Book 1
(ISBN13: 9780316125840)

killers

I posted the trailer for this book a few weeks back and having finally managed to get my hands on a copy have read it and here is my review. I was not disappointed with this book at all!
Jazz is the son of the world’s worst serial killer. He cannot escape his heritage and even though his father is locked away in prison, his town is not safe. Bodies have started piling up again and Jazz is determined to get to the bottom of it. He may however, be more involved than realises. There are so many things in this book which kept me hooked. Jazz continually has internal conversations with both himself and his father. Sometimes the “conversations” are quite brutal and you have to wonder just how cruel humans can be. The past keeps coming back in flashes that both haunt and confuse Jazz. There are moments when you think you know who is committing the murders and moments when you are as confused as Jazz. The pace is perfect and the language and tone are also just right. The author has obviously done his research and facts are thrown in from time to time about real serial killers. At times it is a little graphic for sensitive young adult readers but it is a book I highly recommend for a great thriller, murder-mystery and just a 5 out of 5 great read. I will certainly look forward to book 2 as the twist at the end leaves you hanging out for more!

Just a reminder that the book trailer can be found here on this blog.