“As kids, we saw the magic there. We saw magic in everything. Something about growing up kicks that out of you without realizing it’s happening. ”
When you set out for revenge, dig two graves.
Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?
The Deviants grab me by the throat.
Just few chapters in reading C.J. Skuse’s latest novel, The Deviants I already know that I am going to like the book and that I am in for a special read. Right from the start, Ella’s story full me in with her intriguing voice. Add the atmospheric setting, and diverse cast of characters I can’t really find myself stopping even I am in need of a sleep. I almost felt bad for starting the book before bed, but then why care about sleep when I have a really good book in my hand.
In The Deviants, C.J. Skuse skillfully told a thrilling mystery which makes me wonder why I haven’t read any of her works before? If she is this good then I need to read all her previous works. Not only she produced a well plotted story in this one, but also written a beautiful and dark novel.
“…he gave me a look as if I’d given him a bunch of barbed wire to cuddle.”
At first, readers will get caught in the web of teenage drama between Ella and her boyfriend, Max. It’s a straight forward setup that can easily feel like you are reading a typical contemporary novel. But I warn you, don’t get too comfortable, because The Deviants is anything but typical. Ella and Max’s story is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s more in this book than just teenage drama or romance. I think, Skuse purposely put Ella and Max’s story in the front row, while skillfully boiling the dark parts behind the curtain. Though readers will get the feel of something is happening at the back, no one will really know what it is. Maybe you’ll guess some of it but I’m sure not all of what Skuse is planning in the end.
One of the many things that caught my attention while reading this riveting and thrilling book are the questions at the end of each chapters. It makes me wonder who is asking the questions? Because clearly Ella is talking to someone. She is telling her story not only to the readers but also to a specific person/character in the story. I have few guesses but in the end when it was revealed I am not only surprise but also at awe. It’s not totally unexpected but I think readers won’t guess it easily. It’s a brilliant surprise from the author.
Those questions at the end of each chapters also add tensions to the plot. Each of them prompt Ella not only to narrate more of her story but also makes me to read more. They are like my own questions for Ella and I am eagerly waiting for her answers which makes the book hard to put down.
Overall, The Deviants is a wonderful mystery novel that will keep readers on edge. It is brilliantly written story with a well-structured plot, atmospheric settings, diverse characters, and thrilling momentum of mystery. Readers will surely constantly asking or figuring what really is going on. And after everything is reveal and the last page is tucked close, the story will surely linger.
* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HQ, an imprint of Harper Collins UK.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Westonsuper- Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
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