January 30, 2014

Reviews in Brief: Suspense!

There is a bit of a twist these two books have in common, besides being intense and suspenseful, but I can't tell you what it is without spoilers. Two quick, absorbing reads in a Lois Duncan sort of vein that have you constantly questioning what's real and what isn't…and who's out to get the protagonist.

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley. First: check out that cover! Very cool overlay/dream-like effect, and the font could not be better. </end font nerd gushing> If you enjoy psychologically intense, frightening kidnapping stories, like Stained by Cheryl Rainfield (reviewed here), then I recommend this one. The last thing Angie remembers is being thirteen years old, at Girl Scout camp—and now everyone's telling her she's actually sixteen, and she's been gone for the last three years. Disappeared. Vanished. As she tries to figure out what happened to her during her captivity, what Angie finds is that things aren't quite what they appear to be. Her returning fragments of memory send her deeper and deeper into her own mind and her own past, and she has to come to terms with everything that's happened to her—EVERYTHING—if she wants to truly move past her harrowing experience. Though I had a few minor issues with the writing, this one is sure to engage fans of problem novels as well as thrillers.
Review copy source: Library ebook | Buy from Indiebound

Shift by Em Bailey. Olive Corbett used be Popular Olive, Queen Bee of the School. Now she's Crazy Olive, Taking Chill Pills and Flying Under the Radar. Until new student Miranda shows up and starts taking Olive's former popular role, her former best friend…and her best friend's clothes, and her personality…What is up with Miranda? It might sound impossible, but Olive thinks Miranda might be a shapeshifter—she read all about them on the internet, and they usurp people's lives, and, hey, her one real friend Ami believes her, so Olive starts snooping. Nobody else seems to notice Miranda's takeover of Katie's life, or the fact that Katie's getting paler and sicker-looking. Even if Olive isn't friends with Katie anymore, it's not like she wants her life energy to get slurped up by some malevolent creature. Of course, there's no guarantee she IS a shapeshifter…and Olive is recovering from a personal trauma. So what's real and what isn't? Another plot-driven one with a strong psychological component—intriguing to wonder what's truly happening, even if sometimes I felt a little manipulated: partly because Olive is not an entirely trustworthy narrator, and partly due to elements of the plot seeming a little forced. Still, an interesting premise and worth a read for fans of suspense.
Review copy source: Library ebook | Buy from Indiebound

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