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My First 5* Book of 2019

I'll be honest and admit that I've had this book on my shelf for a while … It had been a cover buy during a trip to the supermarket maybe a year ago. I had almost read it on a few occasions during that time, but felt a bit nervous perhaps, due to the premise.

I'm always strangely drawn to stories surrounding such hard-hitting subjects as this (a school shooting) as I'm keen to find out what's behind them psychologically. The format of this one - it's told through text messages, interviews and journal entries as well as prose - made me pick it up, after being spellbound by the eerie cover. It's a young adult novel that delves deeper into the grey areas of not what happened, but why?

Nicci Cloke creates a captivating, intense plot and plays with the reader; making you question what you expect and then twisting the expectations to make you ask, why does this happen and who plays a part in that kind of tragedy? The characters are strong and so well developed that you are there with all of them, and the time lapses leading to the climax really compel you to keep turning the pages. It revolves around a group of friends and you see elements of the story from each perspective which brings such an insightful, personal light to it as you try to understand the result.

I read this novel over one weekend, and usually wait a few days to blog about a book but I needed to get the thoughts out of my head, especially as this isn't a book I have heard much about and I think it's an important one. It feels wrong with the subject matter to say I enjoyed this book, but I thought it was insightful, hard-hitting and brilliantly written.

This is the first novel I've read by this author, and I'll now be hunting the others down.

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