This was one of the stacks of books that I actually bought at YALC, and it has taken me several months to get around to reading it. I guess that’s what happens when you obtain forty new books in a single weekend because you have no self-control.
In any case, I was hooked on this tale of revenge – with the strapline ‘before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves’ had me certain that this psychological thriller was going to drag me in and refuse to let me go, and I was dead right!
The Deviants – CJ Skuse
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?
I very much enjoyed this book. Once again, reading it late at night, I was unwilling to put it down and go to sleep, as I wanted to see where the story went. Ella, traumatised and angry, is trying to come to terms with her past, and can only do that by going back to what happened when they were thirteen.
The anger and friendship in this book are almost palpable – they practically leap off the page at you, and Ella is a great main character. The supporting cast are almost all as strong as her, with the exception of Max, who feels like a plot device more than a person.
For the most part, the story was excellent, with good development, and some twists I didn’t see coming. Very enjoyable indeed.
Near the end, about eighty to ninety percent of the way through, there’s an abrupt change in tone and tense, which jarred with me. Although, once I had gotten used to it, it was still a very powerful section of the book, the transition between the two sections was, I felt, poorly done.
Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed The Deviants, and will look out for more from this author in the future!