Friday, 4 July 2014

Review: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

**** 4 stars

Another reviewer summed this book up by saying it was like the films 'I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Scream' and I think if you throw Hollyoaks & Pretty Little Liars into the mix then you are totally there.

Before requesting a copy of this book from NetGalley I had not even heard of the author, James Dawson but the blurb on NetGalley totally sold it to me:

A group of friends are enjoying a long, hot summer in a Mediterranean villa - until someone starts killing them off, one by one...
One year after the suicide of their friend Janey, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They're hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives, claiming to have evidence that Janey's suicide was actually murder. When the guest is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of the group - but who is it? And will they strike again?

A compelling psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.

So the books start off on the white cliffs of the town Telscombe Cliffs with a young girl standing alone considering what to do after the ultimate humiliation. She is crying and trying to decide whether to end it all and throw herself into the sea below. Fast forward a year and the friends that she left behind on that fateful night decide to holiday together in Spain at the family villa of one of the girls in the group, Katie. They have all spent the last year trying to move on from the night of their leavers' ball that changed their lives exactly a year before.

So the cast are Ryan, the cool gay guy who lives life as if it is a tv show with everyone having their role to play, he sees Janie's suicide as last years season finale cliffhanger and doesn't believe that Janie actually killed herself. Then we have Katie, the good girl and one of Janey's best friends - she is strait laced one and trying to move on from her ex Ben. Then there is Ben - ex of Katie and Janey's boyfriend at the time she commits suicide. And finally we have twins Alisha and Greg- Alisha is the self confessed bad girl who has been trying to straighten herself out after going off the rails and Greg is football superstar who has gone professional. Joining the friends is Greg's girlfriend, Erin a medical student.

The friends are enjoying catching up and spending time in the sun when Roxanne, the bitch from school turns up and reveals she knows exactly what happened to Janey Bradshaw on the cliff that night a year ago. The next thing we know Roxanne is found floating in the pool and someone hell bent on revenge is starting to pick the group off one by one.

'With all the skeletons in the closet, I'm surprised any of you bitches has room for clothes'

This book hooked me from the opening scene and I loved the characters event the hateful ones, they all brought something to the table and kept me wanting to find out what happened next. I love how James Dawson made the book read like a teen tv drama and I could so easily see this as a tv show. Dawson held back enough of the plot back, feeding us little bits of info for the major twist at the end of the book to be a total shock. I also loved the other significant twist in the book as I totally didn't see that coming.

I would totally recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of teen drama- I am fast approaching 40 and can't get enough of shows like The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Revenge so you don't have to be a teen to enjoy this suspenseful, twisted and at times humorous novel. So glad to have read this book and found such a fantastic new young adult author in James Dawson

Thanks to NetGalley & Orion Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

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