Monthly Archives: October 2015

BOOK REVIEW – Scarred by Joanne Macgregor

Scarred

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of her book in return for an honest review.

I devoured this in practically one sitting! It’s cleverly written to steadily draw the reader in and is determined to ensure that you focus on nothing else for its duration!

Classified as a YA (Young Adults) novel, ‘Scarred’ deals with relevant, contemporary themes that readers of all ages will easily relate to and identify with: how to live with loss, fear, rejection, social isolation, and how to understand acceptance, difference and love. It’s filled with the twists and turns that characterise teen angst, which don’t necessarily leave us once we leave those teen years behind us.

Sloane Munster is bravely starting out a new school. She’s trying to get over a devastating car accident and is slowly putting her life back together despite the disturbing memories she’s forced to live with. She’s pleased to recognise Luke Naughton from her life ‘BA’- what she terms ‘Before Accident’ – but is surprised and upset at his blatantly negative response to seeing her again after their previously budding friendship. In fact, Luke openly rebuffs her. Inevitably though, they are thrown together – by a pesky Life Orientation teacher and, of all things, a project on pollution!

As Sloane and Luke navigate the rollercoaster of their inevitable relationship, we meet the various characters that make up the tapestry of their daily lives. There’s the delightful, upbeat Sienna, who befriends Sloane and involves her in the underground school blog; the Jaysters, that gang of mean girls that prowls the halls of every high school, making everyone fear them, yet want to be them at the same time; there’s LJ, the butt of everyone’s jokes and ridicule (until Sloane arrives); and then there’s the gaggle of teachers, some of whom prove that the threat of bullying doesn’t only come from the kid sitting next to you in class!

This book poses numerous questions that we should all be considering and for that reason alone, I really feel that it’s a must-read for a much wider audience than the one at which it’s targeted. Teenagers are more flexible (we say they’re indecisive), more spontaneous (we call them irresponsible), more chaotic (we accuse them of being disorganised). As adults we become so set in our ways, so often sure that we’re right and that our way is the only way.

But the biggest question of all is … what if our perceptions are wrong?

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BOOK REVIEW – Why You Were Taken by Janita (JT) Lawrence

Why You Were Taken

Thank you (so, so much) to the author for sending me a copy of this book in return for my review.

Why You Were Taken is a futuristic thriller set in a dark, murky Johannesburg of 2021 (I did pause and take a breath when I realised that’s actually not too far into the future). There’s no drinkable water, and the chances of naturally conceiving a child are slim to none. This is a world that runs on devices, cleverly and aptly named. They are the great-great-grandchildren of the gadgets we use today, in more advanced, sophisticated form, and need no further description than the enhanced, techno-trendy monikers Lawrence has assigned them.

Kristin is a synaesthete –  she experiences the world in colour. Seth is a chemgineer – he’s a brilliant scientist working undercover to expose corruption in large corporations. There’s no connection between the two of them until people start turning up dead – all apparent suicides – and a mad woman approaches Kristin, giving her a warning and alerting her to the existence of a list of barcodes. Just what do these barcodes represent? How are she and Seth connected? Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop!

With the help of her intrepid reporter friend KeKe, Kristin sets out on an adrenaline pumping mission to discover what her purpose in life actually is. Told from the perspectives of both Kristin and Seth and a series of diary entries starting in 1987 and ending in 1989, this is a riveting, fast-paced, edgy thriller. Lawrence has managed to maintain Joburg’s familiarity while introducing an element of frenetic other-worldliness. There are still the ever-present taxis (it is still Joburg, after all), but now we also have Tuk-Tuks, Bots and Talking Tees (yes, you have to read the book to find out what these are).

Without giving too much away, I have to just mention that if I wanted any of the imagined creations from this book to be patented it would surely be the tattoo that changes colour when your insulin levels need adjusting. What a genius idea! Maybe this is already in development, I don’t know. I would take it one step further and say that I’d love to patent a tattoo that changes colour to indicate any types of conditions, disorders or changes that would trigger alarm bells.

But I digress … I absolutely loved this book! Once you strip it down to its bare bones, without all the gizmo’s, the thingamajigs, the fact that it’s not happening in the here and now, it is a brilliant suspense-filled, page-turner. But once you put it together with all the futuristic, hi-tech, ingenious little twists and turns, it really is the whole package: it ticks all the boxes for an unputdownable read! 5/5

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