When Sky falls from Blackfin Pier and drowns on her sixteenth birthday, the whole town goes into mourning – until she shows up three months later like nothing happened.
Unravelling the mystery of those missing months takes Sky to the burned-out circus in the woods, where whispers of murder and kidnapping begin to reveal the town’s secrets. But Sky’s not the only one digging up the past – the old mime from the circus knows what happened to her, and he has more than one reason for keeping quiet about it.
I was really late to the party with young adult fiction. I mean 10 years late.
I read adult crime novels almost exclusively when I was a teenager – with a few classics mixed in because I had to read them for school. So I didn’t really discover YA fiction until I was in my mid-twenties, and then it was TWILIGHT – and not even the book. The film.
It was the catalyst for me. I had to read the book, of course, and then the rest of the series, and then more YA in that vein – SHIVER, DIE FOR ME, HUSH HUSH, FALLEN, etc. – then different YA, then more…and MORE…you get the picture. So it was the big, shiny, blockbusters of the day that drew me in, but there were others – some less well known – that have kept me firmly in the YA genre, both in terms of reading and writing.
STOLEN by Lucy Christopher was one of the first I read in my post-Twilight frenzy. This novel made a huge splash when it was published (and after) which was probably why it first bleeped on my radar. It’s about Gemma, a girl who has coffee with a stranger while she’s on a layover with her parents, and the stranger – Ty – drugs and kidnaps her. He takes her to the Australian outback, and the story twists its way into some very dark and scary places. This story really worked its way under my skin, and was unlike anything I’d read before – not just in terms of the plot, which was ace, but the setting, the way it tackled dark themes like Stockholm syndrome and obsession, and even the way it was written – as a letter from Gemma to her captor. It really imprinted itself onto my brain, and has stayed there ever since.
Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND was another of my early YA reads, and this one remains one of my all-time favourite books. It’s a near-future science fiction story about 3 teenagers who find themselves faced with being unwound: a process where teenagers’ bodies are completely broken down and recycled, so that they are technically still 100% alive, just in hundreds of different bodies. The idea shocked the hell out of me at the time – the callous morality of it, and how I could almost see it working.
It was after this that I stumbled across Michael Grant’s GONE. It’s about a town on the California coast where anyone over the age of fifteen just disappears one day – there one second, gone the next. The protagonist, Sam, is caught up in the chaos left in the wake of this disappearance, where some of the teens develop strange abilities, others turn savage in the struggle to survive, and an invisible dome keeps them all trapped in the town… at least until their sixteenth birthday, when they too will vanish.
This, for me, is that book. The one I wish I’d written, because it’s soooo good that I want to wipe my memory and read it again for the first time. So where I started to devour YA after TWILIGHT, and got sucked further into it with the other books I’ve mentioned above, GONE is the one I use to set the bar for me as a writer.
The lovely Kat has a signed swag pack up for grabs for one lucky duck – including Blackfin Sky bookmarks, postcards and transfer tattoos. This giveaway is open to UK/Ire only – sorry guys. Winner will be contacted via e-mail (I will not be handling sending the prize). Good luck & I hope you enjoyed Kat’s awesome post.