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Book Review: Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Cruel SummerTitle: Cruel Summer
Author: James Dawson
Series: Standalone
Pages: 324
Publisher: Indigo
Date of Publication: 1st August, 2013
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: A year after Janey’s suicide, her friends reunite at a remote Spanish villa, desperate to put the past behind them. However, an unwelcome guest arrives claiming to have evidence that Jane was murdered. When she is found floating in the pool, it becomes clear one of them is a killer. Only one thing is for certain, surviving this holiday is going to be murder…

A compelling and psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.


My Thoughts:
I had high hopes for Cruel Summer after reading all the glowing reviews and also after reading and loving James' first novel, Hollow Pike, last year. I am delighted to say that Cruel Summer surpassed those expectations and I think I liked it even better than Hollow Pike.

Before reading, I'd heard that the story was told like a TV series and that it was a little confusing and difficult to get used to. I just want to emphasise that this was not the case for me, at all. Apart from the chapter titles and a few flashbacks, it read no differently to a 'normal' book. Even during Ryan's narrative it didn't read much like a TV show screenplay, as I kind of expected it to, it just seemed like he was fantasising that he was living in a TV show which is exactly what he was doing. So don't let that put you off!

On the whole, I really liked all of the characters (with the exception of Greg, perhaps). At first I found Ryan's narrative to be a little annoying and fake. Some of the things he says are so cliche and over the top that I couldn't take him seriously, although I did get over it pretty quickly once I just accepted him and it didn't bother me again. I still think that his treating Janey's death like just another twist in his imaginary TV show, centred around himself, to be a little inappropriate though... I really liked Alisha and her determination and dedication to turning her life around after her disastrous first try at Year 13. Ben was cool, Greg was a bit of a dick and Katie was really nice, if perhaps a little boring. I've purposely given my thoughts on the characters that I had before I found out who the killer was, so as not to give anything away. Make of that what you will, but I'm telling you nothing!

I really enjoyed the plot. It was so twisty! I haven't read a book with that many twists and turns that hasn't confused me completely for such a long time. It was great fun to read and to keep guessing who the killer was, and every time I thought I knew who it was, something significant would happen that would make me doubt myself. By the end of the book I'd suspected all of them for some reason or another, but I couldn't have guessed who the killer was and why they did what they did. It was brilliant and it all fit together so well. I kind of feel a little bit like I shouldn't have liked the final scene, but I really really did and it was definitely the best part of the novel. It was suspenseful yet fast paced and by that point I was so involved with the characters that I could not stop reading until I had turned the last page. It was epic.

I absolutely loved Cruel Summer and I definitely recommend that you give it a read! Perhaps not one for bedtime (I considered stopping reading more than once whenever I read it before I went to sleep - it's quite scary!), it is a fast paced thriller guaranteed to keep you enthralled until the very last page.

Comments

  1. Wow, love your review for Cruel Summer. Actually I've been wanting to read it all summer, ha, but never got to it. Think I'm more in the mood for Christmas stories right now, but I'll definitely have to get a copy for next year's vacation. Thanks for this great review, Bella!:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. *eeeeee* cruel summer! Great review Bella! :D Definitely one of the best thrillers out this year. Ryan could be a bit annoying at points- the TV show thing just creeped me out. Weird. But overall I kinda grew to love him :)
    Blog button added to my sidebar, by the way! I thought I'd already done it, haha :)

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