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Book Review: Out of Control by Sarah Alderson

Out of ControlTitle: Out of Control
Author: Sarah Alderson
Series:  Standalone
Pages: 320
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 22nd May, 2014
Source: Publisher* for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: When 17 year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she’s taken into police custody for her own protection. But when the police station is attacked and bullets start flying it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she’s a target.

Together with a car thief called Jay, Liva manages to escape the massacre but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit two killers who will stop at nothing to find them.

When you live on the edge, there’s a long way to fall.

My Thoughts:
Sarah Alderson is fast becoming one of my absolute favourite authors. I've read five of her young adult titles now and have thoroughly enjoyed every single one of those. Out of Control is Sarah's newest offering and it was great. I don't often go for this kind of urban mystery/thriller story, but I gave it a go anyway and it was so good that I flew through the pages as quickly as I could.

The story begins with a very exciting action scene, and races on at a hundred miles an hour from then on, not really breaking until the final page. The book is set over only about two days and so the pace moves very quickly. I really liked that the time scale was so short because it meant that everything had a sense of urgency and anticipation that made it very dramatic and exciting. Every chapter leaves you wanting more and as a result the book was very difficult to put down.

Liva should have been inside the house where a double murder took place. When giving her statement at the police station, the killer comes again and massacres many police men, and it's only with the help of Jay, a criminal, that she manages to get out alive. I really liked the plot and it was so exciting not really knowing anything at all about what's happening and why, and just reading along, finding out things at the same time as the characters. As the book goes along you learn more about both Liva's and Jay's pasts, and it all begins to come together and join up. It was full of twists and new breakthroughs that kept it super exciting and fun to read.

I really liked Liva. She seemed really down to earth and normal, not too vulnerable and wimpish but not unbelievably strong and courageous for her character. She was the perfect mixture of the two, meaning that she seemed like a real teenager, and that was great. Jay was also great - Sarah Alderson is so good at writing believable characters that you can root for. I liked the development of Liva and Jay's relationship - although it did take place over only two days, so much happened between them and to them that there wasn't a whiff of instalove, so no need to worry about that!

Finally, the novel deals with the issue of human trafficking** really well. It's not a major part of the story until the final third, really, and I think that it's a very relevant issue that Sarah drew attention to really effectively, in a way that doesn't feel like a lecture or a preachy campaign to try to get you to donate all your money. Not that it's bad or anything to donate money since it's most definitely a worthy cause, but it's dealt with in a very tasteful way that brings the issue to attention, which is exactly what is needed. I've included some links to information websites at the bottom of this review, which you can use to find out more about human trafficking.

Out of Control was a really great read that I heartily recommend if you're looking for an exciting and fast paced read. It's a definite must read for fans of Sarah's books, and also for fans of Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry books, as it really reminded me of those. I cannot wait for more of Sarah's books in the future!

*Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster Children's Books for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel.

**To read more about human trafficking and how it affects children and people, and to find out how you can help, go here and here. Read Sarah's article on writing about human trafficking on The Big Issue, here


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