Gripping, thrilling and emotional – The Deviants is a delight to read.
Title: The Deviants
Author: C. J. Skuse
Publisher: Mira Ink
Source: Free Proof Copy from YALC 2016
With the sole exception of the very first chapter, I read this book in one sitting. That in itself is testament to how gripping this book is – it sinks its claws in you and draws you in, not letting go until you reached the end and are gasping for breath. The Deviants is let down by the plot, with a number of stereotypes making an appearance, but the characters really are the heart and soul of the book, and I really struggled to put it down.
While the individual story-lines of this book are not especially original (bullying, teen pregnancy, drugs), when combined they weave an emotional story of five friends, once close now distant, as they are pulled back into each other’s lives. Despite the friendship being an important part of this book, it is very much Ella’s story. With pressure coming down on her from all angles, Ella has secrets of her own, ones which would change everything if they ever got out.
On the whole, I found Ella’s secrets to be fairly predictable, as well as those belonging to the other four friends. It was how they interacted that really made this story for me, I really enjoyed how the different combinations of friends knew different combinations of secrets and how they supported one another. More than that however, it was the over-arching mystery that kept me hooked, and the way the book was written. At the end of each chapter was a question in italics – an unknown person asking Ella, the narrator, a questions. This question then fed into the next chapter. This kept me speeding through, finding out the answers to the questions and, ultimately, the answer to who the mysterious voice was.
Ella, as the main character, is a mix of being likeable and annoying. On the whole, however, she is a fairly sympathetic and relatable character. It was her compelling narration which kept me reading and her depiction of events is very much seen through her eyes. Her voice is constant throughout. It is only at the end, in the epilogue, where I really struggled to hear her above a plot device, which did leave me finishing the book on less of a high than I would have done had I stopped reading beforehand. That being said, it was heart-wrenching to read.
Max, on the other hand, was probably my least favourite character, with the sole exception being his father who came across as unpleasant before we even met him. His actions towards the end were a bit unbelievable. Of Ella’s four friends, he is the one we see the most of and so he is more developed of the four. However, my heart really went out for Fallon and Corey who, while lacking a little in development (Fallon especially), were both lovely and interesting characters to read about. Zane, on the other hand, while having a story-line that does make you feel for him and being a pivotal point in Ella’s story, is more of a name than a character.
The fearless five do take up a large amount of the book; however, there is one other character who this book is also about and that is Jess. Jess is Max’s deceased older sister and an honorary big sister to the other four as well. As the story progresses, you gradually see more of her and the circumstances that led to her death. I thoroughly enjoyed her, both as a character and as part of the story itself.
I really enjoyed this book and the whole reading experience of it. While the plot left a lot to be desired, the characters and structure of the book made up for it. The ending twist was a shock, although the aftermath did not quite work as well, and Jess’ character was brilliant. All in all, this was a very gripping, emotional and quick read.
The Deviants will be published on 22nd September 2016.
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Deviants/9781848455269/?a_aid=rosienreads