Just what kind of mother are you? – Paula Daly

 Your friends daughter goes missing.

She was your responsibility and you forgot her.

Just what kind of mother are you?

 

Lisa is the same as any other working mother, she’s stressed, she’s frazzled, she has a job to keep going as well as her three children and husband. Anyone can understand things slipping her mind occasionally, except what she’d forgotten was to pick up her friends child. The next morning she finds out that teenage Lucinda never went home, now she’s missing and it’s all her fault. As the days carry on and the search for Lucinda dwindles people start to point the finger.

I stayed up all night reading Just what kind of mother are you? I cannot put it down became literal, when it got to 3am and I couldn’t take in any of the words I decided to call it a night, only to wake up the next day and begin again. The best thing is that it really keeps you guessing right until the end and even if you take a sneak peak at the last page you have no idea. Daly has done an incredible job of keeping suspense throughout, the novel never gets boring and you may find yourself cancelling those Friday night plans to get to the bottom of what happens to Lucinda.

The multiple narratives that Daly uses work fantastically well. I’ve always been a fan of using more than one perspective to show the reader the bigger picture. You get to see the characters in the eyes of others as well as themselves which I think is really important in these types of novels, no one is innocent. This also relates well to the dynamics of the relationships between the characters and adds to the suspense. I particularly loved the unknown narrator which is used at time, frankly it’s chilling.

The characters were also spot on and incredibly realistic. You could actually imagine each of them, it’s as if you actually know them. Daly is also incredibly good at not making people simplistic, she understands real people. Lisa was an incredible character, she was frazzled, she blamed herself and she made mistakes which makes her seem normal to us. The only fault I could find was that at times her relationship with her husband seemed too passive at times, however, this did pick up over the novel.

I want to give this novel 5 stars *****, the characters and the plot are seamless. The pace is perfect and there are constant twists and turns. I dare anyone to read it and say they are bored because this is fantastic!

 

Review by Chloe Metzger 

Advertisements

The Second Life of Amy Archer – R.S Pateman *****

Image

Your daughter has been missing for 10 years, she’s standing at your door and hasn’t aged a day.

For the past 10 years Beth Archer has been struggling to cope with the disappearance of her daughter, Amy. Although slowly rebuilding her life Beth is reluctant to let go and makes annual visits to psychics, one of which tells her ‘the little girl…she’s coming soon’, although not as she expects. As a young woman, Jenny, stands at her door claiming that she knows Amy is alive and introduces her daughter Esme, who has a chilling resemblance to Amy and memories that no one else can understand, they claim she is Amy reincarnated.

The novel really is full of twists and turns, although the concept of reincarnation is not one that I had come across in a novel before I absolutely loved it and it was a daring move to place the use of psychics within a crime novel.  It’s hard to believe that this is Pateman’s debut novel. This novel is more than just a thriller it’s engaging, stimulating. As a reader I didn’t just get to know the characters I considered theories of reincarnation, afterlife as well as getting stuck into Beth’s mind as she confronts something that none of us could even imagine.

The character of Beth has received some criticism but I personally thought she was a great character. She reminds me of real life mothers who I have seen portrayed in the media, blames for their children’s deaths or not being careful enough. She is distraught and desperate for some or any connection with her daughter, as I believe any mother would. The pain radiates through the pages as she struggles to deal with the ten year anniversary of Amy’s death as well as Esme’s claims and intimate knowledge of their family life prior to the kidnapping.

Your thoughts mirror Beth’s, is any of this real? How could this ever work or is this all just a clever and devastating ruse to ruin her life. I have to admit that at times I found Beth’s character to be selfish and incredibly fragile but then I considered how anyone would react when faced with this situation. Even if you have to put the book down (which I wouldn’t recommend) it’s simple to fall seamlessly back into and read continuously for hours.

I want to give this book 5 stars *****! I can’t even begin to describe how much this novel excited me, it’s so refreshing to find a novel that is not only full of original ideas but also taps into a complex set of characters. The only other thing is that I would have liked to have known a bit more about Libby, but this may have hindered the plot, so I think it’s for the best. I was also fortunate to talk to the author (who is also lovely!) and discuss the ending, which has received mixed opinions but in my opinion you’ll absolutely love it!

 

Review by Chloe Metzger

The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick **

When Pat is finally released from ‘the bad place’ he is relieved but also knows that despite his belief in silver linings some things don’t quite add up. Quickly we are introduced to a host of characters, his loving mother, hostile father, a new therapist and mysterious Tiffany. None of this matters to Pat, however, as all he wants is to get his wife Nikki back.

The novel covers Pats recovery and attempts to follow his hope of being reunited with his ‘love’ Nikki but he can’t understand why nobody speaks about her any more and why his therapist won’t let him speak about her and instead steers the conversation to Tiffany. Despite this Pat will not give up and continues his rigorous technique in the hope of finally ending ‘apart time’ and seeing Nikki again.

I felt very uncomfortable with the way people with mental illness were portrayed in the novel. At points they were portrayed as violent, manipulative and selfish. I didn’t feel like this was fair or appropriate. It also showed the characters as ‘broken’ and a clear misunderstanding from all those around them. It would have been nice for someone who is not suffering from mental illness to have understood Pat. I feel that this just adds to the myth that everyone with a mental illness is unstable.

I only give this book two stars. I didn’t feel it was realisitic and frankly it upset me on a personal level. The story seemed to be focused on the erratic thought process of Pat and although this was interesting the character of Tiffany really annoyed me. I wouldn’t recommend this book to any of my friends, it’s not that bad but it doesn’t particularly stand out in my mind.

Looking for Alaska – John Green

One of the things John Green is incredibly good at is making me cry. Not in a personal way, although if I was to meet the incredible man himself I may cry tears of joy. After reading The Fault in our Stars (see the review here, now knows as TFIOS) I ended up discussing it with friends, one of which said to me ‘You have to read Looking for Alaska, you have to’ luckily he had a copy and lent it to me. I was hooked, as will you be.

The novel opens with Miles , a character which I could connect with at first. I wasn’t sure of his quirks, remembering last words? What’s that about? It’s all part of Greens brilliance and something that I can’t reveal to you.  I was slightly sceptical at first, Miles appeared to be a nerdy loner being shipped off to boarding school but for some reason I kept on reading. Before long we are introduced to Colonel and Alaska, a beautiful and complicated girl which often leaves Miles (now nicknamed ‘Pudge’) scratching his head.

Once the other characters had been introduced I couldn’t put it down for my life. I was obsessed with the characters, Alaska in particular. I’d been forewarned that I was going to cry at some point in the book and so I thought I was safe, surely I wouldn’t cry like I did at TFIOS? A note to the girls reading, don’t read and wear make up because you feel like you’re at school with Pudge, Colonel and Alaska. The chapters are a count down which aids your curiosity but I mistakenly thought I knew what would happen. I was far from wrong.

There are reasons why this novel is much more than just Young Adult fiction. Green has created another master piece which isn’t afraid to ask questions bigger than what you would believe. Themes of love, heartbreak, confusion, religion are all explored in a non conventional way and you know what, Green doesn’t treat teenagers as idiots.  The ideas that come alive both ‘before’ and ‘after’ will make you think for days, which as my readers will know in my eyes means its a fantastic book.

It’s hard to believe that this was in fact Greens debut novel, with the great heights he is reaching with TFIOS, this is almost as good. I will give this book 4 and a half stars as it’s definitely going to be read read and will stay on my shelf for a long time.