A gripping and well-structured YA thriller with a romantic twist.
Whisked into the witness protection programme, 17 year old Estella’s life is turned upside down. She’s torn away from her long-term boyfriend and forced to abandon both her friends and her identity. Leaving city life behind her, she’s convinced there is no way she will be able to adapt to Thunder Basin, Nebraska. But, then, she hadn’t expected to fall for the boy next door.
Badged as a Young Adult novel, Dangerous Lies is probably closer to an adult thriller than a children’s book. It is, however, a gripping read.
Having heard a lot about Becca Fitzpatrick’s writing – in particular her famous Hush, Hush series – I was intrigued to read her latest release. I wasn’t disappointed. Becca absolutely nails the voice of 17 year old Estella (introduced in Thunder Basin as Stella). She’s feisty with masses of attitude but the first person narrative means we’re able to see beyond the protective shell Estella/Stella has created and we immediately warm to the girl underneath.
There is a strong supporting cast, particularly the tough ex-cop and new foster mum Carmina, 16 year old and heavily pregnant Inny and the arrogant baseball player, Trigger. The small town setting of Thunder Basin almost becomes a character in its own right, especially as we see it through the eyes of a stranger. Just as the town grows on the Stella, the reader is also forced to re-evaluate the potential of small town life.
The plot is well structured and this is definitely a page-turner. The climax was suitably dramatic but I wasn’t entirely convinced by the final tie-ups. It seemed somehow too neat and lacking the realism that characterises the rest of the story. (Sorry, I can’t say more without giving away too much of the plot).
This is, however, a picky point and overall I very much enjoyed this book and it is certainly able to complete in the crowded YA market. If you enjoyed this, you might also like to read Becca’s other stories. Why not start with Hush, Hush. Or if you’re looking for a YA thriller by a different author, try Riot by Sarah Mussi.
Publication Date: November 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Review first published on The Bookbag