As far as beginnings go, this has to be one of the best I’ve read in a long while. I was instantly gripped and emotionally attached to Trey, who as a young boy witnesses something so devastating he is changed forever, and ends up being thrown into a camp set up to “re-educate” young people who have fallen foul of the law.
Natasha Carthew writes beautifully, and as someone who’s not a big fan of stylised writing in books, I found it such a joy to read this, often feeling like it read more like poetry than prose. That said, however, this style really didn’t suit this story. I don’t know many teenagers, let alone many angst-ridden teenage boys, who would wax poetical about their crush in the way this book does!
In the same way, the style didn’t suit the plot either, which felt thin at best and, as the book progressed, it felt more and more like Carthew didn’t really know what kind of book she was writing. One minute it felt like something akin to Louis Sachar’s Holes, and then suddenly we’re in Lord of the Flies territory. The plot did start off quite intriguingly, and felt different to your usual “angsty teenager seeks revenge” story, but as it developed…well, actually, it didn’t develop, that was the problem. It got halfway through and then suddenly flipped on it’s head and suddenly the main thread of the plot ended, and you were just left to accept that and move on. What started off beautifully gradually became thoroughly frustrating as the plot-lines you were expecting just didn’t pan out.
In all, this was just a real disappointment; a nothing plot, with far too many dead ends and it’s only saving grace being the author’s poetic style, which didn’t even really suit the story.
I received a copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.