Release Date: 2nd February 2012
A special thank you to Walker Books for sending me a copy to review, Jack for talking us through the cover design process, and Ed for coming and talking to us about the book.
This is a brilliant thriller ghost story by a new name in teenage fiction. When Daniel Lever is dragged to Leisure World Holiday Complex for some "time away" with his depressed dad, his expectations are low. Daniel is overweight, he hates sport, and his father has brought along his beloved tomato plant. But soon Daniel spots a girl swimming in the fake lake. Lexi is elegant and smart, but very mysterious. Why are her bruises getting worse each time she and Daniel meet? And is her watch really ticking backwards? A dark figure stalks the pair, and as British summer time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly. Their souls depend on it.
I have been so excited about this book ever since I was lucky enough to chat with Ed at the Walker Books book bloggers event at the end of last year. Everything about it was fab – the concept, the cover, the blurb, and then it arrived it was so shiny I had to stroke it for a few minutes before I even started reading it.
And it so didn’t disappoint.
One thing guaranteed to make me do a little happy dance is when we get strong male characters in fiction, and whilst Daniel isn’t your stereotypical macho male lead, he is strong and brilliant and fabulous all in his own way – despite the nose picking…
Daniel and his father arrive for a holiday at the Leisure World Holiday Complex to escape their world outside which is crumbling around them, and Daniel finds himself swept up in a strange and thrilling race with the girl that no one else seems to notice.
I absolutely loved Lexi. She was smart, funny and strong in ways that you wouldn’t normally expect from a 17 year old girl.
And she’s the perfect complement to Daniel, who just needs someone to actually stop, look at him, and care to bring him into all his fabulous glory. I loved that Ed had made Daniel how he had – a normal not perfectly chiselled teenager, who was a boy (but we can forgive him that) but despite certain moments of boyish weakness, is a morale, strong and incredibly courageous guy.
I loved watching him grow and mature, and watching the relationship develop between him and Lexi. It was a true representation of friendship and admiration, rather than the ‘insta-love’ you find in so many young adult books these days.
It was a thrilling book – I literally couldn’t put it down once I’d started reading it. The tension runs high throughout and the plot was brilliantly well written and constructed. Not your average fare, with plenty of twists and intrigues along the way to keep your interest, and just enough supernatural to make me squee like a small child.
It wasn’t just the relationship with Lexi that I found fascinating, but the relationship with his father and the small chunks of his past that Daniel reveals along the way that show how events culminated into the week we see. A brilliantly bittersweet look at the butterfly effect of the tiniest of moments and how they shape us.
A fantastic young adult debut from an incredibly talented writer, and one I cannot wait to see more of in the future.