Have finally finished up my reviews for the end of 2010 Now to start on the 2011 ones!
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
No. of pages: 414
Synopsis: Summer, 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Along with his partner, Chuck Aule, he sets out to find an escaped patient. But nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. And neither is Teddy Daniels.
Is he there to find a missing patient? Or has he been sent to look into rumors of Ashecliffe's radical approach to psychiatry? An approach that may include drug experimentation, hideous surgical trials, and lethal countermoves in the shadow war against Soviet brainwashing. The closer Teddy and Chuck get to the truth, the more elusive it becomes, and the more they begin to believe that they may never leave Shutter Island.
Review: Teddy and his partner Chuck, are called to Shutter Island to help find an escaped mental patient. But once on the island, Teddy starts to realise things are not what they seem. Over the course of the next 24 hours, while a terrible storm rages, Teddy finds himself questioning everything he ever believed in...
I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this, so I watched the film first which I loved, and then got a hold of the book after that. I was pleased to find that the book and film were very similar, as sometimes they change the film so much from the book it's not even noticable as the same thing! The ending is really good, and it's definitely a bit of a mind bender book, but in a good way. The character of Teddy is lovable, well written and interesting to get to know, I liked the way his past unravels as you read further into the book. Shutter Island is a great setting, and you really get the creepy feel of this desolate island and it's inhabitants. I would most definitely recommend both the book and the film, I think Leo Di Caprio and Mark Ruffalo perfectly capture the characters of Teddy and Chuck.
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
No. of pages: 327
Series: The Body Finder (Book 1)
Synopsis: Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies – or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer – and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer...and becoming his prey herself.
Review: Violet has always been able to sense dead things, they send out a echo to her, which doesn't stop until they're laid to rest. So Violet does her best to help them pass on peacefully. But what has always been dead animal echoes, becomes a lot more when she finds the body of a young girl....and then another young girl. As Violet is the only one who can see the echoes which attach to both the victim and the murderer, she is determined to find out who is killing the young girls in her town, even when the killer sets his sights on Violet too...
I really enjoy the sensing dead bodies kind of storyline, and this one reminds me a lot of the Charlaine Harris Harper Connelly series which I'd definitely recommend to people who enjoy these kinds of books. The Body Finder is actually a pretty creepy book, which I've not really come across before in the YA genre. I was on tenterhooks throughout most of the second half of the book after Derting really ramped up the suspense, I just couldn't put it down until I found out what happened at the end. I loved Violet as a character, she seemed very down to earth, and just an all round lovely kind of girl just trying to deal with a pretty morbid talent. The growing romantic feelings between Violet and Jay were sweet to read, and added some normality to a pretty creepy story. I really enjoyed The Body Finder and I'm excited to see where the story goes in the next book!
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
No. of pages: 357
Series: Perfect Chemistry (Book 1)
Synopsis: When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
Review: Brittany has worked hard to make sure everyone thinks she's perfect and has a perfect life. Alex on the other hand is a gang member from the bad side of town, and everyone knows it. So when Alex's friends bet him to hook up with Brittany, he decides to put 'perfect' Brittany in her place. But as Alex slowly gets to know Brittany, and the cracks start to appear in her perfect life, and they find a connection neither thought would ever happen...
Perfect Chemistry turned out to be so much more complex than I thought it would be. At first glance Alex is exactly what you'd imagine a gang thug to be, and Brittany is the typical 'rich bitch' who everyone admires but secretly hates too. I wasn't sure where a story like this could go, but the characters became so real as the story went on, when you slowly started to see the cracks in their lives and the reasoning behind their actions. I thought Simone Elkeles did an amazing job with the characters, and it's almost like the story was irrelevant, the only important thing was Alex and Brittany and how their lives were changing because of each other. The story is a common one, the forbidden love, and how they overcome it, but the characters truly make this anything other than common. Definitely recommended for people who like character driven books, or want to read something a little out of the norm.