Grace Beside Me

Grace Beside Me contains sensitivities such as racism, abuse and attempted sexual assault.
Grace Beside Me
Written by Sue McPherson
Contemporary, Indigenous, #LoveOZYA
Published December 2012
224 Pages
Thank you to Magabala Books
Add to Goodreads
★★★★☆
A warmly rendered story of life in a small town that interweaves the mundane with the profound and the spiritual.

Told through the eyes of teenager, Fuzzy Mac, awkward episodes of teen rivalry and romance sit alongside the mystery of Nan’s visions and a ghostly encounter. Against a backdrop of quirky characters, including the holocaust survivor who went to school with Einstein and the little priest always rushing off to bury someone before the heat gets to them, Grace Beside Me is full of humour and timely wisdom.
Thirteen year old Ocean Skye McCardell, affectionately known as Fuzzy Mac, lives within the small outback town of Laurel Dale. Since her mother passed, Fuzzy has lived with her grandparents, known to the town as Nan and Pop, her father employed in the mining industry and unable to care for his only child. Thirteen years of age will become a monumental year for Fuzzy as she begins to see spirits, a long held tradition of Seer passed down through the McCardell women. Navigating adolescence as Fuzzy finds her sense of self, her ancestry and her role as an Indigenous, Irish and South Sea Islander young woman.

It's the listening and telling of stories that bring our people close, both young and old. Stories keep our culture strong and our faith alive. 

Politically, the landscape of Australia is changing. The Australian government have announced a national day of apology, a small step towards the process of healing Indigenous communities, touching on long held racism, prejudice and the Stolen Generation. Grace Beside Me places the focus on family and the small community of Laurel Dale's societal issues. The neighbours experiencing domestic violence, Holocaust survivors, Uncle Lefty who through loss of identity, is now on the straight and narrow. Nan and Pop are pillars of the small town community, caring for the downtrodden.

The diversity of characters are wonderful. Nan is biracial Indigenous and Irish, her mother Koori and father of Irish heritage. Nan and her sisters were only young girls when they were stolen from their families. Pop is a descendant of the South Sea Islanders, enslaved and brought to Australia. Indigenous Australian, Māori, European and white Australia coexist within the small community that is beautifully portrayed. 

The writing is incredibly organic, Sue McPherson engages readers within the narrative as I felt as though I was part of the Laurel Dale community. Simple, wonderful storytelling at its finest.

Watch the Adaptation

Kyliric Masella shines as the character of Fuzzy Mac, a beautiful young Indigenous girl who is coming of age. After her mother died of an overdose, Fuzzy has been raised by her grandparents, her father working in the mines and unable to care for his daughter. Her journey begins on the morning of her thirteenth birthday, coinciding with the spiritual Spooky Month, leading Fuzzy to learn she is to become a Seer of spiritual insight, guided by the spirits of her ancestors.

Each episode of the thirteen part series follows Fuzzy as she learns about her gift and the spirits that need assistance before moving on. It entwines the Indigenous spiritual beliefs with a wonderful sense of family, as Nan and Pop are always a positive influence in Fuzzy's life, helping guide her moral compass. 

Navigating her adolescence, friendship, family and responsibilities, Grace Beside Me is a beautiful blend of diverse Australiana and the celebration of Indigenous country, spirit and history. Adapted from the award winning novel by Sue McPherson, published by Magabala Books and previously screened on NITV, you can watch season one of Grace Beside Me on ABC iView here. Or check out the trailer by clicking here.

 Grace Beside Me
Magabala books is a non for profit arts organisation and independent Aboriginal Corporation with the objective of restoring, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the rights of traditional storytellers and artists. To read more about Magabala Books and to donate, visit their website.

Legendary

Check out my review for book one Caraval

Legendary
Caraval Book Two
Written by Stephanie Garber
Fantasy, Romance
Published May 29th 2018
432 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads
★★★★☆
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn't yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver. Caraval Master Legend's true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend's identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets. Including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can't fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend's name, she'll lose everything she cares about, maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval... The games have only just begun.

Donatella and Scarlett escaped the Isle of Trisda, journeying to De Los Sueños as participants of Caraval to escape the oppression and violence of their father on the eve of Scarlett's pending nuptials. In an unprecedented event, the Caraval entertainers are preparing for a second performance, invited to the Meridian Empire by the illustrious Empress Elantine. Donatella will reluctantly compete in Caraval for the honour of learning the identity of the elusive Legend, the master of ceremonies at Caraval.


The Players


Siblings Scarlett and Donatella are wonderful characters of contrast. Scarlett is an observationalist, Donatella is spontaneous, appearing nonchalant and indulgent. Comparatively, Donatella is an alluring character, her resolute and altruistic personality challenged misogyny and embraced her sexuality. Donatella is seduced by the centuries old mythological enchantment of the Meridian Empire and those who fabricated the human destiny and to conquer Caraval. As the participants disembark, peculiarly, Donatella is refused admittance and masquerades as the fiancé of heir to the Meridian Kingdom, the murderous Jacks. Suggested by the conceited Dante.

Although sexually attracted to Dante, Donatella understands the seduction of Caraval and Dante's character as a womanising charlatan. I found her constant need to evoke an emotional response in Dante exhausting, considering Donatella is a confident and assured young woman. Jacks is an interesting character, the nephew of Empress Elantine and heir to the Meridian kingdom. Notorious for his cruelty and violence, Jacks and Donatella establish an compromise. Their relationship is convoluted and exasperating, especially for Dante, unsuspecting that affection from the heir of Meridian kingdom is manipulation.


The Game

Caraval was believed to have been an illusion, participants indulging themselves within the festivities for the atmospheric experience. In this unprecedented event, Caraval will journey to Idyllwild Castle, an esteemed invitation by Empress Elantine on the eve of the Fated Ball. Once revered guardians now banished, the Fates are a foreboding folklore. As a child, Donetella reminisces the forbidden cards her mother kept, the Deck of Destiny, cards representing each Fate and the potential to foretell the future. A wonderful element of intrigue throughout the narrative. To conquer Caraval, Donatella will encounter ominous conundrum. Caraval and Legend eradicated from the Meridian kingdom to establish freedom for her mother. An insurmountable quandary.


Caraval is a breathtaking and atmospheric adventure of illusion and deception, Legendary is an exceptional sequel inciting intrigue, adventure and sensuality. Stephanie Garber is extraordinary, creating a lyrically exquisite narrative of wonderment and revelations. Dark, sinister and delicious. Absolutely superb.

Save The Date

Save The Date
Written by Morgan Matson
Contemporary, Romance
432 Pages
Publishing July 2018
Thank you to Simon & Schuster
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait. For the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster, all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the awful girl her favourite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly… Cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.
Guests are descending on the Connecticut Grant residence for the pending nuptials of daughter Linnea Grant and fiancée Rodney Daniels, an extravagant farewell to the stately home. Youngest sibling Charlotte Grant is delighted that her siblings will be in attendance, the idolised Sheridan now residing in California, bride Linnea, Jameison and estranged brother Michael. The Grant siblings have embellished syndicate pages for over twenty five years within the fictional Grant Central Station, a weekly illustrated comic created by their mother Eleanor Grant, now reaching a conclusion with a series of celebratory events and appearances coinciding with the pending nuptials of sister Linnea and nostalgic farewell to the endearing family residence.

Big, loud, delightfully messy families


The Grant siblings are wonderful. Typically families portrayed within young adult literature are rarely present or created as a character of superiority, the Grant siblings are blemished. The narrative focus is on seventeen year old Charlie. Charlie understands the significance of the upcoming celebrations, the youngest Grant sibling is feeling displaced. Eldest sibling Danny is Charlie's partner in crime, so when Danny surprises the family by bringing home a new girlfriend from California, Charlie begins to see the imperfections within the brother she idolised. Linnie is becoming increasingly overwhelmed by her nuptials, a missing wedding planner and feuding relatives, brother J.J is desperately seeking a date to the event and estranged brother Mike has chosen to stay with friend James, Charlie's crush. Over the course of three days of celebrations, I fell in love with the compassionate, boisterous and completely imperfect Grant family.

A touch of swoon


For a narrative that takes place during wedding celebrations, the romance was virtually non existent. There is however, plenty of moments to swoon. For the past several years, Charlie has held a flame for James, Mike's best friend that until recently, seemed to be an unrequited love affair. James is a nice young man but he's certainly no Bill, the nephew of the new wedding planner. Bill and Charlie together are lovely and I enjoyed their subtle flirtations. With the amount of mayhem and adventure afoot, their friendship and attraction felt genuine. #TeamBill

Pee your pants a little


Snorting, unattractive laughter. The kitchen is often the heart of every home, especially for the Grant family. The reader is welcomed into their boisterous, frantic home where the coffee is freshly brewed and siblings feud over the last doughnut. Their familiarity is lovely. The banter and sarcasm providing plenty of laugh out loud moments.

I absolutely loved it. Morgan Matson is a phenomenal contemporary author, creating genuine characters and a sincere storyline of perfectly imperfect families. Infused with humour, mayhem and adventure, Save The Date is a feel great read and instant classic.

Follow the tour here with thanks to Simon & Schuster and the #AusYABloggers.

LIFEL1K3

LIFEL1K3
Lifelike Book One
Written by Jay Kristoff
Dystopian, Science Fiction, #LoveOzYA
416 Pages
Published May 2018
Thank you to Allen and Unwin Australia
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
On an island junkyard beneath a sky that glows with radiation, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap. Seventeen year old Eve isn't looking for trouble, she's too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she spent months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, she's on the local gangster's wanted list, and the only thing keeping her grandpa alive is the money she just lost to the bookies. Worst of all, she's discovered she can somehow destroy machines with the power of her mind, and a bunch of puritanical fanatics are building a coffin her size because of it. If she's ever had a worse day, Eve can't remember it.

The problem is, Eve has had a worse day, one that lingers in her nightmares and the cybernetic implant where her memories used to be. Her discovery of a handsome android named Ezekiel, called a 'Lifelike' because they resemble humans, will bring her world crashing down and make her question whether her entire life is a lie.

With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic sidekick Cricket in tow, Eve will trek across deserts of glass, battle unkillable bots, and infiltrate towering megacities to save the ones she loves... And learn the truth about the bloody secrets of her past.
Once known as Kalifornya, now a desolate wasteland of recycled technology and radiation, decimated by conflict. Scavenging among the ruins, Eve Carpenter continues to endure the loss of her family, incarcerated by the authorities and slain while the seventeen year old was extradited by her grandfather. In an emerging world evolved by technology, human life is a commodity within the dystopic environment inciting syndicate violence. Eve is an intelligent and tenacious young woman, now caring for her elderly grandfather amongst the destruction, a cancer patient exposed to radiation.

The Three Laws of Robotics once constrained artificially intelligent automations to perpetuate human lives, now rogue and resolute in achieving freedom from human oppression and servitude. Among the fragments lies a fractured Lifelike, a young male android and harbinger of truth. Accompanying Eve on her journey of identity and discovery is a multifarious contingent of reinforcements.

Stronger together. Together forever.

Fifteen year old Lemon Fresh is a valiant and tenacious orphan, abandoned as an infant, now colleagues within the gladiatorial amphitheatre creating an enduring friendship and familial alliance. Created with recycled fragments, Cricket is perceptive and conscious of his physical environment. Accompanied by blitzhund Kaiser, they make a formidable contingent and compelling aspect of the narrative. Eve is an anomaly accused of deactivating technology through technokenesis. Lifelike android Ezekiel is attractive but importantly, appreciates the gravity of their challenge. To evade the syndicate and a bounty hunter on behalf of The Brotherhood, idealists who demand the surrender of genetic deviates for purification

Atmospherically breathtaking, Kalifornya is a desolate frontier. The collapse of Gnosis and the Monrova family have preceded the rise of technology corporations Bio Maas and Daedalus,  corporations elevated to authority and dominance. The post apocalyptic world is vividly and cinematically imagined, an oppressive and contaminated environment, radiation continuing to diminish the populous as the Gnosis tower erupted.

The essence of Lifelike is humanity and creation, capitalism and environment interlaced with an atmospheric and compelling narrative. Captivating characters and breathtaking revelations. Compulsive reading. 

Brontide

Brontide
Written by Sue McPherson
Contemporary, Indigenous, #LoveOzYA
132 Pages
Published June 2018
Thank you to Magabala Books
Add to Goodreads
★★★★
Brontide is a coming of age story about four boys and their lot in life. Recounted through storytelling sessions at their school over a period of five days, these boys chronicle their lives.

They are at times demanding, occasionally rude, always funny and unexpectedly profound. The boys like to challenge themselves and the rules, and soon realise that not everything goes to plan...
In the small town of Taralune on the Sunshine Coast, four adolescent young men reluctantly commence their stories. Acclaimed author Sue McPherson was invited to Taralune Secondary College and St Nicholas Lutheran College to participate in a storytelling workshop with adolescents. Emerging were four young men, interrelated narratives sharing their ambition, unease and lives within the small coastal town.

Taralune is atmospheric and wonderfully illustrated through the perspective of each young man. The Bower brothers are characters of contrasts. A sensitive and compassionate young man, respected by adults and peers while the other is perceived as ignorant, intimidating  the young men of Taralune and promoting toxic masculinity.

The thunder you hear miles away, that's the brontide. 

Seventeen year old Jack Trainer is a interesting young man in particular, his narrative captivating and characteristic of the wonderful diversity of Taralune. Unable to care for her biological son, Jack was adopted by a wonderful Indigenous extended family. I enjoyed the discussion of societal influences, Black Lives Matter and racial stereotypes.

The narrative structure is captivating, guided with gentle questioning and allowing each young man to determine the boundaries within their discussion without coercion. A confrontational, authentic  and mesmeric narrative.

Magabala books is a non for profit arts organisation and independent Aboriginal Corporation with the objective of restoring, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the rights of traditional storytellers and artists. To read more about Magabala Books and to donate, visit their website.

A Thousand Perfect Notes, an interview with C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes
Written by C. G. Drews
Contemporary, Music, Realistic Fiction, #LoveOzYA
282 Pages
Publishing June 12th 2018
Thank you to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads
★★★★☆
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music, because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
She's an Instagram, blog and social media aficionado, her tweets achieving thousands of dedicated followers. Her lengthy list of achievements include the championing of her fellow bloggers and authors, reaching fifty thousand words in three days during National Novel Writing Month, reading hundreds of books per year and writing almost as many. 

C. G Drews debut novel A Thousand Perfect Notes, is a breathtaking and confronting narrative of family violence and gentle optimism, harmonised with delicate moments of sincerity and compassion.

She's a creator of terrible puns and cake advocate. Meet my friend, the incredibly fabulous and inspirational C. G. Drews, debut author of A Thousand Perfect Notes

The Interview


Your debut novel, A Thousand Perfect Notes is absolutely beautiful. Being an author and practically writing straight from the womb, can you share with us the day that you found out you were being published?

Aww thank you! You're making me blush! So I found out I had a book deal at about 4:00am because insomnia is a beast and I thought, 'Hey! Why not check my email and see if my agent has sent anything?' Well, wow, I only got the best email of my life. I also did not go back to sleep. And I want to take a moment to tell my family that they should be grateful I didn't wake them up screaming right then and there.

A Thousand Perfect Notes is quite emotional and explores social issues such as physical, emotional an mental abuse, child neglect and poverty. How difficult is it as an author to write confronting scenes where characters are the victims of abuse?

I definitely spent a lot of time on those scenes, with plenty of revisions to get the intensity and thought process right. I wanted to talk really candidly about these things, but also keep some hope and light in the room.

The Maestro is a horrible, infuriating woman. Personally I found the abuse not only confronting but also incredibly realistic. Isolating Beck, using Joey to threaten Beck and the barrage of abuse of being worthless. All symptoms of an abusive relationship. Is that something you needed to research to create the toxic and abusive environment?

I definitely did plenty of research and also lot of just thinking of what it'd be like to be in Beck's shoes. I think most people in the world have felt worthless at some point... Or unable to control their environment or worried about someone they loved. Obviously this is a more extreme circumstance than most would face, but writing it was about escalating those feelings.

Let's talk about darling Beck, such a well written and in depth character. He seems like a typical male character, grumpy and weary of anyone taking an interest in him but beneath the surface, he's such a complex young man. What was the inspiration behind his character?

My biggest inspiration for Beck is actually a bit of a spoiler, but you'll know it when you read the book! But his character has several nods to a famous classical composer of the past! Apart from that, he sort of tumbled around the page and then grew his personality the more I wrote and explored his story.

Beck's relationship with his little sister Joey was a delight and another of my favourite aspects. He sees her as a puddle splashing, glitter wearing free spirit and endures his mother's abuse to protect her. What angered me is how the adults in both their lives let them down, a harsh reality for so many kids isn't it.

It is... And not as uncommon as it should be. One thing Beck did his best to do was to shelter Joey as much as he could and make sure she didn't suffer alone. While Beck only had an abusive and manipulative mother, Joey at least also had Beck to look up to. Their relationship was one of my favourites to write!

The barefoot, animal loving, dog rescuing August, if ever there was a character most you like, August wins. Hands down. She's absolutely delightful. I loved how she was just there, never pushing Beck out of his comfort zone but to let him know he wasn't alone. Is that something you were mindful of, the friendship and support foremost rather than creating a romance between Beck and August?

Ha! August is the actual definition of puppies and rainbows, isn't she?! And yes I absolutely wanted their relationship to first focus on friendship, since Beck has literally never had a friend before August busts into his life. I also wanted August to show she wanted to be there for Beck. She wasn't about to force him to take action or pretend she knew what his life was like. She wasn't there to save him: she was there to tell him he was worth saving so he could take those steps himself.

Readers know you from your wildly successful blog, Paper Fury where you talk about books and cake with a fondness for stabby characters. Do you think readers will be surprised by the darker themes in A Thousand Perfect Notes?

My blog is definitely a collision of rainbows but also stabbiness, so I can see how some readers might be surprised that A Thousand Perfect Notes isn't a fluffy book! But knowing I always review and flail about the 'dark books' and have been warning people I'm writing books to make them cry... Hopefully it's not too much of a shock.

What do you hope readers take away from reading A Thousand Perfect Notes?

Just that little whisper that you are absolutely worthwhile, no matter what you do or don't achieve in life.

Where to find her


C.G. Drews lives in Australia with her dog, a piano, and the goal of reading every book in existence. Consequently, her brain has overflowed with words and she spends her days writing novel after novel. She blogs at paperfury.com, never sleeps, and believes in cake for breakfast.

Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes
Written by Jenn Bennett
Contemporary, Romance
432 Pages
Published June 2018
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia and Netgalley
Add to Goodreads
★★★★★
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends turned worst enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it's not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
To placate her concerned mother, Zorie reluctantly concedes to accompany friend Reagan on a camping vacation throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, before attending the Perseid meteor observation with the astronomy society. Neighbours Lennon Mackenzie and Zorie Everhart haven't spoken since the fateful homecoming dance that ended their friendship and their official relationship debut. Zorie has endured the heartbreak of their separation only to discover Lennon has also been invited.

The intensity between Zorie and Lennon is palpable as they discover they've been abandoned and with inadequate alternatives, decide to journey towards the national park where Zorie is due to meet her astronomy club, the two adolescents reconnecting along their journey.

Zorie Everhart is a meticulous young woman, anxious and fastidious. Her parents operate a small acupuncture and remedial massage surgery, the once successful business heading towards receivership and blamed on their neighbours, an adult store coincidentally operated by the Mackenzie family. Lennon is  wonderfully contrasting character. Zorie recognises her limitations while Lennon is a pioneer, confident in his abilities. Two accomplished individuals who compliment one another. The tentative friendship was lovely and although Zorie and Lennon have lived on the periphery of one another's lives during their separation, both adolescents longed for the intimacy of their former friendship.

The parental relationships were wonderful. Zorie has a wonderful relationship with her Korean American step mother, her mother passed away during her infancy and rendering her father emotionally absent. Lennon's parents are magnificent and an instrumental influence on Lennon, maintaining a wonderful relationship with Lennon's biological father, an Egyptian American musician. Although Lennon is unable to see his father as often growing up, it was beautiful to see a diverse, blended family who co parented to raise such a wonderful young man. Sexually positive women who own and manage an adult store with the focus on female pleasure. Their discussions on sex and sexuality are a positive influence on Lennon and his upbringing, creating a respectful and courteous young man.

While Zorie's mother is wonderful, her father is incredibly offensive. To conceal his own impropriety, he is incredibly aggressive towards the Mackenzie parents, his lesphobic comments of the same sex, long term, loving relationship are offensive and ignorant.

Jenn Bennett is a phenomenal author, creating resonating characters with charisma and compassion.  Starry Eyes is a beautiful journey of discovery, captivating until the final page.

Click here to see the Starry Eyes Tour schedule.

Whisper

Whisper
Whisper Series Book One
Written by Lynette Noni
Science Fiction, Romance, #LoveOzYA
261 Pages
Published May 1st 2018
Thank you to Pantera Press
Add to Goodreads
★★★☆
Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people, they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six Eight Four, Jane Doe, has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new and unexpectedly kind evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious program, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot... And one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.
Transferred from a psychiatric institute and forced into isolation, Jane Doe has remained silent despite the invasive experimentation throughout the underground facility. Disciplined in the artistry of combat, patient six eight four endures experimental procedures to fracture her fortitude. Landon Ward is an abnormally, a kind and compassionate young man and considers Jane as his intellect rather than an allocated number.

The violation and exploitation of Jane Doe is confrontational, especially throughout her intensive mandatory appointments with Doctor Vanik. Throughout her narrative, Jane endures elective mutism to control her environment, determined to conceal her identity from her captors. Landon Ward is disarming, often morally ambiguous and although Ward appears compassionate, he continued to manipulate the young woman in his company.

The Exodus Project facilities Speakers, genetically altered humans that possess abilities. The introduction of the Speakers is an interesting concept, children born to parents of Speaker lineage or participants of the Lengard initiative. Women inoculated with a fertility serum, offspring abilities manifesting throughout their adolescent years. Opposed to the invasive tactics, a rebellion attempts to capture Speakers, educating adolescents of the Exodus Project to encourage informed decisions. Although the rebellious Remnants are forthcoming and provide Jane with information about her identity and infiltrated informants, Jane is reluctant to place her faith within either faction, wisely. The Remnant rebels introduce Jane to Kael, a young man versed in the torturous conditions of the initiative and the consequences of escape.

The presumed romance is virtually nonexistent. Landon is physically attracted to Jane Doe, although rebel Kael seems to share a familiarity with the mysterious young woman. I appreciated that Jane is on a journey of discovering her identity, romantic expectation is excluded within her narrative and her unease and fragility a priority. I enjoyed the character of Camelot, a gentle, tender young woman and contrast to sibling Landon. Camelot is a wonderfully serene influence, encouraging Jane and assists her in non verbalised communication. Their tentative friendship a lovely aspect of the narrative.

The large paragraphs of information throughout the latter chapters is overwhelming as the mystery surrounding Jane occupied the duration of the narration. The use of the affectionate term princess felt condescending rather than demonstrating a character familiarity.

Whisper is a captivating and charismatic read, blending traditional young adult science fiction with compelling characters and a familiar storyline. Thoroughly entertaining.
© Diva Booknerd. Design by Fearne.