Saturday, July 24, 2010

A reader must read.

While I've been on work placement, I've (obviously) been very busy, and both my uni related and recreational reading have been affected. I've fallen a bit behind with uni, so I'll have to work hard over the next couple of weeks to catch up. And although my recreational reading has suffered, I've still made a little bit of time each night before I go to sleep to read for pleasure. I guess it's not a matter of me making time for it, it's more like I HAVE to read, just like I have to breathe! And so I've managed, bit by bit, to finish Every Secret Thing by Lila Shaara this week. 

I loved this book.

Gina is a single mother who works as a professor at a small college. When two of her students are implicated in the disappearance of a third, the police approach Gina to help them with an undercover sting. Soon Gina and her boys are in danger, and Gina finds her life unravelling before her.

Every Secret Thing subverted all my expectations. As I began reading, I discovered that Gina was not your typical single mum character. Firstly, her pregnancy was accidental, and she had never wanted to have children. She is a widow, but her marriage had not been happy, and she wasn't grieving. Her family relationships are dysfunctional, but there are no stereotypical characters (interfering mothers etc) here. 

Secondly, the novel is a psychological thriller, but it's not written as a thriller. There's no short chapters, cliff-hangers or chase scenes. 

Thirdly, there is romance in the novel, but it doesn't follow the "romance formula" of girl meets boy, some terrible complication interferes with their relationship, the complication is resolved, and the couple live happily ever after. 

The blurb on the front cover says "A moving and compelling story...the debut of an utterly original voice" and I definitely agree.

The thing that I liked most about this book was the fact that the author plants seeds of doubt in the reader's mind, but does not resolve all the questions at once.

I highly recommend this book, and I'll be looking out for her second book, The Fortune Teller's Daughter.

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