Fifteen Bones by R J Morgan
|Fifteen Bones by R J Morgan|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Stunning debut deals with dark topics but with such a great voice and gallows humour that it drew me in. R J Morgan popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 329||Date: May 2014|
I'm going to break from my usual habits here, and just use the blurb on the back as a summary of this book. This isn't out of laziness, honestly. Partly it's because I'm worried I'll give too much away otherwise, and partly because the blurb itself deserves praise as an absolutely masterful example of how to draw a reader in without spoiling anything at all. Things haven't been the same for Jake since the accident. Then he meets Robin and finds hope. She is exciting, fearless... and the most dangerous girl in London.
Twenty-eight words. Three sentences. And so arresting (especially when combined with the stunning cover) that I knew I wanted this one as soon as I read them. Thankfully, the book itself more than lives up to it. While still trying not to give too much away, I'll go as far as to mention that it involves drugs, gang violence, bad parenting, and other tough subjects. Given I've spent much of the past weekend bemoaning the amount of times this kind of thing appears in teen fiction and crowds out all the amazing lighter novels out there, you might not expect me to be a fan.
But this is an example of dark topics done absolutely right. Jake, the narrator, is pitiable at first, withered like a prune and so broken by the accident that he finds even walking difficult. However, he's got a wonderfully strong voice - he's an aspiring comedian who finds the humour in even the bleakest of circumstances. As for Robin, she's a stunning character. She's not immediately likeable - with an abrasive personality and a seriously murky past - but she's someone it's easy to sympathise with and the developing friendship between her and Jake is superb. I also really liked Jake's fellow pupils at his new school, especially Kane.
Oh, and I loved Morgan's writing style. There are breathtaking lines here. Directly opposite my room was the bedroom of a teenage girl. Her window faced mine like a checkmate. Tree branches ran like veins between our houses, the garage roof a scaly skin that connected us like conjoined twins. Superb stuff. Her dialogue is equally excellent - as a teacher just outside of London, I think she really captures the way the teens I know talk. (And I'll be lending this one to lots of them; just not until they've got their GCSEs out of the way as I don't think their willpower would be strong enough to get much revision done with this as a distraction!) The plot is tense and exciting - although there's a revelation at the end which I saw coming a fair way off - and superbly-paced.
Massively recommended and a really strong debut. I hope this does brilliantly!
You can read more book reviews or buy Fifteen Bones by R J Morgan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Fifteen Bones by R J Morgan at Amazon.com.
R J Morgan was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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