By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt
|By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt
|Reviewer: Robert James
|Summary: Stunning thriller is just as good as Jarratt's wonderful debut, Skin Deep. Huge recommendation. Laura Jarratt popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
|Date: April 2013
|Publisher: Electric Monkey
|External links: Author's website
Everyone knows that Holly is a new girl at school, and that her family are newly arrived in the village. None of them realise just how much is new about Holly, though - even her name. Last year, she was a witness to a crime, and she and her family have gone into witness protection, forcing them to start life afresh. Can they find happiness in a strange place, or will the nightmares that haunt Holly never leave her? Worse, are they safe, or could the nightmares come true?
This was probably my most-anticipated book of the year so far, which always worries me slightly – when you're as desperate to read something as I was to get my hands on this, there's always the potential that it could be a let-down. I needn't have worried, though – within a couple of chapters it was clear that it's just as captivating as Jarratt's debut, Skin Deep.
Even though in some ways it's similar to Skin Deep - another really strong central pairing, for a start, and in the way it manages to touch on a huge amount of difficult topics without giving any of them short shrift - it's also very different in parts. In particular, there's slightly less focus on romance here and a bit more on action - with a climax that left me literally struggling to breathe I was so tense! That's not to say it's better than Jarratt's debut, which was my favourite young adult contemporary of last year, but it's definitely just as good, and with two truly superb stand-alones Jarratt has cemented herself at the top of my 'auto-buy' list.
Holly is a great narrator, and I loved the way she develops through the novel, but the stand-out character here is her autistic sister Katie, who finds the moves across the country even more difficult to deal with than the rest of her family do. The rest of the characters, however, are all brilliant as well - utterly believable and well-written. In addition, it's pacy, it has great dialogue, and I loved the village setting.
Huge recommendation, and despite having read several excellent contemporary novels so far this year, this is the best of them all so far.
As I mentioned, Jarratt's debut Skin Deep is also wonderful, so if you like this you should definitely try that one! For another stunning story of a teen in a witness protection scheme, Keren David's Joe series, starting with When I Was Joe, shouldn't be missed.
You can read more book reviews or buy By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt at Amazon.com.
Laura Jarratt was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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