Illegal by Miriam Halahmy

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Illegal by Miriam Halahmy

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Well-written gritty contemporary tale has enough action and suspense to make up for characters who, in the main, didn't quite do it for me.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: March 2012
Publisher: Meadowside Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781845395247

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Lindy’s life started to fall apart when her baby sister Jemma died. With her parents gambling and drinking, and her younger brother needing her to look after him, she’s desperate to hold the family together. So when her brother Garth, who’s in jail, manages to set her up with a job working for her charming cousin Colin, she thinks it’s a great opportunity. Then she finds out, though, that Colin’s business isn’t what it seems, and she’s quickly caught up in a nightmare cycle of drugs and threats… can she find the strength to stand up for herself, helped by the strange and reclusive mute boy Karl?

Illegal is the second in Miriam Halahmy’s Hayling Island cycle. I haven’t read book 1, Hidden, but it was easy enough to follow this book without doing so. I enjoyed it and there’s no question that Halahmy is an author who can deal with some tough, hard-hitting issues, and keep things realistic. She also created a really compelling character in Karl, going through his own private issues. I was slightly less keen on Lindy, to be honest. Even taking into account her family problems and her grief at her sister’s death, she seemed to be slightly too naïve and passive for much of the novel for me to fully sympathise with. Similarly, some of the supporting characters did little for me, with Colin in particular feeling like a generic villain.

That said, there’s still a fair bit to like here. Halamhy builds the tension really well, especially towards the end, and should be applauded for her willingness to tackle the themes of drug dealing and loss. I also found it really unpredictable as to how things would finally end up – it’s certainly not a book where you can be confident that everything (or even anything!) will be alright in the end. I’ll definitely be checking out the other two books in the Hayling Island cycle in the hope that Halamhy’s taut writing style is married with a central character I find more appealing.

Recommended to fans of gritty contemporary fiction.

Fans of bleak, gritty, contemporary dramas shouldn't miss The Clever One by Helena Close.

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Buy Illegal by Miriam Halahmy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Illegal by Miriam Halahmy at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Illegal by Miriam Halahmy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Illegal by Miriam Halahmy at


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