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The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

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The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Summary: A well written, compulsive thriller that will reel in readers effortlessly.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: August 2011
Publisher: Usborne
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1409531098

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Celia Frost has always been extremely careful, never playing with other children, always wearing gloves and long sleeves, and never getting into unwanted confrontations. For she knows from her mother that the rare disorder that she suffers from, which is not unlike haemophilia, will mean that just a small cut, a seemingly insignificant graze, can leave her bleeding uncontrollably until she dies. However, one day Celia snaps. When she humiliates a bully, the boy gets his revenge and with a small flick of a knife starts a cut that will kill her.

But Celia does not bleed to death. In fact, she requires nothing more than a few stitches. Before she can react to this unexpected outcome, her mother rushes her away from the hospital, and away from the town, determined for a new start elsewhere. Celia is desperate for answers, and this leads to fractures developing in her relationship with her mum. Why didn't she keep bleeding? Why was her mother so against her getting a blood test? And what is this disorder that has her mother perpetually paranoid, but unwilling to tell her more about it? However, Celia has more than just some secrets to worry about, as there are mysterious figures that have been searching for the girl her whole life, and through a surprisingly proficient crook, have nearly reached the climax of their hunt.

I simply planned to check out the first few chapters on the day I received the book, but the story started so strongly and quickly built up such a compulsive narrative, that I found myself 150 pages in and still struggling to pull myself away from it. Characters are brought to life with great vividness. Celia is believable, without being a cardboard cut-out. She is understandably frustrated at her mother's unwillingness to reveal information about the perplexing disorder that leaves her restricted and unable to live her life like a normal teenager, and loves the allure of freedom that her new friend Sol represents. I also thoroughly enjoyed the character of Frankie, the crafty, unscrupulous 'private investigator', who is hired by the mysterious force intent on finding Celia Frost, for what surely cannot be benevolent reasons. His physical appearance as an unattractive thickset man, veering towards the overweight, belies a sharp cunning and a powerful ability to deceive. Personally though, I wasn't convinced by his significant character twist near the end, and felt more as if it detracted from a well built antagonist.

Although the delivery of the truth about just what makes Celia Frost so unique is brilliantly done, I was actually rather disappointed by the last third of the story. Considering the powerful build up during the first two thirds, I was expecting the payoff to be something really fascinating and thought provoking; as much sense as the revelation makes, I was left wanting something more complex and shocking. The development from this reveal to the conclusion was also too predictable and lacked real shock factor. The climax is perhaps just a little too dialogue heavy, though thoroughly entertaining nonetheless.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, has some similar themes and might appeal to those who enjoy more of a science fiction twist. I would also recommend Being by the superb Kevin Brooks, which shares a protagonist who also isn't quite biologically normal, to those who enjoyed The Truth about Celia Frost.

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Buy The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne at


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