Book Review: The Deviants – C. J. Skuse ****

Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane were the Fearless Five. A group of teens living in a small sea-side town. They used to do everything together but drifted apart after the tragic death of Max’s older sister Jessica. She had been a friend and big sister to them all and losing her had been traumatic especially when Fallon’s Mum had testified at the inquest that it looked like Jessica had deliberately walked in front of the bus.

Teenage life is difficult. Max and Ella have been together since they were twelve and now he really wants them to shift their relationship up a gear and have a sexual relationship. Ella keeps putting him off but he’s starting to get a bit pushy. They are the only two in the group that have maintained any sort of relationship.

Ella is a budding athlete and highly tipped to represent England at the next Commonwealth Games. Max is the son of a wealthy businessman and set to ace his A Levels but has no ambition and is likely to end up working at his father’s garden centre when he leaves school. Corey has cystic fibrosis and now his only real friend is his beloved cat Mort. Zane has turned into a bit of a thug bullying all of the smaller kids including his old pal Corey. Fallon lives outside town with her mother who is now believed to be a witch and has a secret of her own.

The Deviants is beautifully written and much darker than your average Young Adult book. Exploring themes of drug abuse, abandonment, suicide, abuse and bullying this is still a book with hope and joy. Despite the secrets and the problems there is a collective hope for the future. Set aside a cold wintry afternoon and devour this book in one sitting. Just make sure that you have a box of tissues nearby because the ending may break your heart in two.

Supplied by Net Galley and Mira Ink in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication Date: Sept 22 2016. 320 pages.

The Deviants

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