ARC Review: The Deviants by CJ Skuse

9 Sep 2016

Book Title: The Deviants
Author: CJ Skuse
Series: Standalone
Release Date: September 22nd, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller
When you set out for revenge, dig two graves.

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

The Deviants is one of those books that caught me by the blurb and did not disappoint. When I offered the opportunity to review this by the publisher, they told me it was a YA thriller and I was all 'heck yea!' because let's face it - we don't get a lot of great YA thrillers these days. CJ Skuse is a new author to me but if this book is any indication of what's to come in the future, this won't be the last I'm reading of her books.  

Right from the first chapter, this book already gave me the goosebumps chills. A dead body has been washed ashore and the story is narrated by Ella, one of the main characters of this read. Together with her is another 4 of her friends; Max (who is also Ella's boyfriend), Fallon, Corey and Zane whom made up this Fearless Five group back when they were kids. But when Max's sister, Jessica died from a tragic accident, the Fearless Five took on their separate paths. 

There were a lot of things in this book that I really enjoyed, especially how the story was being told. Each chapter ended with a question, probing Ella to answer it by giving us the next chapter. So in a way, the story was being told in a certain chronological order leading up to a big reveal at the very end. We got to learn about the past and the present, what happened to each of them and their current lives. What stands out is the diversity of these characters; each of them with their own voice and story to tell. It keeps you flipping the pages, wanting to know each of them better. 

The story deals quite heavily with some teen issues, some which could possibly be trigger warnings to readers. Those aspects took me quite by surprise but they were also what made the book so emotionally powerful with the way they were being portrayed by the characters. My heart broke for some of them and there was a point if I wasn't sure if I was even emotionally ready to see how it all ended. True enough, the last portion of the book was when it blew everything out of the water for me and the read left me in absolute tears. 

Hauntingly beautiful, bone-chilling and downright powerful till its last page; The Deviants is a story that will be etched into your soul once you've finished it. I found myself wiping the tears off my face at 2am, trying to grasp how this powerful story took a toll on me. It's devastating in ways that will shock you, anger you and make you feel sad over the cruel reality of these hard-hitting issues.   

Definitely not a book to be missed, these is one of those books I'd highly recommend for all readers alike whether you're a fan of YA genre or not. 

ARC copy kindly provided by Harper Collins UK in exchange for an honest review.

C.J. Skuse

C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children's fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on her second novel THE DEVIANTS for Mira Ink.

C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. She hates carnivals, hard-boiled eggs and coughing. The movies Titanic, My Best Friend's Wedding and Ruby Sparks were all probably based on her ideas; she just didn't get to write them down in time. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

You can find C.J. Skuse on Facebook or on Twitter

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