Friday, December 7, 2012

I swear by Lane Davis

Leslie Gaitlin was pushed to breaking point, and for her breaking point meant climbing into her mothers car in the garage with the exhaust fumes slowly draining away her life - a fatal and final decision that has repercussions for those around her.  For years Leslie was on the receiving end of the wrong kind of attention, she was the focus of Macie Merricks undivided attention, all because the boy Macie wanted was interested in Leslie instead.  One petty teenage tyrant, used to getting whatever and whoever she wants, and she will stop at nothing to make Leslie's life a living hell.

This is one of the most powerful books I have read this year, an emotional read that was impossible to put down, but that also had to be read in small doses at times because of the sheer emotional nature of what was happening.  As debut novels go this is a mind blowing read, packed with strongly defined characters working through an intricate relationship of love, hate, betrayal, and hope.  What is particularly impressive for me (and please forgive me if this seems sexist) is the way that Lane Davis has developed his characters and the voices of his characters - particularly the female characters, no easy feat for a male author. 

There are genuine voices for these characters, the personalities come through loud and clear, without depending on all the cliches - some are there but they are cliches for a reason, some people really are like that.  There are the odd moments when the language seems a little put on, but on the whole this novel has a true teenage voice, and is a must read for anyone who is being bullied, or for those trying to understand more about why bullying occurs.  The chapters flip about from one character to the next so you get to see each characters point of view without Davis having to resort to the "voice of god" technique for describing emotions and events, and the personal viewpoints make the story more real - you know how the different characters feel because they tell you in their own words.

I swear is hopefully the first of many novels from Davis, it is a polished and well written first novel that had me hooked right from the start - I was so involved that at times I had tears in my eyes, a sympathetic response to the characters.  Macie is a character that everyone will love to hate, and the cast of minions and victims around her each have a voice that adds to the story and the drama.  At the odd moment some of the dialogue fails to ring totally true, but it doesn't distract from a truly powerful debut novel that deserves to come to the attention of readers all over the world.

If you like this book then try:
  • Hate list by Jennifer Brown
  • Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Whale talk by Chris Crutcher
  • Pushing the limits by Katie McGarry
  • Out of reach by Carrie Arcos
  • Staying fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

Reviewed by Brilla

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