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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cruel Summer, 3 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Cruel Summer (Kindle Edition)
Wow, but this guy can *write*. Just like ‘Hollow Pike’, ‘Cruel Summer’ had me gripped from the start. I was completely plunged into the world of the characters and it really did keep me guessing as to what happened to Janey, who killed Roxanne, and just what was going on with the characters besides that. I also had several ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’ moments as well.

Six friends go on holiday to an isolated beach villa in Spain one year after their friend, Janey, supposedly killed herself after an unpleasant incident at their sixth form leavers’ ball. The friends - Katie, Greg, Alisha, Ryan, and Ben (joined by Erin, Greg’s latest girlfriend) - haven’t seen each other since Janey’s funeral. Ryan in particular has his suspicions about Janey’s ‘suicide’ and these are confirmed when an old enemy - Roxanne (she stole Alisha’s boyfriend when they were at school) turns up at the villa with ‘evidence’ that one of them killed Janey. Next day, Roxanne turns up dead. And it simply gets better and scarier from there. One of them is a killer.

The characters in ‘Cruel Summer’ are really well drawn and there’s a lot more going on with them than it seems at first. At first, they all seem to fit typical teen-horror-movie roles - The Good Girl (Katie), The Bad Girl (Alisha), The Gay Guy (Ryan), The Jock (Greg) The Sweet Guy (Ben), The New Girl (Erin) and of course The Bitch (Roxanne). Indeed, the book is told from different points of view - mostly Ryan and Alisha’s, and actor and tv-addict Ryan actually pretends like they are all in a typical hot teen tv series (and later horror movie) with multiple ‘seasons’, flashback scenes, and pairings (Katie and Ben). The ‘chapters’ are actually ‘Scenes’ told from the characters’ different points of view, and this worked really well, adding to the dramatic, tension building immediacy of the plot, as well as making it all seem very visual and film-like (in a really cool way).

My favourite characters were Ryan and Alisha. Like all of the characters, as if the basic ‘one of us is a killer!’ drama they have their own tumultous issues going on as well. This was great as it stopped the plot becoming formulaic and broadened it out, keeping me wondering about more than just who the killer was, and it also made all of the characters more real and dramatic.

I hope Mr Dawson is going to write many more books. He is not only a fantastic YA author, but just a fantastic author full stop, and ‘Cruel Summer’ blows a lot of ‘adult’ crime fiction right out of the water.

Five stars, A++=+, absolutely great read. Read it now!!!!
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Location: York, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 3,359,451