“Sunday 26 October, 10.45AM
We were shown into the police-station waiting room. MUm and Dad sat down, but I stayed on my feet. Apart from being worried, I was angry – at myself. Freya had been missing since Saturday 18th – a whole eight days, yet stupid me had delayed reporting it for a week, thinking I could play detective.”
When Jono and his girlfriend have a fight things are said that maybe were best let unsaid. He was the last one to talk to her properly and now she’s missing, he’s the first one on the suspect list. Jono enlists the help of Ros, an internet friend, to help find Freya and make sense of the whole situation. Ros knows very little about Freya or the murky side of London, but for Jono she’s willing to help in any way she can, even if she hasn’t been fully honest with him.
Two different stories. One missing girl. Who would you trust?
I had had Pretty Twisted on my wishlist for quite a while before it found its way to me in September. Unfortunately it took me a little while to get round to but having read Blaxill’s latest offering recently, I knew I had to read this one soon too.
Gina Blaxill offers a great, fast paced thriller which will have you on the edge of your seat and second guessing every character you meet. The plot line is brilliant, 16yr old Jono meets Ros online when his life appears to being going downhill. He’s there for Ros at a time when she needs him most, however she lies about her age thinking her wouldn’t want to talk to a 14yr old. By the time Freya goes missing and the two have been talking for a while and finally meet, Jono has no other option but to carry on talking to Ros because she is his travel guide around London. I liked that there was the thriller element with Freya missing and the subplot of the ‘student snatcher’ murders, but the secondary storyline about what both Jono and Ros were having to deal with in their own lives was really interesting too.
I’ve heard a few people mention that the characters weren’t all that great in Pretty Twisted and whilst I agree to a certain extent there wasn’t much wrong with them. Ros was a little more immature and spontaneous than we are lead to believe she usually is and Jono was a bit emo about things but both of them had things going on that they needed to clear up. They were both at hard times in their lives where things weren’t great and they needed to discover where they were gunna go from there. I think they helped each other out in that respect and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, even if the characters didn’t have great depth there was still some there. Freya annoyed me a bit and she did seem really selfish but I think that was because of her age too. I think the thing that put me off about the characters was that they all seemed much older than they were, especially Freya and Jono. Freya was living in London with her Aunt but when she disappeared her Aunt was away and no one noticed for five days… she was 16… my parents would never have let me go five days without a phone call if I was on my own at 16!
As we delve further into the story and we are closer to finding out what happened to Freya, bigger plot lines come to light and things start getting even weirder. I liked the story but thought it was a little convenient in places and though I didn’t guess the twist so much I was a bit non phased by it because of its convenience.
The writing was fast paced and good quality but the constant changing of dates and times was a little off putting. I love duel narrative and especially loved what Ros’ voice added to this book but I had to keep double checking dates and it got a little confusing at times.
I think that Pretty Twisted is great for a debut but having read Forget Me Never I was expecting a little more and I could see that Blaxill’s writing is definitely developing as her books go on. She is definitely an author I will be following closely because she has got amazing potential. I would recommend Pretty Twisted for a taster if you are maybe thinking of a move from contemporary to thriller; especially if you want a fast paced, good quality, quick read.
Pretty Twisted was released in May 2011 by Macmillan Children’s Books. My copy was loaned from my lovely friend Steffi.
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