14 April 2010

Book of the Week (56): "Pretty Bad Things" by C.J. Skuse

Imagine a mash-up of Bonnie and Clyde, the TV series Supernatural and Hansel and Gretel and you’ll get a flavour of Pretty Bad Things. Add in a mullet-rock sound track, the sleaze and glitz of Las Vegas and a tonne of adolescent anger and there you are, deep in a story that sweeps you along at a reckless pace.

Paisley and Beau are twins - ones once famous for surviving three days alone in the woods after the death of their mother. They're 16 now, separated both in distance (by their super-bitch grandmother) and in temperament, as Beau is the geeky quiet boy and Paisley the hell-bent wild-child that no school can tame. Deliberately getting expelled from her last school, she finds Beau and the two of them go on the run, hunting for their long-lost father - last seen in Las Vegas.

I enjoyed the book, but probably not quite as much as some other reviewers. I didn't really believe in Paisley until about half way through the book, and I really never quite believed in her father. I'm not a fan of the current rage for pushing the boundaries of teen fiction with evermore explicitly violent and sexually aware stories - and this book is both. I kept wondering who it was aimed at... 12 year olds? 14 year olds? 16 year olds? When are teen books simply adult books with splashier covers?

I'd say this particular story of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll would be perfect for sophisticated teens - but definitely not for anyone wanting something comforting!

Recomended by Leonie Flynn

  • Kevin Brooks and Melvin Burgess for sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll...
  • Jenny Valentine for realism with real people.

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