The Deviants by C.J. Skuse
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Published by: Mira Ink
Format: ARC e-book
Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Now, I have read a LOT of YA mystery/thriller kinds of stories, but when I read the blurb for this one, I just couldn’t resist; the mystery pulled me in! Although, I wouldn’t recommend reading the Goodreads blurb, because I think it gives a little too much away, so here’s mine instead: The Deviants follows five teenagers who used to be best friends until everyone’s favourite older sister Jessica died. Years later the fearless five find themselves back together, playing their old tricks and seeking revenge. But Ella, the narrator, is hiding something from the rest of her friends, including her boyfriend Max. If they knew the truth it would surely rip them apart, because it seems like she has an explanation for Jess’s death, and no one is going to like it.
Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane all live in a sleepy seaside town which made this book so atmospheric! Think Broadchurch kind of cinematography and you’re there. So, I was already thinking that the perfect little town is an even better place to hide dirty little secrets. And Ella has the biggest of them all.
The story starts a bit differently. In the beginning I thought ‘Oh no, this is just going to be a whole story about Ella and Max trying to lose their virginity.’ Boy was a I wrong. C. J. Skuse, almost lulls you into a false sense of security with the initial teenage drama, but then things get more serious with bullying, teenage pregnancy, and some seriously evil retaliation. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised considering how increasingly more traumatic Monster was.
The characters are all pretty diverse. Ella is training for the Commonwealth Games as a runner, Max is the son of the richest guy in the area, Fallon is pregnant and the daughter of the town witch, Corey has cerebral palsy and Zane is a bully. So there are a lot of interesting character dynamics there.
My favourite thing about The Deviants has to be the structure. That sounds crazy, but it felt so unique and was such a pleasant change for the ‘Now and Then’ or jumping back and forth that I seem to have read a million times. At the end of each chapters there’s a question that prompts Ella to continue telling the story and each question builds the tension and forces you to read on because they’re so enticing. I was most interested in who was asking the questions and it kept bugging me throughout. The slow and steady build up was something I really appreciated. The ending did seem a bit rushed, however, and I’m still reeling from the final reveal. It definitely works and once again feels unique.
I would recommend The Deviants to anyone who wants something a bit different that builds tension and really puts you on edge. There are some pretty graphic scenes so I would be warned – it’s seriously not for the light hearted! But if you’re willing to take the risk, it’s definitely worth it!