Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?
I received a copy from HQ Young Adult in exchange for an honest review!
What I say: I find it ridiculously intriguing when I discover a book with really contrasting early reviews. This instantly makes me want make up my own mind to see who I agree with or not.
The Deviants is extremely raw and emotional. Although there are a few early hints about whats to come, I wasn't entirely prepared for the onslaught of feels headed my way. I was expecting the usual YA teen drama and angst, but CJ Skuse delivers so much more.
I was intrigued by Ella and wanted to know what she was hiding. It took me a while to decide whether Max was a good guy. I really liked Corey who always made me smile and Fallon reminded me of my teenage best friend (I can't tell you why as it's a spoiler). I think we've all experienced a Zane in some form or another, but it was the mystery surrounding Jessica that had me fascinated from the start.
The book covers some pretty dark issues so I'm going to label with one with a trigger warning. These issues are covered in a really sensitive manner and I found myself crying along with them after certain revelations.
The tone is intensionally almost awkward in parts. There's a purposeful disconnect with certain characters but as the story develops it becomes clear why. I never felt entirely comfortable with all the characters but I really didn't feel as though I was supposed to. I felt the distance and nostalgia surrounding the fearless five. I'm sure a lot of readers will empathise with how difficult it is when friendship groups change as we grow up. In this sense it's a real coming of age story, except it's far from typical.
4.5 Stars in my Sky!
C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Westonsuper-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. loves Masterchef, Gummy Bears and murder sites. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
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