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Review: Pretty Twisted by Gail Blaxill

Pretty Twisted by Gail Blaxill
Published by Macmillan Children's Books
Challenge: BBC, DAC
Source: Review copy

Ros has a secret crush on Jonathan. Jonathan is massively hung up on Freya (even after she dumps him). And Freya? Well, Freya is a beautiful enigma. Even more so when she goes missing without a trace..."Pretty Twisted" is narrated in alternating chapters by Jonathan (16) and Ros (14) who meet online at a time when things are going sour for Jonathan. His stunning girlfriend, Freya, is away at college and they are growing apart - consequently, he is struggling with his own sense of identity. Ros is also experiencing some problems - one of her friends is dating an older man whose strange behaviour gives Ros cause for concern. Meanwhile, the local news has been reporting some kidnappings of teenage girls. So when Freya dumps Jonathan, then seems to disappear off the face of the earth, he enlists Ros' (somewhat reluctant) help in tracking down the girl he still loves. With danger lurking around every corner, their stories become inextricably linked in a way nobody could have predicted...

Pretty Twisted is an easy to read and enjoyable novel which had interesting and engaging characters and a storyline that kept me happily entertained as it twisted and turned its way along nicely.

Pretty Twisted is told in a double narrative with alternating chapters from the two main characters Ros and Jonathan who first meet online completely by accident. Both of them are in quite a similiar place in that they come across as quite lonely and without much idea about where they really fit in. When they meet they instantly click as they have lots in common and both depend on their relationship probably more than they'd let on.

Jonathan is 17 and living in rural Norfolk. His girlfriend is in London and his parents are forcing him to do A Levels he doesn't want to do. He doesn't feel like he has any proper friends and spends most of his time trying to work out how to go and visit his girlfriend Freja. Ros is 14 and living in London and also a bit lost. She isn't cool, doesn't even talk to boys and has a group of friends who don't really treat her properly. In Jonathan she finds a bit of a hero and a bit of a crush to idolise.

To start with the two main characters storylines are separate except for their conversations online. It isn't until Jonathan's girlfriend goes missing that they finally meet and try to hunt her down in the middle of London. Things don't look good as other girls have gone missing and the police are sniffing round looking for a suspect and are particularly interested in why Jonathan and Ros have been spending so much time "stalking Freja". I liked that as the story progressed they became more and more intertwined despite the fact that the characters were little more than strangers at the start of the book.

What I liked most about this book was its believability. So much about the characters was done just so which made me think that the author had clearly done her research and thought about ensuring that the storyline was something that actually could happen. They don't suddenly morph into teenage crime fighters who stop the bad guy totally unaided. I also enjoyed the friendship between Ros and Jono and how it developed and changed as the book progressed.

All in a very enjoyable debut novel. I'll be looking out for the author's next offering.


BookGeek said…
Great review. Sounds a little chilling, but with some hope at the end? I'll have to check it out myself :)
Very .. interesting. Having a great deal of experience with meeting people I've met on the internet I think it might be something fun to read about. I think reading a more detailed review of this book makes me a little more keen to read it, thanks :)