Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Hunt Killers- Barry Lyga

I have had mixed feelings about Barry Lyga's work in the past, but this new series is TOTALLY AWESOME.  I LOVED THE CRAP OUT OF THIS BOOK.

Seriously.  Now, serial killer fiction can be pretty interesting.  I do like to watch Dexter when my mental illness is not acting up, but this book was cooler than Dexter.

I mean, this kid has had to deal with a horrible childhood in which his dad, the world's most notorious serial killer, killed and tortured in front of him, all the while giving him tips on how to how to cut people, skin them, and other items on the serial killer's official curriculum.

Jazz, as the kid is known, is the son of Billy Dent, who is currently spending a few life sentences in prison due to his ridiculous number of killings, and is in quite a psychological quandary.  For one thing, he knows how to be a serial killer and he knows how they think and has made some friends at the police station.  He also is tormented by the thought that he'll end up like his father.  While this sort of extreme scenario is not a common one among young adults, the writing was excellent and completely believable.  I know Lyga did a lot of research for this book, and it shows.  It's pretty much flawless.

The focus of the book is that there are some more murders showing up in their town, and Jazz, with his intimate knowledge of the serial killer mind, knows immediately that it's a serial killer.  He has trouble convincing the police because they really don't want to have to go through that ordeal again, but he cannot figure out WHO it is.

The other characters in the book were great; his best friend is a hemophiliac and he has a strong girlfriend who helps keep him grounded.  He takes it upon himself to try to figure out the truth and of course those two end up involved as well.

Overall it was a fantastic read and I am so glad it's going to be a series.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Purity- Jackson Pearce

I've been a fan of Jackson Pearce since I read As You Wish in 2009, so I definitely had to have this one.  Unlike her other books, this one is contemporary and has no supernatural elements, but as usual she does a bang-up job.

In Purity, we have Shelby, a teenage girl with a dead mother and a problem. She made three promises to her mother right before her untimely death, and ever since has been living by those promises as best she can.
The three promises are 1) Listen to your father, 2) Love as much as possible, and 3) Live without restraint.

But Shelby has an issue which means she will have to compromise promises one and three.  Her father has decided that Shelby needs to participate in a Purity Ball, meaning she will pledge that she will not use drugs, will not drink until she is legal, and she will be a virgin until marriage.  Since Shelby does not want to get married soon but also does not want to remain a virgin until she's 30, she does not want to do as her father says, since that will compromise her living without restraint.  So she and her friends try to find a loophole- Shelby must lose her virginity BEFORE the ball.

Problem is, she doesn't have anyone to lose it with.

Shelby is a believable character, but she sometimes seems a lot more hung up on these promises than a normal teenager would be.  It's admirable that she wants to do what her mother asked her to do and Shelby is not a spoiled, narcissistic, shallow girl.  She always tries to do what she thinks is right and she doesn't resent her parents for their shortcomings (i.e, her mother is gone so she can't get advice from her and her father is hard to communicate with) but struggles to cope with things as well as she's able to.  The writing makes Shelby seem real; she's always thinking about things and trying to understand the meaning of what is happening around her.  So many times books will have a completely flat character who never seems to think about anything and just accepts everything as it is, but Shelby was constantly considering everything that happened to her.  The other characters in the book also rung true; I often found myself thinking that I went to school with some of the same kids.

This book was funny, thought-provoking, and never once was it ever preachy.  With this type of subject matter, a lot of authors would really push a certain viewpoint on the reader. But when I read this book I felt like I was a teenager again, trying to figure it out for myself and make my own conclusions.  There were a few teary-eyed moments, and although it was a quick read, it was engrossing and hard to stop reading.