Published by Walker Books in February 2012
On the day we arrived, I thought I saved her life.
Dad drove slowly into Marwood Forest, home of Leisure World, Europe's biggest sports holiday complex, and - in my opinion - most colossal pit of hellfire.
When Daniel Lever is dragged to Leisure World Holiday Complex for some "time away" with his depressed dad, his expectations are low. Daniel is overweight, he hates sport, and his father has brought along his beloved tomato plant. But soon Daniel spots a girl swimming in the fake lake. Lexi is elegant and smart, but very mysterious. Why are her bruises getting worse each time she and Daniel meet? And is her watch really ticking backwards? A dark figure stalks the pair, and as British summer time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly. Their souls depend on it.
Before I begin reviewing this book, I have to mention the book cover. If you saw my Really Random post last Tuesday, you would have seen the animated version of it and I have to say it truly is incredible. I was lucky enough to hear about the thought process that went into producing this cover and I found it thoroughly amazing.
As the story begins, you don't feel you are about to embark on a ghost story, but you are aware of a dark and sinister undertone as you analyse the first line. The book is told in first person from Daniel's point of view and you begin to unravel the mystery of Lexi as Daniel's begins to put the jigsaw pieces together. The spectral aspect of the story creeps up on you half way through the book and you feel compelled to find out more.
The majority of the time when you read YA books, you are confronted by the hot male lead. Daniel is not your atypical leading male. Slightly overweight and conscious of the way people view him, you instantly feel emotionally connected to him. He is just a teenage boy, who is trying to come to terms with his parent's separation and his father's insistent need for alcohol. No one seems to be looking out for Daniel; as the reader you feel as though you need to step into that role.
Lexi is a rather complex character and the changes that occur to her during the story, will make you feel rather uneasy. You will be dreading the future, alongside her as the events take place.
Leisure World intrigued me. Within the story, the complex gives off vibes of a perfect existence; everything is family orientated and wholesome. I love the way that the author turns that image on its head, creating an alternative macabre history.
I loved how the whole experience helped to heal Daniel's relationship with his father. The events of the week helped to cleanse them of their past, in the same way the water cleansed Lexi of her history.
I love a good ghost story and I found this one did not let me down. When I imagine how I would like a ghost story to be, then this is how I envisage it. Ghosts don't holler and wail in my opinion, they should appear as real as we do, giving the story that atmospheric feel with a sudden realisation. Daylight Saving is the type of book I would imagine Susan Hill writing if she were now debuting as a YA author; and we all know what amazing ghost stories she has gone on to tell.
I was really impressed by Edward Hogan's first YA book and I am now intrigued to read his adult fiction. I really hope he is planning to write more YA in the future, as he already appears to be developing some loyal fans.