Wednesday 20 July 2016

Guest Review @bysarahbaker : Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

My sister doesn’t use the word disappear, but that’s what she means. She squats barefooted by the side of the swimming pool and says, “Go to your room, Skye, and stay there until I say.”

Published by Scholastic, May 2016 
272 pages in paperback.
Cover by Sean Williams @seanmwilliams
Summary from Amazon:
Skye is looking for an escape from the reality of last summer when her sister died in a tragic accident. Her parents think that a camp for troubled teenagers might help her process her grief. All of the kids at the summer camp have lost someone close, but is bringing them together such a good idea? And can everyone at camp be trusted? When Skye starts receiving text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister, she knows it's time to confront the past. But what if the danger is right in front of her?
Lying About Last Summer is a fast paced YA thriller that deals with the death of a sibling in a moving and very skillful way. We follow Skye’s journey through her grief as she attempts to come to terms with what really happened to her sister, Luisa. 

Part of her mourning process takes her to Morley Hill, an activity-led bereavement camp for teens, and it’s here that she begins to receive text messages from someone pretending to be her dead sister. With plenty of potential suspects surrounding her, from the incorrigible Danielle to the possibly too good to be true Brandon, and Joe, the caring hunk with hugs and advice on tap, Skye’s paranoia reaches tipping point. 

The adventure camp setting is a clever device to highlight the very different and subtle ways in which teens grieve and it’s both realistic and refreshing. The characters are vivid, funny, often witty and all are very well drawn, with some even coming to feel like old friends by the end.  Similarly, Skye’s struggle to come to terms with Luisa’s death lays bare her internal battle when it comes to responsibility. You wonder all the way through if it’s grief driving her fears or something else.  

The story is well crafted with hints of romance, and tentative, fragile friendships jostling for space between the present and the past. With plenty of twists and turns, Lying About Last Summer is a gripping thriller with sinister undertones that’ll keep you guessing right till the end, and rooting for Skye all the way. It’s a perfect summer read. Just make sure you’ve got time to read it in one gulp, because you won’t want to put it down.

Sarah Baker has worked extensively in film, with roles at Aardman Features and the Bermuda Film Festival, and as Story Editor at Celador Films. She has also been a writer and blogger for vintage fashion magazines. Sarah currently lives in London with her son. THROUGH THE MIRROR DOOR is her first book, a time-slip novel for 9+ that’s perfect for fans of Emma Carroll, Katherine Rundell and Robin Stevens.
Twitter: @bysarahbaker
Instagram: @bysarahbaker

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