Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot, January 2013
Emma Gentry is in limbo. The love of her life is gone, cruelly snatched away from her and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Now, she’s left on autopilot and her days are as grey as her heart. But all that is about to change when Alex Franks starts at her school. Who is this boy that sparks life back into her? And what are these dark secrets he’s carrying that threatens to put them both in danger?
This book has a lot of potential, especially for younger readers but the main gripe I had with it concerns the length of time that the ‘will they, won’t they’ storyline dragged on for. In my personal opinion, it carried on too long and runs the danger of making younger readers lose interest. If it were edited to remove maybe a hundred pages or more, I feel it would really help the pace of the book. The characters are great. They’re well formed and seem genuine and real. There’s even the right amount of intrigue surrounding Alex Franks that makes him interesting. I liked the way this is a modern spin on an old classic which should be appealing to young adults and even encourage them to try the original. Coupled with the usual teenage strife of school, gossips and a good old case of unrequited love this is a good story but it needs good editing to make it into a great story.
The ending was a little too convenient for my liking. Within ten pages all the drama and danger and threat was dealt with and tied up in a nice little bow. Elements of it became farcical but while it was off putting for me, I think young adults will be fine with it and may actually like it in the end. I would recommend it to others but advise them to stick with it if it feels like the story is dragging on. Just make sure you keep stayin’ alive! (The Bee Gee’s were right about so many things….)
Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, September 2013.