YA Book Review – Your Turn To Die by Sue Wallman


Pages: 272
Published: 3rd May 2018
Started reading: 14 June
Finished reading: 17 June

Synopsis

Teenage trio Leah, Ivy and Jacob are best of friends; the Three Amigos. Every winter, they celebrate the New Year by staying at an old house with their families.

This year, they are joined by an older girl called Tatum, and they discover that the house has been guarding a well-kept secret for many years. Together they investigate the history of the house, but terrible and mysterious things start to happen, and if Leah isn’t careful, this New Year might be her last.

Review

There are so many great ideas in this book. Some are perfectly judged and some are poorly executed, and they all come together to form an original, readable, but occasionally flawed story.

I loved the concept. We have an interesting and slightly creepy setting, we have a well realised and close-knit group of characters, and I also like the dark undercurrent that ran throughout the book, which made me feel like something sinister lay just around the corner.

Leah is the narrator, and I found her to be likeable and genuine. She was reliable and had nothing to hide, which made her easy to empathise with. Collectively, the Amigos reminded me a little of Scooby Doo’s gang, in that they stay at an old house, discover that it is possibly haunted, and then begin to investigate.

They may come across as a bit young for their age, but on the whole it is very difficult not to like them, at least until the ending, which caught me completely off-guard (more on that later).

I like the writing style, even if it sometimes became a bit long-winded at times. There is an impressive level of detail there in terms of the settings and the mystery surrounding the house, and I also like the way that Sue Wallman allows the reader to really inhabit Leah and see things from her point of view.

There is a great mix between modern and traditional themes. The modernity of the main characters’ lifestyles acts as a wonderful contrast to the history of the house, and creates a more rounded, atmospheric, and fascinating story.

So far, mostly good. However, Your Turn To Die has some fundamental flaws that unfortunately left me feeling frustrated.

The ending is undoubtedly the biggest problem. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t think anyone reading this book for the first time will see it coming! It is as dramatic as it is unexpected, but I found it almost impossibly difficult to comprehend.

All of the characterisation that was built beforehand goes out of the window. The whole sub-plot about the history of the house is effectively discarded, giving way to a vague and rather half-baked conclusion. It just did not feel true to the story, and left me feeling quite disappointed, especially after all the good work that had gone before it.

I love a dramatic twist, and I love an ending full of interesting or unexpected revelations, but this one sadly hit the wrong notes. This was a great shame. Otherwise, the only other faults I can point out are the slightly unnecessary romance element, and that it has a very slow pace in some areas.

So overall, this is a good read with an a solid and interesting plot line, where you can never take anything for granted. Great setting, good characters, but sadly a ending that meant that all the good ideas in this book failed to merge into something whole.

The Author

A former magazine journalist, Sue Wallman was awarded her first book deal back in 2016. This is her third YA book to be released, after Lying About Last Summer and See How They Lie.

There are definitely enough good things about Your Turn To Die which would make me want to read more of her work. If only the endings are more convincing…

Verdict

An intriguing and largely impressive book with a lot of good themes and concepts, but an incomprehensible ending among other things let it down. I award it three stars.

It would be interesting to see what other book bloggers think of it, especially those of you who read more YA than I do. If you have read it, let me know!

Happy reading 🙂

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