Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blog Tour | The Sham by Ellen Allen

The Sham
Release Date: 09/07/14
Page Count: 238 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The idea for this book came to me in a nightmare... It was so vivid that I imagined I was 17 again, at school, in the same group of 4 friends that I used to hang around with. We were involved in a murder and cover-up. I started writing partly as a way to get it out of my head and then the characters turned into real people... and Emily and Jack were born.

As some of the early reviewers have stated, it is quite extreme in chapter one, and necessarily so. This is the incident that sets up the whole book; something awful happens that sets off a train of events for the characters. This book is a mystery in two ways in that we're: 1) trying to find out who killed Emily's classmate; and 2) trying to work out who Jack is. I hope you enjoy it!

Buy Links:

Review: Honestly, this might be one of the most difficult reviews that I have written so far. There is so much about this book that I want to share with you all, but I don't want to give away any spoilers! There are so many things throughout this book that would be so much better if you read them for yourself instead of being told, so I am going to try to explain just how amazing this book is without giving too much away. And trust me, it was awesome. It is one that every single one of you should read in the very near future. 

The beginning of this book is incredibly shocking, as it is far more honest and real than the first chapter in most of the other YA books I have read before. Allen gets right to it in chapter one, and it plays a crucial part as the read of the story plays out. The beginning is night for the faint of heart, though. If you don't do well with difficult situations and harsh bullying, then I would certainly be cautious when reading this one. I would say it is certainly for older teens and adults, and even I struggled when reading some of it! 

As I said, there is some bullying. A cliche of mean girls are bullying a boy, and while the main character Emily attempts to get them to stop, it's a new stranger who finally ends things. From that point forward, Emily desires to know who the mysterious stranger is. Enter Jack. I thought that the two main characters were very well developed, and had wonderful qualities that helped carry them through the novel and made sense for who they were supposed to be. Emily was a wonderful, occasionally naive, protagonist. Sometimes she much too blindly overlooked some odd things about Jack due to her feelings for him, and it is obviously supposed to be that way. She trusts him more than she should, and there lies a big part of things in the story. 

Of course, there are many elements to this story that make things interesting. A flood brings up the body of one of Emily's classmates, and one of the mean girls from chapter one. Since Jack is a new stranger in "The Sham" (a nickname residents use for their town), all fingers point to him. After all, things did not start going wrong until he arrived. Now there have been floods, graffiti in a language they haven't seen in decades, and a case that looks like murder. This all leads Jack into hiding, and shows just how loyal Emily becomes to him. I love how this book was a contemporary and thriller all in one; it was a wonderful twist to what could have been a story we had seen before. 

The best thing about this book, at least in my opinion, is that I could never figure out the truth. I guessed, of course, and there were times that I was certainly I had figured it out and there was no way I could be wrong. Then I was. I loved that I could not figure it out, no matter how hard I thought and tried, there was just so much going on and so many different ways it could go. Once I knew the truth though, I was very satisfied and it made complete sense to me. The whole thing was handled so well, and Allen did a beautiful job at keeping me in suspense throughout the whole novel.

This is one that I know I will be thinking about for a long time to come, and those are the best kinds of books. I have no doubt that I will probably even re-read this one in the neat future to see if there was anything I missed the first time. Once again, I highly recommend this wonderful book, and I am very happy that I was able to participate in the blog tour.

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

About the Author
I’ve just finished writing my first book, so I’ve been busy trying to work out how all the pieces fit together – the planning, the plot, the rules, the imagination, the characters, the grammar, the structure, the endgame… there’s too much stuff to remember and a lot of the information that I’ve discovered online about how to write isn’t that good or even well written (the irony in reading advice on writing that isn’t well written…)

So I decided I needed to find somewhere to store the good stuff. Then it occurred to me that other people might find it useful too. So here it is. My online reference tool of all the useful (i.e. good) advice for writers-to-be. I only post here when I have something really useful to say about the craft (Twitter is for daily musings, Goodreads to review and Amazon to buy my work); it’s all about the quality here, folks, not the quantity… Enjoy!


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1 comment:

  1. I really love this book as well! Definitely the best part of this book is how it keeps you guessing but still failing. Great review! :)

    czai @ the Blacksheep Project


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