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Monday, 5 December 2011

Irena's Review: Deception

Author: Lee Nichols

Release date: 5th September 2011 UK
Genre: Paranormal / YA
Target audience: 12+
Publisher: Bloomsbury

When Emma Vaile's parents leave on a mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian-her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern-and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.

After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore-except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life.

Irena’s Review:
Emma Vaile is not an ordinary teenager: her parents travel a lot, so she rarely sees them; she lives in a house that resembles a mausoleum, which has everything to do with her parents' profession of collecting and selling death-and-burial-related antiques; and recently, she has started seeing strange, frightening things that she cannot explain. In her desire to fit in, Emma throws a house party that changes her life. The social services discover she has been living on her own for too long, with no word from her parents who have disappeared, and she finds herself shipped to New England and into the hands of her handsome young guardian, Bennett Stern. Once in New England, Emma begins to discover the truth behind her strange visions - the truth of who Emma Vaile truly is.

Deception is a truly gripping and entertaining read, focusing on the ghostly world beyond death. As Emma begins to explore her amazing abilities, the reader learns through her about the intriguing world of ghosts that is presented in a new way, with some classical preconceptions about ghosts included into the story. The setting is perfect for this ghostly story because much of it takes place either in an old museum where Emma and Bennett live, or in Emma's old, Victorian-looking school (Thatcher Academy). The atmosphere is filled with mysteries, but there are also relaxing, humorous and dramatic moments. I liked the sense of tradition that was present throughout the novel, as was the sense of history. The suspense is subtle at first, but it gradually develops into a sinister plot, involving a truly powerful ghost that is dark and vicious. I confess that the hairs rose on my arms during those dark, dramatic moments.

The characters are enjoyable, although some of them tend to lean towards the typical, but especially the ghosts were interesting to read about, as ghosts always have a history. It is almost as if the ghosts are a nation with their own culture, and I liked that notion. I especially enjoyed reading about the human characters' abilities in relation to ghosts; that was a truly entertaining part of the novel. I must remain vague, however, as not to give out too much and thus spoil the fun for future readers of this delightful novel.

I must admit that I was not pleased with the writing style from the start. It struck me as faux teenage language that did not come off as very appealing, but I got used to it and it seems that, along with the story, it evolved and became better. Another aspect I didn't enjoy was the presence of a love triangle, as I am a bit against love triangles in YA fiction, but that is entirely my personal preference.

All in all, this was a delightful and truly enjoyable read, featuring drama and paranormal elements, and I recommend the novel to all who like these things.

Becky says: Thanks for the review Irena. I am also not a fan of the “faux teenage” style. But the reason this book didn’t appeal to me is the ghosts and otherworldliness. I just find that a bit creepy. I’m really glad you enjoyed the overall experience of reading Deception though.
Both our thanks go to Bloomsbury for sending the book to review.


Dea (IvaliceAlliance) said...

Nice and honest review! I'm also a bit tired of love triangles in YA fiction. This one sounds good though, so I'll be sure to check it out. :)

Teen Readers' Diary

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

So sorry you didn't dig this one Becky. I remember really liking this one. Great honest review.