OMG. Isn’t that what ‘the kids’ say these days?
I’ve just started Writing For Children as the 2nd half of my level 2 Creative Writing degree coursework. Sophie McKenzie’s ‘Blood Ties’ came up as a recommended read under the Adventure/Action section, and I was worried right away that I wouldn’t like or understand it. It’s so not in my comfort genre, and at over 400 pages long I was daunted, let me tell you. But I’m here to tell you it was the most FANTASTIC read.
Robert Muchamore says on the cover ‘Brilliant – you can’t stop reading’ and I thought: ‘Well I’ll be the judge of that, thank you Robert’ but MY GOD he’s right. I can’t remember reading something this long in 3 days before and I would read it again in a heartbeat (I may well do, for technicalities’ sake more than anything).
The two teenage protagonists, Theo and Rachel start off not knowing each other; living in different places and going to different schools. They are both immediately likeable. Theo, however, begins to delve into the story of his biological father and his mother gives him as much information as she feels able, so he continues his search alone. Which leads him to Rachel, a square peg in a round hole herself who’s bullied at school, has self-esteem issues and a deceased sister who was perfect and whose memory makes her feel inadequate.
Rollercoaster doesn’t go halfway. The chapters are brilliantly brief, the end of every one leaving you wanting more, and I couldn’t read it fast enough. I could see every scene as if it were a film and I’m still wondering what the two MC’s are getting up to now I’ve finished. Once the plot started to get deeper and more complicated I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with what was going on, but it was so well written and so not patronising to anyone who mightn’t understand the finer points of DNA/genetic tampering and all its myriad avenues that I left the story feeling I knew a lot more than I did before. Just the way a good book should leave its reader. Heightened, not floundering.
I’m not going to go into the plot in detail here, but suffice is to say I would HIGHLY recommend this to teens and adults alike.
10/10 gripping, fierce, heartwarming, action-packed, thought-provoking stuff