Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Split Second by Sophie McKenzie **Review**

Split Second
Series: Split Second #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Release date: 12th September 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Goodreads synopsis:

What the hell was this? I stared at the numbers, numb with horror. The box was a bomb. And it was going to go off in two minutes.

Charlie's life is torn apart by a terrorist bomb in a London market. Months later she meets Nat, whose family has been left devastated by the same explosion. But as Charlie gets closer to Nat she starts to wonder if he knows more about the attack than he is letting on...

Life can change in the blink of an eye - whether you're ready or not.

The new bestseller from the award-winning Sophie McKenzie.

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of Split Second - I believed, even before I started it, that I wouldn't like it. I was simply reading it because it was my YA Book Club's choice for the month (that and I had a free copy for review). This skepticism came from having read one of Sophie's books before. This book was Girl, Missing, and although it was about 3 years ago that I read it, it remains with me, and not for entirely complimentary reasons. I didn't enjoy Girl, Missing, mostly because it was quite a young teenage book and because I found it an incredibly difficult story to believe in. Why would a teenager suddenly decide that they were kidnapped as a young child? It just doesn't make sense. Although it was an easy read (see previous comment about young writing style), I was bored by it, and didn't plan on reading another of the author's books.
This is one of the reasons I am glad for my little YA Book Club, though. It means that I read books that I perhaps wouldn't otherwise have picked up, mostly with positive consequences - and this is definitely one of those times. Split Second could not be more different from Girl, Missing!

I was drawn immediately into the story, right from the very first page. The action starts straight away and the tension is turned right up to the maximum - I couldn't imagine a more compelling start to this story. Straight away I wanted to know what was going on, why the character (Nat) was involved, and what was going to happen to the girl in the market (Charlie). I didn't want to put it down. From an exciting and gripping beginning, the story moves very quickly and soon I was completely engrossed and totally invested in the characters and their lives. The story starts off as normally as a one about a teenage terrorist can do - although tragic, the lives of the two protagonists goes on as you might expect in the few months following the initial event. But that soon starts to change and what they find themselves facing is something so terrifying and so outside of the experience of most people. It's incredibly exciting and just when I thought I'd sussed what was going on, the plot took a massive turn and I was surprised, even when I'd been partially right.

I loved that the story is told from alternating perspectives, switching between Nat and Charlie - it really added to the drama, and I enjoyed being able to see the relationship develop from both points of view. I felt I was able to better understand how each of them thought. Sometimes an alternating narrative doesn't work, but I don't think Split Second would have worked as well as it did had it been from a single character's perspective. I was also impressed by how believeable both of their characters were.

Once I was past the half-way point, things started to get a little more complicated, and lines began to blur, making it harder to predict what was coming next. Although I expected some kind of huge revelation, I was relieved (sort of) that I wasn't entirely correct about my suspicions, and I'll be interested to see what happens next, and how Charlie and Nat tackle their new problems.

I didn't know how I was going to feel about this book, and even while reading and enjoying it, I wasn't sure how I would feel about the ending and if I would want to read another of Sophie's books. I really shouldn't have worried though - I've been left not only wanting more, but needing it! This is an incredibly exciting read and I highly recommend it, even if (like me) you have not enjoyed Sophie's books in the past.
This is an absolute page-turner and a must-read.


Lauren said...

I read Girl, Missing too. I think I liked it. But I can remember that the only reason I read it was because the main character was called Lauren and I had never heard of anyone else called Lauren before that (please bare in mind that I'm from a small town with one school). I was like 12 at the time so my logic wasn't exactly the best.
Split Second does sound like quite an interesting read, must keep my eye out for it.

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