The Deviants by C.J. Skuse – Book Review

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When you set out for revenge, dig two graves…  Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her. Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level. When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

Imagine ‘The Famous Five’ all grew up and began to face real life, darker mysteries and you’re on the right path to picturing ‘The Deviants’ by C.J. Skuse.

‘The Deviant’s was not at all the story I had expected. I hadn’t expected it to have so much depth. I thought it would be a simple story of revenge but it ended up having a much darker and heart breaking tone to it.

With an extremely atmospheric setting and overall feeling right from the beginning, I was intrigued from page one. It was eerie and despite my being able to, somewhat, see where the plot was going, I was pulled along, wanting to read on. There were a few twists and turns throughout leading up to a fast paced, shocking conclusion. It has a very interesting structure, with each chapter starting with Ella, the main protagonist, being asked a question by an unknown character which, of course, immediately sparked my curiosity!

‘The Deviants’ diverse cast of characters was my favourite aspect of the book. It has a character with cerebral palsy, a character coming to terms with their sexuality and another character dealing with teen pregnancy. I loved that they all came from different backgrounds and had their own secrets and histories, despite having shared a lot of their past. It was interesting to see the dynamics within the group change and grow again, after all having gone through so much and not having been a ‘group’ for so many years. I think Fallon was my favourite character. I can’t think of any characters I’ve come across that have been through what she had or have a similar lifestyle to her. I also thought that the fact that Ella dealt with anger issues was a really interesting and important aspect to her character, as that’s something I’ve often seen portrayed in men but almost never in women in YA.

I will say that this book does tackle some hard hitting topics and covers some, possibly triggering and difficult issues. Because of this, I will put a trigger warning in this review, with the topics I feel could be triggering, as I know that being surprised by certain topics can be upsetting. Since a few of these subjects could potentially be seen as a spoiler, I though it might be a good idea to put the trigger warning at the end of this review, I hope that’s okay. Although I did feel as though these issues were dealt with sensitively and yet not overlooked as something to be easily brushed off.

If you loved ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart, ‘The Deviants’ by C.J. Skuse is the PERFECT book for you!

I have to say that my favourite quote from the whole book came from Corey on page 179. “You don’t ever ‘get over’ Harry Potter, Ella. At best you learn to live with the fact that fucking envelope’s never going to arrive.” Has anything truer ever been said?…

3.25/5 stars!!
3.5/5 stars!

Goodreads // Amazon

Trigger Warning for suicide, sexual harassment/rape and self harm. 

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