If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m a big champion of UKYA, and Cruel Summer has been flitting across my radar since it was released. Having not read many books like this one, I was a bit hesitant beforehand but I was super pleased when the opportunity to review it came up and I jumped at the chance.
When Janey Bradshaw is murdered on the night of Telscombe Cliffs’ prom, nothing is brought up until her group of friends meet up the summer after in Spain. There’s Ryan, Katie, Alisha, Ben, Greg, and Greg’s girlfriend, Erin. But when events are brought up to the surface again, one thing is made clear: one of the gang murdered Janey Bradshaw, but which one of them was it?
I haven’t read a book in a long time that gripped me as much as Cruel Summer did. One of the things that I loved the most was that it engaged the reader and I was certainly involved; I felt like I was a spectator and was constantly wondering who the murderer was, much like the friends would have been doing.
5 stars is not a high enough rating for this book. I want to create a whole new rating system for it. It’s a book that I’m going to be recommending non-stop and I just want to gush about it.
I really loved Ryan and his way of thinking. He would imagine life as a TV programme in scenes and series and it’s something that, with my wild imagination, I would probably do myself and that was his coping mechanism. I know that sometimes I’ll imagine I’m somebody from a book or a TV show because it’s a way of explaining life and getting through the day. It helped Ryan detach himself from the drama that was going on and I liked that.
Alisha was another of my favourite characters and the novel alternated between following Ryan and Alisha so it was fitting that I loved them both. Alisha was more fiery and spirited than Katie or Erin and I found her a lot more interesting and easy to get to know. I felt comfortable reading about her and wanted to know more. She was one of the reasons for me being so hooked.
Without giving anything away, Dawson is able to write mystery perfectly. There were so many twists and red herrings. I was sure I knew who the murderer was and then something would happen and I would change my mind. There was always an inkling of doubt in my mind whenever I thought I knew who it was and it was easy to put myself into the characters’ minds.
Cruel Summer showcases effortlessly how fab UKYA is and I know that I will be thrusting it into the hands of whoever is brave enough to come near me when I have my bookish head on. Everybody must read this book!