ARC Review: Risk by Fleur Ferris

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

24973955Risk by Fleur Ferris
Released: 1st July 2015
Published by: Random House Australia Children's
Genre: YA Mystery/Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 288
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Booktopia | QBD
Taylor and Sierra have been best friends for their whole lives. But Taylor’s fed up. Why does Sierra always get what – and who – she wants?

From kissing Taylor’s crush to stealing the guy they both met online for herself, Sierra doesn’t seem to notice when she hurts her friends. So when Sierra says Jacob Jones is the one and asks her friends to cover for her while she goes to meet him for the first time, Taylor rolls her eyes. But Sierra doesn’t come back when she said she would. One day. Two days. Three . . . What if Taylor’s worrying for nothing? What if Sierra’s just being Sierra, forgetting about everyone else to spend time with her new guy?

When Taylor finally tells Sierra’s mum that her daughter is missing, Taylor and her friends are thrown into a dark world they never even knew existed.

Can Taylor find Sierra’s abductor in time? Or should she be looking for a killer?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley

How safe are you online? How much do you share? Who is seeing it? It is these questions which Fleur Ferris's thought-provoking debut novel Risk raises, and with shocking results. The presence of online predators is unfortunately a chilling reality, and there are grim consequences when swept up in a dangerous web of lies.

The feeling inside me is numbness. A massive, strange void that makes me feel like my body's not mine. My mind has detached itself from my body and I feel nothing. 

This book has quite a smart construction, as from the start it seems that there's some typical teenage drama happening - two best friends, one bright and popular while the other can't take her seriously. Crushes, boyfriends and school are covered...until Sierra and Taylor start talking to guys on MysteryChat online. Though many of us readers will sit there and say 'how could they be so stupid?', the truth is that some girls will fall into these traps, and at just fourteen years old - they're more vulnerable than ever. However, this almost cloying beginning soon gives way to the more sinister underlying danger which lurks behind the screen. There was an unexpected turn quite early on which caught me off guard, and the story took on a different path than I had anticipated. Not only is there that 'shock' factor, but one which makes you take a step back and evaluate how you act online. The didactic nature of this novel just adds a whole other dimension and makes it a memorable one.

There is a crescendo when the adults become involved, which was an essential aspect. In some books the adults are barely even mentioned, let alone play a major role in any of the developments. What got a big tick from me in this case is that they were present, and though Sierra missing did have an impact on her friends, especially Taylor, the adults also had an important stance in the storyline. There is definitely a holistic exploration of characters in Risk which made everything well-rounded and compulsively readable. 

Something black is inside me, lurking just out of reach. I can't grasp it, but it's there, heavy, filling every crevice as I move.

To realise that a pedophile had effectively 'groomed' your best friend before she disappears is chilling to say the least, and obviously has an enormous emotional impact. The flow-on effects from one major event really demonstrates the extent to which one girl's fate can change the people around her. The author captured the emotional ramifications in such a realistic way and it drew me into the lives of these fictional characters as if they were real. Taylor's initiative and her own relationship made her a likable character, and just the anguish of it all was executed perfectly. Though there was that little something which perhaps could have added an extra kick near the end, there was definitely a fair share of drama throughout and suspense in abundance. 

Anger pulses through my veins, but it is not anger at Jacob Jones. It is anger at me. My stupidity and carelessness. I should have swallowed my pride and gone with Sierra. 


In all, Risk is a compelling and didactic novel which depicts a situation that could be all too real. Though the bar was set high for this one, I'm happy to say that I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who reads YA as it has an important message at its core. As a piece of Australian YA, it is a shining example of just how talented local authors are! I can't wait to read whatever Fleur Ferris writes next, because after this fantastic debut, she sure is one to watch.


  1. Wow. This sounds like a really interesting read, and one I would probably have skipped if I'd just read the synopsis. This sounds so interesting though and not what I would have expected. If I ever see a copy in any of my local book shops then I would definitely pick it up and give it a go. Great review :)

    1. It's definitely interesting and chilling too - definitely worth a read!

  2. OOOH THIS IS THE FIRST REVIEW I'VE SEEN OF RISK. It looks amazing! Very different to the other books I've read about online dangers as well. I'll look out for it (our school library usually has all the Aussie YA books so that's pretty cool).

    1. It definitely is unique and really well written, hopefully you get to reading it :)


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