Mini Reviews: Saving Jazz and Nightwanderers

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Saving Jazz by Kate McCaffrery
Released: 1st August 2016
Published by: Fremantle Press
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 297
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Jasmine Lovely has it all – the looks, the grades, the friends. But when a house party spins out of control, Jazz discovers what can happen when your mistakes go viral ... We know our kids are at risk of becoming victims of cyberbullying. But do we know how at risk they are of becoming perpetrators?

This controversial new novel tackles cyberbullying from a whole new perspective.
Thank you to Fremantle Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Saving Jazz is a novel which was much more intense than I was first expecting. A story which confronts the topic of sexual assault in not only the issues surrounding how it occured, but the aftermath, it just goes to show that the perpetrators are not always the 'type' you would expect. This book is one which is particularly relevant in society as we know it, where one post can spiral out of control, and it's not only the 'reputation' of a person affected at stake, but their lives also.

Jasmine was quite a complex character to say the least. She clearly feels responsible for what happened that fateful night where the unthinkable happened to one of her closest friends. It was interesting to see how the definition of 'rape' was explored in the novel, and its boundaries challenged. The format of the novel told through blog posts by Jazz herself allows us readers to really understand her side of the story, and how she in some respects, was both a perpetrator and victim. While especially towards the end a whole host of other issues raised drew attention away from the main events in the first half, I could appreciate the message about how social media can be so easily exploited, and that young women becoming objectified is more prevalent than we may think.

In all, Saving Jazz has reminded me of the likes of Risk by Fleur Ferris. If you are interested in an intense read which tackles this very real problem appearing on both the internet and reality; this is for you.

Nightwanderers by C.J. Flood
Released: 1st February 2016
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Publisher
Pages: 300
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
It all started with a poo in a flowerbed. Rosie and Titania are as close as sisters - closer, in fact. While Rosie is shy, red-faced and passive, Ti is big, tough and daring. They shouldn't be friends, but they are. Creeping out at night, the girls love to secretly wander through their coastal town, exploring empty streets and sharing their frustrations about school and their different, but equally difficult, families.

But when Rosie betrays Ti, the two girls run in different directions - making decisions that could do irreparable damage to both of their lives. As Rosie confronts harsh truths, she must find a way back to Ti, and to herself.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

C.J. Flood enchanted me with her coming-of-age novel Infinite Sky, and with Nightwanderers I was similarly impressed. Novels like this which focus on friendship and the strains when these relationships are put to the test are both gripping and emotional. Flood's unique writing style and well-formed characters make her a stand-out author whose YA contemporaries succeed in being both rounded and realistic - with a touch of the whimsical.

Rosie and Ti's personalities and family situations may be different, but it is these variations in their characteristics which make them so compatible as friends. The hint of rebellion as they became 'nightwanderers' together added an intriguing setting, and it was good to see that the 'parent' element in the family dynamic actually played a role in their lives. Another positive was the fact that romantic interests may have been present, but didn't detract from the essence of the story - how a friendship can be broken, but hopefully mended. This is a touching story of self-discovery and forgiveness, of moving forward and accepting the reality of a situation.

If you're like me and already a fan of C.J. Flood's work, then Nightwanderers is a book you won't want to miss. I think this is an underrated release which is definitely worth a read!

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