The YA thriller The Edge of Me by Jane Britton hijacked my life tonight, and I didn’t even see it coming

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The YA thriller The Edge of Me by Jane Britton hijacked my life tonight, and I didn’t even see it coming

I fed people and washed people, and it looked like I had twenty minutes to myself, so I thought I would get started on this book.  I wasn’t really excited because it sounded like it might be historical and about things I would probably have to Google. Haha, said the bookverse!  Twenty minutes turned into a three hour reading marathon.  My family would have had to set the house on fire to get me to put this one down before the end.  (Not outside the realm of possibility – they have done that before while building a blanket fort with a lamp as a support, but that was on my husband’s watch, so).  If you are looking for an escape read that will absolutely let you forget that your world exists, this book will do the trick.  I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, but I sure wasn’t going to stop reading until I got there!

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NetGalley Summary (because the Goodreads one is just bland)

Jane Brittan’s debut novel is a coming of age story with teeth: a gripping story of betrayal, of secrets and lies. In her search for the truth about her missing parents, heroine Sanda is taken to the very edge of herself where she’s forced to unpick and rework everything she ever thought was true. In doing so she uncovers a story of appalling cruelty, neglect and punishment that goes all the way back to her childhood.

Sanda’s parents don’t want anything to do with her and nor, it seems, does anyone else so when Joe asks her out she doesn’t take him seriously.

But she’s wrong.

When she comes home one day to find the house cleared, her parents gone and two men coming for her, it’s Joe who’s there for her. He’s with her when she’s kidnapped, driven across Europe into Serbia where she begins to unravel a complex story of obsession, cruelty and jealousy that has its roots back in the Bosnian War. It’s here she finds that everything she ever thought she knew is wrong and that things are very far from what they seem.

 My Thoughts

The action and plot in The Edge of Me was incredibly compelling.  British schoolgirl, Sanda lives with her immigrant parents and leads a fairly typical, if lonely, life.  That all changes one day when she arrives home to an empty house and then things get interesting.  I honestly couldn’t put this book down.  The threat to the characters felt incredibly real, and I really needed to know what was going to happen.  Until I found out what was going to happen.  The end of this book was rather jarring because what was an almost entirely edgy and dark thriller turned into something else that was too conventional, soft and pat.  I don’t think every reader will feel as annoyed by the ending as I was, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage someone from reading because of it,  but it just didn’t feel as hardcore as the rest of the book and it didn’t feel believable. 

I also think some readers will be bothered by Sanda’s inability to get answers. This is a plot that depends on keeping readers (and the protagonist) in the dark to build suspense and heighten the threat.  There are a lot of times where no one will tell her anything, and that can be frustrating.  There is a fairly satisfactory and rather horrifying explanation in the end. 

As a character, Sanda is pretty interesting.  Her journey brings out a strength I really didn’t think she had, and it wasn’t until I really reflected that I realized exactly how subtle and natural her growth is.  She is what I look for when I want a strong female protagonist because she didn’t bust out of the womb as a warrior woman yet she grows into that role through her own trials. 

I picked this up because another reviewer hinted that it was Judy Blume meets Jason Bourne, and while I really don’t think that exactly describes the book, it was certainly as action packed as a Bourne movie with a little bit of adolescent angst tossed into the mix.  That angst, predictably, is mostly centered around the budding romance between Sanda and Joe.  The author made attempts to avoid the impression of insta love, but in the end, I was pretty convinced that was what we ended up with.  Even if it is a pet peeve, you shouldn’t worry about it too much because these kids are definitely too busy trying to survive to get too much sap flowing.  

I’m going to give this four stars because of how consumed I was by the the action in the majority of the book, but that ending could easily make this a three star read for some. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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