Monday, 14 July 2014

Reviewed by Liz: Out of Control by Sarah Alderson.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster.
Paperback, 320 pages.
Release date: May 22nd 2014.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Liz from Planet Print.

 When 17 year old Liva witnesses a brutal murder she’s taken into police custody for her own protection. But when the police station is attacked and bullets start flying it becomes clear that Liva is not just a witness, she’s a target.

Together with a car thief called Jay, Liva manages to escape the massacre but now the two of them are alone in New York, trying to outrun and outwit two killers who will stop at nothing to find them.

When you live on the edge, there’s a long way to fall.

Liva is at the police station, having just witnessed a brutal murder. The people she was staying with are dead, and now she's all alone in New York, a city she hardly knows. As if things couldn't get any worse, the police station is attacked by gunmen and Liva barely escapes with her life, along with a mysterious stranger called Jay. With no safe place to go and the gunmen hot on her trail, Liva is forced put her trust in Jay as they try to flee from their pursuers and make it through the next 24 hours alive. But who is behind these murders, and why is Liva their target? 

Sarah Alderson’s Out of Control is definitely an action-packed read. Tense right from the beginning, this book kept me on my toes and turning the page. Liva was understandably shaken from the whole ordeal, but she still had the determination to survive and keep on going. I liked that she followed her instincts and didn't just blindly trust people and let them lead her away. She had lived a life sheltered by bodyguards and security; she knew when people were acting suspicious and what she was supposed to do in those situations. She was also handy with a gun and complicated knots and used the survival techniques she had been taught by her father and her old bodyguard Felix to make it through. There was some focus on Liva's dancing and ballet which was fine, but then the fact that Liva was a very strict calorie-counter came up quite a bit and yet was never expanded on and was kind of just dropped in the second half of the book. I didn't really understand why it was mentioned so often if it wasn't going to be elaborated upon or resolved, but it didn't take away too much from the story, so I wasn't that bothered.

Jay started off as a bit of a mystery, but we slowly got to know him better over the course of the book, and some secrets were revealed in the latter half. I liked his sense of humour and the way he tried to make Liva laugh to stop her from being scared. His dedication to his family was also nice and he was trying to do what he thought was best for them even though things didn't turn out the way he expected. He and Liva definitely had chemistry and I enjoyed the time they spent together, though I do think their feelings and level of trust for each other progressed a bit too fast - I mean they had only known each other for 24 hours. It wasn't too bad though because no-one actually made any declarations of love and it was more about their attraction, so at least that was more believable, and there was none of that "I love you so much, let me die for you!" spiel that usually comes with really insta-lovey books.

Plot-wise, I kind of predicted the outcome early on. I wasn't 100% sure about it, but it was always there in the back of my mind as one of my main theories. This actually didn't make much of a difference though, because the book was still really fast-paced and engaging and there were other twists and things going on which kept me intrigued. The ending felt slightly rushed to me; I would have liked to have found out what happened after, but then this just means I'd always be happy to read a sequel if one should ever exist!

Overall, I enjoyed Out of Control and would recommend it to people who like fast-paced, action-y reads with a bit of mystery and romance.

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