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Books I’ve Been Reading: The Other Life and Looking for JJ

The Other Life is a freaky dystopian novel about a world that has been ruined by a severe outbreak of rabies, spreading to humans and causing them to turn into ruthless and savage beasts: the Weepers. The humans that are left have to hide in bunkers until the military say it’s safe to come out, but their broadcasts stopped months ago. Sherry and her family have run out of food in their bunker and have to venture outside to find some. Soon Sherry’s father is taken away by the beasts and Sherry finds herself with a group of survivors, saved by a boy called Joshua. He is a hunter and is determined to kill all the Weepers before they take over. But first, Sherry much find her father and see if he is still alive.

Wow. What a page-turner. I finished it in the shortest amount of time, as I just had to know what was happening. There was so much action and tension, it kept me gripped and on the edge of my seat for the whole way. From the very first page I had questions about their life, how they came to be there and what was going to happen next. The characters could have been really boring for all we knew, because you’re too focused on the fights and action to notice. You do care about the characters, because you’re there screaming at the book when they’re in a dangerous situation, hoping they’ll live. The blurb said fans of The Hunger Games will love it, and I definitely LOVED it. There are some parts where they’re in a quiet place, and they know the Weepers are there looking for them, but you have no idea where they are. There’s one moment with a certain tapping noise which is really creepy. Throughout the novel, you’re always on edge, because you know the characters are never safe, even in their ‘Safe-haven’. You just have to find out more, and have to keep reading. It’s a series too, and I need to read the next one, because it ends on a huge cliffhanger and you’re wondering if they’ll make it. Sadly it hasn’t come out yet, and time needs to go faster! It’s a short read, so you can race through it in about two hours (that’s about how long it took me). So for all of this, I give The Other Life 1000/10!

Now onto my next book, Looking for JJ. I didn’t choose to read this book, it was for my school book club. It was supposed to be a quick and exciting page-turner, but I found it a little slow. But first, a synopsis: three girls went into the forest one day and only two came back (cheesy I know). Jennifer Jones murdered one of them (that wasn’t a spoiler, by the way) and Alice Tully knows all about the story, but she’s had enough of it. She has her own bad past to deal with and it’s coming back to bite her. -,……,- (If you can’t get what I just put there, that’s a face with teeth!)

It’s hard to write a synopsis because the author relied on all the ‘twists’ to keep the story going forward. I can’t say much without revealing things that were probably predictable. My friend, who’d read the book, told me lots about what happened so I wasn’t so surprised by anything that was supposed to be a big twist and really shocking. From the beginning I found this book quite boring and slow, as it’s just talking about Alice’s life and… nothing else. Then, as if it’s someone new speaking, it switches to the events around the murder and it’s really hard to follow and VERY confusing. It’s not even in a new font, in italics/bold writing, a new paragraph or anything. That quite annoyed me. As I got further into the story, more stuff about the murder came through, and I found that more interesting than the actual story, which has no plot and just plods along boringly. I didn’t care about Alice’s life, no matter how much it was entwined with Jennifer Jones’. I didn’t care about her boyfriend, or her going to university, or her friend’s earrings. I JUST DON’T CARE. I was more gripped reading about Jennifer’s motives for killing the girl, and I wanted to know what possessed her to actually murder a girl. She was TEN years old. Getting into her head makes for good reading. But we just had to keep going back to the present-day bit and I’d lose interest. It’s probably because I like blood and gore, but I wanted to know how she actually felt when she killed the girl, and all her feelings and stuff. But it was written in the third person, so the whole book felt distant and cold, like ‘oh, a ten-year-old just killed someone, by the way.’ It would have been better in Jennifer’s POV, then as well as being more interesting, I would have been able to work out which bits were present-day and which bits were murder-bits.

So this book was OK, and it would have got a 7 or more if the present-day ‘plot’ (if there was one) was removed. But since it was there, I will have to give my first bad review of 5/10.

Your slightly disappointed blogger, Jaz

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