Today it’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for are You Watching, the brand new Young Adult thriller from Vincent Ralph. With a story set around social media and a serial killer I didn’t hesitate when the publicist asked if I’d like to review. Thanks also to Anne Cater for including me in the tour. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
A page-turning new thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of NOW YOU SEE HER, YOU and Liane Moriarty.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay Books | Apple Books
Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.
She was the first of his victims but not the last.
Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.
The whole world is watching her every move.
And so is the Magpie Man.
I admit that I don’t read all that many YA books. I always get the feeling that I am just too old. That maybe I won’t get what the protagonists are feeling and thinking because, if I’m honest, I’m not sure I really understood teenagers when I was one. But something about this book appealed to me, perhaps the fact that it is about a serial killer as I do have a sort of macabre side when it comes to my reading habits. I’m certainly glad I made an exception as I read Are You Watching in one evening, lapping up the intensity of the story and the emotion that the author was able to capture on the page.
This is the story of Jess, a young girl whose mother was murdered ten years earlier, the first victim of a killer who would come to be known as Magpie Man. Jess applies to appear on an internet reality show in which she will be filmed for one whole day a week, for a month, for a show which will be broadcast Youtube. all of her interactions, including social media, will be open to the public. Rather an invasion of privacy you might say, but for Jess it is the chance to remind the public of what she has lost and hopefully find that vital clue that will lead her to her mother’s killer.
I loved that fact that the chapters in this book were short – rarely more than two or three pages – as it helped to drive the action on at a really quick pace. It really is a one more chapter kind of read because you know that you can finish in a matter of minutes. In fact I read so many ‘one more chapters’ I started the book early evening and finished it before I went to bed.
Vincent Ralph has created a great character in Jess. Just the right balance of strength, doubt and vulnerability without making her the victim she could easily have been. The friendship between her and her two best friends Hanna and Emily, feels authentic. That blend of secrets, understanding and trust which can form in a close group of girlfriends. The sense of not needing to say a word to understand what the other is thinking but still retaining the diversity in characters.
There are some really tense moments in the book, Jess’s new found fame attracting the wrong kind of attention and creating an underlying sense of jeopardy. But where the threat comes from, whether or not it is real or just a few anonymous internet trolls enjoying their own version of notoriety, remains to be seen. Then there is the ending, the will she/won’t she moment of finding out whether her mother’s killer will finally make themselves known and whether she can find justice … There are a few suspects about and you will be kept guessing to the last.
This is more than just a serial killer thriller though, or a simple exploration of all female friendships. It is a study in grief. An exploration of how loss can affect us all in different ways and how, for some including Jess’s dad, it can be all consuming, changing not only the way you think but the way you act. I think the author captures all the necessary emotions while still creating a story that is fast paced and yet suspenseful. Thoughtful and yet exciting. It’s definitely recommended for fans of YA thrillers – I think you’ll love it.
About the Author
Vincent Ralph has been writing in one form or another since his teens and always dreamed of being a novelist. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his imagination from an early age and made sure there were new stories to read.
Vincent has lived in London, Cornwall and Chester but he now lives in his home county of Kent with his wife, son and two cats.
Author links: Twitter
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