Tuesday, January 18, 2011

6 by Karen Tayleur

But only one outcome. (blurb)

Karen Tayleur knows how to capture a readers attention from the outset and tease her way through to a twist-y climax.

6 opens with a haunting prologue:
"But the facts are simple. A recipe for disaster.
One car.
Five seatbelts.
Six people.
A late night party.
A generous splash of alcohol.
A sprinkle of bad weather.
Two P-plate signs." p.5
And no one is answering the ringing mobile phone...

6 follows the lives of 6 teenagers in their final 6 months of year 12 (the last year of school). There's the teaser that one of these 6 teenagers will die by the end of the novel. You don't know who or how it all goes down. BUT what grabbed me was, after the rocking prologue, it opens with an inciting incident that will suck you in.

On a stormy day, 6 teens stumble across something shocking, and despite misgivings, keep it a secret amongst themselves. It continues to haunt them throughout the year. There's uneasy feelings between them. The 6 teens are like a Breakfast Club assortment ~ not all are friends and they all fall on different places on the social hierarchy, one crushing one another who's crushing on another... it's complicated yet realistic.

It's like reading a coming of age novel, exploring friendships, family relationships, love, that sense of identity and being on the cusp of adulthood. It so finely portrays the stress of exams, giddy anticipation of The Formal and choosing what to do in life. All this is set against a back-drop of something truly sinister tying a group of teens together and something horrific looming unseen ahead of them.

I love how Karen Tayleur pushes the boundaries with experimentation in her novel. This is a taste of what you can expect in 6:

  • 6 different points of view, male and female
  • past, present and future tense
  • first person, third person, omni-present
  • Vlog entries, diary entries, narration, flashbacks
  • additional extras: mini character profiles, chapters opening with nursery rhyme snippets ~ which, although familiar, were creepy and ominous in the context. The nursery rhymes were so cleverly used ~ one of my favourite aspects.

There's a lot to admire. I always love extra titbits in novels and in 6 it was pulled off to add an extra dimension. It really enhanced my reading experience. Each POV felt distinct and it was effortless to follow. It takes incredible vision and talent to produce such an energetic and layered plot. It barely hits 200 pages, and it's an incredible feat, juggling so much story.

While I was hooked from the out-set (really, who wouldn't be?) I did find a little restless lag in the middle, despite churning through the book in 48 hours. Blame it on being anxious to get to the conclusion to see how it was all going to play out...

Recommended: 6 is atmospheric, unexpected and unique. The ending is a bit of a twist and it's a book you could easily re-explore, finding clues and hints cleverly hidden amongst innocent-seeming prose. 6 is a novel that will easily engage reluctant readers ~ with characters that teens will oh-so-easily relate to.

Discussion point:
While the book is Australian, using Aussie terms for our final school exams, it didn't have a strong Australian vibe. In fact, I was initially thrown with some terms I see in imported work but I don't hear Australian actually use. Such as:

  • they drank soda (we call it fizzy or soft drink)
  • they talked about The Woods (we call it the bush)
  • they shopped at The Mall (simply the shops or the plaza)
  • And didn't seem to wear a school uniform (most US school don't have a uniform but in Australia it is the norm)

Or was it just me? These things threw me out of the story when they popped up. (I know, I am pathetic like that). Little details like that made the setting foggier for me ~ I just wasn't sure what I was imagining? An Australian town or some random universal western world setting?

6 @ black dog books
Karen Tayleur's website
6 @ goodreads

Thanks to black dog books for my review copy


  1. Another awesome review Nomes! I am definitely going to have to pick this one up.

    And I know what you mean in your discussion point, those sorts of things always throw me.

  2. I want to read all of these Aussie books! <3

  3. This books sounds exactly like something I would want to read. I will be adding it to my wishlist. With all of these awesome Aussie books, I'm tempted to join the Aussie Reading Challenge. - Maybe I will, unofficially.

  4. This book sounds awesome. I'm ordering it right now.

    Thanks for the review.

  5. We are both reviewing Karen Tayleur books today! I really want to read Six, I love complex plots :)

    It is is a shame though she didn't use Aussie terms.

  6. I've seen another positive review of this one - I think I'm going to have to see if I can get my hands on it! Love the sound of all the extras - those are always lots of fun :)

  7. sounds really interesting. i love books where they add in things like diary entries and character profiles.

    i'm split on having different points of view thou.i mainly love it but sometimes i find myself prefering one character or having trouble getting into the story because of it. shiver is a good example of this. this sounds great thou.

  8. nomes, this one sounds freaking amazing. I love the concept. I need to figure out a way to get a copy soon.

  9. I've heard really good things about this book, and even though I usually the only YA I read is paranormal or sci-fi (I like my real life stories to be for growed ups!) I've been thinking of giving this a read. I've heard that editors strongly suggest Aussie writers use American terminology as it helps to sell the books better overseas. Personally I find that pretty annoying, I know it's minor but it does lack a bit of integrity for me.

  10. I read this a while back, and I had much the same thoughts as you did. I loved the diverse plot and the unique storyline. But I really agree with you on the Aussie terms. It seems a little Americanised, and I've yet to read a novel truly Australian. Except Unpolished Gem, but that was a non-fiction.

    Thank you for your comment on my post- it means a lot to me! I think with your advice, my approach will be to post more reviews, that are hopefully just 4-5 paragraphs (if I can contain all my thoughts in there).

    Keep being awesome, Nomes!


  11. Thanks!
    Have you read Matched?

  12. I love the book's premise. Fantastic review! 6 sounds gripping! I love books with twists.

  13. This does sound good, just had a look and it doesn't seem to be available in the UK - hopefully it will be released here later!

  14. This is another new one to me. I love finding out about all the Aussie titles! This one sounds really unique and interesting!

  15. Another AWESOME Nomes review and another book to add to my list. Your killing me over here, Nomes :-)


  16. Wow, this one sounds really interesting and intense, I love that there's so many different POVs, different tenses, and all sorts of other things but they all enhance the story instead of hinder it. Definitely going to have to check this one out!

  17. Hi Noms,
    Oh thanks! I'm really into that sort of thing and to me it was like something I really wanted to do, maybe even on the verge of needing to do it, I'm so very excited about it all! I choose today.... I'll be sure to blog about it soon! ( :
    Thanks, I think I was mistaken with my old fashioned story, it seems that I have indeed made it a lot longer with one sentence...

  18. Yet another great review and a book I am definitely wanting to read. I need to find me a Aussie book store that sells to the US because every time I read a review, I want the book and cannot get it. I am still waiting to get Graffiti Moon if Book Depository ever gets it back in stock (or maybe my bid will be high enough).

  19. It's really cool when an author takes chances with their writing. (Especially when it works! :)

    Great review!


  20. Nomes, I swear you are one of the best reviewers around, and much too underrated! People need to read your reviews more! I've never heard of this one (probably because I'm not Aussie), but I'm dying to read it now...it sounds SO unique :)

  21. Wow, another awesome review!! I may have to up my commitment to more than 6 aussie books this year. :)

    I also love it that you guys call it fizzy. In the midwest US, it's pop and people look at you funny if you say soda.

    I'm getting a lot more reading done this month than I thought I would - and that's not entirely good. It's distracting me from writing my query. :(

  22. Love this review Nomes :)

    I have this one, but have not read it yet, certainly will now! I agree completely with your comment about not using aussie terminology though, thats interesting.

    Still, sounds like a great read!

    Tye :)

  23. I'm intrigued by this one. I read a really interesting review of it a while back (over at Bean There Read That, I think) and it sounded like one to follow up on. Having read your review I'm even more determined to read it, although I do think it's a pity it has some generic non-Aussie language. I like to feel the Aussieness!

  24. Thanks for the excellent review, Nomes! The premise is very intriguing and unique. I haven't read a book that is told from six perspectives~ is it confusing?

  25. Great review!

    This books sounds like it has a lot of depth, and I like the experimental nature of it. I also love the idea of finding little embedded clues and the twisty ending. You always find the best books. :)

  26. This sounds amazing! Totally adding it to my list ASAP.

  27. Wow, this sounds great. Lovely review Nomes, you've definitely made me want to grab a copy!

    As usual, opening our hearts to more lovely Aussie ficiton. :)

  28. This looks great! Solid review :) Thanks for sharing.

  29. Fantastic review Nomes, have to agree with you on those terms though, I'd find that a little disconcerting.
    This one is going on my wishlist for sure but with my youngest in year 12 this year I read novels like this with a degree of trepidation


Thanks for the commenty love :)