SIX PEOPLE, SIX POINTS OF VIEW.
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.
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.
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