Jan 21, 2015
Review: The Sham
The Sham by Ellen Allen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…
Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.
Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.
WARNING: THIS BOOK IS UNSUITABLE FOR YOUNGER TEENAGE READERS. IT DEPICTS ADULT SITUATIONS, MURDER SCENES, CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SEX AND PROFANITY.
This book started out with a bang in a horrific and graphic scene with 18 year old girls bullying a 10 year old boy. A few pages into the story, I wondered if I would be able to stand such cruelty and explicit evil. I am glad I pressed beyond the 1st chapter. I read the entire book in 1 night because I had to know .... Everything. I received an advance copy of this book to provide an honest review / opinion of.
Once the initial shock of the events at the beginning of the book were over (the bullying scene), I was able to enjoy getting to know Emily and Jake. Jake was a mysterious character and I wondered about him the entire book. I was really pulling for him not to be the killer by the end, but couldn't see much of a way around it. There is a mild supernatural element in the story... Jake can physically feel other's energy, vibes, or whatever you might call it. Jake gets physically sick in high stress, dangerous situations. The bully group of 4 girls are absolutely horrible, with the open descriptions of their deeds unsteadying me immediately.
Once some of Jake's own secrets begin to surface, I doubted his innocence (as I am apparently meant to). Emily tried remained faithful, but had some doubts when she found out Jake was actually a boy named Matthew. Jake's explanations (or lack of explanations) made him look guilty of murder & being crazy to me as well as to the police in the story. I enjoyed the fast pace, and the back & forth about what might be up with Jake.
I was in knots in the last chapters thinking that Emily was falling into the same trap the other girls must have in their last hours alive. There is a great ending and lots of twists & turns on the way. I could relate to Emily's need to get out of a small town. Very fast paced & full of surprises.
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