Friday, October 15, 2010

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B & B Media Group as part of their blogger book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Chris Buckley and his mom are starting their lives over in Solitary, North Carolina, where his mother spent part of her childhood.  Having to face the reality of his parents' divorce and the loneliness of leaving his friends back in Chicago, Chris begins his new school in hopes of finding a friendly face.  After a run-in with the school bully and warnings from teachers and classmates to stay away the only nice person he's met--Jocelyn--Chris realizes that not everything is as it seems in the town of Solitary, and some thing or some one wants to keep him quiet for good.

Title: Solitary (Book #1in The Solitary Tales series)
Author: Travis Thrasher
Format: Paperback book
Genre: Teen/young adult; suspense; supernatural thriller
Source: Review copy provided by B & B Media Group.
Publication Information: David C. Cook/ August 2010/ ISBN: 1434764214/ 336 pages/ $14.99
Buy the Book: David C. Cook / Amazon
Find the Author online: Travis Thrasher/ Facebook / Twitter / MySpace / Blog

Why I Read this Book: 
I had read a few discussions in the blogging world about Solitary and it sounds like an intriguing book.  After all, I work with teenagers (young adults) and they LOVE anything that portrays realistic drama and the horrible things that can happen to someone in this life.  When Audra Jennings from B7B Media Group offered to send me a copy of the book to review, I jumped at the chance to read the book I had read so many good things about online.  (Thanks Audra!)

What I Liked:
As someone who has moved many times throughout my life, including right before my senior year in high school, I can relate to Chris's situation of trying to fit in and find your niche in the throes of high school life.  It's hard enough being a teenager without the added complications of your parents splitting up and your mother drinking herself into delirium.  Add to that the "strangeness" of the town of Solitary and the school bully constantly hunting him down and Chris is in one big pickle.

I was pretty much hooked in the story after reading the first few pages.  I wanted to find out who these people were and what they were running from in the woods.  When I finally met Chris and his mom, I could relate to their situation--especially the drastic move away from all of their family and friends and then having to try and break into the high school cliques. 

I enjoyed the sheer mystery of trying to figure what was going on in and with the townspeople.  Why did they act so disinterested?  Why are the teachers and other residents so afraid of Gus' dad?  Why is Chris' mom having nightmares?  What's the deal with the creepy preacher?  And, why is Jocelyn so secretive?  I want answers to my questions regardless of how scary they might actually turn out to be, so I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.  (Yes, I did keep the light on a few times while reading.)

The play lists in the back of the book were a pretty neat addition--even if I recognized only a few of the bands.

What I Didn't Like:
Jocelyn's character is a bit of a tease information-wise.  There were points where I thought she was going to tell Chris her "secrets" but then she'd stop and not say anything at all.  I realize that it was a technique used by the author to create suspense, but as an adult, it drove me crazy.  However, teens will relate to it because they've kept or told each other secrets before.  Aside from this minor detail, there wasn't anything that I disliked.

Overall Impression: 
Solitary holds a lot of secrets that I can't wait to learn.  As a first young adult novel, Travis Thrasher has definitely tapped into the teenage perspective.  I know several teens that are interested in reading the book just because they've seen the cover and wanted to know what it was about.  After I started telling them about everything that was happening in the story, they've asked to borrow it when I finished the book.  Needless to say, I am ordering more copies for our library.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Let me know what you think about the book in the comments section.  Happy Reading!!

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