Monday, May 29, 2017

Crazy House ~ James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet (arc) review [@JP_Books @CateTiernan @HachetteBooks]

Crazy House
Hachette Book Group
May 22, 2017
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A thrilling new YA novel from master of suspense James Patterson, who's created a frightening new future: a world where teens are taken, imprisoned and forced to fight for their survival. Where 17-year-old Cass will do whatever it takes to save her twin sister from Death Row.

There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape.

Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca's told to fit in and shut her mouth... but Becca's never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin.

Becca's only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it's too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed:

They took the wrong twin.

The two authors of this book have published hundred of books between them (Gabrielle Charbonnet published YA under the pseudonym Cate Tiernan), but somehow this is the first I have read by either of them.

Crazy House starts by throwing readers right into things: Becca seems to already be missing and her twin sister Cassie is desperate to find her, while following the rules, of course. No being out after curfew or before it's over and absolutely, most definitely no leaving the cell. Starting things in this way pulls readers into the story immediately and helps add to the tension and questions (Where is Becca? What's the deal with the curfew? What is this cell?).

With so much focus on the action, however, there is not enough attention given to character development or world building. You want Cassie to find Becca, sure but you would kind of be okay with her not, too.

Thanks to the alternating perspectives/narrations, we readers do know where Becca is - but not too much beyond that. The more we saw of Becca and her life in the prison, the more I wanted more answers, more of what was going on. There was not a clear enough villain to it. Yes, the mystery keeps you reading but it was hard to know just who you were rooting against (or why). (Since the cover calls on The Hunger Games: In that book we knew the Capitol, that Snow, was at the head of things, they were the Big Bad; I wanted something similar here, even while getting why we didn't/couldn't know.)

If this is going to be a series, then I feel a bit more positively about the book as a whole and the ending than if it's just the one book. If there will, in fact, be a second book, I have higher hopes for it with the information we now have and look forward to seeing more development of the relationships and finding out more about their world.

Crazy House is a fun, fast read but there was not enough development of the characters or their world - but I hope there's more to come.

advance copy thanks to  publisher for review consideration

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