Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Repossession


The RepossessionThe Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A small town, 34 missing children, a dog with fused hind legs, quite a few religious fanatics, secret research facility, one huge pig, a farm, teleportation and an artificial lake. If you’re wondering what all these things have in common, allow me to enlighten you: they all play an important role in The Repossession by Sam Hawksmoor.

I suppose more YA should be written by middle-aged Canadian guys. Sam Hawksmoor surprised me with how original and believable his story was. Making a sci-fi novel believable is not an easy task, it all depends on how well written it is and what it relies on to convince you. Most people hear the words secret government research facility and instantly think that anything is possible. That’s what the author counted on, and that’s one of the things that make this book such huge success, in my opinion.

Want to make $2,000 cash? Participate in a simple experimental trial that could help us cure one of the world’s most pressing problems. We need healthy young people, 14 to 17, willing to put their survival skills to the test. We are a non-profit organization with brilliant green credentials. All applicants apply in total confidence. No adult/parent need be notified.

As someone who grew up in one (or three), I’m intimately familiar with social dynamics of small towns. Hawksmoor succeeded in creating the atmosphere of life in one such small community. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing up from that feeling of constantly being watched and scrutinized. It was pure perfection, so creepy and convincing. It wasn’t hard to believe that a kid who grew up in one such environment, with parents that blindly follow the crazy Reverend and his poisonous group of fanatics, would respond to a sketchy add for a chance to earn $2000. For those kids, the add isn’t just an add, it’s a Get Out of Jail Free card.

For Genie Magee, leaving the house is not an option. Her mother is convinced that Genie is possessed by the devil, that she is Satan’s bride, no less. With a little help from Reverend Schneider, she has imprisoned Genie in her bedroom, put a huge lock on her door and bars on her window. Every day, the Reverend’s followers come by to pray at Genie’s door, spit on her, call her names, brand her with crosses and abuse her in any way they can possibly think of. The only thing holding Genie together is the hope that her boyfriend Rian will come for her. And he does. But even though all Genie and Ri want to do is get as far from Spurlake as possible, they get dragged into the mess Reverend Schneider and a secret research facility are causing all over Spurlake. 34 kids are missing and no one is really bothering to look for them. Genie and Rian might be the only ones who can uncover the truth.

I loved how Hawksmoor handled the relationship between Genie and Ri. It was so different from what we’re used to. They were just two troubled kids, one heavily abused and the other “only” neglected, who saw each other as a chance to put it all behind them. Theirs was a young love, certainly, but a true love, not exaggerated, but simple, sweet and entirely believable.

As always, I am infuriated by the major cliffhanger, but since the book was so good and memorable, I might be willing to forgive even that.
I should also mention that pictures of the cover don't do this book justice at all, the entire thing is really beautifully designed.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher, Hodder Children’s Books, for review purposes.


17 comments:

  1. A believable relationship!? Wow that's rare! haha. I haven't seen a lot of this one but it sounds really cool. And authors seem to really love cliffhangers huh!? I actually don't mind them unless they're stupid or only for shock factor. Great review Maja!

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    1. Yeah, you probably haven't heard much about it because it was released in the UK.
      And thank you!

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  2. Wow, this sounds like all kinds of weird and creepy but I am intrigued. I did not live in a small town but my dad grew up in one 300 people so I visited there every summer and I knlw exactly what you mean about the prying eyes. Drat a majlr cliffhanger! Why on why. Still based on this review I want to check this out.

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  3. Great review! And here I was thinking I didn't want to read this. There you go again, my friend...always messing things up. ;)

    I have to say, I'm very intrigued now! Ignoring the cliffhanger, which I likely won't be a fan of, I'm excited to start this. Glad you enjoyed it my lovely. :)

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    1. Oh, Sam, you know I enjoy causing chaos on your tbr. *coughs* Payback is so sweet! *coughs*

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  4. Wow, good YA sci-fi is really rare. Thanks for reviewing this one Maja. The small town fanatical religion part sounds really creepy (in a good way).

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  5. Wahh...! I'm so glad to see your review on this one! You reflect exactly all my good feelings about this title. I loved the job done on the characters, and on the relationships between them. I did find that some aspects might be a bit disturbing for the younger YA readers (or so the markets seem to think these days... I never worried about what book I read at what age, so I can't really tell). Still, I don't usually enjoy conspiracy theory books, but this one sold me out. I'm so glad to see you liked it too! :)

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  6. YEEEEEES. I want it. You know I have a major thing for sci-fi:) LOL at the Canadian guys comment. I want to see the cover in real life!

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  7. A Canadian author? Oh yay!! I had NO IDEA that this was written by a great Canadian author and it only makes me more excited to support it (if that doesn't sound too nationalistic of me LOL)! x) But the whole 34 kids missing thing makes this book sound so mysterious, and the sweetly believable romance between Genie and Ri sounds like one I'd ship instantly!

    Amazing review, Maja! I never really payed attention to this book before, but your review definitely has me intrigued! ;) <3

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  8. Well, that will teach me not to judge a book by it's cover, one glance and I lost interest, but your review has changed my mind. I, too, am from several small towns, so I'm very familiar with the dynamic, and I always find it interesting to see how well it plays out in books, but what really appealed to me was the way you've described Genie and Ri's relationship.

    Thanks for opening me up to more, Maja! You're awesome!

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  9. I'm a horror/thriller movie lover, so the whole creepy small town thing also catches my attention. I have to admit that, like Missie said, I wasn't too attracted by it either. Isn't it weird (and kind of awful) how quick a not-so-great cover can turn us off a book?

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    1. Oh, yes, I suppose, at the end of the day, we all judge a book by its covers. The sad thing is, this book is really very beautiful, or at the very least, much nicer than it looks on pics.

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  10. Great review - I love this one and Spurlake is an amazing setting!

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  11. Ooo, I hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds interesting! I'll definitely have to check it out!

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  12. This sounds like awesome read! Love your review, Maja! Awesome like always. <3 I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book! I don't usually read science-fiction books, but I think I'm going to give this book a go! :)

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  13. The mother sounds completely horrible in this one. Sounds like a good read though. I may hold off, I detest cliffhangers! I love this cover though. :)

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