Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: Unthinkable by Shirley Duke

Title: Unthinkable (Night Fall)
Author: Shirley Duke
Publisher: Lerner Publishing
ISBN: 076136157X
Release Date: 08/01/2010

The Night Fall series seems to be channeling a multitude of sources in Unthinkable. On one hand it's similar to Goosebumps (as one goodreads reviewer put it) but it also bears many similarities to series such as Fear Street as well as the slew of similarly themed books that abounded during the late 80s & early 90s. And I'm comparing them in a good way.

Unthinkable follows Omar, an aspiring young writer who spends much of his time writing short stories to post on his facebook account. He's already garnered over 1,000 fans & it's a good way to pass the time without Omar having to think about how his father deserted him & the rest of the family. When one of his latest stories- one featuring a girl being strangled in the woods- comes true, Omar's little stories start getting some big attention in a negative way. Then more stories start coming true & the talk shifts even further from public adoration to horror. Is Omar really causing these stories? And if so, how can he make them stop when his writing seems to control his every action?

This story started with a bang, which is a very good thing considering that it's such a short story. The pacing of this is incredibly fast paced & the author does an incredibly good job of keeping the reader interested in the story. Unfortunately that's where the book hits a bit of a snag. While the story is fleshed out enough to make it as a short story, the tale begs for at least another 50-100 pages so it can be complete. Some of the events in the book just happen a little too quickly. Many readers will wish for just a little more time & description inbetween events, just so when the big stuff hits there will be enough time for them to have settled down from the last surprise & so the next big development will have the punch it deserves. (Although I think this was something required by the publisher rather than a decision by the author herself.)

Now don't take that to mean that the book is bad. No, far from it. This story was awesome & as a series in the vein of Goosebumps & other series aimed for a younger audience, this is perfect. Not only is the book short enough for those in that "inbetween" stage (where you want more than a 40 page book but aren't ready for longer stories), but it's also age appropriate for the younger readers. There's death, but no gore or sex. The book's projected age range is 11-18, an ambitious range but one that it does accomplish for the most part. There was enough here to keep someone well out of that age range spellbound so if I liked it then you can be sure that the teens will as well.

This was an enjoyable book to read & something that I know will thrill a pretty wide variety of readers. This is only one book in what is currently a 6 book series with more to come, so to get the wider picture you'll have to get the other books. (Which I am now putting in my "to find & read" list.)

(ARC provided by NetGalley)

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