August 17, 2015 by Bernadette ~ The Bumbling Bookworm
Risk by Fleur Ferris
Publisher/Year: Random House Australia, 1 July 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Courtesy of the Publisher
Rating: 5 stars
Other books from author: This is her debut novel!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Taylor and Sierra have been best friends for their whole lives. But Taylor’s fed up. Why does Sierra always get what – and who – she wants? From kissing Taylor’s crush to stealing the guy they both met online for herself, Sierra doesn’t seem to notice when she hurts her friends.
So when Sierra says Jacob Jones is the one and asks her friends to cover for her while she goes to meet him for the first time, Taylor rolls her eyes.
But Sierra doesn’t come back when she said she would.
One day. Two days. Three . . .
What if Taylor’s worrying for nothing? What if Sierra’s just being Sierra, forgetting about everyone else to spend time with her new guy?
When Taylor finally tells Sierra’s mum that her daughter is missing, Taylor and her friends are thrown into a dark world they never even knew existed.
Can Taylor find Sierra’s abductor in time? Or should she be looking for a killer?
What I Thought…
OMG. What a book! It was horrifying and the perfect example of every parent’s worst nightmare. Taking a close look at the online safety of our young people, Risk had me gripped from start to finish and I simply couldn’t put it down.
Risk follows Taylor and her friend Sierra, who gets caught up with a guy online. Sierra has always been a bit of a risk taker and has been banned by her parents from using the internet following past antics. To get around this, Sierra uses Taylor’s computer to meet a guy online named Jason Jones, who she thinks is only a few years older than her. After Sierra leaves, Taylor tells Jason the truth, only to strike up a crush on Jason and they chat over the weekend. Unbeknownst to her, Sierra has found another way of accessing the internet and is also chatting with Jason. Taylor quickly realises this when she goes to school on Monday, and she cuts all ties with Jason. Unfortunately, Sierra meets up with Jason on the following Friday after school and she doesn’t come back when she says she will – Taylor covers for her for a few days, as Sierra has done this before, but she finally tells her mum what’s going on and all hell breaks loose.
When I finished reading this, I only had one thought: this book should be compulsory for all high schoolers, and the younger the better. If you’re a parent and you want greater insight into the online world, read this book. Then, make your kids read this book. There are young people going missing all the time, and it’s all too easy for the predators out there. Only this week, a 60 year old man has been arrested in Brisbane and charged with the murder of a 16 year old girl who allegedly met him online. It’s not the first and it won’t be the last, but if we can educate young people about the risks, especially young women, then perhaps we can lessen the risk of it happening again. This book goes a long way to starting this process.
The beauty about Risk is that it’s written about young people, for young people, from the perspective of a young adult. Taylor is very young and immature, and you can see this in her attitude. Whilst someone my age (27) would be unlikely to wait several days before reporting a missing person, young people are different. They justify it in their heads, like Taylor did, and they don’t want to get themselves or their friend in trouble unnecessarily. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to report a person missing, the less likely they are to be found alive. The book is pitched it at their level, and it’s all the more crucial that young adults read it. Every library in every secondary school in Australia should have a copy of this book, and it should become a part of the curriculum from year 7 onwards.
Risk took a close look not only at the effects of Sierra’s disappearance on Taylor and her friends, but also on the adults in this novel – Sierra’s parents, Taylor’s mum, the police, the teachers, the other parents. The adults were shown as people to be trusted, which isn’t always the case for young adults, and the emotional toll of Sierra’s disappearance was clearly felt by all. Topical content aside, I thought this was a fantastic debut by Fleur Ferris. The writing style was engrossing. At first I was swept up in the petty teen dramas, and I wondered if that’s all this was when Sierra went missing, but the tale became more gripping and chilling as I continued to read and I simply couldn’t put this book down. The suspenseful and dramatic elements of Risk were perfectly executed, I couldn’t fault it.
Read it. Just read it. I really can’t say anything more except to implore you to read it and enjoy yet another wonderful Australian YA book.
What did you think of this book? Did you enjoy it?