There was something about the book cover for Deviant that drew me in. I kept seeing it and it kept haunting me, so when I got the opportunity to get a copy I jumped on it. Helen FitzGerald is an international bestselling author of both adult thrillers and YA fiction, with her novel Dead Lovely currently in film production. As a prior UK parole officer and social worker, who better to write a YA novel titled Deviant? I don’t know what I was expecting with a title like that but I got so much more and so will you. And you might even win a copy!
Sixteen-year-old Abigail Thom has had a really hard life, one unimaginable to most of us. Her mom left her with a friend, Nieve, in a Scottish new-age, anti-nuclear commune when Abigail was still a newborn. Nieve died of cancer when Abigail was only nine years old, so social workers took Abigail away from the commune’s “bad influence” and placed her in a foster home. That began the real nightmare. After a series of eight progressively worse placements, Abigail took to the streets and that’s where she’s been ever since – sleeping in shelters when she can and staying hyper alert so she can survive.
“The guy sitting across from Abigail wasn’t her parent and he wasn’t her friend. ‘Sit down, Abi,’ he said, in a voice that tried to be both. He wasn’t a social worker, either; more an unqualified asshole…Abigail could get him sacked. Maybe she would if he called her Abi again.
‘Abigail,’ she corrected him, settling into the chair. She didn’t approve of nicknames. Nicknames were for people who were loved.”
So you can understand that she’s not terribly grief stricken when she learns her mother has died. She only knows her mother as someone who threw her away and never cared what happened to her. Why should she be torn up about it? Still there’s some part of her that cares really deep down inside if for no other reason than that she has a lot of “why” questions that need answers.
But that’s not the weirdest part. The weirdest part is that her mother left her a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, so she could travel from Scotland to be with a father she never knew existed, a father who’s evidently very successful. And her mother left her a fortune, 25,000 pounds! And her mother informed her in the letter she wrote that she was leaving Abigail’s sister, Becky, an equal amount that Abigail was to take her. A sister and a father she knew nothing about, who’ve been living a wonderful life all this time without her. How messed up is that?
I don’t know where to start so I won’t tell you the beginning. I’ll just tell you the end. There are five things I want you to know…No matter what you and Becky think of me now, I know with all my heart you will feel differently one day. I do love you, Abigail. I have always loved you.”
With great trepidation and uncertainty Abigail flies to Los Angeles to live with the father she never knew, Grahame Johnstone, and her older sister, Becky. It sounds like a happily ever after, doesn’t it? Well it’s not.
“Why had her father never known about her? Had he left before her mother knew she was pregnant? Did she ever try and tell him? Why had he taken two-year-old Becky?
Maybe tomorrow Abigail would ask him all those questions. Or maybe she’d be so happy she wouldn’t care. Maybe she would be thankful to know nothing about her past…
Dunoon gone. Glasgow gone. Scotland gone. Ha, gone. She let out a big sigh. My mom got me out of there, she thought. Thank you, Sophie Thom. Thank you Mum.”
Abigail is overwhelmed with the wealth she sees around her. It’s hard to comprehend they have been living like this while she’s been scrapping to literally survive day to day. At first she thinks she’s leaving the nightmares behind her when she sees the kind of life Becky and her dad, and her new stepmother, live. But she’s completely unprepared for what Becky discloses about their dad’s business or what dear, charming dad has planned for rebellious teens the world over.
Abigail is one of those characters that you just want to hug and take care of, despite her tough street-smart attitude. My heart went out to her and I despaired for her. I also knew she wasn’t equipped for the world she would find in LA. This is a character with a good internal compass, who sticks to her values. It’s obvious that Nieve did a good job with her before everything became such a mess. Becky is a privileged child but, as her mom said in the letter, “an inquisitive and determined baby” who grew into a determined and curious adult. The two together make a good team, a bit of ying and yang. As for dear ol’ dad – I’m not going to tell you anything about him other than that he’s a very powerful man with very powerful friends, and they’ve got an agenda that gave me the creeps! Can Abigail and Becky stop them?
Deviant by Helen FitzGerald rocks! It’s got all the suspense and roller-coaster action that thriller fans of all ages love, with touching moments as well. Abigail is, in many ways, a kick-butt heroine but she’s also got an innate vulnerability that is going to touch your heart while the thriller aspects are going to give you chills! I loved every minute of it and I hope you will too! Be sure to enter our giveaway to win a copy!
Can’t wait to read it?
Deviant was published in the U.S. on June 11, 2013, so it’s available from your favorite online bookseller. Just click the button below to go there to get it.
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One lucky reader will win an ARC (advance readers copy) of Deviant by Helen FitzGerald!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 6/29/2013, at 11:59pm EDST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
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