The Comet Box- Adrian Stirling (Penguin 2011)
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As writers the advice you often get is to ‘read wide’ which basically means read as much as you can in as many genres as you can. I was excited when I found a YA suspense novel by a fellow Geelong author, Adrian Stirling.
The book has so much potential… I just think the big secret let the story down.
If it is such a juicy, terrible secret that that ‘should stay buried’ and you tough out the story to find it out… it should be a little bigger than the revelation that Andrew’s (the main character) father is cheating on his mum on page 198.
The rest of the story is interesting enough- being chased through underground tunnels, destroying old ‘haunted’ buildings, insights into domestic violence, drinking, affairs (and the community reactions to these). It does cover a lot of the general suburban secrets which might be comforting for some readers to know they ‘aren’t alone’ in their experiences.
It is set in the ’80s so maybe that explains why an affair would be a big thing- I feel like YA readers these days will have parents who live apart, or at least have many friends at school with stories of parental break ups or affairs.
Having had my share of family issues, and lived and worked in communities with much bigger issues- this book just didn’t speak to me.
Worth a read for those just venturing into YA suspense or who want an insight into life of a suburban teen in the ’80s. If you are an advanced reader with a bit of life experience… I’d give this one a miss.
What did you think of The Comet Box? Have you read his other works and could recommend something? What’s your favourite YA suspense?