Sunday 6 May 2012

Hunting Lila

Hunting Lila
Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (Simon and Schuster)
BB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-085707195-8
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Seventeen-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave.  The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex.  Alex, and Lila’s brother Jack, live in Southern California where they work for a secret military organisation called the Unit. After Lila’s powers are exposed in her home town, she decides to run away to be with them – the only people she can trust.  She learns that they are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them. She also discovers that she is not alone – there are others with special powers and her mother’s killer is among them.

Despite Lila’s abilities, the first part of the book does not contain a large proportion of fantasy.  We get to know the characters and see the dynamics between them.  Lila is wilful and passionate; Jack is somewhat introverted and very protective of Lila; Alex is confident, flirty and also protective of Lila.  

There are a lot of secrets being kept in the half of the novel.  Lila is trying to keep her feelings for Alex hidden from Jack; the truth about her powers hidden from everyone; while Jack and Alex are trying to keep the reality of their work from Lila.  As these secrets are exposed, the action really starts to kick off and the powers of Lila and those like her become a greater part of the novel.  The unravelling of the stories that each character has built around them also allows for some terrific twists as the plot unfolds. 

Thankfully, Lila’s love for Alex does not go unrequited.  Romance blossoms between the two, much to Jack’s unease.  It is not a straightforward journey for them, though.  Despite being a bit of a romantic, I was happy to see that this aspect of the story was not allowed to overwhelm the rest of the book.

Overall, I found Hunting Lila, to be a great read.  With action, fantasy and romance it’s certain to appeal to a wide audience (both teenagers and teenagers at heart).

Before becoming a full-time writer, Sarah Alderson worked in the not-for-profit sector.  Originally from London, she currently lives in Bali with her husband and daughter.  The sequel, Losing Lila, is due for release later this year.

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