by Tabitha Suzuma
Tabitha Suzuma is one of those authors that can break your heart with her books and it'll linger with you even years later when you think of the story. She did that to me with Forbidden (which is currently sitting on my favourites shelf), and I'm pretty sure she's just done it again with Hurt (although not quite in the same way).Summary: Why? is the burning question on everyone’s lips. Why would a guy like Mathéo Walsh want to die? At seventeen, he is Britain’s most promising diving champion. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great mates and is the envy of everyone around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy...
Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.
Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever...
This isn't the easiest book to review, because I need to do it without spoilers. Not just because it would be horrible of me to spoil a book for someone, but because the things that happen in this book are shocking--those rare twists that actually take you by surprise instead of being predictable and easy to guess long before the author reveals them, so I wouldn't want to dull the impact of that for anyone else.
Books like this...they're great, but not exactly enjoyable to read. They hurt. And I mean that as a compliment. It didn't censor the messy and painful parts of life or try to sugarcoat them with romance and rainbows and butterflies the way so many books tend to. You end up hurting right along with Mathéo--needing to know what happened but dreading it at the same time and kind of wishing he could just forget so he could go back to how things were before but you know it's pointless to hope for that.
The story is different from other YA novels in so many ways, but the only one I can really mention is the romance. It didn't feel like a romance to me really (which seems to be a rarity in the YA section) or even like romance was a big subplot. It wasn't a story revolving around two characters falling in love, because Mathéo and Lola were already there.
They were comfortable with each other, and sweet together, but it felt like the biggest role their relationship played in the majority of the book was Mathéo's fear of losing her and it was in a sad, desperate sort of way that hovered over their relationship like a shadow throughout the story. But, it was interesting to read a different kind of relationship for a change (and a different stage of a relationship than we usually see) so I actually liked that about it.
I said the book didn't impact me in the same way as Forbidden did, and I guess that's because Forbidden devastated me but this one...right from the start, I knew better to hope for happy--it was waiting for the bad to happen followed by watching the aftermath of it and it left me emotionally drained and got under my skin in its own unique way.
And I'm going to have to leave the review it that. I've written and rewritten 3 other paragraphs a bunch of times but I can't find the right words (or explain the things I want to without giving too much away). I'd rate the book 5 stars out of 5.