Half Bad by Sally Green

Unlike a lot of new releases that get hyped a lot, this one grabbed me straight away and I just had to buy it as soon as it came out.

Even if I hadn’t heard anything about it, I think this cover would have drawn me in. The illustration and unusual format of the typography is different from anything else I’ve seen in YA fiction recently.

Immediately the writing style of this novel struck me as completely different to anything else I have experienced; parts are in a kind of second person narrative, making you the reader the main character, but “you” are referred to as Nathan, the character who also has first person narrative in other parts of the book. This may sound confusing but I got into the flow of it straight away and got hooked into the story. This writing style switches to first person from Nathan’s point of view and I think that I really began to care for his character from the beginning because of that.

The themes discussed in this novel are vast. The main one is probably the definition of good and evil and whether anyone is inherently “bad” and whether the “good” people can still do bad things. This novel also talks about captivity and escapism, referencing One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich at one point. I think that these subtle references would really help the reader connect to the character but having not read the novel mentioned I can’t really say (though I do want to read it at some point).

This is an extremely fast-paced read with quite short chapters and a really compelling plot. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I liked the uniqueness of it being set in modern times. This is definitely a novel to pick up and I can’t wait for the sequel!


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