Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Review: Payback

By Sara Steven

In 1997 teenager Sophie White and her three girlfriends decide they want to lose their innocence before summer is over. Roping in her childhood buddy Gareth and his mates, Sophie holds a party to get 'the deed' over and done with, but the night doesn’t end as planned.

Twenty years later, the group are brought back together when Gareth is killed in a car accident and Sophie begins receiving threatening messages. It seems the party wasn’t as innocent as everyone thought and now someone wants payback.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Payback was incredibly suspenseful! It took roughly three quarters in before I began to have a firm grip on who I thought might be the culprit, and even then I was never entirely sure. A classic whodunit with a unique twist, it was hard for me to take breaks and stop reading, so inclined in finding out what would happen next for Sophie and her childhood friends.

The premise behind Sophie’s story was definitely unique. It’s not every day we read about a teenage “deed” pact, which was unnerving and a bit disturbing, given the age I am now and my status as mother to two boys, one of which is a teenager. Those emotions propelled me forward, and I loved the two degrees between the past, and the present. I felt like I was right there with Sophie in 1997, and with her now when she’s trying to piece together the fallout from over twenty years ago.

The different dynamics and the years that change the course of a friendship had been accurately portrayed here. Sophie took me back to a time when friendships had as a young adult meant everything in life, with the slow progression of change and potential demise for bonds that at one time had been thick and never ending. I felt that struggle for everyone involved, adding to the chaos in determining who can be trusted, and who can’t. The messages and nefarious packages, not knowing where it’s safe anymore- this all compounded into an epic build up, an eventual truth.

In many ways, Payback was a reflection on the way our world works. In an age of social media and instant cameras on every cell phone, nothing done and posted is “safe”, forever there for the world to see, even after the delete button. With the two different time frames, it was understood that even our actions from the past aren’t safe, and ultimately, it can come back to haunt us. Those powerful elements really added a touch of realism to everything, particularly for Sophie, who has so much to lose. This gives us a moment of reflection on our own childhood fumbles, and when Sophie says, “This was something I’d done when I was a wayward kid over twenty years ago”, we believe her because we’ve all been there and can understand the frustration in that. Given the coming-of-age elements gone wrong, not to mention the moments full of suspense, this was a well-deserving five-star read!

Thanks to Boldwood for the book in exchange for an honest review. Visit all the stops on the blog tour.

1 comment:

Dianna said...

I love suspense genre. This is a new author for me.