Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

SUMMARY: "An engaging, realistic journey into drug addiction and bad decision making. Grosso's Ferocity Summer is a riveting read."--A.S. King, author of the Printz honor book Please Ignore Vera Dietz Would you rather be dead and know it, or alive and not know it?

Scilla Davis is haunted by a horrible accident that she was involved in last summer--a drunken, reckless joyride that ended in tragedy. With a big trial looming, life seems empty, unreal, and utterly hopeless. It's especially painful watching her best friend, Willow, slowly destroy herself with pills and booze. Yet Scilla can't seem to wrest Willow--or herself--from a path of self-destruction.

But there might be a possible escape from this nightmare. As a dangerous new drug called Ferocity sweeps the nation, an FBI agent asks Scilla to turn narc and help locate the Ferocity kingpin. In exchange, she could avoid conviction for her role in the accident. All she has to do is deceive and betray people she's known all her life...


This is a book that admittedly left me with mixed feelings. Many parts of it felt choppy, with confusing transitions that pulled me out of the flow of the book several times. Despite this, though, there was a quiet compulsion about that kept me interested, and Scilla herself was a different and enigmatic sort of character. She definitely is intelligent, with a very dynamic and partly cynical view on the world, and yet she is, in many ways, a slacker and someone who doesn’t even try to get past the hurdles put in front of her. This was frustrating at times, yet in an understandable and well scripted way, and Scilla will definitely intrigue readers. Her overall development had a good flow to it, and who she was before the accident and who she is now comes through clear, as does the way she changes by the end of the book on top of what’s already happened.

The plot of this one fell through in some places for me, slowing down and dragging at times and seeming to move too fast and jumpy at others. I admit, the big climax was kind of a letdown, and yet this is still a book that I mulled over for awhile after finishing it. Pulling in the drug aspect in a very realistic and forthright manner, and tying in the accident from the summer before and Scilla trying to figure everything out now, this one has several different arcs to it. Though they weren’t always tied together too smoothly, there was still an endearing and engaging quality about them.

One of the most notable things about this book, I think, is how Scilla deals with everything, and the way she views things. Despite being in a sexual relationship with her best friend’s boyfriend, the relationship really is just t hat: sexual. They aren’t dating, and in a lot of ways, Randy turns Scilla off and disgusts her. She doesn’t think too highly of him, and yet there is something achingly realistic and breaking about the times the two share. Partly out of convenience and partly from hormones, and also just natural curiosity, I love the way Gross wove this part of the story in, without it being gratuitous or taking too much focus away from the bigger things. Also in this thread is how Scilla tries to figure out loyalty, right and wrong, especially when it comes to Willow, her best friend. Torn between doing what’s best for her, and not betraying Willow, and facing some pretty hefty things, Scilla is authentic and a character I don’t regret getting to know.

The writing of this one didn’t follow the usual style of YA voice, yet it still had a distinct nature to it. Grosso does a great job of letting readers know how smart and perceptive Scilla is, and also just how different her view of the world is. Pulling in sorrow, humor, and fear, there is a range of emotions in this one, each filtered through Scilla’s unique mindset.

Overall, this one did have some parts that lacked for me, yet I loved the characters and some of the arcs incorporated. Gutting at times, frustrating at others, yet also hopeful, Ferocity Summer is far more than just a coming of age, and definitely one to be checked out.

Source: Netgalley 
Reading level: Ages 12 and up 
Paperback: 288 pages 
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: May 8, 2012

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