18 October 2009


by Karen Tayleur

black dog books. Young Adult, Australian. Paperback RRP $18.99

Guest Reviewer - Jo Burnell

After being hit by the twist in the final pages of Chasing Boys, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Karen Tayleur’s latest release Hostage, and wasn’t disappointed.

It’s irritating when you can’t put a book down and Hostage held me captive. More twists and turns than a bowl of spaghetti kept me glued to the page as Tully’s story unfolded. Her story to the police, (marked by date and time) didn’t always match her memory – or did it? And what about Tully’s recollections of people and places in the past? Were these also blurred by time?

Where does reality stop and the story begin?

Is there a difference?

Parcels of information in chapter-sized chunks are presented like clues in a detective mystery. It took the entire book to put the full story together. Just as Chasing Boys left questions lingering, Hostage kept me guessing.

Seemingly unrelated threads have been masterfully tightened to form a delicate net. One Tully couldn’t escape and neither could I. Was she a hostage in an abduction? Who could she really rely on? As I visited the many places she had lived, the layers of her short life took shape.

Déjà vu kicked in with the last words on the final page. I couldn’t believe the author caught me out again. The entire story turned on its head and I wanted to start reading the book again – immediately.

Be warned. This book can’t be put down and there’s no point flicking to the last page for a shortcut to the punch-line. You won’t ‘get it’ unless you read every page of Hostage.

Karen Tayleur’s Chasing Boys was reviewed in Issue 2 of The Reading Stack.


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