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Belle's Bookshelf

"With a dreamy far-off look, and her nose stuck in a book..."

Currently reading

What Maisie Knew
Henry James
My Friend the Enemy
Dan Smith
Worlds of Arthur: Facts and Fictions of the Dark Ages
Guy Halsall
Fury - Shirley Marr 4.5 stars"My name is Eliza Boans and I am a murderer." How is that for a brilliant opening line? I was instantly hooked. I love a mystery, and when a book opens with the protagonist in a police station confessing to murder, you know you're in for a good one. Who was murdered and why - and whether Eliza actually did it - is slowly divulged through flashbacks, as Eliza tells her story to an interrogator. Importantly, the pace isn't too slow; just the right amount of information is revealed at key moments to keep an impatient Gen Y-er like me satisfied, while maintaining my interest and keeping me guessing till the end. It was intense, but in a very good way.My favourite thing about Fury was Eliza (which was handy, considering she's the main character and all). She's the opposite of a passive Mary Sue waiting to be saved. Eliza's personality radiates from page, and as the story unfolds you see she can take care of herself - and her friends, too, for that matter. All of the characters are well fleshed-out and realistic. They're not always likable, but that just made them feel more real to me. Speaking from experience, teenage girls can be downright bitches at times - but they can also be the fiercest friends you'll ever have. I loved that Marr didn't shy away from this aspect in Eliza's friendships.The authentic feel of the story was enhanced by the language. It's smart, funny, very Aussie and totally teen - but not in an annoying way. Eliza's narration feels natural; not like an "old person" trying to sound like a teenager. Her voice is established on the very first page; she's witty, snarky and a little bit twisted, and uses slang like "povo" and "snogged". But I don't want to make it sound like the language was all sarcastic and slang-y, because it's not. There are moments of absolute beauty and insight; my favourite was around the half way point when Eliza says, "I'm so tired, here in my head.". I hear ya, sister. Basically, Eliza spoke my language. And I loved it.One thing about the language - or, rather, the names - is that they're inspired by famous literary characters, especially from Jane Austen. I really loved this nod to the classics, but the downside was that it could be a bit jarring at times, taking you out of the story, rather than into it. But this was a minor quibble. I really adored this book - the plot, the setting, the characters and especially its unpredictability. It's not every day you come across a YA book that has a truly unique storyline and a strong voice. But it's awesome when you do.This review also appears on my blog.