Facts and Figures
Published: September 8th 2016, Electric Monkey
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
What’s the story?
Elliot is terrified of almost everything.
From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.
It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but shen she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 metres away. It might as well be 400 miles…
What did I think?
The Bunker Diary is one of my favourite books of the last few years so I couldn’t wait to delve into Born Scared and escape into another dark, twisted story from Kevin Brooks. While Born Scared was well-written with an engaging plot, it never quite lifted off for me and I was left feeling underwhelmed.
I’ve seen mixed reviews for Born Scared and it seems I’m not alone in finding this one disappointing – though, personally, I know part of that disappointment stems from Brooks’ previous releases setting the bar so incredibly high. If Born Scared had been from a debut author I probably would have enjoyed it more, as I wouldn’t have an existing body of work to compare it to, but I expected more from one of the most talented YA writers on the scene.
Born Scared certainly isn’t a bad book and I’m not telling you to avoid it, as I found it interesting enough to keep reading until the end, but it’s not ‘shout about how amazing it is from the rooftops’ like The Bunker Diary was. The tension was lacking and I never found myself genuinely worried for Elliot; the eventual ending of the story felt inevitable from the outset. I’m still a huge fan of Kevin Brooks and I’ll eagerly seek out his next release but this one just didn’t do it for me the way I was expecting it to.
Who would I recommend it to?
Readers who are looking for a book that examines mental health, fear and bravery – with a few scares and a festive twist thrown in for good measure.