Nicola Morgan writes books for teenagers and children, I saw her book "Wasted" on Amazon and thought it sounded quite good, but I was slightly put off because I thought, it wouldn't keep me interested for long as it was aimed at teenagers. However I was really intrigued by what I read and decided I was going to give it a chance, it only cost £1.01 so it wasn't going to exactly break the bank.
Now. try to imagine the scene, a teenage girl and a teenage boy, in a club totally wrapped up in each other. Now imagine another female teen, full of jealousy and evil intention, she waits till the time is right to spike the drink of the lovelorn female teen. Meanwhile outside the club another girl waits to see if she is going to be allowed into the club or not, however the doorman could get distracted by something, please keep in mind that even small things can make all the difference to any given situation. If the girl manages to get into the club, she will be a distraction to the lovelorn female teen's friends, giving the jealous female teen chance to spike the drink. On the other hand if the girl does not get into the club, the friends of the lovelorn teen will see the drink being spiked and manage to warn her before it's to late.
The flip of a coin
In Wasted, the reader of the book gets the chance to witness both scenarios, however with the flip of a coin one of these scenarios will disappear, which one depends upon how the coin lands. There are a couple of situations in the book where as the reader you get to witness two possible outcomes of a given situation, then it depends on the coin, as to which outcome will happen. You will follow the two teens as their lives spin out of control, until finally you are asked to literally flip a coin yourself in order to determine which ending you read. Their life in your hands so to speak, it's up to the coin as to how things will turn out for the love struck teens.
A book of chance
Told in a way I've never experienced before, "Wasted" is narrated as if the speaker is actually sitting with you, showing and telling you what is likely to happen next. I was totally absorbed in this story. The teens are called Jack and Jess, both are on the verge of leaving school, both are musically talented. I felt the teens were brilliantly portrayed, each of them having their share of misfortune in life. Jack had lost two mothers by the time he was five. Jess has had to deal with her alcoholic mother since her parents split up. They meet by chance, Jack needs a singer for his band and just so happens to hear Jess as he passes by the music room. Had he passed by 10 minutes later Jess may not have been in the music room singing, in which case Jack wouldn't have heard her and they never would have met. It was chance that made Jack pass by when he did and luck that Jess was in that room singing.
The pair of teenagers just want to be happy and want people to leave them alone to get on with their lives, but this proves difficult with a jealous ex everywhere they turn, causing nothing but grief and upset. The book begins at the end, gradually working it's way up to where you more or less start from. I love it when books do that anyway, a bit like flashbacks in films, I think it adds to the excitement of the story, knowing as I read I'm getting closer and closer to the outcome. It's all very tense and quite dangerous in places but I loved the suspense of wondering which way the coin would land. I can see why this book would be appealing to a younger reader as personally I didn't get bored once with the story, it's all go from start to finish and thoroughly exciting.
The whole book is written on chance and luck, since Jack lost both his mothers he has lived his life by the flip of a coin, whenever he has had to make a decision, no matter how bad or dangerous it may be, he has his lucky coin and lives by whatever the coin decides. This to me made the book different and exciting and as I reached the end, I frantically found myself looking for a coin to decide the fate of the two teens. I felt the book involved me personally right from the start when I began to read. I have never been so involved with a book as I was while I was reading "Wasted" it made me feel that I to was an important part of the book, like the book needed me to carry on to the end because I had to decide their fate. I must admit I had to go back and read the alternative ending, even though the book tells you not to. I was just so excited about the whole set up of the book I couldn't help myself.
Where from, how much and awards
You can buy Wasted from Amazon as I did in Kindle format for £4.37 must be popular I only downloaded it last week and look at the price difference already, or if you prefer you can buy the paperback from Amazon for £4.60.
"Wasted" has won the Coventry award in the "Read It Or Else" category and was runner up in the North East Book Award.
Some other books by Nicola Morgan
Blame My Brain
The Highwayman books
Yes I would 100% recommend this book, it's exciting, interesting and absorbing. I wanted to read this book in one sitting, but alas I had to read it in two.
Take a chance and flip a coin should you buy the book or not, let the coin decide.
If you purchase this book, I guarantee you will not want to stop reading till you have finished it, this is why I'm giving Wasted 5 stars.
Thank you for reading my review which is also posted on Ciao
When Jack happens upon Jess singing, just as he is looking for a new lead for his band it appears his luck has won through yet again. Jack worships luck, after loosing not one but two mothers at a young age he reckons he's already had his fair share of bad luck and now he's convinced he's lucky. When Jess and Jack become close and he reveals his secret game, Jess isn't convinced. How can someone decide everything by the toss of a coin? But as chance, luck and choice spiral out of control, one flip of the coin will be a risk too far and a life is left hanging in the balance. How it ends is up to the reader to play Jacks game and decide-heads or tails?
I had no idea really what to expect from Wasted, other than it sounded exciting and intriguing. And wow, did it live up to that expectation! This is certainly the most unique, original and all round fascinating book I've read for a while. From the very first page this book really captured my attention, I just didn't want to put it down.
Jack believes that after loosing not one, but two mothers, he has pretty much used his bad luck up. He thinks he is lucky, but fate, luck and chance fascinate him and so he decides to test his luck by playing a game. Flip a coin, heads or tails; let the coin make his decisions for him.
Jess is about to finish school and has no idea where her life will take her. She would like to go to Music College, but feels trapped by her needy alcoholic mother. Then by chance, Jack hears Jess sing just as he needs someone to front his band. The attraction between them both is instant, but will Jack's dangerous game get in the way?
I adored both of these characters. They were easy to sympathise with and the romance between the pair was beautiful. Nicola Morgan captured vulnerability in each of them, yet also made them feisty and strong. Jack is especially endearing and charming, I wasn't surprised at all that Jess felt so drawn to him!
Wasted is exciting from the very beginning. It's told in a third person narrative, from an almost disembodied voice which has a personality of it's own. The narrator discusses with the reader what we can see the characters doing, and also often gives us alternative situations that could happen if just the smallest detail is changed. It's as if we are looking down observing Jack and Jess and it kind of reminded me of Death's narration in The Book Thief a little. It made me feel I was completely involved in the story and the tone was conversational and consistently fast and interesting. I loved it!
The descriptions of people and places are incredibly vivid too. One scene at a fairground really stood out, as that creepy, evening fairground that is a little seedy and dangerous was brought to life. The narrators dry wit also provided some very humorous passages too, and not once did I become bored. I wanted to listen keenly and soak the whole thing up. It also keeps you thinking constantly 'what if' and wondering about the existence of luck, chance and fate or whether it's always just a case of wrong or right place at the wrong or right time. The twist at the end in which the reader does become involved is brilliant, and I loved how even after finishing the book, I wasn't quite!
I thoroughly recommend Wasted; it has strong vivid characters, romance and originality. It's thrilling and will leave you breathless at times. It's thought provoking, dark, edgy, very clever, fun and touching. A truly exciting novel you won't want to put down, this is one that will appeal to both teenagers and adults, male and female.
Thank You to the publishers, Walker Books, for sending me this book for review.
Wasted by Nicola Morgan
Published by Walker Childrens books May 2010