Title: Cease and Desist
Author: Stephen David Hurley
Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading
Publisher: Stephen David Hurley
What if the secret to being charismatic were actually a gene you could inherit, and pass along to your children. What if this “X-factor” could make you a star? Welcome to the world of Cease de Menich, a sixteen-year-old actress in New York City who gets cast as Joan-of-Arc in a reality-drama, only to discover her “acting gift” has been passed down through her bloodline for almost six-hundred-years. Cease finds the plot of the drama reveals dark secrets from her past–an abusive mother, a brother who committed suicide–and the reader must decide if she’s a reliable narrator or a terrified girl who’s succumb to the pressure of fame and the abuse of her past.
Cease & Desist is a dark, contemporary YA thriller with a supernatural twist. Readers of books like I Let You Go and The Girl on the Train will enjoy this coming-of-age story, which struggles with the realities of sexuality, violence as entertainment, and mental illness. Cease & Desist has excellent crossover potential into the adult marketplace.
This book was nothing like I expected – it was insightful, and had quite a dark twist to it. The only reason that I haven’t rated it higher is because I’m unlikely to read it again – it was a page turner, but the character was so different to myself that I found her a little harder to connect to. Having said that, this is a great book that investigates ideas of teenage sexuality, peer pressure and suicide. Hard hitting issues that have a universal importance.
The tone of this story is incredibly unique, it is very sassy and slightly jumpy throughout. At times, it took me a little while to figure out whether it was a flashback, part of the TV show or part of Cease’s daily life. However, it worked incredibly well within this storyline – jumping from memory to memory, moment to moment swept me along in the ride of Cease and Desist’s story. The disjointed moments highlighted her disjointed thoughts and memories, and the pain that accompanies such serious moments in an abused child’s life.
I loved the use of symbolism throughout this tale. Cease constantly refers to the Greek tragedies and Shakespearean tales. From the first mention, it brilliantly foreshadowed the tragedy of Joan d’Arc’s journey and Cease’s reality, both past and present. This emphasis of pain and suffering made my heart ache for the protagonist as she not only struggled to make peace with her past, but also find her place in the future.
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