Tuesday 14 March 2023

Someone Is Watching You - Tess James-Mackey

 How far would you go for a dare?

Nia would do anything to win the approval of her boyfriend Scott and his friends, especially mean girl Olivia. Olivia dares Nia to explore an abandoned prison. Facing dark tunnels, distant noises and creepy mementoes left behind by incarcerated criminals will surely all be worth it to finally become part of the group. But it isn't long before Nia and her little sister, Kayla, find themselves trapped inside.

And then Kayla vanishes.

Suddenly, this feels like more than a game gone wrong. There is a horrifying secret hidden within the prison's walls - and now someone is hellbent on making sure Nia and her little sister become its last inmates...

An utterly compelling take on toxic friendship from a remarkable UK debut author.

What did I think?

Crikey, this book is chilling, scary and completely addictive.  I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this turned into a movie or mini series.

Nia is trying to fit in with the cool kids but she always feels like she has to prove herself.  I was virtually screaming ‘Run away, Nia!  Run away now!’ but oh, they are clever.  Just one look from Scott and Nia goes weak at the knees, she will do anything to be the girlfriend that he wants…and he knows it.

When Nia and her family go to a soft play area inside an abandoned prison (amazingly based on the author’s own true life experience), the gang sees the opportunity to send Nia off on a dare: to get lost inside the prison.  My eyes were so wide, I might have been reading in the dark myself as I just couldn’t put the book down when Nia began exploring the creepy prison.

There’s a lot of thought-provoking material in the story for teens and young adults: the girl who is so invisible that she does actually vanish, the power of the opposite sex and how it can be manipulated and the pressure to be accepted by the popular crowd in school.  It might be YA but this forty-odd-year-old thoroughly enjoyed it!

Heartpounding, creepy and disturbing, Someone is Watching You makes the Mean Girls look like Disney princesses.  It’s an outstanding debut and a real page turner with a protagonist that you want to hug but also shake some sense into.  I really do hope to see this on my screen in the future - grab this one before anyone else, Netflix!

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