It has been a while since I read a book that left me not wanting it to end. You know the kind of book where wake up in the morning looking forward to reading more but then you remember that you finished it the day before.
That’s what happened when I read Karen Tayleur’s new YA novel, “6”. It’s one of those books you read as a reader and you think I wish there was a sequel. It’s one of those books you read as a writer and think, “I wish I’d written that.”
There are a lot of characters to juggle in this book (6 if you don’t count parents and other minors) and there are six points of view. But Tayleur handles each one with precision – each voice never wanes – each character is clearly delineated.
The ‘6’ are six year twelve students whose lives are intertwined in a complex way – six kids looking forward to a bright future, confident that things will go their way. You know from just reading the blurb that this confidence is misplaced, that six kids in a car with five seat belts is a recipe for something going badly wrong.
But the collision itself doesn’t seem relevant after a while. You become so embroiled in the character’s lives that all you can think as you hurtle towards the end is that you really hope your favourite character comes out of this okay. It’s the authentic characters that really hook you in to “6” that make you care about them and want to know what happens next, even though a part of you is scared to find out.
There’s an underlying story that starts the whole chain of events, and adds a bit of mystery, and it’s a great device to help build the tension and make the reader start to doubt some of the characters and second guess what might happen next.
“6” has just the right balance of anticipation and suspense to keep the reader hooked. You know it isn’t going to end well for someone, but you’re not sure who and you’re not really sure who you want to be saved.
YA readers who love gritty storylines, authentic characters and polished prose will devour this novel and emerge from the experience moved, shocked and wanting more.
“6” is a beautifully crafted novel that is destined to have a profound impact on the YA literary scene.