Title: V for Violet
Author: Alison Rattle
Publisher: Hot Key Books
UK Release Date: 7th April 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon.
Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck.
But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting.
Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…
I primarily read contemporary YA, but every time I try another branch of YA, such as historical or fantasy, I always wonder whether or not I will enjoy it. However, every time I am pleasantly surprised – and V for Violet was no exception. I quickly found myself wrapped up in the story, and was kept gripped for the whole book.
I thought that Violet was such an interesting character. Across the course of the book, her friendship with Jackie gradually deteriorated, and the story was written in a way which really pulled at your heart strings. I think something that contributed to this the fact that Violet would built her hopes up only to have them dashed, and then continue to build up hope again. She was also such an imaginative individual – it was so interesting to see her thoughts as when faced with a situation, she would immediately turn to an option which was far from the truth and quite an extreme response, but she would view it as logical.
I also found the mystery element of the book to be very compelling. Although I found that Violet’s responses to situations were often far from what other people would have thought, and thus I suspected from the start that her explanations were not necessarily what would happen, there were foundations for her suspicions that made me doubt myself and my own guesses. However, even my thoughts were nowhere near the final revelation – I was completely taken by surprise, something I love in a book.
The only aspect of the book which I didn’t like as much was that occasionally events would not feel entirely realistic. The main example of this for me was Violet’s relationship with Beau – he did somewhat hurtle into Violet’s life, and I did think in some ways their relationship and his caring attitude towards her were almost too good to be true, especially when they’d only met recently.
On the whole, I would recommend this book to people who are historical YA fans, or looking to branch out a little – it’s set at a great time where the setting is not too different from today, but enough to be striking and show the interesting shift in social standards, values, and language between then and the present day. It also offers a sweet (if a tad unrealistic) romance and a compelling mystery, so I would suggest you read it if these elements in a book that you would enjoy.