Risk – Fleur Ferris

Risk – Fleur Ferris

Title: Risk
Author: Fleur Ferris
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 1st July 2015
Pages: 279
Rating: 4/5 stars

9780857986474

Taylor and Sierra have been best friends for their whole lives. But Taylor’s fed up. Why does Sierra always get what – and who – she wants? From kissing Taylor’s crush to stealing the guy they both met online for herself, Sierra doesn’t seem to notice when she hurts her friends.

So when Sierra says Jacob Jones is the one and asks her friends to cover for her while she goes to meet him for the first time, Taylor rolls her eyes.

But Sierra doesn’t come back when she said she would.

One day. Two days. Three…

What if Taylor’s worrying for nothing? What if Sierra’s just being Sierra, forgetting about everything else to spend time with her new guy?

When Taylor finally tells Sierra’s mum that her daughter is missing, Taylor and her friends are thrown into a dark world they never even knew existed.

Can Taylor find Sierra’s abductor? Or should she be looking for a killer?

When a former police officer and paramedic writes a novel inspired by true stories of online predators and love gone wrong, you know you’re getting the real deal.

I ummed and aahed about getting this book for a REALLY long time. I had read a sample of three chapters and just wasn’t completely sure about it. Sierra annoyed me as a character – she was selfish and just downright irritating. I also thought it might be ridiculously predictable.

It wasn’t like that at all – after a slow start, the book seriously gains momentum and turns into a race against the clock. The second half of the book discusses a website Taylor creates, named Risk, as a way to educate young girls about the risks of using the Internet, not just to meet people but also to give out information about yourself. I learnt a lot from this project, especially about the use of proxy boxes, which someone can use to hide themselves online – I actually wanted to use the book as a catalyst for my Online Media project, linking it to an investigative report of women’s safety online, but was out-voted by my group…..

Taylor is an intriguing character, but I felt that she wasn’t as empathetic as she could have been. She moved on from the horrors of Sierra’s ordeal rather quickly, especially in relation to her other friends who it appeared to affect more. Despite the problems with Taylor’s reactions and emotions, the book was a brilliant representation of the dangers associated with the Internet, particularly in regards to young girls. I believe that it should be compulsory reading in all Australian high schools – the story’s location, in Melbourne, hit very close to home. Stories in the news always seem too far removed, but this fiction story hits the nail right on the head, reminding everyone that the danger is prevalent and real.

There were a few characters who, I felt, victim-blamed. However, the authorities were portrayed so well that this didn’t become a major issue. Senior Detective Kel Parkinson is the man I would want on my case, were I to go missing. He handled everyone so well!

A brilliant book highlighting the dangers of the online world. It is refreshing to see a contemporary young adult story dealing with criminal activity. I enjoyed the book so much more than I expected and hope Fleur Ferris has more intriguing stories planned for the future!

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