The Deviants by C. J. Skuse


When you set out for revenge, dig two graves

Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?


Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Mira Ink, a division of Harper Collins Uk). This book is not suitable for younger readers and as such this review will not be suitable for them.

Why we chose it: The description sold us.

Review: Drowning is a complicated action. Especially if you consider yourself to be a good swimmer. We know to kick our legs, we know how to stay afloat, but sometimes the pool just gets too deep. The feeling of safety you had twenty seconds ago is gone and dread starts creeping through.

The fear starts in your throat. It claws its way deeper inside before solidifying and become an invisible lump that’s blocking off your airways and makes it hard to breathe. You try to stop it. You try to fight, but to no matter how hard you try – you can’t stop the water from filling up your lungs

The Deviants wasn’t a book we expected to leave us reeling and unable to breathe from emotional trauma. We thought it would be a book full of mystery and discovery. We expected it to have a dark tone, an honest tone.

We never expected it to be so dark and honest that we ended up crying at least three times, being full of discomfort and anger and vengeance and curiosity.

The Deviants is the most brutal and devastating book we’ve ever read and for that reason it’s perfect.

We know we’ve said it before about books, that they don’t shy away from issues and others things some of us will never have to experience. That they’re authentic and moving. None of the compare to this book and we have multiple reasons why.

The book is told from the perspective of Ella and she’s hiding something. She’s hiding many somethings and it’s making her act out. Making her unable to do things of a sexual nature with her boyfriend Max. She can’t do it and she won’t tell him why. That would mean talking about it. That would mean telling him the real reason there’s so much anger building up inside her.

She. Just. Can’t.

Ella’s head isn’t the most fun thing to be inside, but we’re not complaining. We’re just telling you how it is. It takes the bullying of her once friend from down the road, Corey. The verbal abuse and lonely life that her her other once friend Fallon gets and lives for Ella to find somewhere to channel her anger. To channel it in ways that didn’t end up with her having bloody knuckles.

What happened to Corey, what happened to his wonderfully named cat Voldemort made us cry. Made us choke up and we were on board when Ella decided to get vengeance for him. To get vengeance for Fallon. To let loose her anger on Mike. To punish others who had done wrong.

…..To avoid facing up to her secrets.

We were on board with it all until it was too much. Too destructive for others and too destructive for Ella. Too damaging to her psyche. We knew that she would reach a point where all the negative energy would just leave her in a violent expulsion and when we read it through her mind and saw it from her eyes – we felt crushed.

The most brilliant thing about Ella isn’t Ella herself, but the author’s way of making you almost feel as if you are Ella. There wasn’t a moment while we reading this book that we didn’t feel connected and emotional and that makes The Deviants a type of masterpiece in our opinion.

Islands and ghost stories and a girl named Jessica make up a large part of this book and in all honesty the good and bad parts of the past are what makes this book work. Jessica was the unspoken glue to the friendship of Max, Corey, Zane, Fallon and Ella. They didn’t realise it when they were younger.

And the reader which was us and will hopefully be you too discovers that Jessica was a strong and passionate girl who was able to find reasons for…

…reasons for humour and love and stories. Jessica is the catalyst and she is the chord. She is the beginning and she is the end. Even with her not being alive in the story, we couldn’t help, but love her.

It’s important to note as we near the end of this review that the characters of Corey and Max and Zane and Fallon are not truly secondary or side characters. Each one of them has things they’ve kept silent about for years and even though some of them like Corey suffer because of these secrets, it takes them all being together or at least interacting in ways they hadn’t done for ages to bring these secrets and peace to light.

We mentioned earlier that The Deviants isn’t a book for younger readers and while we’ love to tell you why, to do so would be revealing information so critical to the plot that there’d be no point in you reading the book after reading this.

To conclude, The Deviants is a book we plan on ordering in because we need to be able to touch and read it as many times a day as we can. On our phone we read it in four hours and in a physical form we’d be able to read it faster. We’d breathe faster in anticipation as we’d flick the pages and then when we got to the end…

When we got to the end we know we’d cry like we did when we read it the first time because the ending is unexpected and yet what one would expect from such a novel. The author certainly doesn’t inject a shallow sugar coating into her words to make people happy. Instead she stays true.

As always, thank you for reading this review! Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.


3 thoughts on “The Deviants by C. J. Skuse

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