Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Enter the world of this YA thriller, where nothing is ever quite as it seems…
It’s been five years since the high profile kidnapping case which turned Cassie Waterson’s life upside down. The aftermath led her to become a household name – for months, she was splashed across TV screens, appeared in newspaper headlines, and featured in the furtive whispers of the residents of her hometown. But why? She hadn’t done anything significant. In fact, she’d done nothing at all; merely watched, motionless, as a shadowy figure lifted her baby sister off her feet, and bundled her into the back of a station wagon.
That single moment soon became Cassie Waterson’s life. Agonised by guilt, confused by the lack of punishment, scrutinised by the media circus… everyone claims to know Cassie now, but nobody does at all. The face she puts on for cameras, the voice she fakes for the talk shows… none of that is the reality behind the mask. Cassie is not the strong, confident girl who glares with certainty from the screen. Cassie doesn’t have her assuredness, or her optimism about her sister coming home. Cassie is someone else entirely, and the only person who knows is the one person she must avoid… at all costs.
Every story has two sides, and the flipside of Cassie Waterson is Alexis Aldridge. Unknown, anonymous, kept hidden from the world by her fearful parents… Alexis is a conundrum, wrapped in darkness. While her and Cassie lead opposite lives, they both long for the one thing they miss: a sense of normalcy, and the freedom to be themselves.
Infamous is an unmissable YA mystery novel which will take you on twist after turn, and which provides suspense and surprises on every page.
Cassie is playing with her three year old sister outside on their front lawn. Cassie, only eight years old at the time, resented having to watch her baby sister. So, she leaves Sophie playing in her dollhouse while cassie rides her motorized car a lot further from where Sophie was playing.. Cassie never expected that someone in a station wagon would come in and steal her sister right from under her nose. Five years later, Sophie is still missing and there are no leads to her whereabouts. Cassie’s family is still devastated and barely able to function. But, there are secrets being hidden and what do these secrets have to do with Sophie?
Cassie grows up way too early for her age. After her sister Sophie is kidnapped, she becomes the adult in the household often taking care of her parents, cooking, cleaning, and making sure her parents are okay. Cassie also becomes the face of the family during interviews, public appearances, and stories surrounding the abduction of her sister. But, deep down inside, she is not this put together person she shows to the world. She has fears, uncertainty, and even goals for her own future. She is only thirteen years old and has the weight of the world on her shoulders.
We also learn about Alexis and her family during this dual perspective story. Alexis is sheltered by her mother, never really getting the chance to see the outside world. Alexis lives through her television shows as its the only learning she ever receives and what she perceives the outside world to be. She is eight years old and all she craves is to be like normal children going to school and making friends. She is taught that going outside is dangerous and there are bad people who will only hurt you. Why can’t she be like everyone else?
I really love Cassie. She is such a strong teen that never gives up hope. She is the rock that holds her family together when her parents start to crumble. She really had to grow up way beyond her years and you can see this by the things she does like making grocery lists, planning dinner menus, making sure her parents have their meds, that they get up out of bed. I am in awe how she tackles on all of these real life issues with a mind more wise beyond her years. At the same time though, I had a hard time with some of the things she does and says because they were very adult in nature. I had to keep reminding myself that she is only thirteen years old. This period didn’t last too long though. Eventually, as more time passes and she gets older it’s easier to see her being an adult and doing adult things, more so than when she was thirteen years old.
I also had this same issue with Alexis. She is only eight years old, but a lot of her thoughts and actions portrayed her as being much older. Her only saving grace is you get glimpses of the child she really is through her fantasy stories she makes up and the diary that she keeps. One thing I did like is her naivety. She saw the world through the eyes of a child.
The mystery surrounding Sophie and her disappearance has some major twists that I didn’t see coming. They were well played and executed. Even I was shocked once everything slowly starts to be revealed. Allison Stowe really hits you with the twist and keeps you guessing pretty much to the end.
I really enjoyed Infamous. It is well written and shows the horrors that a family can face when something happens to their child. Overall, Infamous is a solid mystery that will keep you guessing up until the very end. Which the ending also has an additional twist I was really surprised about and in a way the twist was very satisfying.
Allison Stowe is the author of the YA novel, ‘Infamous.’ Raised in a generic Toronto suburb, Allison spent her childhood posting fan fiction online in hopes of influencing The WB’s writing rooms. She wrote her first novel at age 13. It was based on her favorite TV show, and upon submission she learned of copyright law.
In 2010, she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Ryerson University, where she was the Managing Editor of the online newspaper. During her brief journalistic career, Allison wrote for Chatelaine magazine and TV Guide Canada (essentially achieving a life dream). Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Brighton, UK, and refocused her attention on her second passion – helping young people.
While studying for her MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL, Allison wrote Infamous as a way to fulfil her instinct to keep writing. When she isn’t writing about the lives of young adults, or watching prime time teen dramas, Allison mentors university students who’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues. She lives in London, UK, with her fluffy ginger cat, Sawyer. ‘Infamous’ is her debut novel.
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