Review: Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman

So, a few weeks ago now I went to an event at Waterstones called the ‘Thrills and Chills’ panel which four writers attended all of whom had written a mystery novel. Honestly, I went to the event because Cat Clarke was going and I’d wanted to meet her since I was about thirteen years old. However, I couldn’t go up to the signing desk with just Cat’s books so I made sure I got a copy of every authors book before I went to the event. Sue Wallman was one of the authors and ‘Lying About Last Summer’ was her, I believe, debut novel.

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My signed copy – very glad no one misspelt my name as ‘Mozzie’ this time.
‘Lying About Last Summer’ is told from the point of view of Skye who’s sister died last summer. Now this summer she’s spending her time at a holiday camp for bereaved teens which she’s hoping will help her move on. At first everything seems okay until she starts receiving messages from someone claiming to be her dead sister. Suddenly she feels the post is about to surface…

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I started reading this book the day of the signing and had finished it just a couple of days later. It had me hooked right from the beginning. To be fair I do enjoy a good young adult mystery novel and this one was pretty good. Not only did we have the intrigue of who was messaging Skye but there was also another little subplot mystery going on which I won’t spoil for anyone but I did thoroughly enjoy.

Anyone that reads my reviews regularly is probably waiting for me to comment on the whole ‘Hozzie hates romance’ thing. Like most young adult novels, this did contain romance. Did it annoy me? Not particularly. I felt the romance was written well and realistically. There’s nothing more annoying than reading about two teenagers who suddenly become obsessed with each other after two minutes of meeting one another and I’m glad Wallman avoided that.

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Also I really liked the majority of the characters, especially Danielle and Faye. I wasn’t a big fan of Brandon or Joe but they were still interesting to read about. Skye got on my nerves a little bit sometimes but not so much that I disliked her or wanted to stop reading. Everyone was portrayed realistically and it was a decent read.

Basically, I really enjoyed this book and I’d absolutely recommend it to all of you! So go and buy a copy! Or you know, borrow one from the library if you’re on a budget.

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The Conjuring 2: Review by Holly Bareham

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Okay, so this film has been advertised for absolutely ages now and I’m sure every horror fan has been looking forward to it. I hadn’t seen the first ‘The Conjuring’ film at the cinema when it was released because the trailer looked too scary and it was around the time I was just starting to like horror films so I saw it a couple of years later on DVD. Me and my friends had found it pretty scary but to be fair we were in the house by ourselves at night. To be honest, after all the hype it was a little underwhelming considering there were apparently bottles of holy water being handed out at the cinema and people were reporting supernatural incidents in their own home occurring after watching the film. To me, it was just an ordinary horror film.

‘The Conjuring 2’ is about a different case from Ed and Lorraine Warren’s files, The Enfield Haunting. In 1977 a family in Enfield find themselves terrorised by what appears to be a poltergeist who seems to be specifically targeting the second eldest child, Janet Hodgson. Ed and Lorraine get involved to find out if their story is genuine or if they’re making it up for publicity.

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Personally, I really enjoyed this film. I thought it kept a creepy atmosphere, the characters were believable, the plot wasn’t completely stupid. However, like most films, there were also things I didn’t like about it. Obviously I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but ‘The Crooked Man’, although creepy, didn’t look very realistic and took away from the atmosphere a little. However, after doing research on iMDB, the Crooked Man was played by Javier Botet, the same person that played Mama and apparently there was no CGI or animation. I think I’m gonna have to watch this film again to get a better look…

Another thing that bugs me a little is the slight stimulatory to ‘Insidious’, which was also directed by James Wan. This paragraph contains slight spoilers. The first time is during the opening scene in the ‘Amityville Haunting’ when Lorraine sees a boy with eerie eyes on the staircase. He looks remarkably similar to the boy on the cover of the ‘Insidious’ poster. However, the boy on the staircase was based on a real-life photograph taken at the real home in Amityville so that’s fair enough. The other was that the nun demon harassing Lorraine looks too similar to the ghost haunting the family in ‘Insidious’, but Wan explains his decision for this in several interviews. It probably doesn’t help that Patrick Wilson stars in both of them.

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Other than those small points though I did enjoy the film. It had a decent storyline, there were some references to the first film which was nice, also the references to the real Enfield haunting were nice too. Best of all though it was scary. Nothing quite like a decent scary movie.

Before I end this review I need to leave a quick fun fact which I like to do with my horror reviews so here you go: on the first day of shooting a priest was brought in to bless the set. Nice.

Basically, I’d recommend this for any horror film fan, especially if you liked the original film. You know how sometimes the original film is really good but for some reason the sequel is a train wreck? Not the case here, thankfully.