Hannah Jayne: The Revenge

I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Break ups can be messy. After his ex-girlfriend Hope embarrasses him in front of the entire school, Tony wants revenge. So he signs her up for online dating sites, subscriptions, and even makes the location of her phone public. And it works. A few days later, Hope calls begging Tony to stop the prank. Then Hope screams and a car door slams. The call drops.

Tony tries to keep cool. It’s just like Hope to get back at him with more drama. But when Hope isn’t at school the next day, Tony knows the joke has gone too far-and he may have lead a predator right to his ex’s door. Can Tony find Hope and save her before it’s too late for both of them?

The Revenge is a young adult, mystery/thriller that sees popular high-school student Hope suddenly go missing. All signs point to her ex-boyfriend, Tony who – following the split from Hope – was humiliated by her and, in an act of revenge, shared all of her personal information online. As a harmless “prank” by both parties escalates, Tony begins to realise that things are getting out of hand. Can he save Hope before it is too late?

I would like to start this post by saying that, yes – I have seen all the comments regarding doxxing and posting personal information online. There is a lot of hate towards this novel because of this. However, as I have seen one reviewer state, this is a fact of life and does happen – even at this stage in life. I am sure we have all gone through, or know someone that has gone through, something similar to this, or been “pranked” in a way that has been extreme. Everyone is always calling for teen/YA novels to focus on topics that seem to be skimmed over and focused more heavily in NA and AF, and this is no exception! This is my opinion. I would also like to state that, before reading this novel, I was not aware of any of these issues that had been brought up via Twitter.

The Revenge was a novel that stood out to me for its premise as well as the cover design. I am always looking for new mysteries/thrillers and feel that there are not very many in the Young Adult market. I appreciate that Hannah Jayne has taken a topic and put it into a real life situation, showing how a so-called “harmless prank” for petty revenge during high school can escalate quickly and result in more serious consequences. However, I did feel that the novel was extremely lacking in progression, character development/relatability, and how the characters themselves reacted to these circumstances.

When Hope appears to disappear of the radar, I really had a feeling that something bad had happened to her. I could understand how Tony was reacting by the description of Hope we had already received; someone that runs hot and cold, changes her emotions at any moment, one second you’re her best friend and the next you’re her worst enemy. However, when it turned out that it truly was just a revenge prank that seemed so typical of Hope – I was sorely disappointed. That is until later in the novel. I felt that the progression of the events that happened to Hope and how Tony tried to fix things was stagnate throughout. The side-characters that were involved within the situation or were a part of each persons life added to this through their lack of sympathy, inability to put themselves into action searching for Hope, and the way in which – even those closest to them such as friends and family – did not believe the truth of the matter, particularly in Tony’s case. I found this frustrating and extremely unrealistic to believe that Tony’s own family would turn away from him in disappointment purely from the hearsay of the media. In a realistic scenario, they would believe him to the best of their abilities and be there to comfort him and understand what he has/hasn’t done as opposed to leaving the room as soon as he entered.

It is from this that I found the character development and my ability to relate to them to be lacking. Yes, each of the high-school characters is a stereotypical high-school trope. But it is plain to see that they are all acting out a part. Even Tony doesn’t seem to show any true development until towards the end of the novel when events become crystal clear to him and he realises the seriousness of the situation. I found the fame aspect of Hope and her parents to be completely unrealistic as well, which added to me not being able to relate to Hope in any way. As well as this, even the police within this narrative were assholes and didn’t listen to Tony’s side of the story!

Finally, the ending, dare I say it, was shit! I clicked onto the next page on my Kindle and boom(!), acknowledgements. There was no resolution. There were just more questions and answers. You don’t get to find out if Hope made it back to her family, you don’t get to find out if Tony got convicted of kidnapping and homicide, you don’t get to find out what happens to the other characters that I don’t want to mention without spoiling the novel. It ended so abruptly and I don’t feel like there is even a second novel to continue on from that ending.

With that being said, The Revenge was a quick and easy read with the only good point being its premise. I was sorely disappointed in every other aspect of the novel and I will not recommend this to anyone.

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