Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Released: August 4th 2011
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts.After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them... (from Goodreads)
Hunting Lila was a compelling novel which had me reading until the early hours of the morning. I enjoyed it so much that I have officially branded it one of my favourite books of the year. Sarah Alderson wasted no time plunging the reader straight into the action – the very first scene was a mugging; an event which changed Lila’s life forever. I really liked how we got to see Lila in this kind of dangerous situation right at the start, because from this one scene we were already able to discern what kind of person Lila was, with barely any description about her at all. I have to say, I think Lila was a brilliant main character. Despite her power, she seemed like a completely believable teenager – she could be impetuous, stubborn and rebellious (never taking no for an answer), while also blushing and feeling awkward and embarrassed in front of the boy she liked (who, unfortunately for her, happened to be her brother’s best friend, the one guy she utterly believed she had no chance with). I felt like I could relate to her, even though our lives were completely different, because she felt like a real person that you could come across anytime, anywhere. I also liked her feistiness - she didn’t just sit idly and wait patiently, perfectly happy with being kept in the dark; she demanded answers, and then tried to find out things on her own whenever anyone refused to give them to her. She also dealt will new and difficult situations quite well, and her power was just cool. I don’t know how else to explain it – but moving stuff with your mind? Telekinesis? Cool. I found sifting to be a really interesting power too – modifying people’s memories is both intriguing and scary.
Alex (the “brother’s best friend”) was another character I liked. Scratch that, a character I loved. He was a mixture of everything you’d want in a guy: sweet, good-looking (to the max), mysterious, strong, determined - but he wasn’t perfect either; he had flaws and a few issues of his own, which I think made him all the more desirable (perfection is soo boring). I could definitely understand why Lila liked him so much. And he had to go through a lot too – there was this particular part of the book that challenged everything Alex had ever known, and I think the fact that he managed to get through this with a better view of things than he had before just showed how quickly he could adapt to desperate situations, despite the anxiety he might have been feeling inside. The way he coped with what was happening with Lila too – I loved the second half of the book so much, I can’t even explain. I absolutely loved the interaction between Alex and Lila; Lila had a sort of wry sense of humour, which I think Alex shared, and they definitely meshed well together and understood each other in a way no-one else could. Even Jack, Lila’s brother, didn’t get her as much as Alex did, which I think shows how well attuned Alex and Lila were to one another. That being said, I did like Jack – he was a good brother, and even in a serious part of the book, he said some things to Alex which completely cracked me up. I felt sorry for him though, because he had to suffer deception after deception – I didn’t blame him for not knowing what to believe. In the end, he came through as a big brother, and I think his relationship with Lila grew even stronger.
Other characters I liked were Demos’s group, especially Suki. Even though I didn’t know what to make of her, she was so quirky and strange that I couldn’t help but enjoy reading about her, despite some of the things she was suspected to be involved with. My least favourite character was definitely Rachel – I loved to hate her, that witch! She made my blood boil – it’s no wonder Lila got angry, being around a person like that.
Another thing I really enjoyed was the way everything was unravelled, and how we discovered what was going bit by bit – not knowing which characters to trust and which to suspect. It was one of the reasons the book was so gripping – I literally could not put it down, even for a second (which is why I’m sitting here typing now, absolutely exhausted from lack of sleep :P). The ending was a cliffhanger (though not one of those huge ones where the book cuts off halfway through the action), and now I’m really looking forward to the sequel (the wait is going to be a torturous one – I’m dying to know what will happen next!).
In conclusion, Hunting Lila was a thrilling read that I would recommend to, well, everyone. It’s a book even a sifter couldn’t make you forget!