A colleague at work received an advanced review copy of Risk, but preferred to wait for the final version before she read it. So she gave it to me, and I’m going to share a short review with you! This book was really gripping. It looks at the world of online chat rooms and the potential risks that they pose, but without any form of moralising or didacticism. Taylor and Sierra are just two friends chatting to guys online. When Sierra arranges to meet one of them at a shopping centre after school on a Friday, there is no question of whether it’s a good idea or not – obviously it is. Ferris is not using Sierra as an example of what young people should or should not do online. Instead, she has portrayed a set of circumstances that are merely possible. Risk makes us aware of the potential for something to go wrong when we interact with people that we have met online, and reminds us of the need to be careful.
The plot and pace of the novel develops with satisfying swiftness. The suspense effectively put me on edge, as I was desperate to find out what had happened to Sierra and when she will come home. But what I liked most about Risk wasn’t the message, or the epic suspense, but the characterisation. Taylor’s vulnerability and anxiety at the beginning of the novel is portrayed impeccably, and is a perfect contrast to Sierra’s charisma and self-assurance. Taylor’s lack of confidence and uncertainty is constant through her overly critical self-analysis and anxiety that everything that could go wrong in life, will. Like many young people, she acts the part for her friends – or tries to – yet her anxieties and self-doubt tumble out through her worried thoughts as she divulges her true vulnerabilities to the reader.
Risk is an important message wound up in an excellent and thrilling read. Put this book in as many young people’s hands as possible!