Author: Johanna Parkhurst
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Pages/Word Count: 180 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family.
A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery.
All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.
Review: Well, what can I say? If you’ve read Johanna Parkhurst’s other YA contribution, Here’s To You, Zeb Pike, then you’ll know that this is an outstanding author with a firm grip on the audience for which she write. Every Inferno, therefore, left me completely expecting its brilliance. I was not disappointed.
This book was a brief yet complete volume, tackling numerous sub-genres, all under the umbrella of the YA category heading. It was a coming-of-age tale with hints of mystery, hurt/comfort, self discovery and romance, all neatly tied into a riveting tale of one boy’s journey to overcome the problems of his past. I was hooked from the first page and frantically read through to the final one.
The characters were sublime! JJ really was such a relatable, strong and detailed character that it was impossible not to feel for. He was written with such depth and explanation that all of his motives were justified. McKinley was a great mirror for JJ’s character. Where JJ was introverted and depressed, McKinley was proud and grounded. They made a perfect little dream team.
Dr. Ben? Oh, I loved him! He was such a sweet, nurturing character, and it made me wish everyone out there could have their own Dr. Ben to look out for them. The adults in this book were all incredibly well developed and lent their own significant contributions to the progression of this tale.
I particularly loved JJ’s fascination with mystery stories. It added an extra depth to his own investigation, and built tension a lot as he used his knowledge to guide him towards clues as to what really happened the day of the fire.
I had a love/hate relationship with Lucas. On the one hand I wanted the story to end with a bad guy we knew and suspected, but the final twist in the story brought us back to our protagonist. The story was never about finding a murderer, but was ultimately about JJ finding his way back to himself.
Every Inferno tackles a lot of difficulties the audience of these books face, and one that was done particularly well was JJ dealing with his alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, alcohol abuse is something we have come to expect from teens these days, and it is not always dealt with as a problem. I loved the way this book dealt with it realistically and with the severity it deserves.
Overall, I loved this tale and as usual, I am a huge fan of this author. This book is a must-read for any YA fans out there, and is a great addition to the genre. So I will be awarding 5 stars for this great little read, and hope that you all find it as wonderful as I did. I’m looking forward to what Parkhurst releases next.