Spider by Linda Strachan

I was delighted to be gifted a copy of Spider by author, Linda Strachan, and to be given the opportunity to read and review this uncompromising, intense novel which hits you full force and leaves you gasping for air.

Spider and his friends have a thing for joyriding. The speed, the adrenaline and the danger has them hooked. But Spider is on his last warning. He knows if he is caught again he will be sent straight to prison. However, when his girlfriend, Deanna, and mate Andy convince him to take them out on one last run, everything starts to unravel and their lives quickly start to spin out of control.

Spider is told through multiple perspectives, with each of the main characters telling their side of the story throughout the book. I love how this gives a real insight into the thoughts and feelings of Spider, Deanna and Andy. We may not agree with their actions but we are given the chance to understand their motivations.

I could not help but think what a fabulous book this would be to use with a secondary school class. There are so many opportunities for discussion around choice and personal responsibility as well as the difficult issues that are raised.

Just as a wee note, there are some really hard-hitting themes tackled in this book so it is definitely one for mid to older teenage readers. Car accidents, life-changing injuries, teenage pregnancy, domestic abuse and attempted suicide are all touched upon.

I absolutely loved this book. It is fast, breath-taking, forceful and powerful. Just like real life, none of the characters are perfect and their decisions leave lasting consequences but I didn’t feel like any character was demonised, nor celebrated. Rather, the multiple narratives show us that nothing is ever absolute and finding a sense of empathy and understanding towards others is essential.

This is teenage fiction at its best. Definitely a must read!

You can find out more about Linda’s work by following her on twitter at:

@strachanlinda

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