Close Your Eyes – Nicci Cloke (13+)

“Close Your Eyes” (three!!! references to the title in the book! Yay!) is a very addictive read. I started it on my day off, and finished it the same day.

There are been a few YA books about school shootings this year, but “Close Your Eyes” takes a different approach. Firstly it’s set in England as opposed to the usual setting of the USA. This wasn’t immediately obvious but when I realised, it definitely added to the intrigue (as guns are obviously more difficult to obtain in the UK than in the US). More importantly Nicci Cloke doesn’t in fact focus on the shooting. This book is more about the events leading up to the shooting. It’s about our actions and their consequences. It’s about taking the time to talk to people. Really talk to them.

Cloke manages to realistically portray the six main characters, their friendship and the ultimate consequences of each of their actions.  These teens are very realistic and aren’t perfect. They are normal teens, some more damaged than others, with the usual teenage angst.

I didn’t connect to the characters, however I did connect with many of the characters’ situations and circumstances. I hated that I could understand how the shooting ultimately occurred – I think that speaks to my difficult teen years and Cloke’s realism. Reading this book was like watching dominoes fall. You know what is going to happen but you can’t stop it and you can’t look away.

Then there were the twists! In our YA for Adults book club I’m notoriously lame in spotting twists but I’m sure even the best of them didn’t see these coming.

Like a few books I’ve read this year, “Close Your Eyes” brings home the point about actions, perspective and consequences. In our increasingly isolated society where we can sit behind our computers and fearlessly type anything, books like this are a necessity to remind us, young and old, that every action has a consequence, and we always need to be mindful of that.

– L-J