Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hunting Lila, Sarah Alderson

Title: Hunting Lila
Author: Sarah Alderson (author website)
Release Date: Aug. 2011 by Simon & Schuster Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

I love books like this. Exciting books. And Hunting Lila is a debut every bit as exciting as its gun-fights and getaways. Sarah Alderson blends intrigue, superhuman powers and fast-paced action with romance, teenage longing and a pinch of heartbreak like a seasoned-master.

From 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. After a mugging 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. 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

Seventeen year old Lila Loveday has a rather singular talent... one she’ll keep hidden at all costs. After narrowly avoiding a mugging by telekinetically wresting a knife from her attackers, she flees London to the safety of sunny California and the only two people in the world she trusts implicitly: her brother Jack, and his best friend, Alex. Well, now Lila has bigger problems. Like keeping her other great secret safe: that she’s been hopelessly in love with Alex since the age of seven. Not to mention that Jack and Alex are working for a shady government organisation, or that they’re hunting the people who murdered her mother five years ago... people like her.

Lila, You’ve Got Me On Knees, Lila...

After her mother was brutally murdered five years ago, Lila was torn from her happy life in the United States, and relocated to London with her grieving father. In the space of weeks, she lost her mother, lost her brother and Alex, who remained in the States, and her mourning, absentee father is hardly there for her either. Not long after, her power manifested itself, and if she wasn’t isolated enough before, that seals the deal. She doesn’t have anyone to turn to—the two people she would are thousands of miles away—and it leaves Lila alone inside her head.

It’s that Lila’s so isolated, coupled with her introspective nature that allows us to get to know her so well. A great deal of the book is Lila, alone, with nothing but her overactive (and at times deliciously X-rated) imagination for company. Despite a first-person narrative, many stories don’t get quite so deep into the protagonist’s psyche, peel away quite so many layers of their paranoias and fears and give us such an intimate view of their mind. I loved getting to know Lila: her paranoias and insecurities and her imagination.

Lila is smart, independent, entertaining, and while she has a tendency to jump to conclusions and run from her problems (oh yes, the cover on this one could be straight out of the book—including the dress), Sarah Alderson (author/evil-genius) somehow makes this trait not frustrating, but wholly endearing. Lila is defined not by what she is, but by who she is. Despite an extraordinary talent, the book is, well, about her, not about what she can do. As Lila re-establishes her relationship with her brother, and with Alex, we start to venture out of her head a little... and then things get really exciting. I’m talking gunfights, explosions, and high-speed getaways on motorcycles. 


Oh my, Alex is more than a pretty face. Kind, caring, and a genuine good guy. As much as we like them, he’s not a bad boy, and it’s lovely. He’s the boy next door with Marine training. Lila’s been infatuated with Alex for years, but it’s easy to see why. He’s a lovely human being.

The tension between Alex and Lila is palpable. It crackles with electricity, and every casual touch, or innocent, friendly hug had me holding my breath. The intensity of feeling is thrilling and overwhelming, developed over a decade-long crush. The heat the two share aside, it’s so nice seeing a romance built on a real, genuine friendship. The two have been close as siblings for years, and seeing the pain and beauty of the shift to something more is beautiful to witness. 

Politics and Murder and Intrigue, Oh My!

Alderson has an extraordinary knack for writing mystery and intrigue and shady organisations with murky motivations. In Fated, it was an inter-dimensional war between two equally perfidious groups, and In Hunting Lila, the manoeuvring is about something much more familiar and far closer to home: politics, power, and money. Sarah keeps turning characters completely upside down. Her heroes and villains are hard to pin down, and I never know who to trust. 

The Verdict:

Hunting Lila has everything: action, intrigue, excitement and scorching-hot, incredibly sweet, romance. From its thrilling first chapter, to its satisfying, but slightly heartbreaking, conclusion, it held me utterly enthralled with its humour, slowly-unfolding mysteries, and remarkable characters. There’s a perfect blend of politics and paranormal, intrigue and romance in Sarah Alderon’s fabulous debut, and I’m invested and in-love with its huge cast of characters, and even fascinated by the ones I loathe. With the final page turned I’m still reliving fights and flights, breathtaking revelations and perfect first-kisses. I need the sequel, Losing Lila. Now, please?

Books in This Series:

  1. Catching Suki (#0.5) (2012)
  2. Hunting Lila
  3. Losing Lila (August 2012)

Want It?

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  1. I LOVED Hunting Lila!! This book is so amazing!! I totally love Sarah Alderson writing!! Did you read Fated? It's also very good ;) :) Great review Sarah!! :) :) <3 <3

  2. EEhh Ive been told so many times to read this book and shame that I havent yet! Hopefully soon, your review just made me all excited to get started! :) Great review Sarah <3


  3. I've heard SUCH good things about this book--now here you go with your gushing review, too! Okay, I think I'd better meet Mr. Alex soon. :) Loved your review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. I wanted this book from the first time I saw that gorgeous cover, and obviously I want it even more after this review!:D

  5. Right. Going straight out to get this book. I tell you what Sarah, reading your reviews is like kryptonite for the TBR. This one was a bit give or take for me but hearing you describe it, well, there's just no way I can not read it now!

  6. YAY!!!! So glad you loved this Sarah!! It was one of my face books of last year and is an all time fave! Cannot wait for Losing Lila either! I love the electricy of Alex and Lilas relationship too--it's do intense. Awesome review as always <3

  7. Ah! Your review makes me so excited for this book, not to mention all the conversations and Alex love I've seen on twitter. I ordered this book today (as well as Fated) so I'm really looking forward to getting it!

  8. If there is anyone who truly gives justice to the amazing books I love, IT'S YOU. Somehow you manage to make me love them even MORE. Which shouldn't even be possible, but apparently you like shattering LOGIC.

    EEEEEEEEEE I LOVE YOUR REVIEW!!! Amazing, perfection, 100% sums up everything I love about this book and Lila and Alex and the mastermind that is Sarah Alderson. AND OH MY SEXUAL TENSION. Lilex. Alila. Hmmm, I'm not feeling the nicknames... what to call them? I think Brodex sounds better, personally.

    And oh, the twists and characters and Jack and Suki and ACTION and GUNS and NOOOO THE ENDING! Damnit. ALL Sarah's of this world are evil. You make me want to go reread now now now.

  9. Ah I'm so glad you enjoyed this. <3 Loving the fact that you have a whole section in your review dedicated to the GORGEOUS Alex! HEEEEEEEEEE. I neeeeeed to read this book so BADLY. I'm hoping to get to it sometime next month or the month after...*fingers crossed*

  10. I can't wait to read this book. I keep hearing amazing things about it, it's on mu wishlist but haven't read it yet. The story sounds very interesting and I'm glad you enjoyed the characters. HOpe it will be the same witht he second book. Great review!

    1. Oh, Melliane, it's wonderful! And it felt really unique to me, like something I've not entirely read in YA before? ♥

  11. AAAH! Between you and Brodie, this is going to have to be the next book I read. I bought it two weeks ago, and I CAN'T WAIT!!! :D :D :D Lol.

    1. YESSS! You must! I'm with Our Evil Overlord! READ! READ! READ!

  12. Ooh, I love the sound of Alex! The boy next door with Marine training?!?! I so need to read this book :)

    1. Oooh, Alex is just... SERIOUSLY. Alex is amazing. AMAZING! XD

  13. I can't wait to read this book.Great review!

  14. I don't think I breathed at all while reading your review.

    I have yet to come across ONE person that didn't love this book but I was getting a little fuzzy on why. Thank you for bringing me back up to speed! Lila and Alex both sound like amaaaaaazing characters and how exciting are GUN FIGHTS and GETAWAYS? You've made me want this book like a gazillion times more <3

    Great review!


    1. EEE! Sonia! Thank you! That is... wow. SUCH an amazing compliment! All of it! And I'm so SO glad I could give you the 'why' :D
      Lila was seriously wonderful!

  15. Ohmygosh!!! I just can't get over how absolutely PERFECT your review is, Sarah! <3 I adored this book much much more than a person should be able to adore any book, but reading your review makes me feel even better about the justification! I loved the gunfights, explosions, and high-speed getaways on motorcycles too! And I loved Alex and Lila even MORE -- you're SO right about being invested in all the characters, both good and bad! :)

    Absolutely amazing review, Sarah! :) You have to understand how much I adore every review you write, right? PERFECTION. <3

    1. EEEE! Mimi, you're a GODDESS! Seriously, you have no idea how good you make me feel about myself. My head might explode! *hugs you*
      (happy dance*

      SOOO glad you liked this one, too! ♥

  16. WOW. I think Hunting Lila is maybe the first book that I've yet to read bad review about. I've only heard AMAZING things. I'm soooo GLAD you loved it. Thanks for this AMAZING review, Sarah.

  17. I thought I commented on this! WHY HAVEN'T I COMMENTED ON THIS YET!! Whatttttt! Ohhh, I loved Hunting Lila and I love your review! Everything you've said sums up my feelings perfectly <3
    Alex= hotness personified
    Lila= awesome personified
    Sarah Alderson= awesome author personified (wait, WHAT?)
    Sarah as in YOU= AMAZING <3

  18. I love Hunting Lila!! I borrowed it from the library to read it and I just bought my OWN copy! Sarah Alderson is great with her works and her characters. I even preordered Hunting Lila and bought Fated too!

    Great review!



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