Are You Watching? – Vincent Ralph

Stars: *****

To become a serial killer you have to kill at least three people. For the Magpie Man, it was Jess’ mother who became the first victim in his killing campaign. Walking home, taking a shortcut, her mother was murdered.

Since then, every 9 months he kills again, carving the number into his victim to stake his claim. Not only does Jess want him to stop, but she wants to finally discover who he is in order to get justice. Justice for the death, but also the other repercussions of such a violent crime: her dad’s apathy to life, the life events she has to miss, the loss of friendships.

When the opportunity arises to become the star of a weekly YouTube reality show, Jess is desperate to be chosen. Maybe, with the help of all the viewers, she can track down the perpetrator and find the Magpie Man at last.

The cover of this book pulled me straight to it as it sat on the Waterstones table. It actually has the honour of the first physical bookshop book I selected post-lockdown! I am becoming an even bigger YA fan as time goes on, and mixed with my love of crime this becomes the perfect book. Despite reading several books of this genre, the use of YouTube and reality TV gave it a really fresh feel.

The way the small chapters are written makes it almost addictive to read! Each time I got to the end I wanted to read ‘just another one’ to keep finding out more. It’s a really fast-paced story which has an abundance of reveals and clues that you are guided through. I didn’t see the ending coming and felt everything was tied up really well; there were no loose ends left for you to wonder about.

Jess was tenacious and knew what she needed to do to find the murderer. I liked the interwoven friendships and background which helped her to become a person, not just a victim. The way she traverses her life in school whilst juggling the show, the crime and her usual schoolwork and friendships is admirable and likeable. Her friends balanced her personality well and felt realistic.

Like the sound of this book? Buy it here:

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