Title: The Deepest Cut
Author: Natalie Flynn
Published: May 24th 2016
Publisher: Accent YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: 198 Pages
Source: ARC from the publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
You haven’t said a single word since you’ve been here. Is it on purpose?’ I tried to answer David but I couldn’t … my brain wanted to speak but my throat wouldn’t cooperate…
Adam blames himself for his best friend’s death. After attempting suicide, he is put in the care of a local mental health facility. There, too traumatized to speak, he begins to write notebooks detailing the events leading up to Jake’s murder, trying to understand who is really responsible and cope with how needless it was as a petty argument spiralled out of control and peer pressure took hold.
Sad but unsentimental, this is a moving story of friendship and the aftermath of its destruction.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book when I met the author at London Book Fair. As part of Accent YA’s new launch list, The Deepest Cut tackles a difficult topic surrounding bullying and knife crime, as well as looking deeper into the after-effects of trauma and subsequent mental health issues that arise from it. I was eager to see how these topics were handled and, considering the main character is mute, I wondered what the narrative would be like.
Adam is still struggling to come to terms with what happened to his best friend, Jake, and his own role in the incident. After attempting suicide and being committed to a facility by his father, who is too busy with his girlfriend to really pay attention to his son, Adam thinks of nothing but escaping – one way or the other. But then he begins to write things down for his doctor, and bonds with another of the patients, and he starts to work through all the things that he’s buried under his guilt.
This is one of those books that when you start reading, you can’t put it down. Adam has such a distinctive voice that I was sucked in immediately. The deliberate way Flynn withholds the most important pieces of information about the events of that fateful night with Adam and Jake made me hunger for more and need to find out what exactly went on that could have had such a powerful effect on Adam.
As we slowly learn more about the past through Adam’s journal, it’s heart-breaking to see how normal him and his friends were leading up to the accident. It’s a very powerful way of showing how easy it is for things to go horrifically wrong. While reading his journal, it’s almost easy to forget about where Adam is while he’s writing it and lose yourself in the story of their average teenage drama. It’s like reading two separate stories that slowly weave together to form the whole.
The scary thing about this story is how accurate it is. Peer pressure is a terrifying thing and to see it go as far as it does in The Deepest Cut brings home just how serious it can get. All it takes is one person pushing another just that little bit too far.
I really felt for Adam. He was torturing himself daily over what happened to Jake and even when I didn’t have all the information, I still wanted things to turn out to be okay for him. The support that he had from within the care facility and out was fantastic to read, showing that even when you’ve given up on yourself, there will always be someone there willing to push to see you get better.
Despite being on the short side, this book is full of mystery and heartache that you can’t help but read it quickly – if not in one sitting!
An honest and brutal look into the effect of peer pressure and the devastating aftermath it can create, not just in the lives of those immediately effected but the wider community, too.
I think that this is a book that should be read by as many people as possible.
About the Author
I am an author and workshop facilitator working with teens from all backgrounds. I have a keen interest in social issues affecting teenagers and have worked with The Ben Kinsella Trust, The Rob Knox Foundation, my local authority and The Metropolitan Police, among others.
THE DEEPEST CUT is my first novel, adapted from my 2011 play SHANKED. It will be published by Accent Press (Accent YA) on 24th May 2016. It is a highly emotive story, surrounding the run up to and fall out of a sensless stabbing that resulted from an argument over a missing mobile phone
I live in Surrey with my husband, two children and our army of animals. I am currently working on my second novel and organising my desk drawers.
*Picture and Biography from author’s website