Book Review, Young Adult

Book Review: Wasted by Nicola Morgan

When danger, passion and chance collide…Jack worships luck and decides his actions by the flip of a coin. No risk is too great if the coin demands it. Luck brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life. But Jack’s luck is running out, and soon the stakes are high. As chance and choice unravel, the risks of Jack’s Game become terrifyingly clear. An evening of heady recklessness, and suddenly a life hangs in the balance, decided by the toss of a coin. In the end, it is the reader who must choose whether to spin that coin and determine: life or death. (From Amazon.co.uk)

I had no idea really what to expect from Wasted, other than it sounded exciting and intriguing. And wow, did it live up to that expectation! This is certainly the most unique, original and all round fascinating book I’ve read for a while. From the very first page this book really captured my attention, I just didn’t want to put it down.

Jack believes that after loosing not one, but two mothers, he has pretty much used his bad luck up. He thinks he is lucky, but fate, luck and chance fascinate him and so he decides to test his luck by playing a game. Flip a coin, heads or tails; let the coin make his decisions for him.

Jess is about to finish school and has no idea where her life will take her. She would like to go to Music College, but feels trapped by her needy alcoholic mother. Then by chance, Jack hears Jess sing just as he needs someone to front his band. The attraction between them both is instant, but will Jack’s dangerous game get in the way?

I adored both of these characters. They were easy to sympathise with and the romance between the pair was beautiful. Nicola Morgan captured vulnerability in each of them, yet also made them feisty and strong. Jack is especially endearing and charming, I wasn’t surprised at all that Jess felt so drawn to him!

Wasted is exciting from the very beginning. It’s told in a third person narrative, from an almost disembodied voice which has a personality of it’s own. The narrator discusses with the reader what we can see the characters doing, and also often gives us alternative situations that could happen if just the smallest detail is changed. It’s as if we are looking down observing Jack and Jess and it kind of reminded me of Death’s narration in The Book Thief a little. It made me feel I was completely involved in the story and the tone was conversational and consistently fast and interesting. I loved it!

The descriptions of people and places are incredibly vivid too. One scene at a fairground really stood out, as that creepy, evening fairground that is a little seedy and dangerous was brought to life. The narrators dry wit also provided some very humorous passages too, and not once did I become bored. I wanted to listen keenly and soak the whole thing up. It also keeps you thinking constantly ‘what if’ and wondering about the existence of luck, chance and fate or whether it’s always just a case of wrong or right place at the wrong or right time. The twist at the end in which the reader does become involved is brilliant, and I loved how even after finishing the book, I wasn’t quite!

I thoroughly recommend Wasted; it has strong vivid characters, romance and originality. It’s thrilling and will leave you breathless at times. It’s thought provoking, dark, edgy, very clever, fun and touching. A truly exciting novel you won’t want to put down.


Thank You to the publishers, Walker Books, for sending me this book for review.

Nicola Morgan will be dropping by here on the 26th May as part of her blog tour

Check out the WASTED blog for fascinating posts about the book, luck, chance and fate.

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