Friday, August 24, 2012

A Dual Review: Hunting Lila and Losing Lila

by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila
Read: October 2011
Published: August 5th 2011 by Simon & Schuster UK 
Source: Purchase from the Book Depository
Category: YA-Paranormal/Action

I don't buy a lot of books these days. Mostly because I can get them at the library, and I don't have a lot of space to store them. And if I do buy them, it's almost always the e-book. But I remember seeing Hunting Lila pop up on blogs about a year ago, and it caused a major I'VE GOT TO HAVE THAT moment. Of course the book wasn't published in the US - even in e-book format, which is when I discovered the wonders of the Book Depository. I decided to buy it for myself as a birthday gift. It was a good decision.

Hunting Lila introduces us to Lila who, when the book begins, has just flown from London to her brother's home in Southern California, after an attempted mugging gone wrong. She's not so much concerned about the fact that she was mugged, as most normal people would be. No, Lila's freaked out because she has this little quirk where she can move things without touching them. And that's definitely not normal, right?? It's the fact that she employed this "talent" against the muggers that has her so freaked. Worried that there's something seriously wrong with her, Lila makes the rash decision to get away as fast as possible. Lila is prone to impulsive decision making, so this isn't completely abnormal for her. At least that's how her brother Jack and his best friend Alex justify her sudden appearance. 

Lila is excited to see Jack, but even more thrilled that Alex is there too, because she's secretly been in love with him since she was a child. But Jack and Alex are not really happy about Lila's sudden arrival. They are part of an elite group of Marines that work for a secret organization called The Unit. Of course they won't tell her anything about what they do. But she soon discovers that their job is dangerous, and that they are trying to track down the people who killed her mother. 

Hunting Lila is filled with action, suspense and mystery. Nothing is truly what it seems, and the reader uncovers revelations right a long with the characters. There wasn't a moment that I was bored while reading this story and it kept me guessing until the end. Are there others like Lila out there? Will she learn to accept herself and start to see what she can do as an ability (instead of something to be afraid of)? What will Jack and Alex think when she tells them what she can do?

I loved following Lila, Jack and Alex, and seeing Lila finally, possibly, get a chance with Alex. She does do a fair bit of pining for him during this book, but honestly (and embarrassingly), it's probably pretty close to how much I obsessed over my first crush. Alex's job for The Unit has hardened him (yes, physically, though I'm not talking about that here!), and it's not always easy to read him - because of the controlled mask he presents to the world. Does Alex feel the same about Lila as she does for him? How will Jack take the news of Lila's feelings for Alex? 

Jack is a great character as well. He is a typical older brother - protective and thinks he knows best. He was a great counterpoint to both Lila and Alex. There are many other great characters in Hunting Lila - a few hilarious ones as well. But most of the good ones are too spoilery. So you'll have to read the book to meet them.

Hunting Lila was published in England and is written in British English. Words and phrases are said differently than they would be in America (the boot, bonnet and windscreen of a car etc.). And though I LOVE British English and a forgave it in Lila, it was a bit difficult to believe the very American Marines would talk that way. Though that's probably also what English people think when they read American books that take place in Britain. 

Rating: 4 stars
Love Triangle Factor: None

I'm going to try to keep the Losing Lila review as spoiler free as possible. I tried not to include anything that is a spoiler for Hunting Lila that wouldn't already be inferable if all you've done is read the HL book description. But if you don't want to know anything at all, don't read further.

Losing Lila
Read: August 6-12, 2012
Published: August 2nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK
Source: Purchase from the Book Depository
Category: YA - Paranormal/Action

Picking up about a week after Hunting Lila ends, Losing Lila starts with an awesome chase scene through the streets of Mexico City, à la Jason Bourne. The story is filled with even more action than the first book, as well as Mexican drug lords, getaway cars, stolen cash, large yachts, coffins and beach front villas (don't forget guns and explosives). New powers are discovered, betrayals are uncovered and more revelations come to light. 

Lila steps it up as well. She is no longer the frightened girl we met in the first book, but steadily gains confidence in herself and her power. However, she is still impulsive and headstrong, which causes some problems for Alex, whose careful plans keep getting thrown off course. 

I love Lila and Alex together. They are an excellent team and compliment each other well, because they have very different strengths (and weaknesses). As someone prone to jump headlong into danger, Lila has to learn to trust Alex's wisdom and planning. As the ultimate protector - something he's been doing for Lila since she was small, Alex has to learn to let her step out front and take action. I enjoyed watching them both grow individually and as a couple. 

All the characters that I LOVED (and hated) from Hunting Lila are back. Including, Lila's brother Jack, who is still not thrilled about the idea of Lila and Alex. He has a bluntness in the way he speaks that I adore. I love the banter between him and Lila. There are also some new faces, including a proper southern lady who likes to put everyone in their place, and plenty of hilarious moments.

The end of Losing Lila does not disappoint. I felt satisfied when I finished it, but the story also leaves enough questions open for a third sequel. (Please write one Sarah!)

Rating: 4 stars
Love Triangle Factor: None


  1. You know, I had never heard of these books until I saw them a few days ago on another Australian blogger's site. She absolutely loved them too. They look really fun.

    Sidenote: I always have trouble with the British speak, which annoys me about myself.

    1. Yes! This series is a lot of fun. But I don't know what to tell you about the Brit speak. Besides the different words for common items, the books are easy to read. Also, I don't remember having the same issue with the second one, though that could be just because I am used to it. Maybe it will be formally published here and the wording will have changed.


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