Young Adult - Mystery
212 Pages
Reviewed on 04/12/2017
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Author Biography

In another lifetime A Neville has worked in both the medical and education sectors. Most of her writing has been non-fiction in the education area and on bullying. This is her second fiction novel. The first, Bat jack, was shortlisted in the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Suspicion is a young adult coming-of-age mystery novel written by A. Neville. Joe was feeling lost and alienated as he watched his best friend, Seb, playing for Trenwith High in the Secondary Schools’ Football Cup quarter-final. It was important to Seb; his future as a professional football player rode on his performance being seen by the scouts. Joe hated football, and, since he had been expelled by the principal, he wasn’t even supposed to be on the school grounds. Principal Harry Bennett actually cared about him; Joe knew that, but he still felt unjustly treated for what seemed like relatively minor offenses. To make things even more awkward, Joe’s other best friend, Emily, was Bennett’s daughter. They had grown up together; she was like a sister even if his own disorderly household was in a totally different class than her own. Joe knew his future depended upon getting an education, but his parents weren’t all that concerned and even Principal Bennett’s efforts to get him reinstalled had failed. Watching as the other students got ready for the prom was particularly hard; he was now officially an outsider.

A. Neville’s young adult coming of age mystery novel, Suspicion, blends a compelling story about teenage alienation with a first-rate police procedural mystery as the police investigate the murder of a high school principal. I was enthralled by this book. Joe’s story is unique and unforgettable. His disadvantaged background and expulsion for smoking pot and other minor infractions, which seemed arbitrary and ultimately at cross-purposes with his future well-being, contrast with the person the reader gets to know through his story. A person who sees Emily as an unattainable goal, someone who would never stoop to be more than a friend. “He really liked her, not in a ‘Wow, she’s hot’ way, but somewhere in his bones, somewhere he couldn’t see but could feel that made him stronger, better, braver.” As I read that description, whole worlds of insights opened up for me into this boy who was turning into a man under harsh conditions, and his passage is made even more perilous when he’s accused of murdering Emily’s father. The police procedural aspects of this story are first-rate. You can feel the despair and fear Joe feels as he spends that first night in prison and fights both his fears and the officers’ persuasive techniques while asserting his right to counsel. Suspicion is a powerful and moving novel, and it’s most highly recommended.

Erika Grediaga

Suspicion is about Joe, Emily and Seb who are best friends, all in their late teens and about to finish high school. However, Joe gets thrown out of school for drug use by Emily’s father, Mr. Bennett, who happens to be the principal and coach of the school. When Mr. Bennett is killed under strange circumstances, the blame immediately falls on Joe. Emily, suspecting her mother is having an affair, immediately steers the direction of the investigation towards Mrs. Bennett, to save Joe. Now, who really is responsible for her dad’s death?

Suspicion by Ann Neville is a young adult novel full of unexpected twists and turns, unveiling the plot sometimes through Joe’s point of view, sometimes from Emily’s. This type of storytelling is interesting, especially because we KNOW Joe didn’t do it. The attention to detail the author has for teen anxieties, the weird reactions people have to tragedies, and how adolescents tend to magnify anything to gigantic proportions is all very good. She focuses on going deep into the teen characters’ psyche and how they are perceiving reality around them. The little love triangle going on between Joe, Emily and Seb is spot on too. Seb and Emily are together, but Joe secretly loves Emily and feels horrible about fancying his best mate’s girl. From that perspective, I believe teens would enjoy this book.

Taken as a character piece, and focusing more on the teenage drama, I think the book works. I wouldn’t necessarily feature it as a crime or mystery novel, but more as a coming of age drama. It reminded me a bit of the British TV show Skins, and I think the author should have stayed on the drama surrounding the teens and their lack of understanding of how the whole police procedure works. However, I’m sure many teens will find themselves reflected in the characters of this book to make it an entertaining read.

Susan Sewell

Suspicion by A. Neville is an intriguing young-adult mystery novel. Joe, Seb, and Emily are finishing their last year of school. Because of their different backgrounds, the three are unlikely friends. Emily is the daughter of the Head School Teacher, Seb is a star rugby player looking at a future playing in a professional capacity, and Joe is a rough and tough motorcycle riding delinquent. Seb and Emily are looking forward to and preparing for their future, and Joe is just trying to make it through school. As the school year comes to a close, each of them is confronted with traumatic circumstances that divert the trajectories of their futures. Things become even more complicated for them when an unexpected and tragic death occurs, giving their lives an even more profound twist. With his reputation and his reticence in providing an alibi, Joe becomes the prime suspect in the murder. But is he guilty?

Suspicion by A. Neville is a thrilling young adult murder mystery involving students, parents, and teachers. The three main characters, Seb, Emily, and Joe, represent three different types of home lives, and their portrayal adds a more intricate aspect to the plot. Deception, disloyalty, and secrets are the backbone of this compelling novel and will keep the reader guessing. The storyline has intriguing twists and turns that keep the reader fascinated until the conclusion of the story. I enjoyed reading this, and I believe that it is an outstanding murder mystery that will captivate and thrill young adult readers.

Anna Lesley

A gripping read for young adults on what not to do! Thanks for a great read.