On the surface sixteen-year-old Eliza Boans appears to have it all. Leader of the most popular girl clique at the posh private school in the ritzy suburb East Rivermoor, she’s does have it all in a material sense. Whatever hot designer item can be hers at the drop of a hat; even she was awarded like an object to be divvied up in her parent’s divorce. Her highly successful lawyer mother may be absent for weeks at a time, but hey, at least one of her parents cared enough to keep her. Her friend Lexie may be prettier and her friend Marianne may be brighter, but Eliza will still be accepted by her mother’s alma mater, and she could still catch the eye of any guy she wanted. So when Eliza finds herself in an interrogation room charged with murder, it’s only expected that she will tell her story in her own time and in her own way. Why would confessing murder be any different? As Eliza evades and misleads and reveals bit by bit of how, why and what happened that night, she’ll be forced to face her most difficult hurdle yet.
Besides the premise, I knew next to nothing about the Aussie YA novel Fury by Shirley Marr. I knew it was unattainable in the US, and having read so many exceptional Aussie YA novels this year I didn’t hesitate when I was offered the chance to read it. This premise IS pretty awesome – a self-proclaimed teenage murderer from the first line? (“My name is Eliza Boans, and I’m a murderer.”) That was more than enough to leave me completely curious in a killed-the-cat kind of way. I wanted to know how it began and why and how things had progressed to this drastic, last-ditch option. I alternated between thinking there’s no way it could be true to seriously considering that it may be truer than I’m willing to accept. Any novel that makes you question every person and motive leaves the reader in for one potentially awesome reading ride.
As you become more acquainted with Eliza what you’ll quickly realize is how true to her character that strong declaration is. Anyone looking for an assertive-to-a-fault, extremely confident, and very proactive female protagonist may just find what they are looking for in her. As for me, it was both yes and no. First off, I just have to say her voice. Sigh. Her voice is so clear and strong from the first page. She may be privileged and spoiled, but she openly admits and accepts her flaws unapologetically. She may use ‘like’ way too many times per sentence but her angst practically leaps off the page it’s so authentic. With Eliza’s back story expertly weaved with the present, I cruised through the first half. I didn’t mind that brazen, heartless Eliza was still kind of a bitch or that I didn’t particularly care for any of the other characters. There was still plenty of time left in the narrative for me to either connect with her raw pain or see her vulnerabilities and sympathize with her loneliness and her bored attitude towards life. But as I read on – and on – that never happened. Instead I finished the book feeling distant from her and floored by the turn the narrative took with the sudden appearance of her mother in her life. Although I’m still scratching my head in confusion I am left just about as curious to see where Eliza goes from here as I was from the beginning of the book, which almost convinced to read the sequel. While Fury was entertaining, the fact that I never connected with the main character got in the way, as it always will, of my overall enjoyment. If you’re a fan of dark, mean girl YA fiction though this may be for you. As for me, I’ll reread Courtney Summer’s Some Girls Are next time I need my fix.
*Thanks again to Wendy Darling for accepting me on her tour.