Author: Sarah Alderson (author website)
Release Date: Aug. 2011 by Simon & Schuster Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
I love books like this. Exciting books. And Hunting Lila is a debut every bit as exciting as its gun-fights and getaways. Sarah Alderson blends intrigue, superhuman powers and fast-paced action with romance, teenage longing and a pinch of heartbreak like a seasoned-master.
17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever. After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them
Seventeen year old Lila Loveday has a rather singular talent... one she’ll keep hidden at all costs. After narrowly avoiding a mugging by telekinetically wresting a knife from her attackers, she flees London to the safety of sunny California and the only two people in the world she trusts implicitly: her brother Jack, and his best friend, Alex. Well, now Lila has bigger problems. Like keeping her other great secret safe: that she’s been hopelessly in love with Alex since the age of seven. Not to mention that Jack and Alex are working for a shady government organisation, or that they’re hunting the people who murdered her mother five years ago... people like her.
Lila, You’ve Got Me On Knees, Lila...After her mother was brutally murdered five years ago, Lila was torn from her happy life in the United States, and relocated to London with her grieving father. In the space of weeks, she lost her mother, lost her brother and Alex, who remained in the States, and her mourning, absentee father is hardly there for her either. Not long after, her power manifested itself, and if she wasn’t isolated enough before, that seals the deal. She doesn’t have anyone to turn to—the two people she would are thousands of miles away—and it leaves Lila alone inside her head.
It’s that Lila’s so isolated, coupled with her introspective nature that allows us to get to know her so well. A great deal of the book is Lila, alone, with nothing but her overactive (and at times deliciously X-rated) imagination for company. Despite a first-person narrative, many stories don’t get quite so deep into the protagonist’s psyche, peel away quite so many layers of their paranoias and fears and give us such an intimate view of their mind. I loved getting to know Lila: her paranoias and insecurities and her imagination.
Lila is smart, independent, entertaining, and while she has a tendency to jump to conclusions and run from her problems (oh yes, the cover on this one could be straight out of the book—including the dress), Sarah Alderson (author/evil-genius) somehow makes this trait not frustrating, but wholly endearing. Lila is defined not by what she is, but by who she is. Despite an extraordinary talent, the book is, well, about her, not about what she can do. As Lila re-establishes her relationship with her brother, and with Alex, we start to venture out of her head a little... and then things get really exciting. I’m talking gunfights, explosions, and high-speed getaways on motorcycles.
AlexOh my, Alex is more than a pretty face. Kind, caring, and a genuine good guy. As much as we like them, he’s not a bad boy, and it’s lovely. He’s the boy next door with Marine training. Lila’s been infatuated with Alex for years, but it’s easy to see why. He’s a lovely human being.
The tension between Alex and Lila is palpable. It crackles with electricity, and every casual touch, or innocent, friendly hug had me holding my breath. The intensity of feeling is thrilling and overwhelming, developed over a decade-long crush. The heat the two share aside, it’s so nice seeing a romance built on a real, genuine friendship. The two have been close as siblings for years, and seeing the pain and beauty of the shift to something more is beautiful to witness.