This was the first novel I read by Mr James Leader, whom I had the great pleasure of meeting in person. This book was something else: intense, beautifully written, full of suspense and emotion.
The book tells the story of European School of Brussels student Danny Dykoff, a young teenager trying to figure out his identity and all the emotions that come with adolescence. Tired of the sad winter in Brussels, Danny and his best friend Théo take a chance and end up being chosen for the Model European Union team. It’s all they dreamed of: sunshine, beach, young Italian women and the beautiful Mediterranean, all in the Croatian island of Vis. But peace and content don’t last forever. When Danny stumbles on Mr Gogos nightly gathering, his world changes and old memories and ghosts come back from the dark corners of his life in Brussels. Will he be able to survive?
It took me three chapters to get into the story, and then when Danny remembers his time in Mallorca where he lived before, something changed. I can only describe it like a burst of emotion, it was the moment I actually felt for Danny. After that, the suspense builds up very nicely and the pages passed very quickly with unexpected plot twists and a mind-blowing finale.
I absolutely loved the descriptions of the scenarios and the characters. They really match the phases of Danny character and his emotions. Sad and grey in the beginning, colourful and full of life the next and slowly beginning to lose colour again. The depth that Mr James Leader takes with the emotion turmoil of Danny is incredible. The feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the need to please others to the point he forgets himself, the need for attention and love it really had an impact on me. It’s about questioning your identity and trying to break free of the morals and systems that are implemented since childhood. It really makes you think and question what you think you know. Because do you truly know or is it partially a mystery?
An amazing memorable novel that I will remember for a long time! I highly recommend it to readers of all ages!