by Fiona Palmer
Published by Harlequin Enterpises AU
Genres: Love & Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
The Recruit was sorta kinda adorable. I’m possibly a bit biased, as it’s firmly set in my hometown – but it isn’t a standard-issue YA dystopian recruiment novel at all. For a start, it’s set in contemporary realistic Perth. Jaz is seventeen, in her final months of high school at a Christian academy, and works in boxing gym The Ring. Her best friends Taylor (Tay) and Anna are lovely BFFs, and best of all the three of them don’t turn into a jealous, spiteful love triangle.
One day Ryan Fletcher walks into the Ring. Gorgeous, ripped, scarred, tattooed, all the things you might expect of a paramilitary hero. But also rather sweet in a buttoned-up is-he-really-Hydra kind of way – and he’s definitely interested in Jaz. But what is the nature of his interest? It gets a little squinchy at first, with him following her around, but it turns out it’s all above board: he’s recruiting her for a domestic black ops agency. Or so he says.
It is interesting and refreshing to have a heroine who is a real hard-nosed split-lipped jock, and who has worked hard at her fitness and combat skill for years, instead of being magically kick-arse. She’s also not white, which makes a change for Aussie YA POV heroines (There’s The Tribe and When We Wake, both future-world SF, Liar which isn’t set here, and there’s McPherson’s and Lucashenko’s books, Ayoub, Abdel-Fattah, Queenie Chan, there there’s … um… (suggestions welcome!)).
The domestic-black-ops plot is weirdly believable. Or not so weirdly? Perhaps I just want to think that all this isn’t going on in my hometown… but it probably is.
The Recruit was a very quick read, well-written, with a touch of mystery but not much in the way of twists otherwise. (Maybe it could have done with a bit of a B plot to round it out and lengthen it, as it’s more NA than YA?) It feels like a solid set-up for the rest of the series. I was definitely left wanting more.
I received this book from Netgalley for review consideration.