The Opal Octopus

Reading and reviews by the Indian Ocean

Review: The Recruit by Fiona Palmer


The Recruit
by Fiona Palmer

Published by Harlequin Enterpises AU
on 2014-05-01
Genres: Love & Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 200
Review: The Recruit by Fiona Palmer

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.

Fiona Palmer  is most well known for her terrific Aussie rural romances, like The Sunburnt Country, The Road Home, and The Outback Heart. The Recruit is her first young adult novel.

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I received this book from Netgalley for review consideration.

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